Not long after Club Babalu owner Alfredo Hinojosa announced plans to transform the disheveled and shuttered Arcadia Theater on Lower Greenville into Liquid at the Arcadia, an upscale Latin dance club, a neighborhood group calling itself the Barking Dogs of Lower Greenville raised its leg. Barking Dogs founder Avi Adelman immediately organized a campaign to send protest letters to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), Dallas City Council, and various Dallas officials in an attempt block Hinojosa from obtaining the necessary liquor and dance-hall permits.
"If enough residents file protest letters, hearings will be required and the letters will become part of the public record against these permits," says Adelman in an e-mail circulated to rustle neighborhood reaction. "There is a decent chance that we will be able to force the denial of all or some of the permits."
Adelman says he's sick of the parking and noise problems generated by clubs, but does he really think he stands a chance of winning a fight over the right to party? Maybe. He credits a previous letter-writing campaign with aborting the attempted rebirth of the Dragonfly Bar & Restaurant next door to the Arcadia earlier this summer. Dragonfly investor Charlott Norman, who had taken over the club from beleaguered operator Steve Kahn, withdrew her liquor license application to the TABC when she faced costly delays after a neighborhood letter-writing blitz to the agency scotched quick permit approval. The Dragonfly may yet re-emerge in some fashion, however. Bill Hutchinson, president of Dunhill Partners, both clubs' landlord, says he's in the final stages of a Dragonfly lease agreement with a new operator.
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To Adelman, these moves simply mean more protests. "Every time I find out about a permit which has an impact on the neighborhood, we're going to stand up and we're going to put it out," he stresses. "None of this automatic stuff anymore. This area does not need to be a major entertainment district for the metroplex. The neighborhood can't support it."
Buck naked saint
The Samba Room just named actor Matthew McConaughey its first patron saint. McConaughey "shares two common passions with the Latin fusion cuisine restaurant -- bongo drums and late-night revelry," says a Samba Room statement referring to the actor's Austin arrest for bongo drumming and ganja puffing. Yet maybe what cinched Samba sainthood was McConaughey's raw feistiness. "He was nude and refused the officers' commands to dress," says the official police statement regarding his arrest.
— Mark Stuertz