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January 31, 2008

Puppy love

Are you a non-smoker and a pet owner?

Do you want to raise money to build a dog park in Locust Point?

How thirsty are you?

How many more questions could I possibly ask before getting to the point?

The point is: Tonight from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. the Sly Fox Pub (554 E. Fort Ave.) is hosting a happy hour to benefit the Locust Point Dog Park.

Drinks are $3 and some of the menu items are half price.

Here is a blog post by my buddy (and desk neighbor) John Woestendiek on the subject. 

Oh, and, the Sly Fox is smoke-free. 

(Photo by Barbara Haddock Taylor/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:05 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Random stuff
        

Smokeout at Mick O'Shea's

As you know, the statewide smoking ban kicks in at midnight tonight.

Smokers are gathering at Mick O'Shea's (328 N. Charles St., pictured) starting at 8 tonight to puff up a storm before the ban takes effect.

The bar will be giving away free cigars and cigarettes, and complaining about the government, said co-owner Stephanie Niehenke.

(Photo by Kenneth K. Lam/Sun Photographer) 

 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:02 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Fort Charles Pub update

Heard from Dave Holter this morning about the pending purchase of the Fort Charles Pub.

Holter said he and his business partner have been working on the deal since last fall, and hope to have it completed by March. 

But he can't give me any specific plans for the place until everything is finalized.

"Right now, we're still hashing out all the details," Holter said. "As you can imagine, it's quite a process."

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:19 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Fort Charles Pub sold?

The Fort Charles Pub, at (you guessed it) Fort Avenue and South Charles Street in Federal Hill, has been sold, I'm told.

The new owner, Dave Holter, is a bartender in the Don't Know/No Idea family.

I've called Holter several times but have yet to hear back from him.

I hear he's toying with the idea of having live music upstairs, though. 

I'll post more as soon as I hear back from him.

(Photo by Elizabeth Malby/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:35 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

New promoters at Sonar

Lisa Chaplin Suit, the founder of the Baltimore Music Conference, and Chad Moore of northern Virginia-based Give Productions have partnered with Sonar (pictured) to book at least two shows a month at the warehouse venue on East Saratoga Street.

They will focus on electronic dance music and local acts, Suit said.

Lonnie Fisher and LG Concannon originally founded Sonar as an electronic dance space, but when the two split about five years ago, Fisher focused more on nationally touring indie rock and hip-hop acts.

Fisher left Sonar last June, and Dan McIntosh took over managing the club. 

Now, Suit wants to help bring back electronic music to the venue.

"It really did start that way, and that's why I want to make sure it stays there," Suit said.

(Photo by Kenneth K. Lam/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:14 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local music
        

January 30, 2008

Super Sunday at Camden Pub

Camden Pub at 647 W. Pratt St. has $3.15 Miller Lite bottles and drafts on Super Sunday, according to this sign out front.

The sign doesn't make it clear whether you pay $3.15 for the beer or the buffet.

So I called them to ask.

The bartender didn't know about the sign, and told me she would go outside and have a look.

I waited on hold for 10 minutes, hung up and called back.

She still hadn't checked.

Finally she figured out that the beer was $3.15 -- not the buffet.

"Why $3.15? Why not just $3," I asked.

She didn't know.

And I didn't want to press her for an answer. Might have spent another 10 minutes on the phone. 

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:33 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Expletive lyrics

Heard "London Bridge" by Fergie (pictured) a little while back, and it got me thinking about cuss words.

At first, I only ever heard the radio version of that song, with the "OH SNAP."

Then my girlfriend downloaded the original version on iTunes. Instead of "OH SNAP" it's "OH S---."

I don't like it as much.

Same with "Gold Digger" by Kanye West. The radio version ("But I ain't messin' with a broke, broke") sounds better than the original version. The words even come on different beats.

It kind of bothers me.

What do you think? 

(Photo by Getty Images) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:00 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Random stuff
        

Hannah Montana movie tickets

Anybody really, really want to go see the new Hannah Montana movie?

Are you having trouble getting tickets? 

One of my colleagues is working on a story and needs to talk to some people.

Email me at sam.sessa@baltsun.com and I'll pass you along.

(AP Photo) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:15 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Random stuff
        

What Station North needs

Someone -- an arts foundation, the city, a new owner -- needs to renovate the old Parkway Theatre at 5 W. North Ave.

That's one of the best things that could happen to the surrounding Station North Arts and Entertainment District.

Turn it into a theater performance space or an art gallery or artists' studios.

With the right plans, it could turn that neighborhood around the same way the Hippodrome is helping revitalize Eutaw Street.  

(Photo by Amy Davis/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:58 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Random stuff
        

Shorty's has new owners

Lisa Chaplin Suit and Alex Crain are the new owners of Shorty's Martini Bar and Lounge (3301 Foster Ave., pictured) in Canton.

That will become official in the next few weeks, Suit said.

They plan to keep the musical lineup largely the same as it was under former owner Charles "DJ Feelgood" Fields.

DJs from different genres of the local electronic music scene will still spin live six or seven days a week.

"I wanted it to stay as [Fields] had started it out," Suit said.

"It's a haven -- a very chill spot." 

Suit said in the coming months, they may knock down a wall or two near the back of the bar and rearrange the furniture, DJ booth and pool table to open up some space.

Shorty's will stay open during the transition. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:21 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

January 29, 2008

Changes at the Hippodrome

Sun theater critic Mary Carole McCauley had an interesting piece in today's paper.

The company that manages the Hippodrome Theatre has been sold, which may mean changes are in store for the historic theater on Eutaw Street.

You can read the piece here. 

(Photo by Algerina Perna/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Random stuff
        

The Gold Depot to become a diner

The Gold Depot (pictured), a long-shuttered bar at Fort Avenue and South Light Street, will be reborn as a 24-hour diner in the next year or two.

Jason Zink, co-owner of the Don't Know/No Idea franchise, said he is waiting on the building's owners to complete renovations.

"The owners are the nicest people in the world, but they have a lot on their plate," Zink said. "Whenever they're ready, I'm ready."

As long as the food is greasy good, I think an all-night diner would do well there. 

Wonder what he's going to name it?

My suggestion:

"Duh!" 

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:53 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

A higher beer tax?

