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

Mmmmm … Meatfest … Dallas Voice full

MEAT

Happy Meatfest!

Meatfest is an annual event that takes place at Texas Land & Cattle and is celebrated by everyone at 4145 Travis St., the building that’s home to Dallas Voice.

Our company and the others in the building are lucky because we have the best landlord. The building is owned by … well, we call the landlord Robin Masters, the never-seen owner of the mansion in Honolulu where Magnum P.I. lived. The building is managed by Nancy Blackmoor. We’ve never seen the “landlord,” but Nancy keeps an office in the building. And just as Higgins turned out to be Robin Masters — maybe — we think Nancy is our real landlord (or landlady).

GONE

Nancy always takes care of us. Everything in the building is well maintained. The parking lots are kept secure and the grounds are always well-kept.

And for Christmas, Robin, I mean Nancy, takes everyone out for Meatfest. We ate for more than two hours.

Let me recommend the Jack Daniels Pie with an extra shot of Jack Daniels — and expect my best writing in this week’s Dallas Voice, because after two hours of eating topped off with Jack Daniels Pie (with an extra shot) I’m just sitting down to put everything together right now.

—  David Taffet

It’s Texas-OU weekend and parking will be a pain — but hopefully not a costly pain

Finding safe — and legal — parking can be tough on any weekend in Oak Lawn. But throw in the annual Texas-OU showdown, and finding parking anywhere gets even tougher.

A parking scam during the 2008 Texas-OU weekend cost a lot of football fans some big bucks. But Dallas city officials said this week that they will be coordinating with state agencies as they did last year to make sure nobody gets scammed again.

The ’08 scam was a coordinated effort between fake parking attendants and licensed towing companies, where “unsuspecting fans were flagged into private parking lots where they paid the ‘attendants’ to let them park for the game. Towing companies then swooped in and hauled off the vehicles,” the city’s statement said.

Last year, the city put new procedures in place to avoid such scams, including special permits and city-issued signs to let people know where they could park, and Dallas police and the Texas Department of Licensing beefed up patrols and enforcement around Fair Park. They will be doing the same this year.

Paul Curington with the Dallas Police Department’s parking enforcement division suggested people headed to the game park inside Fair Park where fees will probably be lower and the area safer. But those who park in an off-site private lot or in someone’s yard need to look for the official green signs that indicate that property owner has a valid city permit to offer parking, and a “towing enforced sign.”

If you  head down to Oak Lawn in your own car, be sure to park in a well-lit area — one where your vehicle won’t get towed — and park as close to your destination as possible. Don’t walk alone, and stay out of the dark areas. Park in one of the lots with security if you can.

Curington also suggests leaving the car at home and taking DART to the game. The same holds true for those headed to Oak Lawn to party, either before, during or after the football game. If you don’t want to ride the bus, consider a taxi; it might cost a few bucks, but not as much as having your car towed and sure as hell not as much as being robbed or assaulted. Isn’t it worth a little extra to be safe?

—  admin