The Venue

The Ottobar


October 13, 2005|By SAM SESSA

You can smell The Ottobar's cocktail of sweat, smoke and beer down the block. Though it's been on Howard Street only for about four years, from the inside you would swear it's still 1981.

Where -- 2549 N. Howard St., 410-662-0069

Web site --

Notable -- The upstairs lounge has a Pac-Man arcade game, two pool tables, a bar and board games. Downstairs, you can get your picture taken in the photo booth, grab a bar stool, or plunk down for the show on a vinyl van seat or a fake-leopard-fur-covered bench.

Vibe -- The Ottobar's quirky ornamentation makes for a prime cut-loose club -- whether it's for a show or just to hang out upstairs. Co-owner Michael Bowen says, "It's exactly what it's supposed to be."

What to wear -- Anything you want (just don't go buck naked). Close your eyes, reach into your shirt drawer and put on whatever you pull out. Pair that with some worn-in jeans and you're set. Save the shower for after the show.

Crowd -- Indie lovers, post-punks, Johns Hopkins hipsters and teenagers

Music -- Coming shows include Adult, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Boris, Sage Francis and Blood on the Wall.

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