Wish You Were Here

Local rock stars dream up chill cocktail lounge for East Dallas' main drag

Local rock stars dream up chill cocktail lounge for East Dallas

Here cocktail lounge in Lakewood
Here is almost here. Photo courtesy of Tony Barsotti

Garland Road is emerging as a hot zone in Dallas, and there's a coming-soon lounge with rock star credentials to prove it. Called Here, it's a casual new bar from Julie Doyle, singer and manager of Polyphonic Spree, and Tony Barsotti, artist, musician, and furniture designer.

The bar will open later this summer, in the former Cycling Center space at 9028 Garland Rd., which closed in 2014. It's nestled in an unassuming strip of businesses, including Margie's Wig Salon and the Kitchen Recording Studio, and that's all part of its charm.

The area is being settled by trendsetters such as Jason Cohen, who opened the garden-themed vintage shop Curious Garden one block away, and Hypnotic Emporium, an ice cream store that opened across the street in February.

For Doyle and Barsotti, two longtime veterans of Dallas' music scene whose friendship goes back many years, Here is a labor of love — with emphasis on labor, much of which they did themselves.

"We spent the last year making this happen," Doyle says. "On a limited budget, mostly out of our own pockets, we demoed this place, rebuilt, rezoned, added gas, bathrooms, grease trap, kitchen, the works. It's a full overhaul. We know every single square inch in that room, and what's below the ground, too."

In terms of decor and concept, the two owners share similar sensibilities. Floors are carpeted. There are tufted Chesterfield-style banquettes on the perimeter, and primary-colored chairs for accent.

"Tony and I both love the '70s," she says. "We opted for an old-school classic feel, where West Texas meets Palm Springs. Tony created a beautiful, mammoth wall inspired by the lounges that existed on airplanes back in the 1970s. But Here is an evening place for adults, where one can actually hear the other. You can eat some decent food and enjoy some cocktails along the way, or fresh juice if desired."

They attracted a gallery of big names to brainstorm on food, drink, and atmosphere, names that reflect the bold-faced circles in which they travel; Doyle is married to Tim DeLaughter, founder of Tripping Daisy and head robe for Polyphonic Spree. Serving as general manager will be Julie Moore, most recently at Times Ten Cellar, but who logged many years with pub impresario Feargal McKinney.

The menu, described as "Southern refined," includes consults from some of their chef friends, with Micah Killough (Common Table, HG Sply Co.) running the kitchen. Cocktails are designed by Omar Yeefoon, and there's a 21-by-4-foot image of Marfa from their friend Rainer Judd (daughter of artist Donald Judd) inside the lounge.

"Marfa was key, as we are in Texas and wanted to honor that aspect of the desert," she says. "It's a treasure."

This being a musician-run place, there will be live music, but executed in a casual, organic fashion, not with a stage. "We want people to feel a certain way when they come in, whether it's the house music or a live performance," she says.

Here is about reflecting and serving the neighborhood.

"We live in East Dallas and want to offer something enjoyable to an area that's still incredibly underserviced," she says. "We were drawn to the block and feel lucky to get this space, it was the perfect shell for our ideas. We had zero interest in doing this anywhere else. The location was a huge inspiration.

"And come on, sandwiched between a classic wig shop and a recording studio? We can't lose."