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January 14, 2010

Milan has officially crossed the (intercontinental) line

euros and dollarsAre you ready for something ridiculous?

OK, here goes: Milan, the uber-swanky new restaurant/lounge in Little Italy, lists most of its menu prices in both dollars and Euros.

How silly is that?

I assume they're catering to jet-setting Europeans who are in town for business but don't have time to hit up Western Union and have all those Euros changed into greenbacks.

If there is one thing Baltimore hates, it's pretentiousness. And even the Charleston/Bin 604/Cinghiale/Pazo group doesn't go this far.

Thanks to Owl Meat for the tip.

(AP photo)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 5:09 PM | | Comments (45)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Who wants to go get some Euros and hit that place up. See what they say when we actually pay in Euros! Anyone?

please please please tell me this isn't true. oh wait, i am looking at the menu right now online, and it surely IS true.

Not only that, but they go on to make their customers seem like idiots by defining such things as formaggio=cheese, ensalate=salad, meze=small plates. REALLY? i'm gonna come there and drop major cash and have to be slapped over the head with translations of words that are in any foodies vocab over the head (or, i could ask the server).

not to mention they're still trying to pull off the VIP thing. really? in this economy, in this city?

And lets talk about the website. go on it. You'll be transported back into 2001, when every bar/restaurant in the world was streaming in down-tempo world/house music making you feel all posh and cool and so new millennium.

Not to mention their web design. I can imagine how these design meetings went: "hey, i got a great idea. lets put a face of some hot girl on every page. preferably each of a different ethnicity...yah that would be'll be just like Ibiza" (they would pronounce ibiza like this: "ih-bi-thhhha")

I have a whole separate diatribe about harbor east's plots to try and turn baltimore into dc, but i'll leave that one alone.

now i obviously haven't tasted the food, and the design of the place certainly looks pretty i can't speak to that, but perception is reality, and right now my perception is that this place is gonna suck.

i hope i'm wrong.

Saludos Sessa,
I always read your posts but this is the first time I am writing. I just want to know why you get so piss about this kind of places? If you could post a new blog about your experiences in these places and/or why you do not like them here in the city. That is all.
Greetings from a Latino that also enjoy the Baltimore Bar/Club Night Life.

Alwin Morales

Sam- Here's a more optimistic viewpoint-say you have gone on a trip to Europe since they implemented the Euro, and you brought a bunch of Euros back with you..well, depending on the daily exchange rate, perhaps you could save some money on your meal based on which currency you choose to use to pay the bill..Also, perhaps they thought it was a "fun" idea, and not pretentious at all..
Looking on the Sunny side of things.. :)

Sam, vous êtes une brute si peu sophistiquée.

Zut alors!

If only the exchange rate pictured was reality, instead of the other way around...

Ryan97 certainly uses just the right word for his post, "diatribe", with an uber-medium topping of vitriol.
You all MAY be very correct that this establishment has some "airs", i don't know, but then, no one does as of yet, do they? Crossed the Line though, that's funny
He also touches on perception, which is what I was trying to get at before. When you dine out, you want to feel like you are somewhere different, and fun, so I look at the Euros as a unique embellishment, and not a pretentious or negative action. I don't get the "righteously angry" vibes, sorry..

i'm with ya, Sam. places like this (and the patrons who frequent them) have no place in the Baltimore I know (and love). DC is down the road. feel free to spend your pretentious money there.

I knew it would only be a matter of time till someone got all sensitive on me and started preaching blue birds and cherries on top.

Like I said I hope I'm wrong and your right, but I am skeptical to say the least.

Posts and comments like this are what give that "unpublished comment of the week" some credibility.

Milan doesn't seem like my type of spot, I'll say with 99% certainty that I'll never step foot inside ... but I'm not going to bag on the place for doing something a little differently.

Yes because sushi, italian, and tapas are brand new.

Unlike you I prob will go to this place to hopefully be proved wrong.

Yah I was probably a bit harsh, but I had too much caffeine today and really when you do something like put euros on the menu you better be prepared for criticism.

Who wants to go to Gutman's with me?

Citizens of Baltimore, I will be arriving in the BWI depot from my home city of Antwerp tomorrow day. My companions and myself will be attending to Milan in the eveningtime. I will gladly inform of our diversions and appetites. As the rate of money is quite favoring the Continental man I will gladly opportune myself of the advantage of of paying in my Euros moneys.

We are sincerely enjoyed that such an establishment of distinction is in your fine town. Good luck to us.

