The skinny on Rare Soul
Yesterday, 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)