I spoke with Hideaway owner Lonzie Hershner earlier this week to get the latest update on the club’s status. The Hershner family, which also owns the Tin Room and the Drama Room, bought the Hideaway after the bar closed in 2009 after more than 25 years. Lonzie Hershner’s brother, Marty, passed away in 2010.
From Dallas Voice’s offices, we can look to see that construction at the Hideaway — 4144 Buena Vista St. — has really ramped up over the last couple of weeks, and Hershner confirms that the end of the tunnel is in sight.
“We finally got all the permits and all wheels are turning now,” he said. “We’ll be actually open for business in three weeks.”
This was a pleasant shock to hear. As neighbors to the club, construction seemed to slow down toward the end of 2011, but then picked up in January. With both interior and exterior upgrades, the club is finally taking its shape again after being gutted.
“The building had to be broken down to the frame and we had to start from scratch. The majority of the flooring had to be replaced, support beams, extra touches. This was a lot more work than we thought it was gonna be,” Hershner said.
But not all of the Hideaway will be brand new. One important component from the old venue will remain.
“The club will have its original piano. We had a guy come out and tune it up and it sounds like brand new. I’m really excited to have something from the original Hideaway. We’re trying to blend the old with the new and have the best of both worlds,” he said.
While that also means keeping the overall image and intention of the place, he plans to upgrade some of the live music offerings. Hershner plans to work with veteran performers of the club, but he’s also working to bring high-end acts into the mix to up the quality of entertainment in the gay club scene. The back bar will remain as a sort of hangout bar, but the courtyard is still up in the air.
“We’ll still continue to work on that even until after the opening. We’re in the process of deciding among three three different themes and have talked to designers. We want it to be eye-catching and a conversation piece, but right now, we’re not completely decided on that area.” he said.
Hershner also will be adding parking to meet city requirements.
“Dealing with the city has been the hardest part, but we got through it. We needed parking spaces according to them so we worked out a leasing agreement with the dentist office [next door]. Parking is a huge issue with the city, so we had to have trees cut down and paved a section to have that big parking lot.”
Hershner is planning to forego a soft opening. With construction on a roll and deals with performers being finalized, he figures to go big right out of the gate.
“We’re three weeks away to turning on the open sign. We filled out our special permit to have acts that whole weekend and pull off one big grand opening. We’re gonna try to open with a bang,” he said.
Hershner’s pretty confident too about his new club venture. He’s already working on the Hideaway’s one-year anniversary party.
He went on the record to say the club will open Feb. 24. A website is in the works, and more information will follow.