Making a gayborhood

Posted on 21 Jan 2010 at 5:39pm
By David Taffet | Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

Rainbow Lounge owners opening additional bars; Schrock says he hopes the area will become a major LGBT destination


J.R. Schrock

"We’re doing great — kicking right along. The community really needed it," said J.R. Schrock, owner of Fort Worth’s Rainbow Lounge, talking about how well the bar has done in its first six months. He reports that business has been so good that they’re opening a second bar and have plans for a third and maybe a fourth.

Schrock said his new bar, Percussions, should be open by mid-February. Located on South Jennings Street about two blocks from Rainbow Lounge, he described the new venue as a mid-sized, live band bar.

"About the size of Alexandre’s in Dallas," he said, comparing his new bar to the nightclub on Cedar Springs Road. They are looking for local entertainment, he said, and encouraged performers to contact him or Rainbow Lounge’s new manager Chad Dorman.

When he opened last summer, Schrock said he wanted to see the neighborhood develop into a gay entertainment district with stores and restaurants clustering around the bars. The bar raid might have been a setback, but business roared ahead in its aftermath.

In September, the Stampede, a neighboring bar, burned and has not reopened. Schrock said he is friendly with the owners and is working with them to find a new location in the immediate area.

Then a coffee shop next to Rainbow Lounge closed. The owner said the bar wasn’t conducive to their after-church business.

But now the space has been leased by a new gay owner and will reopen within a month and specialize in catering to the bar crowd.

Schrock said that Percussions is not the end of his investment in the area and just a small step toward his goal of turning the area into an LGBT destination.

"We purchased another building on May Street one block from Rainbow Lounge," he said.

Schrock described that undertaking as a multi-million-dollar show bar. The three-story building has a patio on the roof. Extensive renovations will be done to the property before it opens.

He said that he’s looking for a top-name entertainer to manage and program the as-yet unnamed entertainment venue. He plans to fly in performers from around the country in addition to presenting locally produced shows.

Schrock’s long-term plans still include restaurants and retail. He said that once he has four or five bars operating in the area, he might open something himself. He thought a tanning salon might complement his current businesses.

BUSINESS BRIEFS
Obscurities Tattoo and Piercing Studio has moved to a new, 2,400-square-foot location in the same building as the old location but facing Cedar Springs Road. The new location opened on Jan. 15. Owner Jay Westerman said there would be more private space with the new state-of-the-art sterilization facility …. Subway has signed a lease for a location on Cedar Springs Road between TapeLenders and the new Hunky’s location in part of the old Crosssroads Market space.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 22, 2010.

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