After a three-month break, the Baltimore Eagle reopens today

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Photo by Ed Gunts.

After a three-month hiatus, the lights are coming back on at the Baltimore Eagle.

The Charles Street leather bar, one of the largest LGBTQ-friendly night spots in the city, is reopening today under its third management team in three years.

There’s a new chain link fence motif in the front windows and two Leather Pride flags hanging over the entrance ramp. Managers posted messages online that doors will open Nov. 15. “If you’re not tied up Friday,” one posting says, “come to our place.”

A local leather club, the Shipmates of Baltimore, is having a bar night on Saturday, making it the first group to have an event there since the reboot. Inside, staffers were working late on Thursday to prepare.

General manager David Lessner opened the front door around 6 p.m. and confirmed that the Eagle will be opening but said he didn’t have time to talk.

“Can’t right now,” he apologized. “We’re getting ready. I’m still hiring people.”

The business at 2022 N. Charles St. is one of a dozen unaffiliated Eagle bars around the country that cater to the leather and kink community. The building got a $1.1 million renovation three years ago, with Baltimore architect David Gleason as the lead designer.

The business has been shuttered since Aug. 11, when it closed following a dispute between the building’s owners and the previous managers, who have since taken over a spot called Night Shift in East Baltimore. The Night Shift crew had replaced 4 Crazy Guys LLC, the managers from 2016 to July 2018, who also left after a dispute.

Building owners Ian Parrish and his father Charles Parrish brought back Baltimore Eagle founder Tom Kiple and former general manager Lessner to run the business this time. Kiple, 76, started the Baltimore Eagle in 1991 and then moved on to open the SunCoast resort in Florida.

The new managers and their landlord announced that they were renovating the 10,000-square-foot building to include a new courtyard bar, pool tables, kitchen and a full-service leather shop.

Ian Parrish said months ago that he had taken over an adjoining property, the former Family Dental Center at 7 W. 21st St., following the death of Dr. Christopher Lee, and plans eventually to make that part of the Eagle’s footprint.

According to a write-up in The Washington Blade, the front room is a sports bar, which leads to spaces with names such as the Toolbox, the Bunkhouse, the Pig Pen and the Cockpit, an area for outdoor smoking.

The new managers have made statements indicating that they intend to take the bar back to its hardcore leather roots, in line with other Eagles around the country. The Blade article quotes Kiple as promising that it will “drip sex.”

“The Baltimore Eagle promises an experience ‘as it was in the beginning’ – a judgment free space for all members of the leather community,” Lessner said in a statement in September. “We’re dedicated to revitalizing the spirit of this Baltimore landmark as a fun, edgy place for newcomers, while preserving the culture and attitude that has attracted guests from all over the world.”

As of today, according to its website, the Eagle will be open daily from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.
Ed Gunts


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