There's action at The Adolphus, the legendary downtown Dallas hotel: They're reopening the Rodeo Bar, the bar at 1312 Commerce St., at the corner of Akard, which has an entrance directly accessible to the street.
According to a release, the bar is reopening in the fall.
The bar closed in 2018, and much of the food & beverage operation at the hotel, including their famous fine-dining restaurant The French Room, has been closed for regular dining due to the pandemic. The casual all-day bistro City Hall Bistro stayed open to accommodate hotel guests.
The bar is being revived with a nostalgic twist — probably a good thing for the bar, which has been eclipsed by buzzier openings that have occurred in downtown Dallas in the past decade.
Originally opened in 1981, the bar was named after Walt Garrison, who played with the Dallas Cowboys and was also a professional rodeo rider — back in the days before rodeo was seen as an exercise in cruelty towards animals.
The newly restored bar will include an expansion called The Back Room — who doesn't love a bar within a bar — as well as an updated food menu and design.
The hotel has brought in Makeready, a management company that designed and will operate the bar.
"Reopening a legacy bar with an already built-in narrative, it was critical that we preserve and honor the heart and soul of the original concept," says senior VP Justin Fields. "Quite literally we asked ourselves, how do we retain the past, while setting the stage for the next 40 years."
"We loved the idea of an old-school Texas Tavern where you walk up, order swiftly, and get back to eating and drinking," Fields says. "This is a no-nonsense bar with friendly service serving approachable fare influenced by Tex-Mex and traditional Texas cuisine."
The menu was created with a playful approach to comfort food, and a nostalgic appreciation for Americana fare. In other words, burgers.
Smash-style burgers will be a big focus, along with a blue plate special that rotates daily and features items such as brisket, pork chops, and jalapeño sausage. But it will also have "bar food," says Charles Olalia, the culinary director for Makeready, although it'll be bar food in quotes.
"We want Rodeo Bar to be known for its food, but also be cognizant of the fact that it is a bar, and a casual bar at that," Olalia says. "The menu will have many items you might expect at a bar, such as burgers, chips & queso, and sandwiches and we are paying homage to these classics by doing them right."
The bar program will mirror the food with a no-frills approach to cocktails, beer, and wine.
Decor will consist of a mixture of vintage and refurbished booths, as well as tables and seats. In Texas, we appreciate not just booths but also tables and seats.