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February 17, 2011

The Velvet Rope re-opens as Dubai

Troubled club the Velvet Rope re-opened a couple of weeks ago under a new name, Dubai, which must rank as the second worst bar/club name in Baltimore behind Garbo.

Management is eager to disassociate themselves from the Velvet Rope brand that had become so well known in headlines. When I tried to get a greenlight for our photographer to stop by, the club's attorney, Paul Gardner II, agreed to, but only if the name "Velvet Rope" didn't appear in the story.

We declined the offer.*

I still snuck in Saturday for the review in tomorrow's Live section. Here's the top:

Last Saturday, I went to Dubai. No, not the glitzy metropolis in the United Arab Emirates. But the club on 200 E. Redwood Street, which opened in late January under a new name after two years as the troubled Velvet Rope.

With the change, the owners hope to distance themselves from tarnished old name and associate themselves with the luxury that the word Dubai brings to mind.

But those might be too lofty aspirations.

If rebranding was all that a bad reputation needed, Hosni Mubarak might still be in power. And while in popular culture, Dubai might be linked to unlimited decadence, it's now a city burdened with a not-so-sexy $80 billion debt and a collapsed real estate market.

Dubai's owners might as well have called theirs Club Countrywide or Lehman Brothers VIP Lounge.

The club benefits from its still handsome historic location, and what seems to be improved security, but its insistence on passing itself off as an upscale club in a city that seems to be allergic to them raises doubts about its longevity.

The rest of the review is here

Photo*: Colby Ware photographed the club from outside. 

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Posted by Erik Maza at 2:51 PM | | Comments (17)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Live!


shoulda hit me up eric; i've got all-access

Over/under on the first shooting or stabbing? Four weeks?

@FHT - tough call if the weather continue to stay warm I'll take the under

The Baltimore nightclub game of musical chairs continues. I swear that place has been at least 4-6 names. Wasn't there already a club named Dubai in the area at one point?

I find it fascinating that people are intent on taking over that spot and the other one on Charles time and time again despite their consistent history of failure. What missteps did they make? Product of market forces?

@Socio what other one on Charles? Do you mean Calvert?

Sorry, maybe Calvert. It was Club X or something last I remember. That one probably has Redwood Trust beat on the name changes.

Too big for the lack of parking and accessibility in the city. You can do a club but it has to be 4-6k square foot or the ability to shut down some of the area to make it look a tad bit smaller. Nobody wants go walk through a metal detector to go drinking. A few clubs that get if are
the Get Down Lounge
Red Maple
they market very well and there demographics aren't causing too many extreme problems, to my knowledge.

Tit, thoughts?

@anon I agree with the space- if your’e not going to be a concert hall that space is way too big just like that beautiful Gardel's building. When you have that much space and overhead you tend to attract the wrong crowd, and by wrong I don't mean a certain demographic, I mean mixing too many demographics is the wrong crowd. I partially agree about the other clubs, they attract a certain clientele, but the Get Down may be getting a lil down continually.

@Sucio, I can remember Illusions, X, Ten, Xanadu, and I forget a few others. If I recall correctly it was called Redwood [Something] before the redwood Trust opened across the street. I think even Hasim Rahman owned it in one iteration.

@tif @sucio: Xanadu and Club Ten Ultra Lounge were all at 10 Calvert, right nearby. It's in fact where the first Dubai, sister to Palma, was located also.

@Maza & Tif: You jogged my memory. Add Estadios (under Rahman's ownership) and Redwood Grille. I think there's been a couple others.
I'm out of the loop, what is it called now? Is it still open?

Gardels- what a beautiful building, but huge and hard to get to, oddly enough.

@Sucio I think it's called LUX now- the last invite I got was 7/10

Also a search for the address brought up a Bed Room Lounge @ 7 S. Calvert for a party a few weeks ago- What is that???

Gardels- what a beautiful building, but huge and hard to get to, oddly enough.

Where r u anon? Dunno where I am going

Where r u anon? Dunno where I am going

nice Segway Tif, thanks for stopping by.

no problem, I'll be down that way more as the weather subsides. You guys in the bars yesterday missed a beautiful moon last night

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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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