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February 8, 2008

Sky Lounge's grand reopening

Tonight is the grand reopening of Sky Lounge Tango Tapas under new managing partner LG Concannon.

The lower level opens at 6 p.m., and Concannon will spin upstairs starting at 10 p.m.

Since taking over, Concannon has updated the sound system, furniture, and lighting setup.

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


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Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:40 PM | | Comments (32)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Comments

wow. nice shot. that place looks perfect for non-hipster types. Especially after Bible Study!

LG continues to commit himself to Baltimore and its nightlife. He's been doing this as long as Ive known him (20 yrs) and Im sure his new gig will reflect his ability to throw a great party and spin too.
Congrats LG!

What is going on with this place? I've been following Sky Lounge closely since LG Conacannon has taken over the reins and I'm amazed at the terrible decisions he has made.

Besides running a restaurant as a nightclub (which has placed that license in a position of not being renewed) his disregard for the neighborhood (which as should support, since a strong relationship will only benefit the venue) has left me wondering what will come of this place.

They seem do only be doing numbers on the weekend, which isn't much of a change from before LG took over. Moreover, the food portion of the business which launched last Friday was a disaster. Fish and popcorn in a shot glass? Come on, this isn't Mini Bar in DC. Sky Lounge needs to concentrate on the basics which will either make or break that business. If I had my two cents to put it, I say they won't make it through the summer. Then again, that's just me, what do I know.

Just saw this critique of me and Sky Lounge for the first time, and I feel compelled to respond.

First, don't assume all the business decisions that have been made have been mine and mine alone.

To say I have been running Sky as a club and not a restaurant means you have not been paying attention.

I have run weekly ads in the City Paper focusing on the restaurant.

I created a flier that is a coupon for a free tapas item that was specifically placed in Federal Hill.

I ran a restaurant ad in the new SOBO Voice news letter.

I have brought in a new executive chef (Dustin Hammersmith), who has changed the menu to take off the pretentious items like cevice with popcorn.

I have introduced a $2 Tapas Happy Hour menu -- which is specifically aimed at our neighbors.

Reservations for dinner are far better than before I arrived.

The restaurant consistently opens at 5:30PM for dinner, 5 days a week, something that was not happening before I arrived.

My disregard for the neighborhood?

I moved into the neighborhood and immediately joined the neighborhood association and hospitality association.

I placed an ad in Sobo Voice.

I have provided food for the Federal Hill Main Street meetings 2 months in a row. I also provided food and beverage for the Fest-Of-All which benefitted Federal Hill Main Street.

I have been talking to organizers of the street festivals to lend my experience in setting up for large scale events and fashion shows.

As for operating as a nightclub, I have done nothing different with the late night portion of the business, except for to change the DJ schedule and maybe do a bit more promotion than usual.

I invite One Who Knows to come down to Sky Lounge, introduce yourself, and we can discuss any issues or ideas over a complementary beverage and tapas item. I am open to critique and would love to know if I have failed in some capacity.

Any one else who would like to give me feedback, I invite you do so at lg@theskyloungebaltimore.com

Thanks.

sam,

do you know what happened at the liquor board yesterday with the Sky Lounge and the Fed Hill Lounge? I know that people were fighting their renewals.

Mark,

Thank you for the support, however it will do no good.

When we let LG go from Mosaic, we decided not to change the concept, to expand, renovate and hire a new manager.

We had to be fairly certain that the problems were with management and not the concept before we sunk millions of dollars into a renovation.

I am pleased to say, today, we are doing better than ever.

LG always finds a way to put the responsibility of failure on someone rather than himself.

wow! what a comment! Weren't you looking to buy a place Mr. Twain, or was that Anon. I apologize if I got the wrong person. However that could be a great place to buy, building and/ or just the business. I wish for the best with whoever runs the place, it is a tough business. Federal Hill can always use a nice restaurant. Good luck everybody. Sam, have you checked out Mother's expansion yet?

i dunno who is responsible for what. all im gona say is ive lived in federal hill or two years and sky lounge started [stinking] last february.

i showed up one friday night with three of my girlfriends and they wanted to charge us to enter! r u kidding me? there are 20 other bars in a one block and u want to charge me to get into yours? it has become pertentious for no reason and nobody goes there anymore.

btw, the new food does [stink].