Volker Stewart from the Brewer's Art sent me a heads up about this potential tax increase on gas and alcohol.

His thoughts:

"I think this is patently unfair. Not only does it triple taxes on booze and wine, but it actually sextuples the beer tax. We need to raise awareness of this so that folks can take action." 

(Photo by Barbara Haddock Taylor/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:50 AM | | Comments (11)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

When it rains/snows, they pour

Jason had a good point a couple days ago about Alexander's Tavern (710 S. Broadway) in Fells Point being a good winter bar nominee.

I knew that when it rains, all domestic draft beer is $1 at the bar.

But I didn't know if that special covered all kinds of precipitation.

Turns out, it does. 

"Rain, snow, sleet, freezing rain -- you name it," said manager/owner Charles Gjerde. 

So Alexander's qualifies. 

(Photo by Kim Hairston/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:15 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

The next Fab Five Friday

I asked you. You gave me. It's on.

This week's Fab Five Friday is about the best winter bars.

Who do you nominate?

And why?

(Photo by Jed Kirschbaum/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:22 AM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays
        

January 28, 2008

Where to get 'The Wire' soundtracks

Had a couple people (including Pants McFadden) ask me where they could get the two soundtrack albums to The Wire.

Here is a link where you can order them from Amazon.

Or, if you'd rather support a local music store, Soundgarden (pictured) at 1616 Thames Street in Fells Point has both.

As of this afternoon, they have sold 34 copies of The Wire: And All the Pieces Matter and 13 of The Wire: Beyond Hamsterdam.

(Photo by Algerina Perna/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 5:00 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Local music, Random stuff
        

Wi-Fi in bars

I see signs like this and wonder: 

How many people actually go to a bar to use their wireless network?

It makes sense to set up a laptop in a coffee shop, where you can sit and drink coffee for a couple hours and get some work done.

But a bar?

Bar tables have sticky tops, tipsy patrons and greasy food.

I'm kind of wary of taking a $1,500 laptop into a place like that.

What do you think? 

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:38 PM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Gotta love this special

The new Todd Conner's in Fells Point posted this list of drink specials on their window.

I like the Monday Game Night special:

To all those playing board games or reading books you get 25 percent off your tab.

Only problem is, the restaurant is closed on Mondays.

Heh.

Maybe next month.

Still, I'll take $5 Absolut martinis all day Fridays.

That's probably the best name brand martini deal you'll find in Fells.

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:58 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

The new Todd Conner's

Dropped by Todd Conner's (pictured) yesterday to pick up a menu and drink specials list.

The bar and restaurant on the corner of Aliceanna Street and Broadway opened earlier this month.

If you remember, that's the building formerly occupied by Slammer's, and before that, Armadillo's Tex-Mex. 

I'll have some more info on the drink specials later today.

Also, Elizabeth Large (aka, the Tongue of The Sun), will post some menu items on her blog.

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:57 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

January 26, 2008

Winter bars?

What makes a bar a good winter hangout?

I'm thinking about making this a Fab Five topic.

Your thoughts? 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:57 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Fab Five Fridays
        

January 25, 2008

The 'big story'

Yesterday, I told you I was working on big story for today's paper.

It was about a controversial art exhibit that is bringing up questions of artistic plagiarism.

It ran on today's front page with this picture of Cara Ober, one of the artists involved in the issue.

Here is a link to the story.

(Photo by Algerina Perna/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:37 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Random stuff
        

Let me clarify

After fielding a bunch of negative comments and a pretty funny phone call from Max's owner Ron Furman, I need to clear something up.

Longtime Midnight Sun readers will know that after a while, I retire bars from Fab Five Friday lists.

So, in this case, I purposely left out the Brewer's Art and Max's Taphouse -- because they're in a category of their own.

They're like the Beatles.

They're above lists.

I guess I didn't make it clear enough on today's Fab Five Friday list.

But I hope everybody understands now. 

(Photo of local indie rocker Jason Dove by Andre F. Chung/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:49 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays
        

Vintage classy

They don't make bars like they used to.

Wish I had one of these. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:17 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Random stuff
        

Fab Five Friday

Here it is, my list of the city's bars with the best beer selection.

Remember, the Brewer's Art and Max's Taphouse were left off the list on purpose.

Here is why.
 
1. Mahaffey's Pub, 2706 Dillon St.

You'll find more than 100 different bottles and drafts at Mahaffey's -- more than any other Canton bar. Plus, it's the only spot in the neighborhood with cask conditioned ale. 

2. Ropewalk Tavern, 1209 S. Charles St. 

Ropewalk offers more than 150 microbrews. Enough said.

3. Metropolitan Coffeehouse and Wine Bar, 902 S. Charles St.

The list of tasty draft and bottled beer varies whether you're ordering upstairs or down, and rotates often. 

4. Joe Squared, 133 W. North Ave.

Owner Joe Edwardsen stocks a random selection of really good beer, both on tap and in bottles. 

5. Grand Cru, 527 E. Belvedere Ave.

Though a little pricey, Grand Cru is a good choice if you're near Belvedere Square and need some options. 

(Photo by Doug Kapustin/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:45 AM | | Comments (24)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays
        

January 24, 2008

Where am I?

Sorry I've been AWOL today.

I'm working on a big story for tomorrow's paper.

I'll post the link to the story tomorrow when it runs.

For now, enjoy this funny photo of Willie Don.

(Photo by Jed Kirschbaum/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:33 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Random stuff
        

Shorty's is still open

Even though the Martini Bar and Lounge in Canton/Highlandtown is up for sale, it's still open.

Drove by there (3301 Foster Ave.) a couple nights ago and saw a few people inside.

I know owner DJ Feelgood wanted to find a buyer who would keep the club a DJ-friendly space.

Wonder how long it's going to be on the market.

 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:21 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

January 23, 2008

Sluggish sales for 'Wire' soundtracks

I didn't expect the two soundtrack albums to The Wire to sell a million copies each.

But I was a little disappointed with this:

Since being released on Jan. 8, The Wire: And All the Pieces Matter has sold 2,000 copies and The Wire: Beyond Hamsterdam has sold 400 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Now, I guess the question is, will the albums keep selling consistently for the rest of the year, or will sales trail off entirely?

