Before things froze over, Red, Hot & Blue sculpted a new outdoor music venue.
The franchise's first beer garden is also set up for live entertainment, says Ryan Brown, general manager of the longtime eatery at 9810 N. Central Expressway at Walnut Hill Lane.
“We were closed down for a remodel anyway,” he says. “We had the space back there, and it just worked out. We thought it would add a different atmosphere than what we’ve had [here] for the past 25 years.”
Red, Hot & Blue is based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and has 16 locations. Along with music and Memphis-style barbecue, the Dallas location now offers 20 craft beers on tap, as well as a variety of domestic beers that can be downed at bars inside or outside in the airy beer garden.
The beer garden, which includes a train caboose that has been converted into a full bar with TVs, opened last year during fairer weather. “With the opening of RHBQ BBQ and Beer Garden in Dallas, the ultimate, Memphis blues-tinged barbecue experience just got better,” the restaurant’s website says.
The outdoor space boasts a barbecue pit for smoking meat and five large TV screens for football watching parties. Brown says anyone who wants to is welcome to sit out there, but “not right now because of the weather.”
He describes the music venue as a sort of outdoor amphitheater with a raised stage, lights, five booths and a ton of tables that can accommodate about 200 people.
“You could fit 120 people comfortably,” he says. “And you could probably get 200, if they’re standing around.”
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The restaurant is now booking live music, most often on Friday nights, but the musicians have temporarily moved inside.
“The outside probably won’t get going again until the end of February,” Brown says. “The last couple of months have been pretty chilly. Once the weather gets better, we’ll look at adding a few days.”
For now, Brown says, he's cycling through about 10 local bands that play a mix of jazz, blues and classic rock. Aaron Burton, Robin Hackett and Dobro Danny Hill have all played at the location. In October, bluesman Gregg A. Smith celebrated his 25th year broadcasting for KNON-FM 89.3 there.
“[The musicians] all run in the same circles,” Brown says. “If you talk to one, it seems like they play in about eight different bands themselves.”