Katie is right the cover is absurd. I know, let me pay to get into a dive bar and drink bad martinis from the 90s and listen to bad house music from the 90s. Where do I sign up?

I take my comment back about the Chris Sligh post being the best, this is now the best MS post thus far.

(the mother's expansion is frigging NUTS amirite)

Can I post the obligatory "Who is Chris Sligh?" comment?

Or should I cut out the middle man and just post links to his crappy music?

Can't wait to hear from GDA. His comments are always super!

Rhyleighs = good time no cover
No Way Jose = good time no cover
Sky Lounge = bad time big cover

You would have to pay me to drink there.

sniffle...all the sky loung and LG bashing is really sad and pathetic. Why can't we all just get along?

I was at the Mother's expansion on Saturday. It has been a long time since I have had so much fun at Mother's on a weekend. The back bar is great. Sam - You would love the hand dryers in the new bathrooms. My guess is that it will be enjoyable for another two weeks before all the meatheads catch wind.

Trouble,

Yes, John would take $700k, but he wanted that just for the business, not the real estate, and $6k a month for rent.

You hit the nail on the head. You have to change everything about Sky Lounge. From the brand itself, to the business model structure, distributor relationships, employees, etc...

John wants $400k for the "business" which doesn't exist. There is nothing turnkey regarding Sky, and the business is non-existent. They don't even have the upstairs open on the weekends anymore. In addition, John wants $150k for his liquor license. He has a generic restaurant license which can be obtained for $5k. Hell, there are multiple tavern licenses available on Craigslist for the same district for below $60k.

Moreover, couple John's high asking price with the fact that the neighborhood is actively pursuing revocations for those restaurant license holders who fail to meet their food service requirements (see Baltimore Sun article) and you have a lose-lose scenario. The footprint of Sky Lounge does not allow for tables to be set up for food service that will give you the revenue per square foot that you need to make a go of it.

I'm only writing this because everyone knows that this place is on the market. John has been soliciting it to everyone he meets since September r of last year. Still, nobody will touch it. I heard from a friend that John told him there is a 900k offer on the table for Sky Lounge, I'll take the bet right now that a 900k deal only exists in John's imagination.

We may have found something. We are going to look at a place in the heart of Canton. Very large space with tavern license and live entertainment for around $500k. We have neighborhood support for a roof deck as well.

We are opening more of an 18th Lounge concept with great music, drinks that will blow your mind (can't really get into it now) and some of the best "bar" food that has ever been prepared in this town.

No, we will not have a cover, and yes you can grab a table without having to order bottles. We expect you to dress nice, but we do not have a dress code that prohibits jeans and sneakers.

I hope Baltimore is ready for a chill lounge without the power plant types running around. Not that there is anything wrong with power plant.

Mark,

When you say 'we' are you speaking of yourself in third person plural?

Sam,

Haha... No, I have a business partner and chef consultant and master mixologist. We are all working together on this project.

The chef consultant should really put us above par on this deal. He won't be able to stay with us (could never afford him), but is he a 2 Michelin star chef who is creating our menu (changes quarterly) which will feature local ingredients, and we will keep the dishes simple and affordable. Entrees will be around the $10-12 mark. And there are some really cool dishes on the menu. We keep the cost low by actually cooking. No frozen prepared foods that actually cost more to serve than something home cooked and fresh.

If we had it our way, we wouldn’t even want to serve food. However, it is a requirement here in Baltimore for the license which we will have and if you’re going to do something, I believe you should do it right and present something which you are proud of. Not half-ass it. At the same time, no matter where we open, the food service should be a nice touch for the neighborhood residents who have limited options for dining.