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:00 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local music, Random stuff
        

Patriots and Giants bars?

Yesterday, a colleague asked about hangouts for Patriots and Giants fans.

And outside of Don't Know Tavern and Porter's Pub, I don't know many places.

I'm a Ravens fan.

So when I walk into a bar and see a bunch of people wearing Patriots jerseys, I cringe and do an about-face.

So, Baltimore-based Giants and Patriots fans, where do you go to watch the game? 

(Photo by Getty Images) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:50 PM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Thirsty?

On Fridays, No Idea Tavern in Federal Hill is bringing back $1 bottomless glasses of Miller Light until 8 p.m.

A few blocks away, Don't Know Tavern has another tempting special: $5 endless glasses of wine for women until 8 p.m. Fridays.

Shame it's only Wednesday, huh?

(Photo by Bloomberg News) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:13 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Growler's changes its name

Growler's Pub at 600 S. Potomac St. changed its name to the Baltimore Taphouse about a week ago.

Everything else about the place remains the same.

There was an issue of copyright infringement from a bar in St. Louis, I'm told.

Thanks to Drew for the tip

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:25 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

The next Fab Five Friday

We've talked about it.

Let's do it.

This week's Fab Five Friday is on the bars with the best beer selection. 

Max's Taphouse in Fells Point and the Brewer's Art in Mount Vernon will not be included in the list.

Whatcha got for me? 

(Photo by Getty Images) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:58 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays
        

January 22, 2008

The new Stalking Horse

Checked out the newly refinished and reopened Stalking Horse (26 E. Cross St.) last Friday night.

It really surprised me.

Not only is the second story open and a third story with a roof deck scheduled to open in a few months, the bar looks totally different.

It looks like the McFauls, who run Stalking Horse and nearby Ropewalk Tavern, put a ton of money into the place. ...

There are plush leather seats near the back of the second story and bathrooms with fancy granite floors and sinks (and those hand dryers I love).

I was shocked.

Before the fire took Stalking Horse out of commission, it was developing a reputation as a party spot with the post-college crowd.

Once people discover the new Stalking Horse, that place is going to be slammed on Friday and Saturday nights.

Tonight is the grand opening party. Drinks are $2.

Weird night for a grand opening, don't you think?
Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:33 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

'MK Ultra'

Here is the crazy video for Washington-based band Exit Clov's song "MK Ultra."

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:18 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

Food & live music

Elizabeth Large, the matriarch of Baltimore food writing, posted her list of the top ten restaurants with regular live entertainment.

Have a look. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:05 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local music, Random stuff
        

A Miller Lite town

I do my best to change this perspective when I'm out drinking, but I've had tons of Baltimore bartenders and bar owners tell me, "Baltimore is a Miller Lite town."

Now, these are usually bars in party zones like Canton, Power Plant Live and Federal Hill.

And often, the crowds that drink at these bars want cheap brand-name beer. So I see why they would go for Miller Lite.

But I'm also told that in Pennsylvania, Yuengling is more popular than some big name domestics, because it's brewed in the area.

I'd like to see the same thing happen in Baltimore with beers from Clipper City and the Brewer's Art.

Your thoughts? 

(Photo by Bloomberg News) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:04 PM | | Comments (16)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Random stuff
        

A look inside Pur Lounge

Some of the folks behind the new club Pur sent me a few photographs and more info about the Canton lounge.

One of the waterfalls inside is apparently two stories tall.

But the real jaw-dropper: It costs $20 to get inside.

I think that officially makes the Pur city's most expensive lounge.

$20.

Wow. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:33 AM | | Comments (62)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

January 20, 2008

WTMD's birthday party

Eva Castillo (pictured), Tift Merritt and Ryan Shaw gave stellar performances at WTMD's 5th birthday party Saturday night.

The party was held at the Baltimore Museum of Industry and was filmed for an episode of the TV show Ace of Cakes (Charm City Cakes made a custom cake for the event).

Highlights: Shaw singing happy birthday to the station, Merritt watching and digging Castillo's set ("She's got a really great voice," the Grammy-nominated Merritt said of the Baltimore-based singer) and station manager Steve Yasko almost getting teary-eyed when thanking Chef Duff for making the cake.

(Photo by Courtney Block/Block Design & Photography) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music, Random stuff
        

Sonar, Rams Head Live & Pier Six

In the past couple of years, Rams Head Live (pictured), Sonar and the recently revitalized Pier Six Pavilion have been consistently bringing in big name bands.

Clubs are run on tenuous relationships between booking agents, promoters and performers.

I wrote a centerpiece for today's Ideas section that takes a behind the scenes look at what makes these clubs work.

You can read it here.

(Photo by Christopher T. Assaf/Sun Photographer)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:30 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

Judd and Maggie's new vid

Here is the brand new video for Judd and Maggie's single "White Washed Tomb," off their forthcoming album Kingdom of Noise.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:47 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

January 19, 2008

Drinking by numbers

I like how European brewer Baltika brands their beers.

Each one has a number.

How simple and easy is that? 

I had my first Baltika at (you guessed it) Red Square Restaurant in Mount Vernon about a year ago.

It goes as high as Baltika 10, I believe.

I recommend starting easy with a Baltika 3, and then working your way up to a Baltika 6.

I don't know whether any other Baltimore bars stock Baltika.

But it's so convenient to order: You only have to stick up three, four or five fingers, depending on which kind you want.

Thank you, Baltika, for making beer so easy.

(Photos courtesy of Baltika) 

 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:16 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Random stuff
        

January 18, 2008

'Heart Like a Lion'

If you couldn't get tickets to the sold-out 5th Birthday Party for WTMD* tomorrow night but still want to see some stellar live music, check out Ellen Cherry's CD release event at 2640.

There will be live jump-roping and a two-act live music performance complete with a narrator.

Cherry's new CD is called Heart Like a Lion.

Half the songs are reminiscent of her singer/songwriter background (that's the 'Heart' half), and the other tracks are focused more on a full band approach (the 'Lion' half).

Cherry (her real name is Kristin Putchinski) has a warm, lush voice and a real talent for writing lyrics. 

*They call me Shameless Plug Sessa.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:30 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local music
        

Thanks

Thanks a lot for your suggestions the other day.

