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Booze, Beaded Curtains, and Bongos, Oh My

March 16, 2007

It was a dark and stormy night when we ventured down to Power Plant Live!, whose excessive exclamation point continues to annoy us like a drunk insisting we’re not having enough fun. OK, it wasn’t exactly “stormy,” but it was pissing rain and the temperature had dropped about 30 degrees in four hours. It was the kind of night where none but the most committed of nightlife vets would give you shit for wanting to just stay home with a good book.

But we had invites to the grand opening of the new indoor digs for PPL! club-cum-lounge staple Mosaic, so what the hell. We were also, admittedly, drawn by the two greatest words in the English language: open bar.

And those new digs, they are indeed swanky, a no-expenses-spared feeling with mucho new-club smell. Coming out of the nasty weather felt like stepping into the world’s most fashionable cave, dark and warmly lit in understated (if that’s even possible) red neon and glowing orange, the building materials more dark woods than shiny metals, and couches that probably cost more than our rent.

With the rows and rows of untouched booze bottles and plasma screens touting itself, the new Mosaic also felt, as one companion pointed out, like drinking in the airport duty-free shop. Like most nightclubs without an all-ages night, a mechanical bull, or a healthy dose of postdated Von Dutch, it feels like a place where you should be self-conscious about bad hair and scuffed shoes, even if you just bought them.

All that’s fine, even expected; we’re as grown and sexy as anyone, and sometimes it’s nice to get away from the ware- and punk houses. But the music, and maybe this was just to ease us in on opening night, felt more conducive to after-work happy hour than disco dancin’, unless you were really moved by seeing some dude make his “o” face while playing bongos. The DJ–safe in a fairly elaborate raised booth flanked by some the-future-is-now monitors or CDDJ decks–spun a vocal- and hook-free tapestry of polite house and downtempo.

We don’t usually get too rose-colored about our raving days, but we weren’t sure, while sucking on a soon-to-be-banned cigarette from a $7 pack and sipping an expensive cocktail, if fringed throw pillows and bottle service were what we signed on for way back when. Still, despite the caveats, the new Mosaic is an island of the urbane in the midst of PPL!’s ocean of the inane, and your best nightlife bet if you’re around the Inner Harbor and don’t feel like doing Jäger shots out of someone’s breasts. Though if you ever outgrow that, seek help.