New pieces of Mosaic don't add up to a pretty picture for high-end club

On Nightlife

May 22, 2008|By Sam Sessa

Few high-end clubs reinvent themselves as fast as Mosaic.

In two years, Mosaic has gone from an outdoor tent lounge in Power Plant Live's plaza to a million-dollar indoor club in the old BAR Baltimore space.

And late last year, the owners cleaned house -- replacing general manager LG Concannon with Vincent Martinez, expanding the interior and retooling the musical lineup. It reopened in March.

But for all the money, time and effort spent on Mosaic's newest incarnation, the club is under- whelming at best. While the decor is lavish and stunning, the service is subpar. To make matters worse, it doesn't seem to have caught on: It was only a third full at 11:30 on a recent Friday night.

Keep in mind: It's only open consistently on Fridays and Saturdays in the first place.

When my girlfriend, Amie, and I went, there was a line outside the Lodge Bar, MEX's deck was comfortably full, and Babalu Grill looked packed. There were people out and about in Power Plant Live. Just not at Mosaic.

We paid the $5 per person cover charge, stepped inside and walked up to the new gray stone bar that splits the place in two.

On one side is the new space, which is mostly seats and a mezzanine. The other side -- which has been left largely untouched by the recent renovations -- has its own bar, seating and dance floor.

Mosaic's owners must have sunk a mint into the expansion. More than a dozen antique-looking lamps hang upside down from the ceiling, and plush vintage couches and chairs from the 1940s sit on the mezzanine. The new room looks fantastic, but its retro theme and color scheme don't mesh well with the older room.

Much like the neighboring Angels Rock Bar, many of Mosaic's bartenders are 20- and 30-some thing women with short-shorts and push-up bras. The idea is, hire eye candy to bring in big tips from drooling men. But when we went, the service and the drinks left a lot to be desired.

A rail gin and tonic and an Absolut martini came to $13 -- which is not a bad price for two drinks at a high-end lounge. As long as they are the drinks you wanted.

When I asked for the martini, I got some strange orange-tinted concoction with a slice of lime in a martini glass. Sigh.

Even worse: The glass that held Amie's well-made gin and tonic had a chipped rim. I wasn't watching the server close enough to see if this happened, but one of the most common ways to chip a glass is when bartenders scoop ice with the glass itself instead of using a metal scoop.

Either way, serving a drink in a chipped glass is amateurish and unacceptable -- not to mention dangerous.

The night's only high points were the DJ and decor -- especially the new mezzanine. You can stand up there and look down on people ordering drinks and dancing on either side of the club.

If there had been more people dancing the night we went, we would have joined them, because the DJ was on point.

The old Mosaic focused primarily on deep house beats and brought in internationally touring DJs. But Martinez changed the focus to more pop-oriented dance music.

And the new DJ seamlessly jumped from Sade's "And I Miss You" to Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing."

But the question stands: Why would you spend time and money expanding a lounge you can't even fill twice a week?

sam.sessa@baltsun.com

Mosaic is at 4 Market Place in Power Plant Live. It is open Friday and Saturday nights. Call 410-262-8713 or go to mosaic-baltimore.com.

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