Until tomorrow,
Your friend Lars

Milan puts the euro in eurotrash.

on the way home from work, something else came to mind regarding the tone of Sam's post, and most, (not all!) of the ensuing commentary..
I wonder how many of you naysayers are also the people who are hoping for, and supporting our bid to host the FIFA World Cup of the most prestigious , and International sporting events around. i know I have, via twitter, signed the petitions, etc. So, if you have too, yet you have a problem with the "international" flavor that Milan is obviously trying to create, think about that. You don't want to include "foreigners" currency on a menu but you want them to pick Balto. to host a World Event? Sounds like a conflict of interest to me, and since when does publishing someone elses currency on your menu make you "pretentious", how about you are not narrow-minded, and ready for the truly inclusive world we live in today...
you want people abroad to choose us and spend their "money" (jeez, hope it's all American $) here, but scorn anything outside of your boundaries? And, as many have said, a pre-emptive judgement to boot.

This Just In:
"in a similar move, nearby Charleston will begin listing prices also in Confederate money, making use of scientific notation in order to save menu space"

Milan...isn't that in France?

After eating there not only did I feel like an (expletive) but who replaces Tomatoes with Roasted Red Bell Peppers in Caprece Salad? I would have ordered more, but my poor ass couldn't afford four drinks and two appetizers. It was almost $75.

If you like this - - you'll like the bar.

This is the last thing Baltimore needs. We're loosing the Senator and gaining this corner bar gone wrong.

Looks a lot like the Casbar site. At least there you can change the track.

SushiGirl, I think maybe the issue here is that Milan's messaging, instead of coming across as sophisticated, is instead coming across as provincial. I think places that are truly exclusive don't say that they''re exclusive on their Web site.

Alwin, thanks for the comment. As it turns out, I wrote a blog post about upscale clubs in Sept. 2008. Here's a link

The only thing is, four of the five clubs I mention have since closed. Poor management is partly to blame. But I also think Baltimore can only sustain so many high-end clubs. I'm not going to judge Milan until I go there. I'm excited about the drink list, which I mention in this post:

I think Red Maple is by far the best high-end club/lounge in the city. Maybe Milan will give it a run for its money. We'll see.


In all seriousness, I'm for any high-profile sporting events such as the FIFA, which I hope Baltimore gets here in the next several years. But there's a difference between supporting international flavor and simply listing the price of menu items in Euros. Does Milan actually accept Euros? I doubt it, but I'll check with them tomorrow. I think a bar such as Slainte does far more to foster an international environment, through soccer-watching parties and such, than Milan does by putting Euros on its menu.

And, of course, as I hit 'publish,' I see that Drifty has said exactly what I wanted to say, only in half as many words. Heh. Thanks, Drifty.

Drifty and Sam-

yes, i can see your point(s), but i am simply playing Devil's Advocate so to speak.. We don't really know Milan's agenda, or motive, and honestly, i have not ever looked at their web-site. I never look at restaurant's web-sites, not a single one of them, in order to gauge how i feel about them, or to gain any perception of them whatsoever. I have looked at them for two reasons- directions, and menu, only if i am unfamiliar with type of cuisine.
My point is, pre-judgement, and, not being open-minded to things "no other restaurant has ever done" It goes against my grain..
If in fact they publish Euro prices, and it's a sham, i get it Sam, but that possibility never occurred to me. I guess i am a sincere person, and expect that others are as well, so a gesture like that for show only would certainly turn me off. it's really all about their agenda, eh? I was just willing to give them a chance to be "real"...

They don't accept Euros. When I landed from Germany I hopped over there ONLY with Euros in my wallet (and thankfully my AMEX) and they ONLY wanted US dollars. In fact, the staff didn't know what Euros looked like. (I'm not being sarcastic)

I do think it is ironic how they turned the Euro into a marketing gimmick. The point isn't that the clientele is provincial, but it is a real testament to how the owners perceive Baltimore. If anything it is an insult to us. On a side note, if you do go there, expect to feel like you are on big brother. They have cameras EVERYWHERE! Surprisingly, they don't have a live web feed.

Even if they took the £, ¥, €, ₪, ₩, ฿, ₴, ₫ off the menu, it's going to take good food, good drinks, good prices to make this place a full pull. I know I for one would be all about having the World Cup here. Saying that people are _________ because they see through the shallow marketing attempts of a new corner bar is like calling people who feel the US using military force in foreign counties is unpatriotic. Xenophobia is the product of ignorance, feeling belittled by someones marketing is called being aware. Look both ways before you cross the street, and hopefully it won't be at the 1000 block of Eastern Ave...

