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November 4, 2010

Review: Select Lounge, the West side's newest lounge

Reader Tif Saleem, a former Baltimore Sun IT analyst and frequent Midnight Sun contributor, reviews the newest lounge on the West side, Select 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.

Opening night imposed table service, meaning there was no seating or bar stools unless you purchased a table. We'll see how long that lasts. (Ed. Sounds like Select owners should get in touch with Garbo's people).

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.

Select Lounge is located at 415 N Paca St.

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

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Posted by Erik Maza at 3:22 PM | | Comments (30)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Very well written piece relevant to the theme of the blog. Even though I would rather give myself a self-inflicted swirlee than enter such a pretentious establishiment I appreciate the fact the writer clearly physically went to the place he has written about. #win

i secound double b's sentiments

Thank you- I wonder if they have swirlees there. What's a swirlee?

Thank Goodness all of the A-list celebs and socialites in West Baltimore now have a place to hang out. They've been underserved by that community.

Just last week I saw Paris Hilton and Mic Jagger walking down Penn ave opining that there was no establishmen that caters to them.

Belvedere's new "drink" is Belvedere Unfiltered 80 -- an 80 proof vodka made from "baker's quality" rye. The water and rye is so pure that there is no need for filtration.

It is without doubt the smoothest vodka you will taste.

Makes a killer dirty martini.

@Tif it when somebody dunks you head first into a toilet and flushes.

@dave I was wondering the same thing? What A-List celebs? Maybe a place where Sally Thorner, John Waters and Sam Sessa can all be spotted?

Double b - Sally Thorner lives in NYC now, fancy pants. She goes to ACTUAL lounges that host ACTUAL A-Listers...

Why is the late Aaliyah on thier promo poster?

@U80 fan- that stuff is the work of the devil- tastes like Evian or Deer Park- after you drink a bottle bad things can happen...

@Dave well when the folks do come to town they need a place to go. The Shaq's, the Chris Webber's, the India Arie's,the Vivica Foxes. I've seen them all out. Plus Ray Ray and T-Suggs can't spend all their time making it rain over at Score's-- which I think was the dumbest addition to the Bmore scene given their above A list rep.

@dub b lol I might have actually done that to myself after a bender

Great, honest review. May check it out when I return for the holidays. Hopefully it can stay open...

Also, I second Anon's sentiments. Featuring long dead celebs (and striking horrifying poses) on the flyer for your GRAND OPENING is a definite misstep. Someone should have proofed that one more closely.

Looks just like Aaliyah but party ppl......... its not.................everyone on her must be from Bmore....Home of the Haters!!!

@ Chrissy: (A promo shot of the late Ms. Haughton from Queen of the Damned).

Now get out of "her"!! :P

I'm not a hater but B-more doesn't accompany enough stars on a consistent basis for this club to try and hold a upscale rep. before you know it they will either go out of business or have to dummy down the dress code..... I understand no tennis shoes but no jeans is extreme u wont find to many people dressed to go to church 7 days a week....I advise the owners to take notes from other owners who tried to take the same approach plus the location is not that appealing...

Jeans are allowed, the owner is kind of peeved about my review- he says they are a normal club just some nights are more reserve than others (Grand Opening). Me and a party of 12 or so had a ball last Saturday and most of us wore jeans.

Is this a black club?

Police: 2 dead, 4 hurt in Baltimore club shooting,

Well, there goes their "elite" reputation.

Erik, just curious. Were you the only white male in the club that night? I'm gonna bet yes.

I don't think Bmore has noticed. If your club plays mostly hiphop you will bring a certain crowd. When you travel to other cities ie: LA, NY you find a mixed style of music and a mixed crowd which brings A-listers from other races also. There's always been a big difference between what Bmore considers upscale as opposed to other cities. But, yes other cities also have the same type of clubs but they never seem to be the elite club

Well, I can assure you that none of the residents of Seton Hill are thrilled that this place is here. I foresee more incidents like the one that occurred this weekend.

Seton Hill is a pretty, balanced, quiet neighborhood. We want it to stay that way.

@GFoxx- every bar in Canton, Federal Hill, and Fells Point plays Hip Hop.

Do they bring the certain crowd that you refer to.

Nice racist comment, moron!

All of you fools on here talking trash and it's starting to look like the Cops did all of the shooting. My cousin's cousin was the civilian killed.

Keep on with that racist talk. Betcha yall wouldn't have the balls to say it to my face if we were in public.

@cab -look at the name- I wrote this. I live in and love Seton Hill. Focus on Orchard Mews- not club Select.

@Tif Orchard Mews- public housing?

Where there are probably a ton of problems instead of a problem every3-4 months at a bar.

It's all about the press.

Tif- you coming to the mixer? i want to meet you. you have a pretty decent head on your shoulders.


And yes Orchard Mews public housing where a cop got shot in the face a year or two ago.

midnight sun mixer sometime later this month. meet and greet with Maza

People pay big bucks for meet and greets!

If Maza is there I'm there. I wanna meet this new unmasked man- when-where?

It is at Don't Know Tavern on Light Street in South Baltimore on Thursday, January 20th. I am going to do my best to make it. Hope to see you there.

Yeah, I know the place- Erik inboxed me. I'll be there- wait this is not a hit is it?- or even worse- an intervention?

I'm concerned, as a homeowner, about ALL of the crime in Seton Hill, whether in Orchard Mews or not. As are most of the others in this neighborhood. And it has nothing to do with race, color, or economic status. I simply don't believe that this is the last incident we'll see out of Select Lounge.

possibly- but we'll surely see another incident in Orcard Mews- move your soap box over there- you can save a whole lot more lives

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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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