I was talking to co-worker Brad, who said I sounded a little desperate -- like a man who had run out of ideas.

Not so.

I've got the next three weeks' worth of nightlife columns planned out.

So there!

But you guys had some good suggestions. I've been meaning to try out the all you can drink happy hour at Drifters.

And I think a Fab Five Friday on the best beer bars would be good too.

But didn't I retire Brewer's Art from Fab Five lists?

(Photo courtesy of Bloomberg News) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:00 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Fab Five Friday

As noted before, Baltimore is not known for its good service.

But here at MS, we'd much rather focus on the positive. So, on that note, here are the five bars and clubs with the best service in the city. 

1. Waterfront Hotel, 1710 Thames St.

Even when it's packed, the bartenders are on their game. I've never had bad service at the Waterfront.

2. The Annabel Lee Tavern, 601 S. Clinton St.

The bar staff here bent over backward to accommodate the people I was with, even though it was late at night (they didn't know who we were, of course). We couldn't have asked for better treatment.

3. Birds of a Feather, 1712 Aliceanna St.

Owner and bartender Alicia Horn takes care of her customers with free homemade pizzas and an encyclopedic knowledge of the many scotches she serves.

4. Ixia (pictured), 518 N. Charles St.

Tom Cusack and the rest of the crew run a tight ship. You get better service at Ixia than nearly every other Baltimore lounge.

5. The Stalking Horse, 26 E. Cross St.

Manager Marc McFaul also helps oversee Ropewalk Tavern. But the service at Stalking Horse (which just reopened) has always been better.

(Photo by Monica Lopossay/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:39 AM | | Comments (11)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays
        

January 17, 2008

Vineyard Wine & Spirits closes

Vineyard Wine and Spirits, the Federal Hill liquor store run by Michael Fishman, is closing.

Fishman also runs the Vine, the low-key wine bar at the corner of Fort Avenue and South Hanover Street.

According to a press release sent out by the owners, Vineyard Wine and Spirits had not been able to turn a profit in two years at 1137 S. Charles St.

They're clearing their inventory Saturday.

That means 15 percent off all wines less than $15, 10 percent off all beer and spirits, 20 percent off all reserve room wines and 40 percent off all giftware.

I tried calling the place but no one picked up.

I'll keep you posted on the future of the Vine. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:07 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Random stuff
        

More on Sky Lounge

LG Concannon, the new managing partner of Sky Lounge Tango Tapas in Federal Hill, plans to add new couches, lighting fixtures, an improved sound system and some menu changes.

Most of the changes won't take effect until Jan. 25 or so.

This Friday night, Concannon and Adam Auburn will spin with Hopper and on Saturday with Knowledge. Teddy Douglas of the Basement Boys spins Sunday.

(Photo by Matthew Paul D'Agostino/Special to The Sun) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Changes at Sonar

Sonar on East Saratoga Street is in the middle of some pretty big changes.

Previous owner Lonnie Fisher left the warehouse club last June to become a project manager for a real estate developer.

Dan McIntosh, who opened the Talking Head Club, took over Sonar.

Things stayed pretty much the same until recently, when McIntosh parted ways with Steez Promo, one of the club's key promoters.

McIntosh said he wants to take matters into his own hands.

"I basically decided that I think I can do it better," McIntosh said. 

Last week, I spoke with Seth Hurwitz, who co-owns the 9:30 Club and I.M.P., a promotions agency that has booked shows at Sonar for years. Hurwitz sounded a little uncertain about his future with Sonar.

"I'm not sure where we're lined up there," he said. "Right now, we're doing shows at Sonar." 

(Sun photo) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:39 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

New Year's Eve at Stadio

A couple days ago, E$ asked what the deal with Stadio was.

Stadio is the new club where the Redwood Trust used to be at Calvert and Redwood streets.

Apparently, more than 1,500 people partied at Stadio that night. The event was organized by HeidnSeek Entertainment and the Jetset Mafia.

Here's a link with a video of the night.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:35 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

January 16, 2008

J-Roddy aerobics

Why can't all aerobics classes be this cool?

Shake it! Shake it!

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:53 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

Stalking Horse reopens tonight

The Stalking Horse, the Federal Hill bar and restaurant gutted by fire soon after opening last year (pictured), should reopen on or about 6 p.m. tonight at 26 E. Cross St.

You'll notice some big changes in the place -- they opened a second floor with a bar, moved the downstairs bar from the right to the left side of the room and doubled the number of plasma TVs, said manager Marc McFaul.

They also added some pasta dishes to the  menu.

"I'm getting excited about it," McFaul said. 

Their phone number is 410-244-6722. 

(Photo of a post-fire Stalking Horse by Algerina Perna/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:14 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Funny buttons!

By now, you may have noticed the bar of colorful, funny-looking buttons right below the comments link on every post.

What do they do, you might be wondering.

Well, I'm not sure. But I'm told that every time you click on them, my power grows.

But I'm not the only one who benefits.

If you're bald and you click on them, a hair sprouts somewhere on your scalp.*

If you're chubby and you click on them, one fat cell disappears forever.*

So, please, click away. 

*Neither of these effects are clinically proven. They may even be lies.  

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:52 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Random stuff
        

The next Fab Five Friday

Gman had a good point yesterday with his comment:

Lotta crying over bad service here. How about a review of the best "service" restaurants in the city? A Fab Five Friday is it?

So this week, I'll list the five bars/clubs with the best service in Baltimore.

If you've had some really good service at a bar or club lately, let me know.  

(Photo of bartender Ted Anderson at John Steven Ltd. by Amy Davis/Sun Photographer)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:45 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays
        

No sandwiches at Nutty's Pub

There is a meat slicer behind the bar at Nutty's Pub in Hampden.

But in classic Baltimore style, the place doesn't serve sandwiches.

So why is it there? Beats me.

I couldn't get a straight answer from the bartender when I was there Saturday night. 

But I believe I was sitting next to the owner, who said he wished they served sandwiches because his stomach was empty and he had to order a pizza.

So maybe they'll start serving sandwiches sometime soon.

They have the equipment, after all. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:56 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

January 15, 2008

Some J-Roddy Walston news

Baltimore rockers J-Roddy Walston and the Business have some new material in the works, according to drummer Steve Colmus.

