Have a slice of history with your beer in Baltimore's former speakeasy
Built in 1903, the Owl Bar started life as a legal establishment in the back of the majestic Belvedere hotel.
The bar chugged along in this way for more than a decade, until in 1920 something strange happened: the United States banned the sale of alcohol.
And so illegal booze flowed in through the Belvedere’s underground tunnels. Suddenly, the Owl Bar was the hottest destination in town.
When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, the Owl Bar’s sordid chapter came to an end, but its good times did not. Movie stars, presidents, and foreign dignitaries across the decades have paid a visit to the former speakeasy, and today the bar is still a hip place to be.
Once shrouded in secrets, the Owl Bar is today celebrated for its history. The back hallway leading to the bar is lined with owl mementos and pictures of famous patrons, from Clark Gable to Al Pacino.
The bar itself is darkly lit, even in the middle of the day, and gives the illusion of a smaller space. Owl chotchkies spill over every mahogany surface.
Blazing above the bar are faux stained-glass windows crafted into verses from “A Wise Old Owl,” the words paying tribute to the bar’s sordid past.
The thrill of illegal booze may be gone, but the Owl Bar remains a great time.
The Owl Bar is open seven days a week, though daily times vary. Happy Hour runs weekends from 4-7PM and offers $3 drafts and house wines. Food is plentiful but a little highly priced; plan on paying for the experience in addition to the meal.