A new bar with a cutesy theme and celebrity ties is opening on the edge of Deep Ellum. Called Chloe’s Newsstand, it's a restaurant-bar with a newsstand theme from entrepreneur Hank Keller, Super Bowl champion Remi Ayodele, and chef Rami Rassas.

According to a release, it'll open at The Epic, the mixed-use development on Pacific Avenue, in early 2023.

Said release is a mildly cringey read. To wit:

"With its debut edition rolling off the presses in early 2023, Chloe’s Newsstand is the definition of a newsworthy development that’s sure to capture six-inch headlines."

Decor includes booths, dimly lit walls, classic photography, a chandelier at the entrance, a rack of old newspapers, and a graffiti-filled hall.

“We’re aiming to take the Dallas nightlife experience to another level,” Keller said. “We want people to feel like they’re someplace unique and exclusive without feeling pretentious.”

The food will combine American cuisine and shareable tapas-style plates, highlighting chef Rami’s fusion of flavor and flare. Flare, do you suppose he'll be using a lot of fire?

The bar will serve old standards plus innovative specialty cocktails that are "sure to create their own headlines." Zing!

Rassas, known as Chef Rami Raw in culinary circles, is a MasterChef contestant who specializes in meal prep and in-home private dining.

Keller is the man behind Dallas’ Lights All Night music festival. He also operates Highland Concerts, a promotions and event company, and is an expert at raising capital, twice landing on Empact Showcase’s “Empact 100 List,” an annual award honoring the Top 100 entrepreneurs in America under the age of 35.

Ayodele is a DFW native who played football at the University of Oklahoma and won a Super Bowl ring with the New Orleans Saints. A graduate of South Grand Prairie High School, he's partnered with Keller on previous entertainment venues.

House of Spirits Soiree

Adult-only Halloween pop-up with spooky cocktails haunts Dallas mansion

Holiday News

A spooky amusement with a national presence returns to Dallas just in time for Halloween: Called House of Spirit: A Haunted Cocktail Soiree, it's a Halloween-themed installation that'll temporarily set up shop in a Dallas mansion, only to disappear by November 1.

House of Spirits debuted in Los Angeles in 2019, and only pops up in a limited number of cities. It first debuted in Dallas in 2021, but for 2022, it's bringing a new theme, based on a real-life scenario, called Tale of Volkov Manor!

The backstory:

When the Vasiliev children came to live with their uncle, Doctor Grigor Volkov, they discovered the spirits of his former patients wandering the halls, as well as a malicious entity known as The Midnight Man. The characters and themes of House of Spirits: Volkov Manor are loosely based on real life inspirations, including the final days of Grigori Rasputin, the ancient god Veles, and other Slavic folktales throughout the centuries.

If you're not into those kinds of arcane details, let's cut to the amenities:

  • themed miniature craft cocktails
  • macabre magic
  • tarot readings
  • strange roaming specters
  • secret games
  • giant Ouija boards

The spooky pop-up will return to the Alexander Mansion at 4607 Ross Ave., a 12,500-square-foot estate built in 1904. The mansion is ordinarily home to the Dallas Woman's Forum, which rents out the space for events.

It starts early this year, debuting on September 16 and running through October 31.

To participate more intensely, guests are encouraged to dress in time period fashion, costume, or elegant dress.

The event is for 21 and up, and is a two-hour experience that includes miniature cocktails inspired by a dearly departed spirit. Additional cocktails, beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages, and food items are available for purchase.

It's open Thursday-Friday with two shows at 6:30 pm and 9 pm; three shows on Saturday at 3:30 pm, 6:15 pm, and 9 pm; and three shows on Sunday at 3 pm, 5:45 pm, and 8:30 pm.

Tickets start at $70, up $15 from last year. Depending on the type of ticket you buy, you get 4-5 miniature craft cocktails, and a French chocolate truffle pairing curated by a chocolate sommelier.

Black Lagoon

Spooky national Halloween pop-up experience is coming to one DFW-area bar

Holiday News

A special pop-up with a Halloween theme is hitting nine bars across the U.S., including one in the Dallas-Fort Worth area: Called Black Lagoon, it's an immersive Halloween pop-up bar concept that will hit nine U.S. cities this fall, and that includes Nickel City, the Fort Worth outlet of the Austin-based neighborhood bar chain.