The band has about five songs finished for its next album, Colmus said.

And, they've been attracting some interest from labels.

Colmus said it's too early to see if the nibbles will turn into bites, but I wouldn't be surprised to see J-Roddy signed in '08. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:37 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local music
        

Rocket to Venus

I can only take Rocket to Venus (3360 Chestnut Ave., pictured) in small doses.

If there is a see-and-be-seen bar for hipsters, it's Rocket to Venus.

Walk in there on a Saturday night like I did a couple days ago, and it's a who's-who of the city's indie rock scene.

Steve Hefter was there. Jason Dove was there. Half of J-Roddy Walston and the Business was there. I think I also spotted some of the Two if By Sea boys.

And I was only there for a couple hours. 

Though it's cool to have a place like Rocket, I don't know if I could handle that scene more than once a month. It gets a little intense for me.

(Photo by Barbara Haddock Taylor/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:58 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

What should I review?

I've written a weekly nightlife column for more than two years and more than 400 blog entries in the past several months.

And while MS readers post comments from time to time that end up being nightlife columns, I've never asked you straight-up:

What would you like to see me review?

Is there some place you think I should check out that I've never written or blogged about before?

Here is a list of the nightlife columns I've done since mid-July of last year.

Take a look, and tell me what's missing.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:25 AM | | Comments (13)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Random stuff
        

Poor service at Porter's

I've asked this before, and I'll ask it again:

Why can't Baltimore get better service?

Went to Porter's Pub and Grille (pictured) last Friday night for a late dinner and drinks, and there was one waitress and one -- maybe two -- bartenders serving the whole place.

And since it was a Friday night, both the bar and dining room were full.

I have no complaints about the food (which came fast) or beer (Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale pints were only $2.50), but our server was not on her game. At all.

I won't get into the details, but it was just one more reminder of how starved this city is for good service. 

(Photo by Elizabeth Malby/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:49 AM | | Comments (17)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

January 14, 2008

Victoria Vox and the cops

Baltimore's best ukulele player posted some new songs from her forthcoming album Chameleon on her MySpace site.

Of the three new tracks, I'm partial to "C'est Noye."

Vox tours more than just about any other Baltimore-based musician.

I don't know how she does it, but she's probably on the road 20 days out of the month. 

Vox also posted a pretty funny story about a late-night run-in with the Virginia police. 

(Photo by LAUNCH) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:39 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music, Tour diaries
        

Full Moon Saloon update

MS reader James sent me this e-mail this morning:

Hey, is there any word on when the Full Moon Saloon in Fells is going to open again?

I talked to the Saloon's new owner, who also owns the neighboring Louisiana, a couple weeks ago. He said renovations had just started, and would probably take a few more months.

Peering in from the sidewalk, it looks like they've gutted the place.

I doubt if staple performers such as Uncle Dave Huber (pictured) will be playing there on a regular basis when it reopens.

So it may end up being the Full Moon Saloon in name only. If they keep the name.

I'll keep you posted.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:54 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

LG Concannon's new home

LG Concannon, the former managing partner of Mosaic Lounge in Power Plant Live, will become the new managing partner of Sky Lounge Tango Tapas in Federal Hill.

Sky Lounge (1041 Marshall St.) will be closed until Friday, when it will reopen with a large party, Concannon said.

Most of Concannon's staff from Mosaic will join him at Sky Lounge.

Co-owner John Hargrave will step out of the daily management and turn the reins over to Concannon.

Sky Lounge's new lineup will feature resident DJs such as Adam Auburn and fewer of the guest DJs Concannon booked at Mosaic.

"It's the kind of place that takes me back to what I was doing when I was running Sonar on Canton Square -- a place where people can feel at home and come three or four nights a week and have a home-away-from-home spot," Concannon said.

(Photo by Matthew Paul D'Agostino/Special to The Sun) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:47 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

New owners at Maggie Moore's

Maggie Moore's, the Irish pub across Eutaw Street from the Hippodrome Theatre, is under new ownership, a manager said today.

Former owners John and Maggie Moore are no longer with the business, according to manager Joe McCaughey.  

The pub will keep the same name for 60 days, at which point the new owners will decide what will become of the place, he said.

(Photo by Kenneth K. Lam/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:42 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

January 13, 2008

The Annabel Lee Tavern

Thought Friday's weather (dark and dreary) would be a perfect day to snap a pic of the new Annabel Lee Tavern on South Clinton Street.

Here it is, in all its glory.

(Photo by me) 

 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:26 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

The name in the window

Spotted the name Pete Tserkis in the window of Castaway's in Canton and snapped this photo.

Curious to know who Tserkis is/was, I called the bar. 

My conversation with a bartender went like this:

Me: Hey, why is the name Pete Tserkis in your window? Who is he?

Her: The owner.

Me: Oh. Why did he put his name on the place?

Her: Because he wanted to.

Me: Yeah, but no other bar owners around town put their names on their bars.

Her: Sure they do.

And that was that. Possibly the weirdest conversation I've had with a bartender in a while.

But at least now I know who Tserkis is and why his name is in the window. 

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:37 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

January 12, 2008

Kamp is klosed

Just in case anyone was wondering about Kamp, the lounge and club on Boston Street, it is officially closed.

It's been that way for at least a month, I heard.

I'm not surprised.

I was never impressed with that place.

Wonder what, if anything, is going to replace it?

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:12 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Come down here!

Last month, I did a story about how bars are preparing for the Feb. 1 statewide smoking ban.

To find some of the places for an article, I cold called a bunch of bars I knew were havens for smokers.

The Mount Royal Tavern was one of them.

But the call didn't last long. Once I told the bartender who I was and what I was calling about, he said:

"Then instead of sitting at your desk and calling me, why don't you come down here!?!?"

Click.

So, frustrated but intrigued, I went down there. ...

As I walked in, the bartender was telling the story to one of his patrons.

"There he is!" he said when I saw him.

"Ha, ha, very funny," I said.

"It's hilarious," he said.

Though I didn't use the Tavern for the article, the employees did give me a couple good tips. So the trip over there was worth it, in the end.

