Repeatedly deemed Best Rock Club and once voted Best Drunken Hookup Bar by City Paper readers, Ottobar hosts an ongoing calendar of local and touring bands, DJs, and comedians. With bars on both floors of the two-story venue, guests can sip on mixed drinks and beers while listening to live music or pumping quarters into an award-winning jukebox. The venue also hosts special nights including spelling bees and underground dance parties, wherein guests shake their hips to the sound of shoveling.
Every year on the first weekend of May, downtown Baltimore's streets bustle as tens of thousands of moviegoers visit local theaters to watch films shot, directed, and edited around the globe. The Maryland Film Festival, like a freakish hurdle sprinter, runs for five days and showcases about 50 feature films and 75 short pieces—ranging from documentaries to animations—many of which are presented by their respective filmmakers or celebrity guest hosts. Past hosts have included Ian MacKaye and Branford Marsalis, and legendary filmmaker John Waters regularly makes an appearance at the festival, hosting a feature film of his choice. Attendees may also stimulate and expand their sensory palates with special events that have included international flicks, three-dimensional movies, and vintage silent films synced to live music.
The faculty members at the School of Rock believe that immersion is the best way to learn any new skill, which is why they don’t just teach students how to traverse the notes and rhythms of guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and vocals in isolation. In addition to teaching students the technical skills during one-on-one lessons, the professional music instructors push them to fuse their individual parts into songs during full band practices with fellow beginner rockers. This combination of one-on-one attention and cooperative group learning helps kids of all skill levels hone their craft while overcoming common pitfalls such as stage fright or playing off-tempo. As kids learn to shred riffs, pound out drum solos, and summon Ronnie James Dio by hitting the correct vibrato atop a silver mountain, the classes build their confidence and kick-start a lifetime of loving rock 'n' roll.
Cazbar’s Chef Haluk distills the culinary traditions of Turkey's Bolu region into the kebabs, grilled meats, and salads that fill his eclectic menu. House specialties such as the char-grilled lamb shish kebab and baked okra entertain taste buds with a symphony of flavors and a break dance of textures. Other dishes bring veggies into a starring role, such as the stuffed eggplant, which the Baltimore Sun called "a lesson in delicate flavor." The complexity and care common to the kitchen's savory dishes carries over into the desserts; 50 layers of phyllo dough enclose blankets of toasted pistachios and lemon syrup in each serving of baklava.
With belly-dancing shows throughout the restaurant on Friday and Saturday nights, Cazbar has the power to impress a date or a cardboard cutout of yourself. The restaurant's Middle Eastern decor delights eyes with vibrant walls, patterned canvases, and hanging lanterns.
Nearly a century ago, the Hippodrome opened as a combination movie palace and vaudeville theater, spending more than 70 years hosting big names such as Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra. Following a double-decade period of slow business and bad hairstyles, the Hippodrome closed down in 1990. Now, however, after an exhaustive restoration project that reanimated the theater’s chandelier-lit arches, the mural above the proscenium stage, and the grand-theater boxes that hearken back to opera’s heyday, the Hippodrome reopens to the delight of Baltimore’s cultural landscape.
Baltimore Comedy Factory has nonviolently busted guts with nationally sourced joke-slingers for nearly three decades. Several nights a week, the club schedules sets by stars pulled onto the stage fresh from appearances in blockbuster comedies and hit TV shows. Tucked within the Power Plant Live complex, the expansive new location finds room for comfy table seating, a beach-themed bar pouring sodas and cocktails, and an ample supply of super-size prop sunglasses.