The Owl Bar is a step back in time rich in history. Prohibition, movie stars, writers, politicians, the famous and infamous, all write a chapter in the history of this true“speakeasy” housed in the historic grand Belvedere Hotel in the Mount Vernon district of Baltimore…
The term speakeasy is said to have derived during Prohibition by bartenders telling their patrons to “speak easy” when ordering alcohol so they wouldn’t raise suspicion. Speakeasies rose up all over the country. New York had The Cotton Club, Chicago had John Barleycorn, and Baltimore had The Owl Bar.
The Owl Bar was a very popular stop for travelers, especially train passengers traveling between New York and Miami. They would stop off in Baltimore for a couple days and stay at The Belvedere where they would invariably visit “the wise old owl.” An owl was mounted in the bar with lights for eyes. For those in the know, when the eyes were blinking it meant that the shipment had made it; the feds weren’t around; and it was safe to partake.
Today, the bar evokes the atmosphere of the bygone speakeasy. With backlit stained glass telling the story of the wise old owl, beautiful detailed brick walls, historic old dark booths, and an incredibly long well worn wood bar, you can feel the history as you enjoy lunch or dinner. Fortunately, you won’t have to look to “the wise old owl” to order your drinks.