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Midnight Sun Wesley Case covers the city's after-hours scene

Sports bar Camden Pub closes after more than 25 years

Camden Pub, a Ridgely’s Delight sports bar in walking distance from Oriole Park at Camden Yards, has closed, said owner James “Pat” Liberto.

After opening in 1990, the bar became known for attracting sports fans, University of Maryland Medical Center staff and students, and other members of the community, along with its wings and pub fare.

Though Liberto considered opening for the upcoming Orioles season, Camden Pub’s final day of operation was Feb. 1, he said. In January, Camden Pub opened for limited hours and eliminated its lunch service due to lack of business, according to Liberto.

Calling it a “tough decision,” Liberto said a combination of factors — including declining revenue and rising operational costs — led to the closure. 

“It got to the point where I was opening on, say, a Monday, and I’m just trying to make enough money to open the next day,” Liberto said. “It finally hit me one day: What am I doing? I had to stop the bleeding.” 

As recently as 2014, Liberto was optimistic about Camden Pub’s future. Thanks in part to the Orioles’ American League East division crown and postseason run, Camden Pub had its best financial year to date, Liberto said.

But in April 2015, the rioting and unrest that followed protests surrounding the death of Freddie Gray caused Camden Pub to lose $30,000 in potential revenue that week, Liberto said, and the bar never recovered. That October, he put Camden Pub up for sale, but it continued to operate. 

Though he blames “a lot of factors,” Liberto said, “things just started to change” after the unrest. Now, he believes “people are afraid to come into the city.” 

Liberto hopes to remain in the restaurant and hospitality business, but has no set plans yet. 

wesley.case@baltsun.com

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