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January 22, 2009

Slumming it at Lux

luxWell, perhaps that headline is a little harsh. Maybe it should be something like "Warming up at Lux." But we were definitely slumming it. More on that in a minute.

Here's the back story: After seeing President Barack Obama speak on War Memorial Plaza on Saturday, a few friends, Amie and I were walking south on Calvert Street when a dude caught our attention.

He was hyping half-price drinks and free food at Lux (10 S. Calvert St.), the new upscale lounge that recently opened where several other high-end clubs have failed.

Us: Half price drinks and free food, you say?

Dude: Yes indeed!

Now what half-frozen, winter-weary crowd member is gonna turn down cheap drinks, free food and a warm seat? So we went in for a bit ...

Keep in mind, each of us had at least three layers of clothing on. Just about everybody there did, in fact, which made Lux look like a ritzy ski resort lounge.

crazy joeDig this photo of Crazy Joe sipping a glass of whiskey in his bright red jumpsuit. Hee hee.

I got the impression that the bartenders were totally unprepared for the wave of people that crashed the place immediately following Obama's speech. They weren't slammed, but they were hopping. 

We walked up to the bar and asked them if they had any hot drinks. Nope, said the bartender. So we ordered a couple glasses of wine and some other drinks. Then I looked down the bar and saw a women with a pot of tea. 

No hot drinks, huh? I pointed the tea out to the bartender, who checked on the situation and realized they did indeed have coffee and tea. So Amie swapped her wine for a cup of coffee with Bailey's Irish Cream in it. Mmm.

I haven't been in this building since this past summer when it was Dubai. And even then, former manager Jon Han had the downstairs closed off. So it's been a good two or three years since I've been downstairs. But for all that time, it doesn't look like the place has changed all that much. The puffy white couches and seats look new, but the bar itself looks pretty much the same.

The wait staff routinely brought around samples from the kitchen, including fancy meatballs and veal cheeks, but they were nothing to write home about. But hey, they were free, and free makes everything better.

I'd much rather discuss the tab, which included four drinks but came to a mere $16! Now that's what I call a deal. I've been getting emails from one of Lux's managers, who says he has some pretty interesting plans for the place. I'll call him and post more about Lux in the near future.

(Photos by yours truly)


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Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:00 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


I think you should do a piece on bar signs. I personally feel (see I am an idiot/sucker for advertising) if the sign is just a banner - i.e. LUX - then I think, stay away. I don't know, I think that is what gives Baltimore bars their charm. Am I alone in this thinking?
PS - Crazy Joe looks very unhappy in this place.

A plastic banner is a half step up from a slab of plywood with the name spray painted on it.


"...former manager Jon Han had the downstairs closed off. So it's been a good two or three years since I've been downstairs. But for all that time, it doesn't look like the place has changed all that much."

You sound disappointed. Do think when an establishment changes owners it's whole decor should be completely over hauled?

I do concede that the façade could be improved. It looks like a bank built in the 1920's, not optimally inviting.

GDA, Depends on the place. I think the inside of whatever you wanna call this place looks fine, but more often than not, new owners tend to put their own stamp on a place. That can mean completely redoing it or just replacing the furniture.

Here, I was just surprised the inside of the place is pretty much the same after changing hands so many times.

Who cares. The place will be closed by April.

It's still open in September...

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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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