From coffee to martinis: Buli gets a makeover

Scott Whittall

Cafe owner hopes change to Shakers piano bar brings more people back to Cedar Springs

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer

Scott Whittall hoped to have his new piano bar Shakers open on Cedar Springs Road by February, but new Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission rules kicked in recently and have delayed the process.

Now, before a license application process begins, a sign announcing the application must be posted for 60 days.

That sign is now posted in the front window of Buli, which will become Shakers. Whittall said he is hoping for a May opening.

The name Buli will be retired, Whittall said. The new name of the larger space will be Shakers. Whittall said it will be a piano bar, but food will be served, too.

Once the 60-day waiting period ends, the application process begins. Previously, the sign didn’t have to be posted until the process began.

Further delays could result from the flood of new applications TABC has received as a result of the wet/dry election in Dallas County in November. More than 50 locations have already applied for licenses in Oak Cliff. Only a few have been approved so far.

Whittall and his partner, Alan Goode, have already signed a lease on the property next to Buli that was formerly occupied by Zen Clips. The two spaces have been listed as one by the city since the early 1990s when Oak Lawn Flower Mart occupied both.

Whittall hopes that will speed the permitting process for renovations.

Whittall said business on Cedar Springs was up and down. He hoped that Shakers would attract a larger crowd.

Hours of operation haven’t been decided, Whittall said, but the bar would remain open until 2 a.m. Food would be a part of the mix, he said, but sandwiches served in lunch boxes would probably go away.

“We want to bring it up a level,” he said.

The Zen Clips space gives the new business a back entrance opening to the parking lots. And while interior plans are not finalized, Whittall said he expected the bar to be where the serving counter now stands and the stage will be in the new space. The patio will be extended and partially enclosed.

While owners are wading through the approval process for a liquor license, Buli will remain open, serving food and coffee.

The piano bar format has been a staple on Cedar Springs for years. Alexandre’s was the last with a piano. Before that,  Michaels, which was in the building now occupied by Woody’s, was a popular piano bar.

Pekers on Oak Lawn Avenue has live entertainment with Gary Poe performing at the piano every Friday night.

Bill’s Hideaway on Buena Vista Avenue closed in 2009. Lonzie Hershner, who operates the Tin Room and Drama Room, has leased the space and is doing extensive renovations.

He said that he is just beginning the liquor and dance hall application process.

Hershner said he plans to open the patio during the day serving smoothies with water for pets hoping to attract people coming off the Katy Trail. His vision is for the front house to be a piano-jazz bar.

Hershner said the bar will be named Marty’s Hideaway in memory of his brother, who opened the other two bars and died suddenly last year.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Jan. 28, 2011.

—  John Wright

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