I only pay with blood..I hope they accept hear me MILAN..."THEY CAN NEVER TAKE................ OUR FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I plan on going with $40 and getting as drunk as I can on Miller Lite bottles. I know there is going to lots of talent there so I don't mind spending a little..I don't have any Euros..but I don't need them to get azz..It better be worth the $40 and a car ride..I might valet to impress..i heard its complimentary..sweet..

Comparing someone's opinions about a Restaurant Opening to anyone's attitudes about their Country, Xenophobia, or Military Forces is, ludicrous and has no place in a blog about a city's Night Life. i have no phobias, perhaps you do..

By the way, eSS L, since you hopped over there straight from your plane from germany, you have an Edge on everyone else who has commented here, as you obviously have eaten and had drinks here at the "corner bar", as you refer to it. Since everyone else but you has not had the pleasure of being fooled by their shallow marketing scheme, how was it? the rest of the people on here were relying on the web-site content , not the real deal, so why don't you fill them in.. worth coming to milan to eat and drink?

SushiGirl, I think it's a good thing that you're playing that role.

I took a look at Milan's web site. The main message I got from it is that the people behind this place are serious and committed and want their place to do well (that puts them in the top 1 percentile around here. And I looked at the menu, which does include the price for each item in euros, but that comes across to me, really, as a design element. The overarching fashion angle does seem forced, maybe even misguided, but might be completely sincere.

I wonder if we're avoiding another conversation here.

"Comparing someone's opinions about a Restaurant Opening to anyone's attitudes about their Country, Xenophobia, or Military Forces is, ludicrous"

i beleive your 8:06pm post was doing just that by insinuating that our attitudes towards "international cultures" were xenophobic.

which by the way i wasn't, i was strictly talking about the menu and website design and image they were giving off. you were the one who started throwing out personal attacks about who or what cultures i allegedly don't like.

btw - see you at dukem tomorrow...where they aren't just "advertising" international flair, but are owned and operated by it. (and they don't even have a website). you want legit international culture/food? venture outside of places with VIP lounges.

Inasmuch as one can say, one of the things that makes Baltimore so charming is how much personality each unique bar and restaurant manages to capture the passion of it's owners (even Palma). Albeit they may fall on their face, Baltimore has had gems in the past and frankly the city is extremely and unforgiving.

Sure a euro-trendy bar in Baltimore COULD be a good thing. When it's over processed, over priced, and under delivers, it's not. I'm not claiming to be a foody, but I have eaten at just about every restaurant in town and must conclude that Milan is about average and uses smoke and mirrors to encourage people to stop by before or after their movie going experience. Placing themselves in Little Italy tarnishes the once prestine land of homemade pastas, sauce that has simmered for days, big hugs at the door, smiles, tasty matched wine and the white linen table cloth. Seriously speaking, little Italy is an epic treasure compared to many cities around the US. Go somewhere down the block from Milan if you want truly good food, go to Milan if you want to feel sucker punched.

Don't sell our charming city short...seriously, in a city that has many such restaurants, NYC, the management would be different, the staff better trained, not as many video cameras (they must have 20 on the first floor its quite disconcerting), food would be top notch; but alas we aren't. In a land where this is nearly acceptable, and form doesn't need substance to get people to walk into the door, it will be busy for a few months.
I would prefer to provide praise than criticism, I, like many others am starving for another cool place, I'm not a one bar kinda guy. I love our town and really want to share it with my friend and have more good times...simply put, Milan is so full of itself, it is overwhelming. Andy Dick didn't happen...Milan did.

I would think about going there if they actually did accept Euros... I still have some from my last trip which I never exchanged back. It would be fun to use them in the US.

WWGRD? What would Gordon Ramsay do? Please. Ever walk in to the only "Italian" restaurant in a Eastern shore strip mall? Look. I'll eat good Italian food in a white room! Cut the BS restauranteurs and give us good product!

The real problem is when Milan fails (and it will within 6 months) what will the owners do? My guess is they will follow the trend of going down market (see Timothy Dean's turning into TD's Lounge)

I hope they just pack their bags and leave instead of trying to turn into a lounge that will violate their liquor license and force the neighborhood into a long protracted fight to get rid of them.

Milan will fail because it's awful design and poor menu. Cindy Wolfe and Patrick Sutton can pull off Pazo. This is a bad imitation. The location is also awful since it's a narrow part of Eastern and there's no room for valet parking.