According to a release, Black Lagoon is a horror experience created by industry veterans Erin Hayes (Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles and Chicago's Lost Lake) and Kelsey Ramage (Trash Collective and Supernova, opening soon in Toronto). Here they are in a photo, looking very spooky Morticia.

They first debuted the concept in Toronto in 2021; it was subsequently crowned Best Pop-Up Bar in Canada, although that could also be that Canadians are easily impressed. Jury is still out.

The release says that Nickel City will be transformed into a wicked environment, with decor cues taken from goth culture and cult horror, such as House of 1,000 Corpses, including skulls and life-sized coffins. You're encouraged to wear costumes.

"Kelsey and I both love the metal/goth/horror bars and those spots really inspired Black Lagoon, but they are more beer-and-a-shot places," says Hayes in a statement. "With our background in the spirits world, we wanted to pay extra attention to make sure our [cocktails are] as tasty as they are blood curdling."

The drinks menu is built around Halloween hues with beverages that are blood red, the darkest black, and eerie orange, to include:

  • Screaming Banshee, with gin, Giffard L'Abricot, pineapple syrup and Greek yogurt
  • Lilith's Cup, with Mount Gay Black Barrel, Aperol, vermouth, passionfruit syrup, and glitter
  • Closed Casket, with Bruichladdich Classic, St. Remy, Giffard L'Abricot, passionfruit syrup, and miso ferlernum
  • Hellraiser, with Hornitos, Chairman’s spiced rum Cointreu, and spiced oat orgeat

Cocktails will be served in custom glassware, which is always a big thing with these pop-up bars. Said glassware will also be for sale, which is also a big thing with these pop-up bars.

Musically, the playlist will feature a subtle hardcore vibe, throwing in punk and metal along with a soundtrack of eerie noises.

Located at 212 S. Main St. in Fort Worth, Nickel City is a favorite DFW destination for holiday-themed pop-up bars, having previously hosted the very similar-in-concept Miracle, a Christmas-themed pop-up of national scope both in 2020 and in 2021.

"We wanted markets that have vibrant countercultures so patrons who are likely to enjoy our immersive vibe will come and feel right at home," says Hayes.

The full list of bars includes:

  • Chicago: The Dandy Crown in partnership with Hospitality 201
  • Portland: Hey Love
  • Los Angeles: Lost Property Bar
  • Dallas/Fort Worth: Nickel City
  • Denver: Yacht Club
  • NY: Our Wicked Lady
  • Montreal: 132 Bara Vintage
  • Vancouver: Butcher & Bullock
  • Toronto: Third Space

The pop-up begins in September and they're hosting a special preview on Sunday, September 4 which is open to the public from 6-10 pm.

Black Lagoon is about celebrating a spooky holiday but the pop-up is also about creating a safe space for those who may not feel at ease in every cocktail bar.

"We want this to be a space for the weird, for the misfits and the goths," Hayes says.

"As an adult, this concept embraces my inner goth metal kid who just loved Halloween," says her partner Ramage. "We just want to let people have fun and experience true freedom from judgment."

Courtesy photo

Moody new bar in Dallas' Bishop Arts beguiles with outdoorsy allure

Bishop Arts News

It's almost getting hard to keep track but Dallas' Bishop Arts neighborhood has another new bar: Called Bar Eden, it's now open at 308 N. Bishop Ave. in the space that was previously The Botanist. In other news, The Botanist has apparently closed.

Bar Eden is from Exxir Design Studios, which in a release calls it an enchanting new lounge, located next door to Paradiso, also an Exxir property.

If Paradiso is chic and tropical, then Bar Eden is darker and moodier, with whiffs of Provence, Tangiers, and Paris. The lounge features overgrown biophilic installations, inside and out, intertwined with playful prints, natural stone, and lavish old-world fixtures.

Is it time for a definition of biophilic design? Courtesy of Metropolis:

Biophilic design seeks to satisfy our innate need to affiliate with nature in modern buildings and cities. ... Biophilic design focuses on those aspects of the natural world that have contributed to human health and productivity in the age-old struggle to be fit and survive. Thus, desert or deep-sea habitats or microorganisms or alien or extinct species or other obscure aspects of nature are largely irrelevant as aspects of biophilic design because they offer little if anything in the way of sustained benefits to people. ... Successful biophilic designs are inspired by qualities and features of natural settings without being exact duplicates.

