930 N. Charles St., 410/547-0149,
HOURS: Mon. 9 p.m.–2 a.m., Tues. 5:30 p.m.–2 a.m., Wed.–Fri. 5 p.m.–2 a.m., Sat.–Sun. 6 p.m.–2 a.m.
Longevity in a lounge is something rare, especially in Baltimore, which has always favored bars or mega-clubs and little in-between. But Red Maple succeeded because it got the basics right: great music, both from DJs and small live performances; a well-designed and nicely-appointed building with different areas for sitting, eating, and dancing; a tasty, modern menu (mostly Asian tapas) that’s just right for the space; and even an out-back smoking patio featuring the club’s namesake tree.
Even the bathrooms, where many Baltimore lounges will cut corners, have smart design. Live flamenco bands and belly dancing balance out the house and trance DJs.
© Geoff Brown from Moon Baltimore, 1st Edition