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September 17, 2008

No, I don't hate clubs

red mapleSince my most recent review of Mosaic and the whole Palma/Dubai debacle, there have been rumblings that Sam Sessa does not like clubs.

Sam Sessa hates clubs and only likes dive bars, they say. Maybe they're right, I thought.

So I went back into the archives and looked at my club reviews from the past three years.

We're talking reviews of Red Maple (pictured), Club X Ultra Lounge, Kamp and The Den, among others.

Here are a few choice snippets. You be the judge ...

On Red Maple (930 N. Charles St.): 

"When it's packed and popping, Red Maple is one of the city's few high-end lounges worth a $10 cover. Fire pits, comfy cushion seating, tasteful dark wood decor and a spot-on sound system make it one of the city's most sharp, impressive destinations. ... Red Maple's biggest downside is that it knows it's good. But when you want to really step out in Baltimore on a Friday or Saturday night, it's always one of the best spots to hit."

On The Den (3327 St. Paul St.):

"Charles Village desperately needed something to help its struggling nightlife scene, and the Den is a big boost."

On the now-defunct Kamp (2314 Boston St.):

"[Manager Warren] Hemenway's got the right atmosphere with Kamp, and if he can draw more young people to fill it, he'll have a hit lounge."

On Club X Ultra Lounge (10 S. Calvert St.), which is now Dubai:

"The place has a solid mix of style, attitude and class. I wouldn't be surprised to see the month-old lounge turn into a regular weekend hangout for the city's high-rolling 30-something set."

On Pur (2322 Boston St.):

"Pur lounge, Canton's crisp new three-story club, has an undeniable appeal.Since opening in mid-January where the GoodLove Bar used to sit, Pur has upped the ante more than any other city club."

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


Is Pur still open?

Red Maple is the best of the bunch.

You never really say if *you* would personally go often, or if you actually like them -- just predictions of success.

How can other people be the judge of what you like?

As far as I know, Pur is still up and running.

Other people think my personal preferences cloud my reviews. But they missed the little bio box at the top of this blog, which reads: "I like dancing and think this city needs more clubs."

Sam, I dont like clubs either. I like to dance but the bass is too loud in clubs like DuPala. It looks too dark. I lovvvve old-type bars with just a jukebox with classic songs! You've got me wanting the hubby to take me out this weekend!! Thanks!!! :(


Baltimore had a great club scene in the early 90's with the whole Rave culture that was befitting of Baltimore. Warehouse dance parties in seedy industrial parts of town, not always completely legal. These events would frequently draw thousands of people some as far away as Richmond and NYC.

Ever since clubbing went back to "upscale," Baltimore has had a tough time finding a groove. While the town is becoming more affluent, Baltimore has a hard time doing anything "classy" in a big way without feeling phony or the crowd looking like posers.

Baltimore has yet to break into the mega-club scene with a dress code in any major way. Perhaps it will remain that way, and that is fine with me.

Baltimore does do the bar scene as well or better than any other city... and having a variety of smaller dance clubs to shake a tail feather at later in the night without the velvet rope makes it a party not a scene.

While I am not big into Baltimore Club or Hip Hop, those events seem to do fine on a medium scale.

Fortunately, Baltimore has its own thing going on. It should not be compared with other East Coast cities, in doing so you will miss the best part.

I like the Den the most and go there frequently...

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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 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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