Review: Select Lounge, the West side's newest lounge
It doesn't really matter if Baltimore asked for elite, they've gotten Select.
The new lounge, located where the West side meets Seton Hill, is described on its Facebook page as a "premiere [sic] destination for sophisticated club connoisseurs, savvy socialites, A-list celebrities and Baltimore's elite."
If that's what you're looking for, this may be the place for you. But the lounge's longevity will hinge on whether non-VIPs will go there on regular nights.
I went by Select Lounge last Thursday night for the grand opening, which was sponsored by Belvedere Vodka's new "Intense" drink.
"Intense" was free the entire night, and handed out by scantily dressed ladies who paraded around with bottles of it with sparklers on the spout.
Select also had appetizers like spicy shrimp, crab cakes, bacon wrapped scallop, pork on a stick available for free.
The setup is sort of Red Maple-like with a bar and a VIP section, and way more space for dancing. Though on Thursday, while DJ Quicksilva spun Hip Hop and R&B, nobody danced when I was there. The inside is marked with beautiful stained wood and several flat screen TVs.
The staff, at least, looked spiffed up. One of the bartenders told me the owners brought barbers the previous night to make sure their male staff looked dapper. Manager Alex Wolde said this was a one time thing, but it was a still a nice touch.
The lounge has a selection of at least 20 cocktails - which rotate - and 10 bottled beers. On Fridays and Saturdays, it hosts happy hour from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., with domestic beers costing $2.50, imported beers $3.50 and martinis $5, Wolde said. There is no tap.
While there is plenty of parking and personnel, it must be said there's not much personality. (Granted, this last sentence might revoke my VIP status if I ever had one.)
Even though I had a good time overall, the place had a distinct smell of "I'm stepping out tonight". I'm sure you'll find your favorite Raven or rapper in the house soon. But is that something I want to do, or can afford, every night, or just once a month? How often will I frequent? I'm still not sure.
Tif Saleem is a business consultant and producer of the movie "Exit Strategy," and a former Baltimore Sun IT Analyst. He's contributed to Midnight Sun before. Erik Maza edited this post, and contributed additional reporting.
Photo: Select Lounge Facebook