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April 27, 2010

The skinny on Rare Soul

club goers outside a club on boston street from a couple years agoYesterday, I trudged down to the liquor board and pulled the file on Rare Soul, the new lounge/restaurant replacing Club Phantom on Boston Street.

The file had some interesting letters from various neighborhood associations, listing a bunch of restrictions on Rare Soul. The club can't have live entertainment for six months, as well as outside promoters, outside seating, valet parking or loud music.

I called owner Yolanda Espinet, who filled me in on all the details. Her plan for Rare Soul is to have a low key lounge with food -- not a bumping club. 

"I'm not a nightclub," she said. "I don't want a sweaty dance floor. I don't want crowds spilling out throughout the night." ...

Espinet, who is the sole owner, bought new furniture and redid the bar, she said. Pending a liquor board license transfer hearing Thursday, she plans to open in several weeks as a lounge, and then bring in food. Rare Soul would be open Wednesdays through Sundays.

But the ghosts of club Phantom (pun!) linger.

"It had such a terrible reputation," she said. "I've been fighting the reputation."

Espinet said she completely understands all the restrictions imposed by the neighborhood association, and is more than happy to comply with them.

"If I lived in a million dollar house across the street from a strip of clubs, I would totally understand that,"she said.

After six months, when Espinet would be allowed to have live entertainment, she wants to make Rare Soul "a platform to discuss recent social issues, politics -- a place to unwind," she said. Espinet has never owned a club before or worked in the industry, but she has high hopes for Rare Soul.

(Baltimore Sun archive photo)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:05 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Sounds like a good start to me.

Don't spend that $7 yet, Sam. You may have to pay out on your bet.

Indeed. I wonder what a mojito costs at Rare Soul?

Also, when the kitchen opens, do you think they'll have seafood? I'd love to order a rare sole at Rare Soul.

With that, today's pun limit has been reached, and it's only 9 a.m.

There is no such thing as too many puns.

There is no such thing as too many puns.

Oh no. You probably like whimsical haikus too! Aaaaaa.........

I do have standards.
Line drawn before lame haikus.
Puns still earn big laughs.

Too many restrictions by the neighborhood associations. I don't see this place lasting beyond six months. If its not a dive bar it has no chance in Canton. Next.

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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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