Fun in the still of night

Nightclub: The music venue coming to Power Plant Live is seen as putting Baltimore "on par with Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and other major markets."

April 03, 2004|By June Arney | June Arney,SUN STAFF

People looking for a good time in Baltimore soon will have one more place to party when a multilevel, live music venue, called Rams Head Live, opens in Power Plant Live in September.

The 24,000-square-foot nightclub will accommodate ticketed events for crowds of 1,500 and will feature six bars, a catering kitchen and an enclosed tavern.

"Rams Head Live fills a total void in the marketplace for this size and caliber live music venue and puts Baltimore on par with Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and other major markets," said Reed S. Cordish, vice president of development for the Cordish Company, which developed Power Plant Live. "It allows Baltimore to be in the game, which it couldn't before."

The club, expected to cost more than $3 million, is an extension of a concept that emerged more than five years ago at the Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis, where national acts are brought in to much smaller audiences of about 250 people, said Rams Head owner Bill Muehlhauser, who will own the new Baltimore location.

His son, Kyle, owns the Rams Head Tavern Savage and the Rams Head at Rehoboth Beach, Del., and is opening the Rams Head Roadhouse later this month in Crownsville.

Rams Head entered the music arena in fall 1997 with the concept of bringing in live music.

"The little club that we have here in Annapolis has proven to us and the booking companies across the country that there is a separate market outside Washington," Muehlhauser said. "We are convinced that an act can play in Washington, and then the same act can play in Baltimore, and they can both be successful."

Rams Head Live is expected to appeal primarily to people in their late-20s to mid-40s, Muehlhauser said. Among the acts being considered are performers such as Hootie & the Blowfish, Bonnie Raitt and the Doobie Brothers, he said.

The plan is to bring in national acts 17 to 25 days a month, and local and regional acts on the other days, Muehlhauser said.

"Baltimore has long had a lot of interesting, smaller venues, but in terms of attracting mainline talent to a mid-size venue like the 9:30 Club in Washington or several smaller clubs in Philadelphia, we haven't had that," said Michael Evitts, a spokesman for the Downtown Partnership. "This new Rams Head is going to fill a huge void. It symbolizes a reawakening of downtown as an entertainment venue."

From the convention marketing standpoint, the new nightclub is one more sales tool to use in pitching Baltimore to meeting planners.

Although Pier 6 is a great offering in selling groups on Baltimore, it is seasonal, noted Debra Dignan, associate vice president of convention sales for the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association.

"This is great news," she said. "We've been weak in the nightlife area. With Power Plant Live, it started to improve. But this Rams Head Live enhances our package

"We can say, `We have a place for you to meet during the day, and we can entertain you at night."'

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