Ryan Butler wanted a place where all members of the LGBTQ community could enjoy drag, drinks and fellowship in a safe space. He found it by the Inner Harbor.

Butler jumped at the opportunity to help open Club 4, the first LGBTQ-themed bar to occupy the popular Power Plant Live! venue.

Butler, also known by his drag persona Brooklyn Heights, has worked with the entertainment district for the past few years throwing weekend drag brunches and the annual Baltimore Drag Awards, which he co-founded.

Club 4 “was the next step,” Butler said. “We’ve always done well here. Why not utilize a space that didn’t have an identity? We don’t care who you are, where you come from, and how you identify. We want you to have a good time.”

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The new bar, which has its grand opening Thursday evening, will operate within Angels Rock Bar, which has occupied the space since 2007.

Butler, the co-creator and operations lead for Club 4, expects several hundred customers to come to the bar each Thursday, the only night of the week they will initially be open. When they eventually add additional weekend days of operation, Sundays will include a drag brunch and a “soulful” activity that will highlight Black culture, he said.

The bar will be managed by Anastasia Lehukey, who is also the general manager of PBR, the neighboring cowboy watering hole.

The new concept is an opportunity for Power Plant Live! to tap into a “new clientele” after its previous bread-and-butter demographic — college students — dwindled in recent years, according to Amanda Borsa, district marketing manager for Power Plant Live!

“College kids want to go out for dollar beers. We kind of cracked down on a lot of things like that,” Borsa said. “We’re excited about it. This [Angels] was a bar that lost its identity. We saw this [Club 4] as a perfect opportunity to rebrand it.”

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A wall lined with various LGBTQ flags will immediately greet customers at Club 4. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

The first few months of operations, the bar will focus on showcasing local drag performers, according to Butler. The venue will host area LGBTQ sports and recreation teams. Butler even promises a special collaboration pizza with nearby Underground Pizza Co. — though he won’t divulge the toppings for the dish.

Madison Lee, one of four main bartenders at Club 4, said she is looking forward to building a new legacy at the venue.

“I’m excited about the community finally having a place that’s well-known to have fun and enjoy themselves and feel comfortable,” said Lee, who has worked for various LGBTQ bars in town.

Butler is especially proud of the diversity of the new staff: all four bartenders are Black, the resident DJ is a Black lesbian, and the cast of resident drag performers represent a variety of the region’s top performers.

“They are all popular in the community,” Butler said of the bartenders. “They are the favorites.”

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The LGBTQ community has been abuzz for weeks speculating over the location of Club 4 after Butler posted cryptic messages teasing its opening. People online even tried to geo-track his location when he posted behind-the-scenes photos of the new space, he said. But he wouldn’t divulge the address until the end of last week.

“It was crazy,” he said with a laugh.

So far, the reactions to the bar’s upcoming debut have been overwhelmingly positive, Butler said.

Ryan Haase, founder of Club Car, a newly opened queer bar in Station North, said that Club 4 is a “necessary flex” for the LGBTQ community — meaning it is important to show representation of the demographic in mainstream society.

“It means that we run the bars. It’s to understand that these businesses are run by gay people. It’s a reason why everyone should support it,” he said, adding that he plans to come to the opening and support the bar in large part because Butler supported his endeavor, too.

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Ryan Butler, a.k.a. Brooklyn Heights, garnered a lot of buzz for his cryptic posts about Club 4’s location. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

But opening Club 4 in Power Plant Live!, an area that has traditionally attracted a large heterosexual clientele, also raises concerns about safety for the expected influx of LGBTQ customers.

With the tragedies of Orlando and Colorado Springs a not-so-distant memory, almost every LGBTQ bar in Baltimore has some form of security. Club 4 will be no exception.

Borsa promised “plenty” of security to ensure that guests are safe.

“I don’t see it [patron safety] as a problem,” Borsa said. “Our security team is awesome. We’ll have security inside and out.”

Club 4 also features 250 dedicated parking spots that are attached through a secured covered entrance, so customers do not have to walk into isolated areas to access the venue.

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“You can go from here, right to your vehicle and to the highway,” Borsa explained.

Butler added that he and his performers haven’t had any safety concerns in the four years they have performed at the venue.

Jabari Lyles, the coordinator of Trans Pride and Black Pride in Baltimore, said it is exciting to see a new LGBTQ nightlife establishment come to the city — ”especially in a place like Power Plant Live!”

“Our community exists in all corners of this city, and so should our social spaces,” said Lyles, who remarked that the idea of a gayborhood, or specific area catering to mostly LGBTQ clientele, in Mount Vernon “diminished many years ago.” Lyles added, “The opening of this new establishment is a triumph for both our community and our city. Baltimore’s LGBTQ community is large, vibrant, diverse and powerful. We deserve a nightlife scene that more accurately reflects who we are.”

Butler agrees that the “gayborhood is not what it once was,” but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “There are gay bars everywhere and drag shows all over the state. I think it’s important for everyone to feel welcome wherever they want to go, not just inside the gayborhood,” he said.

Karl Jacobs, a Mount Vernon resident, thinks Club 4 will find support among the LGBTQ community, largely because of who is behind it.

“There’s a lot of debate online about what a queer space looks like versus a queer-owned bar,” he said. “In general, I think the more visible the queer entrepreneurship is, the better.”

The Baltimore Banner got an exclusive look inside the new space in advance of its grand opening Thursday evening. Here’s the tea!

Club 4 is keeping the stickers on the bathroom wall from when the space was Angels Rock Bar as an homage to local artists. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)


One of the few true holdovers from the original bar, the bathrooms will feature the same band stickers left by performers over the years. Butler wants drag performers to leave their own stickers in the bathroom in the future.

Back wall

Customers will immediately be greeted by a wall lined with various LGBTQ flags.

Lounge seating

Club 4 also features first-come, first-serve plush lounge booths.

Main bar

The rectangle-shaped bar will be worked by four bartenders at all times, Butler said.

Outdoor space

The venue is surrounded by an outdoor lounge and bar. This won’t be utilized until it gets warmer, according to Butler.


For those high-flying acts, the bar features two swings supported by metal beams. Each can support a 180-pound performer.

Main stage

The establishment will feature a main stage big enough to accommodate several drag performers at once. That stage will also have a private side entrance so talent will be able to enter or exit the bar without having to walk through the crowd, Butler said.

Musician’s stage

A small bar is being transformed into a mini-stage for a drummer or other musicians.

Selfie wall

Capture all the haute looks for the evening using the bar’s selfie wall. Made of turf and glass, the area will also feature neon sign lighting for social media-worthy photos and videos.

Correction: This article has been corrected to update the year Angels Rock Bar opened and to clarify it will continue to operate under that name on the days when Club 4 is closed.