Club 347 at its best with entertainment


On Nightlife

December 22, 2005|By SAM SESSA

On Nightlife Hands down, the best part about Club 347 is the live entertainment.

When owners Ron and Bob Persaud bought the Calvert Street space (formerly Alphomega and the Calvert House) a year ago, they pictured a swinging nightclub with hot weekly jazz acts and stand-up comedians. After about six months, the brothers are more than halfway there.

At a recent comedy night, the jokesters had me in stitches, but the club itself threw me for a loop.

With three comedians on the bill and a free (heh) buffet, it was easy to justify the $10 cover charge.

Once inside, I had to order a beer. A wave of disappointment hit me when I didn't see any taps poking up past the marble bar top. I asked the bartender, but I already knew the answer:

"We only have bottles."

While disheartening, it's understandable. Most of the patrons were in their late 20s and early 30s -- hardly the draft-beer guzzling college crowd. I asked for a $4 bottle of Sam Adams and glanced around.

The bar sits against the right wall toward the front of the club, near a small lounge space with a long, plush leather couch. The main seating area spans the middle to rear section of the club.

There's also an upstairs bar and lounge with two pool tables. If you sit near one of the pool tables, keep your eyes open -- that part of the room is narrow, and sometimes cue stick butts accidentally connect with faces.

By no means is 347 a trashy club --it's quite clean and modern -- but you can tell it was designed under a tight budget. With their black vinyl cushions and metal legs, the seats and bar chairs could be on loan from a local American Legion basement. Some of the bricks in the exposed brick wall are oddly placed and appear to plug holes.

And then there's the buffet. Now, I didn't expect gourmet -- wings or nachos would've been fine.

The cook brought out two big trays: one of salad and the other filled with meatballs drowned in a dark sauce.

Num nums!

I sat back down at the bar and ordered another beer. The other food options were mostly deep-fried dishes and came in paper cartons like the ones you get at a bowling alley. The show was supposed to start about 9:30 p.m., but the comedians wanted to wait for more people to arrive.

At 10 p.m., with about two dozen people in the audience, host Troy "Ghost" Rawlings walked up and grabbed the mike. He read a eulogy to the late Richard Pryor and blamed the low attendance on the snow forecast.

After a round of introductions, Rawlings ceded the stage to the first comic, Eric T. Meiser.

Meiser started off shaky but won over the crowd in about five minutes. His 20-minute set ended with plenty of applause, and Rawlings introduced the next act, Elisha Banks.

All of the comedians had potty-mouths, but of the three, Banks was the least profane. Her stories were sweet and clever, but I missed some of her routine because of her quick delivery. Banks' act lasted about 15 minutes, after which Rawlings delivered a five-minute monologue and brought out the headliner: Lonnie Davis.

With Davis at the mike, it wasn't long before the sparse crowd started roaring. He spent tons of time on life in the city, blasting Baltimore Gas and Electric, Asian takeout and street cameras. ("A camera ain't gonna stop a ... whoopin'!") When Davis was done, my sides hurt from laughing.

Club 347 is the Persaud brothers' first foray into the nightclub business, and while the place is a little spotty, its entertainment lineup really shines.

Club 347 is at 347 N. Calvert St. Comedy night starts at 9:15 p.m. Wednesdays. Admission is $10. Live jazz nights are 5 p.m. Tuesdays and 7:30 p.m. Thursdays. Jazz shows are free with a two-drink minimum. The club is open Tuesdays-Saturdays. Call 410-385-9923 or visit

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