Dallas’ Bars Keep the Home Fires Burning During the Winter Blast
Keep the Dallas Observer Free
Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer clear.
Just before Valentine’s Day, many Texans were more dizzying about the prospect of snow than flowers or chocolates. We checked the weather apps every hour for reassurance that we were actually seeing some serious powder this time. Oh, the bliss of our naivete.
As the snow rolled in, the power grid failed, the pipes froze and then broke. Texans have since received a joint education on what “deregulation” means, what a cooking note means, and whether gas or wood fires produce more heat (it’s complicated).
Community groups organize to help one another. Telephones with texts: “Y’all good?” Social media posts offer warmth, food, or whatever else a neighbor needs.
But through the snow and broken pipes, some unsuspecting spots around town have turned on the lights in the kitchen (and bar). Not just for food, warmth or a charging station, but to fight the isolation and fear that some feel.
The most humble pub, Lakewood Landing, has served honest drinks and amazing corn dogs for decades. When their landline rang almost continuously last Wednesday, they posted a simple message on Facebook: “We are open. Stop calling. ”
“Obviously there are concerns about the safety of our customers given the weather,” says Jordan Lowery of Landing, who is maintaining the capacity mandated by the pandemic. “But a large number of our regular guests come here. The blackouts kept people at the bar too. A customer would get a text or phone call stating that their power supply was restored. They’d cash out and leave, but come back within an hour and say it was the go again. ”
And while they haven’t been able to get their regular grocery deliveries from vendors, they’re not overly concerned. “You can only fix so much of your menu with one Sam’s Run, but we have a delivery next Thursday so we should be back to normal soon.”
Fortunately, their liquor supplier is right across the street.
Cosmo’s, just off the landing, is committed to the Lakewood community that supported them through the pandemic.
“We keep the kitchen open until 2am every night to ensure our guests are properly fed during these difficult times,” says Chef Jackson Tran. “Lakewood has been so supportive of us after our COVID shutdown, and we must exercise our due care to return the favor when the neighborhood is in need.”
The Ten Bells Tavern in the Bishop Arts District also opened its doors this week and posted on Facebook that anyone who needs warmth is welcome.
“The main thing is that people need a warm, powerful place. We both had the added benefit of alcohol and food, ”says owner Meri Dahlke. Fortunately, some key people live just blocks from the British bar and have a kitchen run by the chef. Dahlke, who has a broken foot at home, asked her crew, who lived nearby, if she wanted to help open up to the community. They were all there.
“This was a voluntary basis,” she says. “If they had said no, we wouldn’t have opened. I have a great staff. “
The Peak Inn near Baylor Hospital which serves a fantastic cheeseburger also lit the oven. Being around Baylor likely helped as Oncor avoided turning off electricity to hospitals.
“No broken pipes! We run out of groceries that we are currently unable to replenish due to weather conditions and late deliveries, ”says Joel Morales of the Peak Inn. “But we are able to keep people warm, full and spirited.”
You saw some regulars, but also a lot of first-time visitors: “People say they are glad we are open.”
The Oak Cliff Social Club was also fortunate to have a steady stream of electricity and running water. They too have employees close by who have helped keep the doors open. A few years ago they installed charging points throughout the bar and seating area, which is now not just a convenience but a necessity.
“The locals stopped by to charge the electronics and catch a quick sandwich,” says owner Peter Saucedo. He says the residents of the apartment stop nearby so as not to go crazy.
Pete Zotos of St. Pete’s Dancing Marlin in Deep Ellum opened his place on Wednesday after it was closed for three days, also because he had to see people. “The worst thing you can do to me is to take me away from people,” said Zotos.
He made soup and chili with plans to close at 5 p.m., but the wound stayed open until 10 p.m. and a steady stream of locals hunted for hot food or water. And maybe some people just need to see other people.
When the temperatures hit 50 degrees for the first time in days, people will thaw and hopefully soon be able to mingle again. And these bars will be there as always.
“It’s the landing,” says Lowery. “Just before the apocalypse we will be open. We have generators.”
Let’s not tempt the universe, Lowery.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free … Ever since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we want it to stay that way. We offer our readers free access to concise coverage of local news, food and culture. Produce stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands with bold reporting, stylish writing, and staff who have won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Feature-Writing Award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism . With the existence of local journalism under siege and setbacks having a greater impact on advertising revenue, it is more important than ever for us to raise support for funding our local journalism. You can help by joining our I Support membership program which allows us to continue to cover Dallas without paywalls.