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October 9, 2009

Azul 17 has its grand opening this weekend

azul 17

Azul 17, a new Mexican restaurant and lounge specializing in upscale cocktails, is celebrating its grand opening this weekend.

The odd part? Azul 17 is at 9400 Snowden River Parkway Suite 127 in Columbia.

Do you think Columbia is ready for something like this?

Owners Julio and Lily Soto do. They've lived in Columbia for 15-odd years, according to Amber Drenner, Azul 17's general manager.

"They're residents here and feel like this is something Columbia needed," Drenner said. "It's gorgeous."

From the way Drenner describes it, Azul 17 sounds sharp ...

The space is done in crisp whites and bright blues, and the bar changes colors, she said. But the drink list is what really interested me. True to its name, Azul 17 has 17 signature margaritas, 17 signature cocktails and a wide-reaching list of bottled beers.

Each of the signature cocktails are made with name brand liquors, hand-squeezed juices and fresh nectars, Drenner said. The cocktails range in price from $9 to $13. We're talking about mojitos, Cuba libres, caipirinhas -- oh my.

After 10 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, DJs will spin house and Latin music, and the dining area will be turned into a lounge, Drenner said.They also have a dance floor.

Azul 17 had its soft-opening on Labor Day weekend. To celebrate its grand opening, Azul 17 will be offering drink specials and giveaways. Its normal happy hour is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and features $5 margaritas.

Hours are 11:30 a.m.-midnight Sundays-Wednesdays and 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Thursdays-Saturdays.

(Photo courtesy of Azul 17's Facebook page)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:30 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Sam ~ Any feed-back from patrons? Wish it was Downtown! Sounds interesting!

When I was growing up in Howard County years ago(easily 15-20 years), the lack of Mexican was my father's main complaint.

It's amazing that it took this long to get one in HoCo!

Sounds cool, and looks great from the photo, but I just can't imagine it surviving based on where it's located. Based on Google Maps and my recollection of the area, it's across the street from a bunch of industrial buildings and it's other neighbors are KFC, Lincoln Tech and the Self Storage space.

Maybe I'm just out of touch with the suburban style.

ate there last great.
actually in a mini-restarant park with an Indian (Akbar) and Japanese steak house (Nichi Bei Kai) restaurants as neighbors.

I had the opportunity to eat there during the soft opening Labor Day weekend.

Decor is very nice. Cool artwork, unique flooring, nice lighting. Bar/lounge area was very comfortable. Small, intimate place overall.

Im not a fine diner, nor club goer, so I was a little out of my element. I didnt really like the music playing in the resturant- sort of club/techno music. Service seemed to be set up for slow dining- we were sort of in a hurry , and we were still there almost 3 hours.

Drink menu was interesting, but Im not one to pay 10-15 for a margarita.

Food menu has some hits and misses. Tapas style, so lots of small plates. I cant recall exactly what we ordered, but each of us ate 3 tapas orders. I finished 1/2 of my wifes food, or would have been hungry.

Tableside prepared guacamole was pretty bland.

Definitely not a place to take kids. If you are thinking Don Pablos, this isnt it either.

While I enjoyed it, im not sure I would return. It just wasnt our type of place.

Azul 17 is the first place to offer a true dining and lounge experience in Columbia. My wife and I have visited Azul 17 on three different occasions. Twice for drinks and the other for dinner and nightlife. Dinner was absolutely delicious. From the ceviche to the tableside guacamole, everything was top-notch. We hung around the bar afterwards which has a cool relaxed atmosphere. I highly recommend the signature margaritas. I’ve tried five so far and they were all excellent. The DJ mixed a great selection of tunes that kept us there until close and truly completed the lounge vibe. They even had sports on one TV for all the die-hard sports junkies.
We truly enjoyed our trips to Azul 17 and I’m sure we will be there quite often in the future. I highly recommend Azul 17 for the food, service, music, atmosphere and best of all LOCATION!! Welcome to the neighborhood Azul 17!

I went to the restaurant, Azul 17, on Saturday the 23rd to enjoy dinner and salsa dancing. One of my girlfriends had called the Tuesday before to make a reservation. When we got to Azul 17 we were informed that no one had put our reservation on the book. As a consultation Amber, the snippy manager, told us just come back another day and she could offer us 10% off our bill. This was not a acceptable option for us, as we had 2 people driving from over 45 minutes away to join us. We did inform Amber that our intent was to have dinner and stay the whole rest of the evening in the establishment.

After a lot of prodding from us we were given a small table in the bar area and Amber did buy us our first round of drinks. She said she would try to get us a table in the dining room, which never happened. As the evening went on we had to keep hunting her down to see if she would be able to accommodate us and we kept being put off. After our first round of drinks we decided to hang around a little bit longer to see if we could possible get a table and ordered another round of drinks. After waiting a over a half of an hour for our second round of drinks we decided that Azul 17 wasn't really interested in our business and hit the road.

Our waitress, Krista I believe, was way more helpful then the manager. I have to say that I have never experienced a manager to be so rude and non accommodating. I do realize we were there on restaurant week, which does add stress to the management and staff, but even with that allowance our situation was not handled correctly.

Yeah, your girlfriend totally didn't make a reservation.

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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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