November 26, 2015 at 2:06 pm EDT | by Steve Charing
Baltimore Eagle looks to reopen in March 2016
Baltimore Eagle, gay news, Washington Blade

Charles and Ian Parrish (center) discuss building plans inside the gutted Baltimore Eagle. (Blade photo by Steve Charing)

After a three-member Baltimore City Liquor Board on April 9 unanimously denied the Baltimore Eagle’s building ownership group a requested liquor license transfer, Charles and Ian Parrish, a father-son real estate development team, vowed to re-open the bar, located at 2022 N. Charles St., following renovations.

That board ruled that the reconstruction was not completed within the required 180 days, rendering the license dead. Ian Parrish contends that he was told by the liquor board that the license was secure and to proceed with the renovations, which were hampered by unforeseen structural problems and other issues. Since then, the board was dissolved and a new one appointed.

“No other developer in this region wanted to touch the Baltimore Eagle project, and we still aim to prove them wrong,” Parrish told the Blade. “This team is moving forward. We’re spending over a million dollars to reconstruct the Baltimore Eagle because this building and this business are good for this city, because our neighbors want to go back to work, and because the loyal patrons of the Eagle are still hoping to return.”

He added, “Mayor Rawlings-Blake called for investment in Baltimore City; well, we’ve made our investment, we were promised a license, and here we are still waiting for promises to be honored.”

Attorneys for the Parrish team and supporters appealed the board’s decision on Sept. 15 to a Baltimore City Appellate Court but have yet to receive a ruling by Judge Mays. Undaunted, the project is moving forward.

When they first purchased the building and exploratory work was conducted, the Parrishes saw that besides garbage and debris removal, there were major structural problems that needed to be addressed and most of the building had to be gutted. Currently, the building’s shell remains as the early stages of rebuilding begin.

The Parrish development team explained in a statement that it has “designed an energy-efficient building with an entirely new floor plan that will improve traffic flow and make better use of the space. Visitors will discover new services, including a restaurant, a full-service leather shop, and event catering.”

Plans have been made to also include an entertainment area in the multi-level structure as well as a dress code-exclusive area for members of the leather community.

While the Parrish family owns the land and the building, the Baltimore Eagle is owned by Chuck King and Robert Gasser who are leasing the property. They will have full responsibility for the operation of the bar. King is the general manager.

“We’re thrilled to revitalize a home for Maryland’s leather community,” King said in a statement. “We’re dedicated to making The Baltimore Eagle innovative, edgy and fun for newcomers, while preserving the culture and attitude that attracted guests from all over the world.”

Members of the community are eagerly anticipating the re-opening, which is targeted for March 2016. “I’m happy to hear and see there is such a great buzz in the community of a new bar opening,” Rich Wertman, treasurer of The Shipmates Club of Baltimore, a leather organization, told the Blade. “I feel like I’m coming home to a place where my leather roots started.”   

The Baltimore Eagle, founded in 1991, closed in 2012 following the death of its previous owner, Richard Richardson. For more information on the progress of the renovations, visit thebaltimoreeagle.com.

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