There was still bubble wrap on the rafters and plastic over the doorway at the 3619 Greenville Avenue last night, but it was still easy to see what the newest bar from some familiar faces will become.
"It's just a neighborhood bar with snappy background decor," says owner John Kenyon. They'll have music every Wednesday, no cover. The bands should be good -- Kenyon's got 30 years of experience in Dallas nightlife, and his partners at the Vagabond are a venerable collection of songwriters in Joe Ely, Terry Allen and Butch Hancock. All three played last night at a preview opening of the venue, located in the space most recently occupied by J. Pepe's.
The bar will feature craft beer and cocktails (last night they were trying out a stellar Old Fashioned) and will be open seven nights per week: 4 p.m. to midnight on Sunday through Thursday and 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. on the weekends.
The Vagabond will unofficially open full-time starting January 17th.
Mark Ridlen will help set the mood in a role he winkingly refers to as "In-House Muzak Officiator." Sometimes he'll DJ, as he did last night, playing a wide-ranging selection of funk, soul and blues records, all on vinyl. He'll help program the DJs or house music on other nights as well, leaning on "classic funk, soul, blues and country from Texas and beyond," as he describes it. "I want to resurrect KKDA."
The space offers plenty of opportunity. The interior is cozy. Vintage lamps adorn the bar, and the stage is little more than a convenient patch of floor space. There's a covered patio in the front and an enormous one out back, which includes a raised wooden deck and a pool.
Photographer Mike Brooks was there to capture the scene at last night's preview; his view of the place follows.