The Room, a new cafe and bar in Mount Vernon, is opening at 800 Saint Paul St.
The Room, a new cafe and bar in Mount Vernon, is opening at 800 Saint Paul St. (Courtesy of Steven Norris)

A new cafe and bar designed to feel like a friend's funky basement is opening its doors in Mount Vernon.

The Room has opened quietly at 800 St. Paul St., a space at the corner of Madison Street that's a step down from street level. It was previously home to Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse, and The Parlor opened there during a short stint after Red Emma's relocated to Station North.


Andre Mazelin, formerly operations director of the Creative Alliance, owns The Room. The Mount Vernon resident said he "fell in love with the space" after touring it on a whim.

Red Emma's has been open for a decade -- a relatively short time in a city full of history -- but as one of the first organizations of its kind in Baltimore, it has the feeling of an institution.

He wanted to add a relaxing venue to Mount Vernon.

"I wanted to also build a place that I wanted to hang out in," he said.

The Room will serve "interesting" sandwiches, local beer, coffee and wine. The cafe is sourcing its breads and pastries from Stone Mill Bakery and plans on using local cheeses, among other local ingredients.

Mazelin worked with Kuo Pao Lian and Pavlina Ilieva of design and architecture firm PI.KL Studio to brighten and build out the space, which now has white walls, reopened windows, and midcentury modern furniture and decor. A geometric mural by Baltimore artist Wendell "Solely Supreme" Shannon dominates the ceiling above two-top tables with chess board finishes.

In addition to incorporating local art, The Room also utilizes pieces from local artisans, including lighting by Cedar & Cotton and signage and two bars by Majer Metal Works.

The cafe seats about 36 between tables, bar stools and lounge-style couches in the back.

"We just vibed off [Mazelin]," Lian said. "The process and the design wanted to be humble."

The same was true for the name.

"I just wanted to make it simple," Mazelin said. "Simple and vague at the same time."

It took about six months to renovate the space, and Mazelin has a grand opening tentatively planned for May 18.

After its official launch, The Room will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays. The cafe will be closed on Sundays and Mondays.