A solid mix of style, attitude and class at Club X Ultra Lounge on S. Calvert Street

November 10, 2005|By SAM SESSA

On Nightlife No, Club X Ultra Lounge is not a strip joint.

Though its name (actually pronounced Club Ten), location (10 S. Calvert St.) and facade (bright purple lights) might suggest otherwise, the place has a solid mix of style, attitude and class. I wouldn't be surprised to see the month-old lounge turn into a regular weekend hangout for the city's high-rolling 30-something set.

Parking is free on most of Calvert Street late at night, but if you can't find a spot less than a block or two away, it is safer to use the valet service.

Last Saturday night, the cover was free for gals and $10 for guys. According to the hostess, women always get in free Saturdays - not a bad deal. I saw a couple of groups of women taking advantage of the free entry.

The club is split into two levels: the upstairs VIP room and the downstairs lounge and bar areas. To get to the downstairs bar, we walked through the first lounge, past clusters of dark leather couches. Neon purple lights projected X's onto the walls, where they slowly spun.

We kept walking to the back lounge area and took seats at the glass-topped bar in the far left corner. A house merlot and a gin and tonic came to (cough) $16, and I figured I'd better start a tab. It's much easier to swipe the card and delay the agony until the end of the month than to empty the wallet all at once.

While the gin and tonic was well-mixed, the merlot was oddly chilled, which masked its flavor. However, our bartender earned serious points by filling the wineglass well past the usual serving size.

The lounge specializes in bottle service, where you order a whole bottle of liquor and the server provides the glasses, mixers and ice. We peeked inside the drink menu, saw $150 next to the word Bacardi and quickly shut it again. Another glass of merlot sounded like a much better option.

Over the course of the night, the DJ spun a mix of radio hip-hop and house. Kevin Lyttle's "Turn Me On," Jay-Z's "Frontin'" and Akon's "Bananza (Belly Dancer)" all bumped out of the speakers at one point or another. Thankfully, they kept the music at lounge level: High enough to nod along with and low enough to keep you from screaming a casual conversation.

Most of the patrons looked to be in their mid-30s and dressed sharp. Jeans were acceptable, but dress pants won out in most cases. Men in suits blended in seamlessly.

One thing that might take a while to catch on at Club X is the sushi and tapas bar, which lines the back wall downstairs. The place is open for lunch, but aside from a few chairs along one wall and the bar itself, there's really nowhere inside to comfortably sit and eat. If you sink into one of the leather couches, you have to hunch forward to nibble off the low lounge tables.

It was also a bit strange to have two of the three flat-screen TVs behind the bar tuned to Spike TV's Ultimate Fighting Championship. Two bloodied men kick-boxing the stuffing out of each other is the last thing I want to watch at a high-end lounge.

Otherwise, Club X's attention to details - such as hardwood floors, a bathroom attendant and a top-notch ventilation system - pays off. I walked right by a woman puffing a cigarette and didn't catch a whiff of smoke.

Though a shade expensive, a night at Club X Ultra Lounge is a welcome addition to the young professional's weekend circuit.

Club X Ultra Lounge is at 10 S. Calvert St. Hours are 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Mondays-Saturdays. Call 410-727-1294 or visit tenultralounge.com.

sam.sessa@baltsun.com

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