The Night They Turned Off the Lights at 7-Eleven And Other Tales of Greenville Ave.
Yes, as a matter of fact, they did close the 7-Eleven on Lowest Greenville this morning -- at midnight, almost to the second. And, at just past midnight, the sidewalks -- which, moments before, had been thick with club-goers shuffling from drink special to drink special at the Pussycat Lounge, Kush, Lost Society -- all but emptied. The new law, the planned development district ordinance, had gone into effect -- the one intended to rid Greenville of its bad actors. The effect: Greenville was a ghost town, or close to.
Only a few places remained open, most legally: The Libertine, the neighborhood benchmark; Billiard Bar, crowded; Taco Cabana, essential. Yucatan and Service Bar, denied their late-hours permits from the City Plan Commission, also managed to remain open pending an October 7 hearing in front of a judge -- the first, but not the last, legal challenge to the law.
At midnight this morning, Lost Society's owners told Dallas Police officers and code compliance enforcers who'd come to ticket the joint that he too had filed for a temporary restraining order. Assistant City Attorney Melissa Myles, no-nonsense in her jeans and boots on this crisp night, said it didn't count -- it never went before a judge. So Lost Society shuttered, rather than risk a ticket.
Even some with the proper SUPs had to close, though, the Greenville Avenue Pizza Company and Nandina among them. The former didn't yet have its new certificate of occupancy, yet another step required by the ordinance (and another $500 expense, amazing); its windows were covered in black paper. Meanwhile, Nandina was still tied up at City Hall, straightening out paperwork it thought was in order.
Yucatan didn't get off scot-free: Fire Marshals wrote it up for being over capacity. The club's owner stood outside, repeating over and over: "You're harassing me. You're harassing me. OK, OK, I'll calm down. You're harassing me." Only one club flaunted the new rules: 180, its doors wide open past the witching hour. Officers wrote two tickets: one for violating the ordinance, another for operating as a dance club without the proper dance-hall license.
Meanwhile, down at the Libertine, business was good -- not great, not packed, but good, steady. It too almost didn't get to stay open after midnight; it too ran into snags concerning its new CO, despite its being held up at plan commission and city council as perhaps the greatest of all Greenville ventures -- the Perfect Neighborhood Bar, one that operates with consideration for the residents who live all 'round. We stayed till last call, till the lights came on, watching dozens of cars pull into the 7-Eleven parking lot and yank on the door, only to find it was closed -- closed?!?!
On my way home, a little past 2, I drove past a club still jam-packed, its patrons spilling into the street, beer trucks blocking Greenville, cops all 'round. The place: Kinki Lounge, at Martel, near the Granada, far from Lowest Greenville.