The Lizard Lounge, Dallas' temple of electronic dance music, is spawning a baby lizard, and it's going into one of the hottest neighborhoods in the city: Deep Ellum.
Owner Don Nedler has secured the space at 2911 Main St., where previous tenants have included Eden Lounge and Santiago Cantina.
"We love what's happening in Deep Ellum — how can you not?" Nedler says. "You have old clubs like Trees and newer places like Three Links and Black Swan. And I love that it's becoming a dining destination.
The new club is smaller than Lizard Lounge and therefore can serve as a venue for smaller shows featuring up-and-coming performers and DJs.
"That's a mainstream audience that needs some late-night options, and I feel like a boutique dance hall would do really well."
Nedler looked at a few spots in Deep Ellum before finding this jewel of a space, which includes a 3,000-square-foot interior and a spacious rooftop deck.
"I liked it for several reasons," he says. "The deck is amazing. It's a free-standing building with parking, which is unusual. Also, it's near but not in the middle of an entertainment district. That's a formula with which we've succeeded in the past."
His intent is to provide an alternate smaller space where customers can go on nights that the Lizard Lounge is not open.
"We wanted to create something to complement what we're already doing," he says. "We have two faithful audiences: the Lizard Lounge and The Church, our gothic/industry-music nightclub-within-a-nightclub that we host every Thursday and Sunday night.
"But we needed another venue. The people who like The Church don't have a lot of options. So we'll provide a place where they can go on nights of the week other than Thursday and Sunday."
Since it opened in 1991, the Lizard Lounge has welcomed every meaningful act in dance music, from Moby to Crystal Method to Deadmau5, often before they broke out big. It has also over the years hosted rock shows in its parking lot featuring acts such as 311 and Barenaked Ladies, with the downtown skyline as a backdrop.
The new club, which Nedler has yet to name, is smaller than the Lizard Lounge and therefore can serve as a venue for smaller shows featuring up-and-coming performers and DJs.
"We'll move the boutique dance acts in there, and it also gives us a chance for shows on Tuesday or Wednesday, since the Lizard Lounge isn't open those nights," Nedler says. "We love the idea of having a place for our customers on other nights of the week."
Key to his plans is the acquisition of a dance-hall permit, the outmoded document required by the City of Dallas to allow for dancing on the premises.
"I've already applied," he says. "The definition of 'dance hall' has changed. Dance halls are different now. It's no longer a thing where two people dance on the dance floor. Dancing erupts spontaneously all over the place. But we're going to do it legally and get the permit."
That said, it won't be a loud place. He'll build in quiet zones where people can have a drink and not be overwhelmed by the music. Over the next few months, he'll redo the sound system and refresh the interior, while hosting the occasional spontaneous event. And this weekend, he'll host a preview party on Saturday night, with info to come on the Lounge's Facebook page, to give his faithful legions a sneak peek.
"But no dancing!" he says. "Until we get the permit, I cannot allow dancing."