Baltimore, MD

Welcome Back, Hammerjacks

Susan Kelley

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Welcome back, Hammerjacks. The long-storied Baltimore icon, Hammerjacks will indeed return to Baltimore in the fall of 2021, but not as its former self, a punk-rock and heavy metal concert space, but as a multipurpose outdoor tailgating venue perfect for Ravens fans headed to see their team on game day.

The newly re-visioned tailgating spot and private event space has been reconceived by co-proprietors Mark Dinerstein and Andy Hotchkiss not as a concert hall, nightclub, or beer garden as they once proposed, but as a perfect place for game-day revelers or those looking for an outdoor venue to gather near M&T Bank stadium to host private events.

The iconic Baltimore music venue first opened in 1977, hosting bands from Deep Purple to the Ramones to Marilyn Manson. The performance space actually operated out of more than one location in its multi-decade history, but the name remained known for its loyalty to hard-rock, punk, and metal bands throughout. It last closed in 2006.

The new venue will be run by an entity known as Hammerjacks Entertainment Group. The ownership group has planned since 2016 to reopen a new Hammerjacks as a concert space or other performance venue, but a variety of roadblocks stood in the way. The original plan was to open in a renovated Russell Street warehouse, but as plans unfolded, and the project stalled, COVID-19 caused more delays. The team reevaluated, and that is when they decided on an open-air venue.

The new Hammerjacks is one of several new attractions in South Baltimore’s entertainment district. Plans for the area, which includes M&T Bank stadium, Oriole Park at Camden Yards and Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, also includes TopGolf which has its own restaurant and bar and The Paramount Baltimore, a 70,000 square foot, 4,000-seat concert and event venue. Checkerspot Brewery opened nearby in 2018. Checkerspot also offers live entertainment space, rounding out the neighborhood of gathering spots of different sizes and types.

Hammerjacks has a long history with the neighborhood and the football stadium. Lots H and J at M&T Bank Stadium are something of a a tribute to the former Hammerjacks which was once located at its second (and arguably most popular) spot at 1101 S. Howard St.

The original Hammerjacks was at 1024 S. Charles St. in Federal Hill, the current Nobles Bar and Grill. A later version opened in Downtown. Current co-owner Butler was not involved with any of the previous Hammerjacks, but purchased the rights to the Hammerjacks trademark in 2009 in order to revive the brand. HEG announced the revitalization of the Hammerjacks icon in 2013, so the city loyalists have been waiting quite some time for the revival.

The development team was approved for a liquor license in 2017, and originally focused their location on property adjacent to Lot N of M&T Bank Stadium before settling on the current location.

Many recent development projects across the city have faced delays due to the pandemic, so the slow pace of Hammerjacks' build is no surprise. However, with the city poised to return to near-normal status on July 1, all systems point to full steam ahead and the group appears to be on target for an opening in time for the 2021 football season. Ravens’ stadium and other Baltimore venues are preparing to reopen to full capacity, making Hammerjacks’ arrival excellent timing for crowds ready to gather and celebrate.

On game days, patrons will be able to preorder tickets or come on a walk-in basis, but the venue will operate on a first-come, first-served basis. The space will feature large television screens perfect for game-day viewing, food and beverages, standing tables and original artwork. The menu will be made up of “stadium fare” from local vendors, sure to please Baltimoreans of every type.

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Susan is a runner, avid traveler, mom of three grown children, and a newly-transplanted Baltimorean who follows tech trends, especially at the intersection of health and the public good. Sound intriguing? It is. Often, technology is at odds with the "earthy-crunchy," but sometimes, it is a real boost. Susan is an avowed supporter of women's and human rights, so that situates well here.

Baltimore, MD
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