Bar News

Newest version of Dallas' Knox St. Pub rises again in new neighborhood

Newest version of Dallas' Knox St. Pub rises again in new neighborhood

<i>Bourbon: America's Native Spirit</i>
Bourbon is one of their things. Photo courtesy of Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land

A Dallas bar with a long history dating back to the '70s is ready for its next act. Called KSP Henderson, it's a new bar opening on Henderson Avenue whose roots lie in the venerable Knox Street Pub.

Owner Ryan Ferguson worked for Knox Street Pub for many years before becoming the owner. He'll re-open at 1921 Henderson Ave., in the space that was most recently Taco Heads, but has been home to Gin Mill, Lekka, and Swig, with a target date of March 1.

Ferguson closed Knox Street Pub in 2019 when his landlord decided to redevelop the property. That redevelopment was put on hold during COVID, but Ferguson welcomed the break. However, he often heard from former customers asking if he planned to reopen.

When a broker contacted him about reopening at 1921 Henderson, he decided to return.

"It seemed like a shame to waste the history and goodwill that surrounds Knox Street Pub," he says.

Knox Street Pub originally opened in 1967 on Knox Street, where it developed its reputation as a "magnet for artists, writers, actors, musicians, politicians, hippies, college students, and everyday philosophers," as this tribute notes. It was one of the few places where people of different class and race mingled.

The bar relocated to McKinney Avenue in the '90s under new ownership, but it retained that all-are-welcome DNA, and that's part of why people want to keep it alive.

"I took this space on Henderson with one goal in mind — to keep the same fun, welcome feeling the bar has always had," Ferguson says.

There'll be 20 taps, with a dozen dedicated to beer, plus wine on tap, and an extensive selection of bourbons.

"The food, we'll continue to make sure it's good enough that it's the reason you'd come by," he says. "We don't buy frozen stuff and throw it in the fryer. Everything is done in-house. There are plenty of places to get a great drink, but a bar like this with good food is hard to come by."

That said, this is not Knox Street Pub.

"The building on McKinney was just dilapidated, and the new location will be a little more grown up," he says.

"There's certain things I'm passionate about doing right, and that includes making sure the rest rooms are nicely done," he says. "For me, it's a symbol. If you don't take care of the outside, then what's going on behind closed doors? When we got here, the rest rooms had one commode in each, and the first thing we did was fix that. We expanded it and now our women's restroom looks like it belongs in a 5-diamond hotel."

The name is a reflection of the change.

"A lot of guests called it KSP for short, and I liked keeping that," he says. "Henderson Avenue has been a great neighbhood. I always knew the Knox side, but over here, I already know some of the operators and owners of places like High Five, and it feels like everyone shares a common goal to bring more people to the area in a safe and fun environment."