Bar Eden encourages visitors to intermingle in its indoor-outdoor, greenhouse-style environs while enjoying wines, beer, classic cocktails by Beverage Director Iluggy Recinos, and innovative bar bites by Executive Chef Nick Hurry.

Menu standouts include a cocktail called Fountain of Youth with English gin, Meyer & eureka lemon, sherry, and champagne. The food will be seasonal fare such as tempura beer-battered zucchini blossoms with fennel and green goddess dressing.

The theme will be elevated yet approachable, maintaining Paradiso's commitment to accessible price points and hospitality.

The Botanist opened in August 2019 with the feel of a vintage laboratory, featuring an ever-changing menu of botanical drinks, hailed by many as a cocktail destination. It closed in July 2022.

Exxir's family of concepts includes Paradiso, the Mediterranean restaurant in Bishop Arts; Good Companions, the casual cafe; and Bishop Lane, a sandy outdoor bar.


Bar on Dallas' Henderson Ave whips up new House of Dragons-themed pop-up

Dragon News

Dallas bar The Whippersnapper has a timely new pop-up: The Henderson Avenue bar will go beyond the wall with a Game of Thrones theme, in anticipation of the upcoming new series on HBO, House of The Dragon.

According to a release, The Whippersnapper will transform into "Whipperfell," hoping to enlist dedicated GoT fans of the television series and drinkers alike.

This is the sixth interactive themed pop-up event The Whippersnapper has embraced. It'll run for a limited time, starting August 25 and ending October 15.

Phil Schanbaum, co-founder of This and That Hospitality, says that doing GoT was a no-brainer.

"Our goal is to bring the incredibly well-loved world of Westeros to life and recreate the magic for the dedicated fan base of the series," Schanbaum says. "We're excited to get people through the doors to see all their favorite characters and set pieces that make the show so iconic."

Game of Thrones fans can expect an immersive experience at Whippersnapper, featuring re-creations of different sets that will be easily identifiable from the TV series.

A centerpiece will be the opportunity to sit on the Iron Throne, the show's famous chair forged from 1,000 swords. Whoever sits on the throne is considered ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. All hail!

Visitors can also expect employees in costume, a photo booth and other Instagrammable opportunities, interactive experiences, nightly entertainment, and artwork from local artist Jonny Freeman.

Adding to the immersive pop-up will be a selection of creative cocktails highlighting favorite moments from each character; and a special food menu with items inspired by infamous episode titles from the series.

Costumes are encouraged although not required.

They'll also sell exclusive Game of Thrones-themed pop-up merchandise, which will be displayed behind the bar.

Located at 1806 McMillan Ave., the Whippersnapper is a trailblazer in Dallas in the realm of the themed pop-up bar. The first was in January 2019, when it transformed itself into The Drunken Clam, a fictional bar from the TV show Family Guy. Subsequent iterations have included Breaking Bad, The Simpsons, The Office, and Friends.

They're not the first to do a Game of Thrones-themed pop-up, however: That crown goes to Ill Minster Pub, the bar that was located in the Gables Villa Rosa apartment building in Uptown Dallas, which did a GoT pop-up in 2019. RIP to Ill Minster, which was closed by the apartment building earlier this year.

Courtesy photo

Blackfriar Pub in Uptown Dallas conjures Irish magic at new location

Pub News

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."

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Top-ranked high schools make the grade in this week's 5 hottest Dallas headlines

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. 2 distinguished Dallas high schools sit at head of the class as Texas' best in 2022. Two campuses in Dallas have earned extra credit as the best high schools in Texas. In the latest rankings from education review website Niche, Dallas ISD’s School for the Talented & Gifted tops the list of the state’s best public high schools, and St. Mark’s School of Texas in Dallas leads the list of the state’s best private high schools.

2. NFL legend Terry Bradshaw's ranch north of Dallas listed for $22.5 million. An Oklahoma ranch around 70 miles north of Dallas-Fort Worth that’s owned by NFL Hall of Famer and Fox Sports analyst Terry Bradshaw is back on the market for $22.5 million. The 744-acre ranch was relisted after a deal with a would-be buyer fell through.

3. Dallas grilled cheese restaurant abruptly closes location in Oak Cliff. A Bishop Arts restaurant dedicated to making grilled cheese sandwiches has closed: The aptly named Dallas Grilled Cheese Co. closed its original location at 310 W. 7th St., after nearly eight years. According to co-owner Diana Ezzell, the closure was prompted by problems with the location.

