We all know Phil Romano has a knack for launching and expanding a concept. This time, he’s pushing a spot in Trinity Groves that goes beyond serving trendy food.
Romano and James Slater — of Deep Ellum’s IdleRye — will soon open The Network Bar, “a members only concept … that takes networking and social interaction to another level," according to a press release.
So rather than another watering hole, think of this place more along the lines of a country club serving the purpose of connecting people in business — “doers,” as Romano calls them.
“This is a tool; that’s all it is,” Romano says. “There’s a real need for something like this. I see so many networking groups in Dallas.”
And this space is for similar people, whether it’s someone just out of college, someone who’s a CEO or someone who’s retired. They join in membership, and their information is available to all other members.
“Say you need a patent attorney — you can search the app for members who are patent attorneys; you can see if they’re here right now,” Romano says.
That’s not all the app does. It also literally unlocks the door to The Network Bar.
Inside, you’ll find a spacious room, one you might as well call a den. Pool tables and large seating options fill the space with the bar lining one side of the room. Elsewhere, there are more seating arrangements, allowing meetings to be made private by the draw of a curtain.
Membership is $500 a year for people ages 21-30 and $1,000 for those older. Mentoring is encouraged across ages, Romano says.
And one day, it may go beyond Dallas. "What I do and have done, I like to create a concept. … I box it, I get it working, then I figure out how to grow it. So how am I going to grow this?” Romano says. “One of the ideas is maybe I franchise it,” so different cities have the same concept, and networking happens across the country, he says.
Slater’s role is to create the bar experience. “This is the best cocktail menu of my life,” he says.
“I like keeping it classic,” Slater says. No need to call him a mixologist; he definitely prefers bartender.
There’s a cocktail that’s $150 (a lower figure, he says, compared to other cities; don’t worry — there are gold flakes in it), classic cocktails and more special ones of Slater’s creation.
Despite the cocktails, this isn’t a place to get boozy, Romano says. It’s a place to network with others, with a drink in hand and “brain food,” including sushi.
“Men won’t come in here chasing women, and women won’t come in here chasing men. Men and women come in here chasing business deals and opportunity,” Romano says.
There’s also a vetting process for whom you’ll network with. People can only join if they’re referred by a current member; then they’re “checked out,” Romano says.
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“So we have the same type of people in here,” he says. But he says they'll watch to keep a limit on types of professions. “We don’t want too many lawyers, too many realtors.”
That’s where a waiting list comes in. If you can’t get in right away, you can pay a monthly fee (which later goes into your dues) to visit once in a while until your time is up.
The Network Bar is accepting applications and is slated to open late this month.
The Network Bar, 331 Singleton Blvd.