An Uptown Dallas nightspot is spreading its wings: The Blackfriar Pub, an Irish pub that's been on McKinney Avenue for nearly 20 years, is spinning off a location in Lakewood, at 6341 La Vista Dr., where it will open (softly) on Monday July 25.
They're taking over a space that has had some turnover but was most recently Full Circle Tavern, a bar that relocated from The Cedars District to Lakewood but closed in November 2019 after less than six months.
Sharing a name with one of London's most famous pubs, the Blackfriar was founded in 2003 by Dallas pub veteran Feargal McKinney, proprietor of the Old Monk and the Skellig, who also once owned the Idle Rich Pub in Uptown, which he closed in 2018.
In 2019, he sold the Blackfriar to Michael Kim, the perennially upbeat owner of the Sugarbacon Proper Kitchen chain (which recently opened a location in Allen), as well as Tequila Delicious, a small Mexican spot, also on McKinney Avenue.
Occupying an old two-story frame house on McKinney Avenue, the Blackfriar has prevailed as a casual, rambunctious hangout, with patio bars on both floors, and a dedication to provide headquarters to college alumni sports clubs as well as international sports such as soccer - a niche for which there is a big market, which is what prompted the idea of a second location.
"In Uptown, we're the headquarters for the University of Alabama alumni group, so we'll get hundreds of people for games," Kim says. "We also broadcast UFC pay per view fights. We get a big turnout of sports fans."
Kim's operations director Kevin Hartley spotted the space in the very center of Lakewood, which would seem to be an ideal place to open any kind of establishment, although as many an operator has found, Lakewood is not an easy market.
But Kim is nothing if not optimistic.
"The Blackfriar is a unique concept with a lot of character," he says. "And we've updated the culinary side with great food and brunch. Lakewood doesn't have a lot of places like this, and we feel like there's a big audience, especially for weekend brunch."
He's invested a good chunk into the location, working to duplicate Blackfriar's cool charm on the interior, as well as adding TVs and a stage for live music. The space also comes with what is a Blackfriar trademark: a two-story space with patios on both levels.
"Lakewood is a much different community than that of Uptown, it's very much its own niche," he says. "We hope to bring energy to that area, we want to be premiere sports bar and Irish pub in Lakewood."