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North Ave. Market in Baltimore’s Station North announces it will close

North Ave. Market is closing its doors, the business announced Monday on Facebook and Instagram.

The latest iteration of the combination arcade, bar and music venue located in the Station North Arts District opened in early 2020.

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The arcade’s Facebook page, which describes itself as “not your average market!” said Monday that the space was permanently closed.

Former North Ave. bartender Mars Magma said the business’s last day open was Saturday.

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“The property has not been sold and it is up for sale,” said Alan Shecter, a relative of co-owner Michael Shecter who was authorized to speak for him. “There are people who are interested.”

Magma began bartending at North Ave. a few months ago, knowing the building was for sale but interested in the experience of working in an arcade bar.

“I think it really helped that they had a great menu,” Magma said. “You can come in and it’s great food. So there’s that and the people that worked here actually talked to people that lived in the area,” including seniors from the nearby apartment building who came inside to buy snacks and play Pac-Man.

He hopes the new owners keep the space as it is now.

“It has a really good sound system, really good crowds,” Magma said. “It brought a different aesthetic to the neighborhood.”

When the original food market on the corner of North and Maryland avenues first opened its doors in 1928, a crowd of 50,000 to 75,000 people patronized more than 250 stalls, according to The Baltimore Sun archives.

After a six-alarm fire in 1968 closed the market temporarily, a building of affordable apartments for seniors took part of the block. North Avenue Market reopened as a supermarket in 1974, and then went on to house various businesses, including a location of Red Emma’s bookstore and coffeehouse.

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In 2020, just two months before the coronavirus pandemic struck, Secret Sauce Co. opened a diner there as part of a partnership to revitalize the space. Secret Sauce is no longer associated with North Ave.

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1972 file photo of North Avenue Market.

North Ave. Market thanked customers on social media Monday but did not say why it was closing.

“North Ave Market and this community has held a special place in our hearts. It is unfortunate that we must close the doors, but we would like you to know how much we appreciated your business and support,” the post on Facebook and Instagram Monday afternoon said.

Carrie Wood is a member of the video game cover band Quick Save, which played at North Ave. in April. Wood said when she reached out to book another gig in July, the booker told her the venue was navigating an ownership change.

“Based on what I know, it’s not a surprise, but it’s a bummer,” she said. “It always sucks to lose a music venue.”

Wood sings and plays guitar, bass and “the occasional trombone” to songs from video games, including “classics” like tunes from Super Mario 64. As an arcade bar with a stage, North Ave. fit Quick Save’s niche audience perfectly. Wood said another group she is involved with, Baltimore Gamers Symphony Orchestra, also held fundraising bingo nights there.

“It was sort of the perfect spot for us,” she said. “I hope whatever fills that space next keeps the stage and keeps supporting the local scene.”

2013 file photo. Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse, a worker-owned and collectively run business, opened a location in the old North Avenue Market.
For the record

This article has been updated to redact an incorrect statement from a former employee. While the business is closed, the property is still up for sale. The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.


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