A new location can boost or bust a high-end lounge.
Late last year, managing partner LG Concannon and the other folks behind Mosaic Lounge's move indoors gambled big. In several months, they poured about a million dollars into renovations that would turn Power Plant Live's former outdoor tent lounge into a year-round hot spot.
Mosaic's new incarnation, in the space formerly occupied by BAR Baltimore, opened in March. With sharp service, chic decor and accomplished DJs, it's poised to become Baltimore's best upscale lounge.
When my girlfriend, Amie, and I got there about 10:15 p.m. last Friday, the bouncer let her in for free and charged me $5. He said the cover normally goes up to $10 per person at 11 p.m., depending on how many people are inside. We made our way past the outdoor lounging area, into the building and up to the bar.
A well-mixed Grey Goose martini and a glass of raspberry Lindemans Framboise Lambic came to $20, which was expensive, but that's to be expected. We were both surprised to score the Lambic, which is something of a rarity in these parts. Mosaic is one of the only local bars, outside of the Brewer's Art and Max's Taphouse, where I've found the tart, fruit-infused beer.
After paying for the drinks, Amie and I sat on a leopard-skin lounge chair near the dance floor and soaked in the scenery.
True to its name, Mosaic's decor combines a smattering of different cultures and time periods to form its own style. Cream-colored rectangular lanterns suspended from overhead cords help light the sofas outside.
Inside, one of the seating areas is filled with Victorian-era furniture, and curved decorative fixtures made from dried bamboo stalks hang from the ceiling. The giant bar back glowed orangish-red when we were there and had a number of shelves with oversize bottles, vases, a gong and other objects. It's slightly smaller than BAR Baltimore was, but since the bar is on the side instead in of the middle, there's more open space.
Mosaic's only decor misstep is the dozens of gaudy gold strings of plastic beads that hang in front of an upper storage section. They look as if they belong in a teenager's bedroom circa 1965, not at an upscale lounge.
Last Friday, the dance floor crowd ebbed and flowed over the course of the night -- except for one man, who kept grooving pretty much the entire time we were there. He looked to be in his late 30s, wore a tight T-shirt tucked into tight jeans and danced kind of like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz -- pre-joint-oiling.
For the most part, the crowd looked to be late 20s to mid-30s. Button-downs and polo shirts, designer jeans and gelled hair were commonplace.
But the crowd only half-filled the lounge for most of the night. There were probably about 150-odd people inside Mosaic at any given point, which was a little disappointing, but understandable. It's just getting on its feet, and word will take some time to spread.
Loud house music bumped down onto the dance floor from a ring of speakers near the high ceiling. It was a little quieter in the seating areas, but you still had to talk loud if you wanted to be heard. DJ Who spun house music, while a bongo player sat nearby and banged out tight beats that could be heard only on the dance floor.
In a matter of months, Concannon and his crew have turned a dumpy college bar into the city's most stylish new lounge. Concannon said he strives to put substance over style, and with Mosaic's move indoors, he's done just that.
You'll find Mosaic at 4 Market Place in Power Plant Live. Hours are 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Fridays and 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturdays. For more information and a list of future guest DJ performances, call 410-262-8713 or go to mosaic-lounge.com.
This week, I started contributing nightlife and local band notes to a new LIVE blog. Check it out at baltimoresun.com/midnightsun.