Diskobar, a new music-focused bar located inside a Nepalese restaurant in Mount Vernon, will open Friday.
Located in the basement of Kumari Restaurant and Bar, Diskobar will play modern disco, deep house and other forms of dance music, said Patrick Paulus, the general manager who came up with the concept. (The restaurant owns the bar, which was previously Funky Buddha and Liam's Pint-Size Pub before that.)
Selling alcohol is not the main focus at Diskobar, Paulus said. He envisions it as a social space for locals to meet, exchange ideas and listen to the music he loves. Paulus said he was inspired by some of his favorite Baltimore spots.
"Places like the Bun Shop and Red Emma's, I tend to go to those places a lot," said Paulus, who grew up around Belvedere Square. "I wanted to have something like that with music."
The bar is "really tiny," he said, comparing the size to that of Mount Vernon cocktail bar Sugarvale. Diskobar has "a little bit" of room to dance, but it's a bar and not a dance club, according to Paulus.
"Twenty to 30 people fit in here," Paulus, 36, said. "We have a few couches, a few tables and then we have the bar. It's a really cozy place."
The bar sells bottles and cans of beer. Bitburger, National Bohemian and Yuengling cost $3, while Union Craft Brewing's Duckpin Pale Ale, Peroni, Stella Artois, New Belgium's Fat Tire and Stillwater's Cellar Door cost $4. Paulus said he plans to hire other bartenders soon, and they'll brainstorm cocktails and happy-hour specials.
Diskobar will also serve Kumari's full menu, along with items exclusive to the bar, like charcoal naan pizza and masala wings, Paulus said.
The music, though, is the bar's driving force. A neon sign mounted above the bar reads, "if it wasn't for the music," a line from Indeep's 1982 single, "Last Night a D.J. Saved My Life." (The full line is "If it wasn't for the music, I don't know what I'd do.") Photographs of Bjork and LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy hang on the walls.
"We have a lot of producers and DJs and singers that are influential to me [represented in the bar]," he said. "I just tried to make it my favorite stuff."
Patrons can expect to hear artists such as Norwegian avant-disco producer Prins Thomas, St. Louis producer Osunlade and Russian electronic band D-Pulse, to name a few, Paulus said. The goal is to explore the idea that disco music "is more than that romanticized period" from decades ago.
"There's definitely going to be music from the '70s played here, but there's also going to be music from last week," Paulus said.
Paulus, a Bolton Hill resident who also DJs, admits the concept is "kind of bizarre," but believes there's a demand for the music he craves — there's just not enough places in the city that play it.
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"Baltimore tends to be very punk rock and experimental," he said. "There's a lot of places for that, so we just wanted to come up with something for another style of music."
Diskobar will be open 5 p.m.-2 a.m. daily, though it could close early on slow nights, he said. While Diskobar is only days away from opening, the execution of the concept is still fluid. For now, establishing the right vibe is most important.
"We're taking a very relaxed philosophy with it — just going with the flow, and doing what we love, which is music and food and bringing people together," he said. "It's just appreciating that unifying element of dance music, which has made a big impact on me."