Since 2016, Baby’s on Fire, the cozy coffee spot/record store in Mt. Vernon, has been a haven for vinyl lovers and chai latte-sippers alike.
So when it was announced that owners David and Shirlé Koslowski were partnering with Michael Bowen (formerly of the Ottobar) to bring their musical minds and cafe fare to Fells Point in November, there was plenty of local buzz. Combine that with a location in the former vinyl room of seminal record store The Sound Garden and a new bar program, and you’ve got a recipe for an irresistible all-day hangout. In a neighborhood with plenty of options for beer, wings, and a raucous evening crowd, Baby’s offers a calmer, more conversational atmosphere.
The Sound Garden’s records have been cleared out (not to worry, they still fill the back half of the store) to reveal a large space filled with comfy window seats, a tall communal table, and a custom bar. Local art hangs on the walls, and a chalkboard calendar gives a run-down of the week’s events: karaoke, a free art opening, industry night. It’s a small sampling of what the Koslowskis and Bowen want to do with the space.
In December, The Sound Garden hosted alt-rockers Silversun Pickups ahead of their Rams Head Live! stop, bringing fans into the cafe for a sort of intimate pregame with the band, including a performance and record signing. Events like that—as well as singer- songwriter performances and residencies, art openings, and trivia nights—are fun additions to the everyday vibe of Baby’s Fells Point, which has managed to mimic what makes its big sister spot so good: It’s for everybody.
“We want to get back to that sense of community,” says David. “It’s been really rewarding for us, and it sort of like feels like we can give back to our city by feeding them, keeping them caffeinated, or giving them a safe space to hang out and meet people.”
Affordable quality was top of mind when David and Bowen developed the new bar program, which is unique to the Fells Point location. Old world wines and local beers dominate the bar menu, but no glass will set you back more than $12. When it comes to breakfast and lunch, omnivores have plenty of options, but vegetarians and vegans will welcome Shirlé’s menu of plant-forward sandwiches, salads, and even a rotating twist on vegan mac and cheese.
“There’s a few things that Baby’s has wanted to do from the get go, and we’re continu- ing to do them here. One is to have a really friendly staff, two is to deliver quality food and drink, and three is to do it in an unpretentious way,” David says. “Everybody can enjoy good things.”