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
taffet@dallasvoice.com

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

Holiday Gift Guide 2010 Online Exclusives

GADGET REST STOP

There is that one person who is a little too attached to their smartphone or mp3 player. Perhaps this stocking stuffer can give both him and the gadget some much needed rest. As a throwback to 1970s basement parties, this Beanie Chair Holder is the perfect and colorful way to relax that iPad or Blackberry. The holder is priced at $10.

Lug, 2805 Allen St., # 117.
214-613-7648. LugLife.com.

SATISFACTION GUARANTEED

Why not be a little bit naughty this holiday season? Tenga brings its automobile design background to the world of adult toys. Sleek and stylish, the Tenga Flip Hole is designed to give the best stimulation and sexual experience. Like, ever.  Plus, Tenga has designed this male self-pleasuring device with such elegance, that it’s OK if left out in the open. Priced at $129.

Alternatives New Fine Arts, 1720 W. Mockingbird Lane.
214-630-7071.

DRINK SMART

These LifeFactory Glass Bottles have a silicone sleeve and are suitable for milk and juice — they are also great for lunch boxes. Available in several colors and two sizes: 9 oz = $12.99 and 22 oz = $21.99.

Sundrops Vitamin & Nutrition, 3920 Oak Lawn Ave.
214-521-1606. Sundrops.com.

ROBOT ACTION

Yes, paper gifts might sound a little bit underwhelming, but you haven’t seen Piperoids. All you need is a pair of scissors. Just cut, fold and connect the pipes to build your own robot with movable joints in less than 30 minutes. Each character has a unique background story and after assemble it can be used as an accent for home or office. It’s like origami, but the cool kind. The items are priced at $16.50 each.

Iota Gallery, 3107 Knox Street
214-522-2999, IOTADallas.com.

SENSUAL SEDUCTION

Surprise every kiss with nature’s sweetest gift: natural honey. The silky-soft glow from these delicate powders offer delicious fragrance and an irresistible lure. Each beautifully decorated canister includes a powder-filled satin pouch and a handmade feather applicator to tickle more than the imagination. Better yet, the Honey Dust can also be used as a daily body powder or a fragrant touch to the bed sheets. Prices start at $23.99.

Condom Sense, 4038 Cedar Springs Road.
214-522-3141. CondomSenseUSA.com

BOOK SMART

E-books might never replace the real thing, but they sure are handy. Aluratek’s new Libre eBook Reader Pro joins the ranks for e-readers. They’ve partnered with Borders to offer a reader that won’t break the budget. With the latest monochrome reflective light LCD display technology, it eliminates those darn flickers during page turns. Battery life will hold up to 24 hours so when that book is just too hard to put down, you got some time. The Libre is priced at $99.

Available at Borders Uptown, 3600 McKinney Ave. (in West Village)
214.219.0512 or online at Borders.com.

—  Rich Lopez