(Photo by Elizabeth Malby/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:53 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

January 11, 2008

'America's Most Wanted'

No, that man is not really hurt.

He's just a character on America's Most Wanted, which is taping in Federal Hill until this evening.

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:11 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Random stuff
        

Pur Lounge's grand opening

Finally got in touch with the folks from Pur Lounge, the new nightclub on Boston St. where GoodLove used to be.

The private, invite-only grand opening is Jan. 17.

The public grand opening is Jan. 18.

Pur's interior is almost all white. Like GoodLove, it is three stories.

Unlike GoodLove, it has a couple of running waterfalls.

"It's the Miami theme in Baltimore," said co-owner Marty Mason. "It's something different."

Pur's hours will be 6 p.m.-2 a.m. daily, Mason said.

A Web site and phone number for the club will both be coming soon.

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:40 PM | | Comments (34)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Fab Five Friday

Without further ado, here are my five favorite Baltimore bar names.

1. Slim's Ace of Club, 4200 Belair Road

I drove by this place a year ago and couldn't stop laughing when I saw the sign. It still makes me chuckle.

2. Dick's Halfway Inn, 8013 Philadelphia Road

No comment.

3. The Horse You Came In On, 1626 Thames St.

The tail end of one of my favorite vintage cut-downs.

4. Ale Mary's, Fleet and Washington Streets

This bar has fun with but doesn't make fun of relgion. That's a fine line, and I like the way it walks it.

5. Bar, 1718 Lancaster St.

Much more confusing than Don't Know or No Idea Taverns.

(Photo by me)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:55 AM | | Comments (12)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays
        

January 10, 2008

And the winner is ...

Mike!

But thanks to everyone for playing.

Mike, email me at sam.sessa@baltsun.com and we'll figure out your prize.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 5:26 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Random stuff
        

So close

So I didn't want to tell anyone, but we have been at comment No. 999 for a little while now.

The next person who comments (co-workers and close friends excluded) wins one of the prizes.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:56 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Random stuff
        

The Annabel Lee Tavern

I really liked the new Annabel Lee Tavern, which opened last month in Canton.

Owner Kurt X. Bragunier was the general manager at Brewer's Art for seven years, and most of the rest of his staff used to work at Lulu's Off Broadway.

Here's my review of the tavern, which ran in today's paper. 

 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:41 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

All items destroyed!

Going through some old photographs today, I came across this one and thought I would share it with you.

I spotted this sign near a gate at the Louisville International Airport last year. I was in Kentucky to cover the Non-Commvention for 89.7 WTMD and The Sun.

The sign was too awesome to ignore.  

I wonder what the sheriff's office uses to destroy all of the items?

If I was the sheriff, I'd dunk all the items in some Dip from Who Framed Roger Rabbit

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:35 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Random stuff
        

The smokiest Baltimore bar?

What do you think is the smokiest bar in Baltimore?

I would have said Liam's Pint Size Pub, but it just went smoke free.

A buddy of mine is working on a pre-smoking ban story. 

Got any suggestions for him? 

(Monica Lopossay/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:25 AM | | Comments (11)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Approaching 1,000 comments

You might not give two shakes of a lamb's tail, but this is a big milestone for Midnight Sun.

And as such, the person who posts the 1,000th comment gets one of the trinkets from my desk.

I haven't decided which one yet. But I might give the winner some options.

A brief inventory:

Brick Tamland and Champ Kind bobblehead dolls, a carrot-shaped pen, a can of Buzz Cola, tons of CDs, several small transforming robots, a miniature foam football, an empty cup of Squishee, a can of Izze sparkling grapefruit drink, chef's hat, a Frisbee, a box of Flakies cereal, a talking Popsicle Man bobblehead, a Chuck Woolery bobblehead, a tall, slim anniversary edition can of Diet Coke and various other Simpsons memorabilia. 

(Photo by me)  

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:05 AM | | Comments (16)
Categories: Random stuff
        

January 9, 2008

Guided by Voices w/Oranges

Starting this month, Guided by Voices guitarist Doug Gillard will join the Oranges Band to gig and record, said Oranges Band guitarist and singer Roman Kuebler (pictured).

Their first gig together will be at The Ottobar Jan. 25 with the Fiery Furnaces.

Later this month, the Oranges Band will travel to New York to record their next album at Gillard's studio.

Kuebler used to play bass in the critically acclaimed rock band Spoon.

On tour with them a few years ago, he met the guys in Guided by Voices and befriended Gillard.

When a previous Oranges Band guitarist left recently, Kuebler called Gillard and invited him to play with the Oranges.

"I just had this brainstorm that maybe [Gillard] could do it," Kuebler said.

(Photo by Colby Ware/Special to The Sun)
 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:52 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local music
        

A year-round Merriweather?

IMP, the promotions agency which took over Merriweather Post Pavilion several years ago, is considering installing retractable walls which would allow the pavilion to stay open year-round, IMP chairman Seth Hurwitz confirmed in an email.

At this point, Hurwitz said they are toying with the idea, but haven't made a decision either way yet.

I hope he decides to go for it.

IMP has done great things with Merriweather, and I think having a venue that size in that location open all year would be a big boost for the area's music scene.

(Elizabeth Malby/Sun Photographer)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:22 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

Liam's goes smoke free

Wow.

I never, never thought I'd see this sign posted outside of Liam's Pint-Size Pub on Charles Street before Feb. 1 when the statewide smoking ban goes into effect.

Liam's, one of my favorite Mount Vernon haunts, used to have one of the city's thickest perma-clouds of cigarette smoke.

Looks like they wanted to get a head start on the ban.

The smoke-free policy started Jan. 2. 

I've even heard the bar's namesake, Liam Flynn, quit cold turkey.

Good luck, Liam! 

Thanks to an anonymous MS reader for the tip.

(Poorly shot photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:08 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Badfish

At least a dozen people stood outside Power Plant Live last Friday night looking for tickets to that night's Badfish show at Rams Head Live.

Must have been sold out. 

Badfish are a Sublime tribute band with almost no stage presence. They stand up there and play the songs pretty much verbatim.

The fact that a so-so tribute band can sell out the 1,600 capacity venue blows my mind.

It just shows you how good Sublime singer/guitarist/songwriter Bradley Nowell was.