Wait, is it even legal to accept Euros as payment in the U.S.? I dount it. Dumb dumb marketing idea.

Don't pay in euros; they are charging a 1.50 exchange rate. Current spot rate is 1.4378.

Despite my own cynicism I find Lisa's viewpoint a tonic for the spirit. Ads and web sites are there so that you DO pre-judge a place. That's the purpose. I'm a total hypocrite for falling for that. I like to boast that I (almost) never read reviews of movies, restaurants, etc. because I refuse to accept another's subjectivity (stolen from Sartre). When you read reviews you can never experience something for the first time since you already have the shadows of someone else's opinions and experiences looming over your own perceptions.

So, thank you Lisa for helping me to realize what a phony I am being. It's really hard not to judge a place when their marketing is being thrown at you. Okay, I did actually go looking for it.

I will probably stop by there tonight and try to view it without prejudice. Why not? It may be Pascal's Wager but that's not a bad thing.

I hope SushiGirl brings her positive self back again to keep us from being a grumbly negative mess.

fair enough owl meat. i hate hating on things as much as the next guy, especially since the internet seems to be increasing such acts....i was simply trying to call a spade a spade (maybe going about it a bit overly harsh..but no one seemed to have a problem making fun of canton arts and entertainment).

that said, you may recall that earlier this year i was also making fun of a certain sports bars name in mt vernon. but if you go back and read my comments, i was the first person to eat crow on that one. and now turps is one of my favorite neighborhood joints.

I am probably not the demographic Milan is going for, i could easily see some expense accounts being gladly spent at the place, but i will certainly give it a shot without prejudice, because despite how i might come across, i certainly hope i am wrong when it comes to these things, as i always hate to see someone put so much into something (especially in our city) and see it fail.

let us know how it is tonight owl meat.

Maybe this is a sign of the second coming of the FAB FIVE!


Metrosexuals are so Tuesday. I'm a retrosexual.

Aww.. Owl Meat.. you're the Greatest!

Thanks to Drifty too.. and ryan too for relenting albeit grudgingly... :)

eSS l - I actually enjoyed what you wrote, as it was not negativity for negativity's sake, or simply railroading a new venture because you personally don't care for it..
BTW- My fav Italian Rest. in NYC (where i am from) is Gino Italiano- Lexington & 66th I believe-No reservations, cash only, red & white checked cotton tableclothes, all the waiters are from Italy. You could see a manucurist, a celebrity, a politician, or a truck-driver all there on the same night.
Woody Allen used it for his opening scene in the movie Mighty Aphrodite. Also Food & Wine mag wrote an article awhile back called "How Gino Earned It's Stripes"- The walls have zebras on them, and each is missing a stripe. Read the article if you care's a great place, with no pretense and the best Bolognese sauce I've ever had in the U.S.
Peace out guys ...

There is no such thing as bad publicity.

I have never seen an opening of a restaurant/lounge/nightclub so blatantly shilled in my life.

On every blog posting about Milan, you can find someone shilling for the place.

Is this what the PR business has become these days?

Stopped by not knowing what to expect last week with some friends. For all of you moaning about the place's pretentiousness, go see it for yourselves in person and then judge it. Dont give it a bad rap because of the menu with euro prices posted online (its likely just a marketing thing). The place is stunning and they had to have put a significant chunk of change inside.

There arent alot of bar owners/investors flooding Baltimore with new places to hang out right about now.

This isnt the old club X (ten), xanadu, or whatever its called where you were forced to get bottle service to sit down. This place knows its in little italy and not the mandalay bay.

Only thing local I can compare it to is that its a big space (but smaller than pazo) with a vibe of red maple. Not a bad combination in my opinion.

oh btw...

tanqueray and tonic - $8 USD.
johnie walker black - $6.10 USD.

Thank you NaptownE for succinctly expressing my sentiments, and, even better, you have actually been there!
Best line of your post referred to the number (lack thereof) of investors/business ventures interested in actually doing something here.

Let's hear it for some Positive Energy around this town!!

The euros are printed on the menu for fun. It's nothing ridiculous or pretentious, it just goes along with the theme "Italian" How come you bloggers are so dense at understanding little touches on something? I personally love things like that, sets them apart with a bit of worldy ambiance.

But who cares, you haters are going to be haters. Baltimore is big on talking (snap) or thats what I have come to find since moving here. the food good? Anyone? Does anyone have anything good to say about this place? Just curious.

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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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