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The Otter House to Close Sunday

The owners are not renewing their lease.

The Otter House is closing Jan. 13. The news began to leak word-of-mouth and on Twitter: 

"Everyone in Fred have a few $1 domestics on Thursday for me and rage on #RIPOtterHouse."

"What's this about #RIPOtterHouse?"

"I've heard from several friends in town that they're closing."

Otter House owners Stephen Cameli and Paul Stoddard were charged in August with the misdemeanor of keeping a public nuisance, but the charges were dropped when Judge John R. Stevens ruled in October there had been “insufficient probable cause” to raid the business.

But the summer's events hurt the downtown business. “Basically, when all that went down, our business was affected terribly,” said co-owner Paul Stoddard to the Free Lance-Star.

Cameli and Stoddard will continue with Sunken Well Tavern at 720 Littlepage St.

Related Stories:

Free Lance-Star: Otter House Charges Dropped - Oct. 19, 2012

UPDATED: Drugs Seized in Otter House Raid - July 27, 2012

Warrant Details Drug Trafficking That Led To Raid - July 27, 2012

- Aug. 2, 2012

Otter House Owners Try to Suppress Evidence in Raid - Aug. 11, 2012

Otter House Owner Asked Police for Help Before Raid - Aug. 16, 2012

Keep current with Fredericksburg Patch via these resources, too:


Lindsay January 09, 2013 at 03:25 PM
You know, it is a real shame to see another business closing. Unfortunately, it's also unsurprising given the attitude of some residents and business owners who would prefer to see downtown stagnate in order to maintain some false idea of what Fredericksburg is "supposed" to be like.
Prema January 09, 2013 at 11:23 PM
It's a shame other owners who are serious criminals are allowed to thrive, and decent hard working people are shut down instantly. Loved the Otter House's vibe and location and will miss it dearly. /:
student January 11, 2013 at 03:08 AM
You know, it is not fair for them to blame others for why their bar failed. In a college town where NO OTHER BAR has a cover on the weekends, it is ridiculous to have ONE BAR with a cover. Also, as a college student, I can confirm that I stopped going at the end of last year because the crowd inside was very dangerous and unkind to college students. I am not saying this should be a college bar, but it is the bar's own fault it is closing.
Susan Larson (Editor) January 11, 2013 at 09:26 PM
Two comments have been rejected/deleted because they violated the terms of acceptable use.
Susan Larson (Editor) January 12, 2013 at 12:01 AM
Yes, the terms of acceptable use are published at the bottom of every Patch site's homepage. Here's the link: http://fredericksburg.patch.com/terms
Al Russell February 06, 2013 at 12:50 PM
As a former Fell's Point and DC resident, I can honestly say that the Otter House was one of very few cool places to see live music in Fredericksburg. It also had fantastic food. I'm completely baffled by the comment that the place was dangerous or unfriendly to college students. That's mostly who seemed to fill the place on the weekends. I went to UMD and, compared to what I saw there, it was a fairly sophisticated crowd. Maybe she had one bad encounter with someone there, but one patron isn't necessarily indicative of the entire clientele. Anyplace that serves alcohol (or even places that don't) will get the occasional bad apple. I mean, seriously, this town is extremely tame. It's not as though the Otter House was some kind of scary biker bar. I know. I've been to a few. There always seemed to be something else going on with the way this place was targeted. I wonder if a competitive business owner with pull just got rid of a rival.
Al Russell February 06, 2013 at 01:00 PM
You're spot on there. It's no surprise that local business owners are crying that times are hard and patrons are going elsewhere. The place is like Mayberry without Aunt Bea. Half the stores are closed on Sunday, one of only two major shopping days in the week for working people. I often see tourists wandering around looking into shop windows with confused looks on their faces. You just can't run a city that only appeals to old folks and expect it to flourish. The traditionalists want everything to stay in tune with some nostalgic ideal of "what it used to be like" in the past while the new generation is moving on to fresher locales.
Al Russell February 06, 2013 at 01:08 PM
I don't think it's unrealistic to have at least one bar in an entire city that charges a cover. The Otter House often hosted out of town bands that needed to be paid. Those bands were a big draw to a lot of us. I never minded paying the cover. Additionally, the food they served was really top notch, not bar gnash, and tended to be fairly expensive. I never thought of this place as a cheap college bar, but one that appealed to people who didn't mind spending a little more for higher quality music and food.

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