The Ottobar opened in downtown Baltimore September 1997 at 203 east Davis St. in the former Chambers nightclub. With a VERY limited capacity, the venue provided an intimate showroom for live music and occasional performance art. National artists of note who performed: The White Stripes, Le Tigre, Fear, Bright Eyes, Lamb Of God, Death Cab For Cutie, The Rapture, Jimmy Eat World, Of Montreal, Blonde Redhead, Queens Of The Stone Age, Man...Or Astroman, and Spoon, along with local artists of the time: Goliath, Third Harmonic Distortion, Oxes, The Oranges Band, Lungfish, Candy Machine, Daybreak, The Goons, Roads To Space Travel and many, MANY more. Performances included: The 80's Prom, Smiths/ Morrissey Karaoke, Salute To Satan, Tiny Couch Night, The Death Of Vaudeville Night and The Annual Outdoor Music Festival "Bourbon Street Anti Fest." The Davis Street Ottobar closed on November 17th 2001.
That same month Ottobar reopened at 2549 North Howard street (lower charles village) and opened with the one and only Daniel Johnston. The new venue was considerably larger and offered a much cleaner and hospitable atmosphere (for the first few years.) National artists of note so far: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Drive-By Truckers, Dinosaur Jr, TV On The Radio, The Breeders, Maroon 5, Supersuckers, Quiet Riot, KRS-ONE, Jonathan Richman, David Cross, Michael Ian Black, At The Drive In, Atmosphere, The Melvins, Coheed And Cambria, Bouncing Souls, Animal Collective and of course, many many more.Local artists have included: Lake Trout, Glenmont Popes, Fishnet Stalkers, Thrushes, Celebration, Ponytail, Misery Index, Prince Charming Chazz and more. Other special nights include: "Underground" Dance Party, Pet Wedding, Butcher Knife Throwing Contest, Spelling Bee, Ottobar Boys and Girls Choir, Book Burning For Peace and more.