College Night at Maxwell's was a local institution, as mobs of the young and the restless guzzled draft beer from plastic cups and then hit the dance floor. But institutions don't last forever; Maxwell's has closed and in its Perring Plaza place is a new club, Martinque.
If the name seems familiar, well, yes, club historians, this Martinique Cafe & Club is a reborn version of the dress-up disco that was a club pioneer on South Calvert Street from 1977-1985.
Owner Dion Dorizas says that despite all the years and miles between the club's first incarnation and its re-emergence, there have always been young people who want to wear their best clothes and manners.
"People were dressier and more sophisticated back when I first had Martinique," Mr. Dorizas recalls. "Now you see torn blue jeans, sneakers and bandanas wherever you go. Where does somebody go who wants to dress up? I know there are many such people."
The dress code at Martinique mandates no sneakers, T-shirts or sweat shirts. Blue jeans are allowed, but they must be "presentable." Every night an estimated 50 to 70 wannabe patrons don't meet the code and are turned away. The message will eventually sink in: Hey, guys, it ain't Maxwell's any more.
Martinique is going for a dinner and dancing ambiance. This 800 patron-capacity club is certainly large enough to accommodate both. Some of the dance floor acreage has been converted to restaurant use, with a Continental dinner menu, a light fare menu served until 1 a.m., and night owl breakfasts on the weekend.
There is also a roped off VIP lounge, where cognoscenti may sip champagne and cognac. The dollar-conscious will be pleased to know that the cognac possibilities range from a Remy Martin Napoleon for $7 to a shot of Louis XIV for $70.
Although the layout of the service bars and dance floors in the rest of the club basically resembles the Maxwell's arrangement, plenty of new carpeting, woodwork, mirrors and brass were installed for what translates to the club equivalent of a new car smell.
The dance music features a mix of old and new songs from 9- 11 p.m. and then heats up with higher energy hits late at night. There is a $2 cover Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, which rises to $4 for Friday and Saturday.
Among themed nights, Monday has reduced drink prices for the hospitality industry; Tuesday is college night; Wednesday is ladies night; and Thursday is targeted for singles.
Martinique Cafe & Club
Where: 1999 E. Joppa Road.
Hours: 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday to Thursday, 6 p.m.-3:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 6:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Sunday.
Menu: Continental cuisine featuring pasta, seafood and beef dishes. Light fare menu until 1 a.m., and a night owl buffet breakfast served Friday and Saturday.
Credit cards: AE, V.