Midnight Sun Wesley Case covers the city's after-hours scene

Tired of Federal Hill's hard-partying image, a cafe owner hopes his new bar will inject some culture

Bernard Kayes, owner of Spoons Café, wants to transform the hard-partying image of Federal Hill.

“When you see the number of really young kids from 12 o’clock to 2 [a.m.] that are drunk and vomiting everywhere, it gets kind of like, ‘Do I want to deal with that?’” Kayes said.

Kayes said he wants to enhance the neighborhood “on a cultural level” instead of it mostly being known for sports bars and cheap beer. His first step toward that goal is called Buzz, a bar located on the second floor of his café. It’s been quietly open for the past two months, he said, but there are more ambitious plans on the horizon.

This fall, Buzz will add a recording studio to the space, where aspiring musicians — mostly unplugged jazz sets, along with avant-garde musicians — can perform while having the set broadcast live on the internet, Kayes said. Artists will receive audio and video copies of the performance as well, he said. (The plan hinges on Buzz being approved by the liquor board for live entertainment. That process is ongoing, he said.)

“That’s the movement we’re trying to make happen in Federal Hill — to make it a little bit more of a cultural scene instead of just a sports [and] drinking neighborhood,” Kayes said.

He said he hopes to have the recording studio “in full swing” in September.

In the meantime, Buzz is designed to be a casual bar for locals to hang out in, Kayes said. The approximately 2,500-square-foot space, where coffee is also roasted for Spoons, has two pool tables and an L-shaped bar with Union Craft Brewing beers on tap. It’s also filled with pieces from Kayes’ West African art collection.

With a capacity of 75, Buzz is open Thursday-Saturday from 4 p.m.-11 p.m. On Sundays from 2 p.m.-8 p.m., Buzz will host “Champagne Vinyl Sundays,” where visitors can bring records to be played, he said.

Buzz is located on the second floor of Spoons Café at 24 E. Cross St. For more information, call 410-539-8395. Southbmore.com first reported Buzz’s opening.

wesley.case@baltsun.com

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