Andre Mazelin. Photo by Kelvin Bulluck.

Andre Mazelin’s laid-back Mount Vernon lounge The Room didn’t seem to doing badly. The place, which he opened in 2016, quickly became a spot where people in the area knew they could get light bites like sandwiches and bagels, or hang out with a laptop and a beer or a glass of wine. So people may have been surprised late last October when Mazelin announced that The Room would be closing—its last day was Halloween.

Mazelin, who accepted a position as managing director at Motor House in June and did that job while also running The Room for a while, says that he realized fairly quickly that The Room might not be a good fit for him.

“After spending some time in The Room and realizing that getting up early and serving coffee maybe isn’t what I wanted to do, I started looking for opportunities—kinda lightly, nothing serious —for over a year at that point and decided to look around and see if there’s something else I could get into,” he says. “And that’s when I saw the job for Motor House.”

Motor House, located in Station North—specifically in the location formerly known as the DIY space and studio Load Of Fun, closed by the city in 2013—is a combination performance space, gallery, and artists’ hub. Mazelin, who has been working behind the scenes in entertainment since college, and formerly worked as operations director at Creative Alliance, said working for Motor House is ideal. Now with more resources and the responsibility of curating two stages, Mazeline will have more freedom to book what he wants.

“I’m going to have performances and have important discussions,” he says. “I can show films now. I can have proper music performances which I couldn’t do at The Room. It’s really a graduation into a different type of space that’s going to allow me to do more of what I enjoy doing.”

Mazelin also hosted events at The Room (for example, a panel on toxic masculinity that I moderated), but the space was too small for anything on a larger scale.

Motor House also opened an eatery early last month called Showroom Café and Bar (120 W. North Ave., [410] 637-8300, Run by chef Daniel Horwitz, the place offers light fare such as salads, sandwiches, and small snacks. Mazelin says plans were in the works for Showroom before he came on board.

“They had a chef that they had their eyes on, Daniel Horwitz, who was going to come on and run the food program and then I would have to come in and find someone to run the bar and beverage program,” Mazelin says.

Mazelin notes that the fact that folks seem to miss The Room already is a sign of its success: “I was walking down the street and people were like, ‘Oh man, I’m so sorry you’re gone.’ Hearing people say that is bittersweet but it makes me feel good that people give a damn. You did something that people care about. You provided a space that people enjoy. Because that in itself is gratifying.”

Lisa Snowden is Editor-in-Chief and cofounder of Baltimore Beat. Previously, she was an editor at Baltimore City Paper, Baltimore Sun, and The Real News Network. Her work has also appeared in Essence,...

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