Badfish are capitalizing on all the high school and college kids with money to burn who never got to see the real Sublime live because singer Brad Nowell OD'd before the band broke mainstream.

I've been to a Badfish show. Close your eyes and it's great.

Open them and it's just weird.

But, hey, more power to the dudes in Badfish who are making a living doing it. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:40 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Local music
        

January 8, 2008

'The Wire' soundtracks out today

The Wire: Beyond Hamsterdam: Baltimore and The Wire: And All the Pieces Matter -- Five Years of Music from the Wire both hit shelves today.

Beyond Hamsterdam has a bunch of local artists like Rod Lee, Tyree Colion, Ogun, Diablo and Lafayette Gilchrist.

All the Pieces Matter has more music and memorable audio excerpts from episodes. 

So support local artists and the best TV show to come out of Charm City and buy a copy. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:38 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Local music
        

The next Fab Five Friday

This week's topic is the best bar names in Baltimore.

We're talking funny names, ironic names, etc. 

For example, if it was a bar instead of a carryout restaurant, Eat Must Be First, the Chinese place by Lexington Market, would top my list.

Got any suggestions for me? 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:26 PM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays
        

2007's best concerts

A few days ago, Al Shipley posted his favorite shows of 2007 on the City Paper's Noise blog.

Shipley gets out to tons of concerts, so he had a lot to draw from.

But I'm actually not surprised at his No. 1 pick.

I really wish I was at that show. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:38 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local music
        

The Gin Mill closes

Drove by the Gin Mill on Boston Street this past weekend, and the streetfront windows were papered over.

Looks like the bar will have a new set of owners in the near future.

It's changed hands a few times in the past few years.

I wonder why. I know their ladies nights on Wednesday nights used to be really popular. 

(Photo of previous owners Luke and Lester Reeder by Lloyd Fox/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:14 AM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Quigley's Half-Irish Pub

I really like the new sign owner James Quigley chose for his pub on Portland Street in Ridgely's Delight.

It's old school -- made of wrought metal and doesn't light up at night.

But I really like the crest.

And it's good to see him take down a lot of the temporary beer logo signs he was using to advertise ...

 

(Photos by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:49 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

January 7, 2008

McFaul's

Here is a photo of the recently opened McFaul's, an expansion to Ropewalk Tavern in Federal Hill I wrote about a couple weeks ago.

The McFauls, who own and run Ropewalk, invested a lot of money in this Irish-themed pub.

And it paid off. 

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:23 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Looney's to further revamp

A few months ago, Looney's Pub on Canton Square finished some much-needed renovations to their upstairs bar area.

After football season ends, they plan to revamp the downstairs as well.

According to MJ, a bartender there, they want to install a bar and high-top tables in one of the downstairs dining rooms.

I think it's a smart move.

Looney's is known more for its sports crowds and camaraderie than its food. 

(Algerina Perna/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:46 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Merriweather's pavilion ranking

You ask, you get.

Merriweather Post Pavilion ranks No. 29 worldwide in terms of ticket sales for 2007, according to Pollstar's year end rankings for amphitheaters.

In 2007, the Columbia venue sold more than 185,000 tickets.

Pier Six Pavilion was No. 69 with almost 55,000 tickets sold.

No. 1 was the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, Miss. 

(Kenneth K. Lam/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:23 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

Pop goes the window

Friday night at Canton Station was pretty eventful.

Around midnight some dude stormed out of the side door and slammed it so hard the oval window in the middle popped out and landed on the floor.

It was pretty thick and didn't break. But still, I've never seen that happen before.

So until the staff decided to pick up the busted molding, put the window back in and prop it up with a chair, the door was windowless (pictured).

Don't know what happened to the dude, but there was talk that he was a regular, and a cop showed up a little later. So maybe they filed a complaint.

(Grainy cell phone photo of a windowless door by me)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:02 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

January 6, 2008

9:30 Club wins big again

The 9:30 Club sold more tickets than any other club in the world in 2007, according to Pollstar's annual Top 100 Worldwide Club Venues list.

The Washington music venue sold more than 240,000 tickets last year, the trade magazine reported.

Rams Head Live (pictured) in Power Plant Live made No. 13 with more than 143,000 tickets sold. And Rams Head in Annapolis cracked the top 50 at No. 43 with almost 85,000 tickets sold.

Pier Six Pavilion in the Inner Harbor made No. 69 on Pollstar's amphitheater list with about 55,000 tickets sold. 

(Sun photo)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:00 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

January 5, 2008

Patching up the 8x10

This 8x10 in Federal Hill is closed until Tuesday for its annual round of renovations, co-owner Brian Shupe said.

That involves patching up the holes people kick in the walls, replacing light bulbs and painting over the graffiti, he said.

I hope it also includes some R&R for Shupe too. Happy new year, guys. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:30 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

Great new Judd and Maggie

This brother/sister singer/songwriter duo kicked around Baltimore and generated some buzz back in the early 2000s.

Then they signed a major label deal with RCA Victor that didn't pan out.

Now, the duo lives in Nashville and has a new album coming called Kingdom of Noise.

The first song -- which I think is the single -- is called "White Washed Tomb" and is fantastic. The production is a little dirty and fits them well.

Listen to "White Washed Tomb" here. 

I think it could finally get them some serious national recognition. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:56 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

January 4, 2008

Rams Head Live to expand

In the coming months, Baltimore’s largest live music club will get even bigger.

Rams Head Live in Power Plant Live plans to add new balconies and expand its club into the adjacent restaurant and bar space by late May. The move should increase the venue’s capacity by roughly 400 to 2,000, said vice president Erin Brunst.

"One of our business practices is to always reinvent ourselves," Brunst said. This is a great way to continue to make things exciting."

Though the Rams Head restaurant closed permanently in December, the venue will remain open during renovations and serve food at kiosks inside, Brunst said.

(Algerina Perna/Sun Photographer)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:25 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

New Year's Eve recap

Sorry I'm late in getting around to asking, but how was everyone's New Year's Eve?

What did you guys do?

Friends of ours rented out Jack's Bistro in Canton (pictured), so we hung out there all night.

MS reader Andrew e-mailed me about his night:

I can tell you that the bars in Canton were dead. My friend told me the same for Towson.

