The Stadium Lounge, at the corner of East 34th Street and Greenmount Avenue, was once a watering hole for sports fans going to games on East 33rd Street at old Memorial Stadium.
When Sports Illustrated went to speak to fans during the Orioles’ infamous 21-game losing streak to start the 1988 season, the magazine’s reporter stalked the lounge for dispirited fans.
But the fabled “world's largest outdoor insane asylum” was torn down years ago. The lounge, however, is still there, and neighbors say it’s creating problems.
Several surrounding community associations from neighborhoods such as Waverly, Oakenshawe and Abell are protesting the renewal of the lounge’s liquor license. The case goes before the Baltimore City Liquor License Board on Thursday.
Mark Counselman, president of the Oakenshawe Improvement Association, said the major problem is with the lounge's carryout portion.
Counselman said at 6 a.m. the store begins serving small single bottles of liquor. He said customers get drunk and hang around surrounding neighborhoods.
“The kind of people that buy those single bottles at 6 a.m. are not the kind of people you want hanging around,” Counselman said.
He said those customers loiter nearby, act obnoxiously and use nearby alleys as bathrooms.
“You would be astounded. It’s really a big problem—it smells,” Counselman said.
Regina Boyce, president of the Waverly Improvement Association, said she has only lived in the neighborhood for seven years, but neighbors have told her the lounge has been an issue for years.
"The clientele seems to be individuals roaming the avenue all day not working," Boyce said.
She said she feels the lounge's hours, 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., are excessive.
"There's no need for alcohol to be served at 6 a.m.," Boyce said.
Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, D-District 14, represents the neighborhoods whose leaders are complaining about the lounge.
“I remember [the lounge] in its former days when the Orioles were down the street. It was a social gathering place,” Clarke said. “It’s really not the same lounge.”
Clarke said the problems with the lounge are so significant she’s receiving complaints from police officers about its customers.
“This is a problem bar that is affecting two neighborhoods, Oakenshawe and Waverly, directly,” Clarke said.
Now the communities have had enough and decided to ask the liquor board not to renew the liquor license.
Domingo Kim, the Stadium Lounge’s owner, sees things differently.
Kim, 47, said he feels ambushed by the community contesting his liquor license.
He said he only became aware of community objections when he received a letter about the contested renewal.
“I’ve invested a lot of money here, but just closing down the store isn’t the way to solve the problem,” Kim said.
Kim, who has owned the lounge for four years, said that he has already taken steps to correct issues with loitering and drunken customers. He said the loitering was caused by a nearby bus stop the MTA has since moved from near his store. He also said he has instructed his employees not to serve anyone that is intoxicated.
Kim said that he has been cleaning the alleys near his business, but that he can’t be held responsible for all the problems with trash along the Greenmount corridor.
Kim and his lawyer recently met with community representatives but were unable to reach an agreement to prevent a contested renewal.
“I’m willing to negotiate and compromise with the community to make a better situation,” Kim said.