Esther West
Esther West, Founder

Esther West opened the Wigwam Restaurant at 1724 N. Charles in 1951. Esther was a Native American born in Oklahoma, but making Baltimore her home. Successful from the start, she continued to hold on as urban blight move into the area. In 1981 a change was definitely needed. The Wigwam became the Club Charles (Esther had worked there for years as a hat check and bartender). The original Club Charles had closed years earlier and Cy Bloom gave Esther the okay to use the name. Art director Vince Peranio came on board and helped showcase the art deco bones.

The Club Charles became the mecca for artists, musicians and everyone in between. John Waters called the Club Charles his favorite spot. In 1997 the Club Charles welcomed its little sister, the Zodiac Restaurant. Also fashioned from the past, the Zodiac is Art Moderne in style. The large mural of the zodiac above the bar is from a theater in New York. The mural was painted by the Nardini Studios of Hollywood, California in 1941.

"What a great Baltimore character
she was, a tough lady with a heart
of gold," said filmmaker John Waters, a frequent visitor before and
after the change. Baltimore Sun
read more>

Club Charles
1724 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201