Dallas F&B vets to open martini lounge with some of that swing
A new lounge coming to old East Dallas will pay tribute to a Dallas institution: Called Columbian Country Club, it'll open in the former Bar and Garden space at 3314 Ross Ave., where it will honor an iconic Dallas golf club that closed in 2004 after 125 years.
The lounge comes from hospitality veterans Brian Rutt, Justin Kallhoff, and Jonathan Rosenberg, who also own Alice, the small pan-Asian restaurant and bar on Hall Street.
They've begun renovations which include the addition of a small kitchen, and plan to open in October.
Founded in 1881, The Columbian Country Club was Dallas' premier Jewish country club, one of many that were established in cities across the U.S. back in the days when country clubs still had restrictions on membership.
The Columbian was originally in downtown Dallas but relocated to the North Dallas-Carrollton border in the '50s, with a 60,000 square-foot clubhouse, pool, and tennis facilities, thriving as a social and recreational country club known for its tremendous dining and social events, according to Texasgolf.com.
"I kind of grew up on those grounds, it's where a lot of people in North Dallas grew up," Rutt says. "My whole family would spend summers there. This is a throwback to those times, to our roots."
Rutt is a lawyer and an entrepreneur who founded DEC on Dragon, the event space in the Design District. He got started in the hospitality business a decade ago when he partnered with Brandon Hays, Phil Schanbaum, and Jonathan Rosenberg on bars like Standard Pour and High Fives.
After Bar and Garden closed in May, the landlord approached Rutt and Kallhoff, since they'd had such success with Alice, just a few blocks away.
"He's trying to put good concepts in that space, and recognized that we know and love the area," Rutt says. "It's not a big space and we figured we could do a sexy little spot."
Whereas Alice is more food-driven, Columbian Country Club will focus on the bar experience, very New-York-city style with martinis and a Wolf of Wall Street vibe.
"It'll have high-end martinis, with an incredible tequila program," Rutt says. "We'll have a full-time piano player, doing new beats and old beats, hopefully something different for Dallas — a place you could have a martini after work or go out on a date, with good music, you can dance if you want."
Decor will espouse that '80s country club milieu but with modern aspects, as well. There'll be food, but just a small menu of light bites including the buzziest category in food right now: bagels.
"We're thinking caviar on trays, a signature sandwich, martinis made table-side, and of course parmesan bagels (IYKYK)," he says.
Parmesan bagels ... must be a country club thing.