Bloom Lounge Opens at Ulysses Hotel, Cross Street Market Seeks Last Vendor, Bartender Goes to Church – Baltimore Sun


The hotel bar is always a bit wild.

Sometimes it’s just a bastion of convenience; a place ready for a late night drink after a day of travelling. More rarely, it is a water point with a life and character of its own.

Bloom’sthe new living room inside the freshly opened Hotel Ulysses, is a hotel bar in the latter vein. Head up the stairs to the entrance of the boutique hotel, turn right, step through a set of red curtains and you’ll find a dimly lit bar, covered in velvet and mirrors throughout that could certainly stand on its own- same.

The lounge, open daily from 5 p.m. to midnight, is in keeping with the eclectic style of the Ulysses. The 116-room Mt. Vernon Hotel, which opened Sept. 21 in the historic Latrobe building, features design references that span “Art Deco movie palaces, the work of Baltimore icon John Waters and more,” according to the hotel’s developer, the New York-based Ash design firm.

The mirrored bar, walls, and ceilings create a slightly dizzying theatrical effect, while hot pink petal lamps, flower arrangements, and plush purple velvet bar stools and curvy banquettes keep things cozy and romantic. The decor is reminiscent of retro Las Vegas spots like the Pepper mill loungewhere glamor meets camp.

For drinking, there are classic cocktails like Tendrils, Midori Sours, and a $22 French Martini, with vodka, crème de raspberry, pineapple, and champagne. There’s also a customizable Old Fashioned menu, with bourbon and gin choices plus additional cordials in flavors like passion fruit, tart cherry, and banana. I tried an Old Fashioned with Barr Hill Barrel Aged Tom Cat Gin and Blackberry Syrup, a smooth combination with a hint of sweetness.

Bloom’s offers a small selection of snacks consisting of homemade toasted almonds, marinated olives and rosemary crisps, but you can find a more extensive menu in the hotel’s cafe and restaurant, ash bar. It’s on my list to try next.

Chelsea Gregoire helped launch bar programs at restaurants across the city and was named Esquire’s 2019 Beverage Manager of the Year. But before entering the hotel business, Grégoire was a theology student.

Church, a new bar opening Wednesday at 2219 Maryland Ave. at Old Goucher, is inspired by these theological roots. With partners Marisa Dobson and Martha LuciusGregoire aims to create a secular gathering space that encourages community building and engagement.

At the church – “filled with spirits” slogan – guests can commune over a curated list of 10 cocktails, which range in price from $10 to $15, including “The Host,” a mega-martini that serves four to five people, and the “St. Vincent”, a brandy and Concord grape drink topped with a mint mousse. For those who don’t drink alcohol, there are five non-alcoholic options.

The bar menu will be designed by a rotating line-up of chefs participating in the Church’s Chef Residency program, which will recruit a new local or traveling chef quarterly. The first of the range is Dwight Campbell, co-founder of Cashew Creamerywho brings 15 years of experience to this position, notably with Steak from Stephen Starr 954 on foot Lauderdale and the National Art Gallery in Washington. Future resident chefs include Melanie Kerra former “Chopped” contestant who also served as the nonprofit’s executive chef moveable partyand Chief Anna Kentowner of Tom Cat’s Kitchen and vice president of Baltimore Bartenders Guild.

A separate room called “The Fellowship Hall” will serve as a community meeting space to hold skills-sharing classes on banking, using Narcan and more, as well as hospitality training for staff at the Church.

And then there was one.

For the first time in years, Cross street market is almost entirely leased, and the operators of the Federal Hill food hall are launching a competition to find their final supplier.

Partners of the Valley of Cellarswho spearheaded the market’s $8.4 million renovation, and the Atlas Restaurant Groupwho recently took on a marketing and operations role there, will offer $50,000 to subsidize the winning candidate’s construction costs and start-up costs.

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Partner Cellars Valley Arch Mirmiran said the remaining 300 square foot space, across from the market bar, “is the most central food stall in the entire market.”

“It’s a situation where you save the best for last,” he said. The selected vendor will join other new merchants including The Chicken Lab, Empanadas DMVindian spot Aunty KrishnaItalian restaurant by Velleggia and the next opening HK A seafood restaurant. Mirmiran said the market was also in talks to rent space to a beef brisket vendor.

Cross Street Market operators are looking for vendors specializing in cooking that cannot already be found in the market; possibilities, according to Mirmiran, include Mediterranean, Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine, as well as a bakery or salad shop.

Booth competition entries are available at crossstmarket.com.

In August, we reported McCormick & Co.’s “America’s Got Tacos” contest, which offered $50,000 for a theme song for the Hunt Valley-based spice maker’s original taco seasoning.

We now have a winner: Chesapeake, resident of Virginia Reggie Lewis Halsey Jr. Actress Keke Palmer called the 38-year-old father of three last week to announce that his song, inspired by his family’s affinity for Taco Tuesdays, is the new taco seasoning jingle. Halsey, who used writing and music as a form of therapy after being paralyzed in a car crash, said he plans to use his winnings to pay for his eldest daughter’s college.

You can check out his theme song “soul rock with a country twist” below.

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