More importantly, the drinks will blow your mind. These drinks have never been prepared in Baltimore. But if you’re more of a beer and shot drinker, don’t worry; you’re welcome here as well. Once again, we will keep the drinks affordably priced so this can be an everyday kind of bar, not the place you need to save for a week to enjoy.

No one listens to Anon...

Georgies of Canton would make a nice place with a rooftop deck. It could overlook all of the condos across the street to see the water.

Thanks Jason, You mentioned islanders before. Well I think two brothers just bought it. If they paid anywhere near the asking price (2.5 over value) then they were burgled. But you have a good eye. Georgies has two things going against it IMHO. One, it's on Boston street, (See Sam's blog) and three other businesses have come and gone from there, quickly. Two, not even worth the price when you do your due diligence. Heard Ncdevins is up on the block.

895k for NcDevins, that's a lot of money, but at least you get the real estate.

895k for NcDevins, that's a lot of money, but at least you get the real estate. For 800k, you could probably buy Charlottes, but at least with NcDevins you get a kitchen. Uhm!!!

First disclaimer: I am not all that business savvy, I am just a club goer.

Second disclaimer: I never went to Sky Lounge for the food or any other night except for some Saturdays since it had its grand reopening.

Third disclaimer: I am a househead.

With all that said, since I am limited in my knowledge about some things, I thought that LG did a great great job with Mosaic and subsequently Sky Lounge (once again from what I have seen). I actually enjoyed myself on Saturdays because Sky was one of the few places that I could hear some real house music. I know that it is not everyone's cup of tea and I respect that, and Baltimore has a lot to offer for those who want to hear other genres.

I think that someone posted on here about Sky Lounge being pretentious and I never got that kind of feeling from being there. Just my personal opinion I guess, but at the same time I can understand people not wanting to pay a cover when there are other places nearby that you can get in for free when the economy is tough.

I can also understand issues with the liquor licenses as well and maybe that is something that those in charge should have been careful with from the get go and maybe that would have kept some of the issues from occurring.

I don't know I guess I don't like to see people get bashed too hard, but like I said I am not keen on the ins and outs of business, I just go out for fun.

On another topic, I am very interested in what Mark Twain has going on with his business.

Calvin,

You know, I wrote that post after having a really bad day and perhaps was harsh on LG.

In LG's defense, who knows how much support he received from people above him? After all, he wasn't the only cook in the kitchen so to speak.

I can't imagine that environment was an easy one to put ideas into practice.

That's the most ridicuolous post I have ever read on this fourm.

I live in Canton and I drink more than just Miller Light.

Grow up. You're too bitter.

Thank you for your insight Jim.

Jason,

We looked at Georgie's and I don't see how the space is going to work for a bar.

The place itself is very narrow with only a small service bar on the downstairs level. But, you really can't extend the service bar due to how narrow the space is.

The kitchen is enourmous. About the size of Sabatino's. I think they used to do catering out of the place at one point.

You really could put a nice roof deck on this place though.

mark, wait til you find the place you want, especially in this market. Offer John 700k and he might eventually take it. NcDevins could be a great spot, but it's a lot of money. Good luck, something will eventually turn up.

Thanks Jason. Looking a few places tomorrow in Mt Vernon (ideal location, just can't find anything there).

We are also actively looking in Philly, where we have found a lot of places. You would be amazed at what you can –still- get for your money in Center City/Old City or immediate area.

Our original idea was to open in Baltimore first, and open a second location in Philly. I think we may end up in Philly long before we find a spot in Baltimore. We also wouldn't entertain a spot without the real estate that and that really limits what we can do.

LuLu's is on the market in case anyone cares. Roughly $800k for real estate, business, license and the building has a few apartments on the above levels as well.

Mark,

R u planning on opening a hipster joint where sky lounge was?

Jill,

No, I'm not planning on opening a hipster place, period.

I'm also not planning on a drink menu
consisting of martinis.

I'm also not looking at a place on Boston St.

That post was way out of left field.

Am I considered a hipster for going to Sky Lounge? I only ever went there for the music.

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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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