4. Best vegan grocer in Denton relocates to market-deli space. An acclaimed market in Denton specializing in all things vegan is making a move: Mashup Market, the plant-based specialty grocer that debuted at 316 Oak St. in 2020, is closing that original location and making its new headquarters at 1302 W. Hickory St., its second location that opened in 2021.

5. Dallas man allegedly scammed $26M from Chinese real estate investors. A Dallas-area man has been charged for allegedly scamming Chinese investors out of more than $26 million in a real estate scheme. Timothy Lynch Barton, the 59-year-old president of real estate development firm JMJ and CEO of real estate investment firm Carnegie Development, has been indicted on seven counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and one count of securities fraud.

Beto to visit Dallas college campuses following debate on TV with Abbott

Campaign News

On November 8, Texas will vote for its next governor — choosing from either incumbent Republican Greg Abbott or Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.

In anticipation, the two will participate in a debate on September 30, which takes place at 7 pm at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg. It's hosted by KXAN news anchor Britt Moreno and will feature questions from a panel of journalists.

The debate will air on Nexstar television stations which in Dallas is KDAF Channel 33; the Texas Tribune will also livestream.

It's their only scheduled debate and according to the Associated Press, Abbott conditioned his participation on the debate taking place without an audience.

"Sources tell me Abbott would only agree to face Beto with no audience in the room," said journalist Scott Braddock, in a tweet which is right here:

This will be first time Abbott and O'Rourke meet since the May 25 press conference where O’Rourke confronted Abbott after the shooting in Uvalde.

O'Rourke, who previously undertook a summer tour across Texas, holding 70 public events in more than 65 counties, is now launching a College Tour focused on young voters. It includes visits to two Dallas-area campuses, with only one open to the public, as follows:

  • Monday October 3, 10 am: Town Hall at University of North Texas, at the University of North Texas - Gateway Center Ballroom, 801 N. Texas Blvd., Denton. Open to UNT students only.
  • Monday October 3, 12:30 pm: College Tour Town Hall at Dallas College El Centro Campus, 801 Main St., Dallas. Open to the public.

During the College Tour, he'll hold more than a dozen public events at colleges and universities around the state, affording an opportunity not only for him to share his platform — reproductive freedom, reducing gun violence, raising minimum wage, legalizing marijuana — but also an opportunity to get students and young people registered before the October 11 deadline.

'Wide-awake' Dallas neighbor is 2nd best U.S city for families, says Fortune

No place like home

Fortune advises readers to not let Wylie’s “picturesque, historic downtown fool you.” And for good reason. The magazine hails the North Texas city as “a fast-growing, modern community that doesn’t skimp on the amenities.”

Thanks in large part to those amenities, Fortune puts Wylie at No. 2 on its list of the 25 best places in the U.S. for families to live. Ann Arbor, Michigan, takes the top spot.

In recognizing Wylie, the magazine cites the city’s well-above-average public schools, numerous facilities for older residents, and events such as the Bluegrass on Ballard festival and Wylie 500 Pedal Car Race.

"With its start as a stop on the Santa Fe Railway in the 1880s, Wylie has always been a gathering place," the magazine writes. "In fact, because shops stayed open late to accommodate the railway visitors and business, one of the town’s nicknames became 'Wide-Awake Wylie.' The historic downtown continues that tradition of community today..."

Fortune lists the median home price in Wylie as $399,838 and the median household income as $96,845. The booming suburb is home to nearly 60,000 residents. It now stretches across Dallas, Collin, and Rockwall counties.

To come up with its ranking, Fortune combed through mounds of data for almost 2,000 communities in the U.S.

The only other Texas city in the top 25 is the Houston suburb of Sugar Land, ranked 17th.

“Residents have a sweet spot for this Houston suburb that brings the community together through its lively downtown hub, local events, and even a ball game or two,” Fortune says.

Among other highlights, Fortune notes Sugar Land’s “outstanding schools,” the Sugar Land Space Cowboys minor-league baseball team, Sugar Land Town Square, and high-quality health care at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital.

In Sugar Land, the median home price is $399,250 and the median household income is $121,665, according to Fortune. The suburb is home to around 110,000 people.