As for Fells, I had 2 people go out and say it was ho-hum. I am guessing that house parties were the rage this year.  

Anybody second his opinion? 

(Colby Ware/Special to The Sun)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:15 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Random stuff
        

Salsa at Stadio

My roommate Patchen, once a diehard salsa fan, told me about a new salsa night called Ritmo Noche which starts tonight at the recently opened Stadio, 200 E. Redwood St.

Stadio (formerly the Redwood Trust) hosts classes from 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. tonight with open dancing the rest of the night.

Cover is $10 before 10:30 p.m. and $15 after. 21+

Here's a link with more information.

(Photo of salsa classes at Club One by Elizabeth Malby/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:59 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Fab Five Friday

Researching for this week's Fab Five Friday on the city's best dance parties, I realized just how few there are left.

Remember five years ago when Taxlo dominated the Talking Head? Not anymore.

But the city's dance party scene hasn't completely bitten the dust. Here's my list of the five best survivors.

So without further delay, here is my list ... 

1. Reaction! at the Sidebar Tavern, 218 E. Lexington St.

This monthly mod dance party draws vintage duds and some of the area's better talent. DJs Amanda Otto and Matt Walter spin and a live band performs a short set the second Friday of every month. 

2. Automatic! at The Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St.

Matt Walter and Craig Boarman have been spinning together for years now, first as Underground and more recently as Automatic. It's a pretty solid party.

3. Monthly Mayhem at Angels Rock Bar, Power Plant Live

Yes, the crowd can get fratty and annoying, but I like going to a club and dancing to rock music. And live acts perform at Monthly Mayhem too.  

4. Lithuanian Hall, 851 Hollins St.

The last Friday of the month, Lithuanian Hall plays host to renowned area DJs such as Pablo Fiasco. But this was one of those dance parties that lost its luster when tons of people found out about it. 

5. Last Saturdays at The Depot, 1728 N. Charles St.

Most months, the last Saturday is the day to hit the Depot if you like electronic music.

(Barbara Haddock Taylor/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:46 AM | | Comments (16)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays
        

January 3, 2008

Mosaic to expand, reopen

Heard back from Reed Cordish regarding Mosaic's immediate closure.

In the coming weeks, Mosaic (pictured) will expand several thousand feet. 

The new Mosaic will have more lounge seating, additional bars, and a larger outdoor area, Cordish wrote.

It will reopen Feb. 29.

Mosaic's new manager will be Vincent Houston, who previously was a managing partner in Mosaic Houston. He will replace former manager LG Concannon.

"Mosaic has been a great success with its only limitation being size," Cordish wrote.

"Mosaic will continue to be a premier nightlife experience for downtown Baltimore. ... LG has been a great part of Mosaic for many years and will be successful in whatever endeavors he takes on and will continue to be a great friend."

(Colby Ware/Special to The Sun) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:37 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Merge Records signs Wye Oak

Wye Oak (formerly Monarch) has signed to Merge Records.

Merge, a North Carolina-based independent label which represents Spoon, M. Ward, Arcade Fire and dozens of other artists, will release Wye Oak's debut If Children April 8.

The label approached the duo of Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack and asked if they could sign a deal, said publicist Christina Rentz.

"They're awesome," she said. "We're really excited."

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:20 PM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Local music
        

More on Mosaic

When I spoke with Mosaic's former manager LG Concannon last night, he said the club (pictured) would be closed for renovations the next couple months and would reopen under new management.

I've got an email out to the Cordish Company with questions about the club's future.

Concannon said the reasons for his firing were strictly financial, and he has no ill feelings toward his former bosses.

Since leaving, Concannon has had several job offers, and plans on staying a part of the city's music landscape for some time to come.

"I don't expect to be out of the scene long," he said. "I will be landing somewhere."

(Colby Ware/Special to The Sun)
 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:21 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

DJ Dan Finkelsburg?

I realize catchy, creative DJ names are hard to think up.

And I understand why some DJ names are just the DJ's real name. Example: DJ Sam Sessa.

But if my name were, say, Phill Schaefer, I don't know if I'd make that my DJ name too.

No offense Phill, but it's not a catchy or funny DJ name.

It's actually kind of a limp name.

Maybe there's a story or a reference behind that name I'm not getting.

But it's kind of like DJ Dan Finkelsburg, or DJ Joe Smith. 

(Photo by me) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:46 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Local music, Random stuff
        

January 2, 2008

Mosaic Lounge closes

Mosaic Lounge, the dance club in Power Plant Live which underwent a million-dollar renovation early last year, is closed effective immediately.

Entertainment Concept Investors, the company which owns the club, fired general manager LG Concannon. His staff left with him, he said.

"My vision wasn't making enough money and so they let me go," said Concannon, who managed the club for four years. "I'm leaving on professional terms and I have nothing but good things to say about the company."

I'll have more updates in the morning. 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:46 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

'A Love Bizarre'

In college, I played in an instrumental organ trio called Cellardoor (yeah, yeah, really original name, I know).

Sometimes at shows we did '80s cover songs like "I Need You Tonight' by INXS or "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears for Fears.

If Cellardoor were still around, I'd make a case for covering this awesome Sheila E song.

What a sick groove:

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:59 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Random stuff
        

The next Fab Five Friday

Patchen's comment earlier today got me thinking about dance parties around town.

I think they'd make a good Fab Five Friday, especially since they've changed quite a bit in the past few years.

Remember when TaxLo was at the Talking Head Club? Sometimes it was one of the biggest nights of their week.

But now, more dance parties (Reaction!, Automatic!, etc.) are bringing live bands into the mix. 

So in a couple days, I'll give you my five most favorite dance parties in Baltimore.

Got any suggestions for me? 

(Photo of the now defunct Have a Nice Day Cafe by Barbara Haddock Taylor) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:09 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays
        

Happy new year!

I'm back from a 10-day vacation and ready to hit the ground running.

I spent the past week watching movies, sleeping, going out, sleeping, and torturing Amie's cat Fiona (pictured).

Hope everyone had a great holiday season. Sleigh bells rang. Were you listening?

(Photo of a fed-up Fiona by me) 

 

 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:27 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Random stuff
        
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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at erik.maza@baltsun.com. Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.
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