Bar Hopping

Never been much on change. Don't like it. We're sentimental types who attach to people and places. And yet, history has proven to us that change is good. Healthy. So it's with clenched jaw and hopeful sigh that we bring you the news of some major changes in the Dallas nightlife: First, the Green Elephant, a beloved SMU bar, will be closing its doors. For 15 years, the Elephant has been the closest thing the college had to its own personal hang--a casual, good-times place as reliable as a Jimmy Buffett tune, which gave a leg up to such SMU musical darlings as Jack Ingram and Jackopierce.

The closing of the Elephant, of course, prompts an obvious follow-up: What's taking its place? The answer's a bit of a surprise. It's none other than the Barley House, the Knox-Henderson haven for music- and beer-lovers alike.

"After being here 12 years, the neighborhood's changed so much," says Barley House owner Richard Winfield. The bar's current neighbors include the Old Monk, Cuba Libre, Tei Tei sushi restaurant and a slew of upscale furniture stores. Winfield didn't want to move, but skyrocketing rents in the area pushed his hand. "We finally came to a crossroads--we could change Barley House to fit into the neighborhood as it is now, or we could keep Barley House the same and move to a different neighborhood."

The bar will stay in place at least till the end of the year, with Slobberbone playing a New Year's Eve show there. More details in the coming weeks.

But wait, there's more: We're not done with news of venue closings. We've recently heard that Rito's Restaurant, one of the area's few down-low, DIY venues, will be closing in a few weeks. Last August, when Dallas Observer scribe Merritt Martin reviewed a show at Rito's she wrote the following: "So I get this tip about a part grind-core, part balls-out noise show at Rito's Restaurant ('The Family Place'). Apparently, after the restaurant closes, Rito's son Jesus plays host in the back room to bands from Dallas, suburbs and all over the country. These kids love their punk, their experimental, their noise...It's rare. And it's cool." The show that night included assaultive rock, nudity and a coloring contest. Now that's entertainment. The Fuentes family, who owns Rito's, will be opening up a new restaurant, where they will eventually host DIY events in another eight months or so. The restaurant will host a few more events before shutting its doors. Call 214-319-8076 for more information.

Hey, kids, what's that smell?: That's right--something's cooking in the Buzz-Oven, and it ain't no turkey. Aden Holt's free all-ages showcase for Dallas bands is back with three upcoming metroplex performances: Friday, November 19, at Hailey's; Saturday, December 4, at AXIS; and Saturday, December 11, at Trees. Bands on the Volume 12 CD are Flickerstick, Greatness in Tragedy and Sidekick Mafia.

Hard Rock combats hard knocks: On Wednesday, November 24, the Hard Rock Cafe holds its annual benefit concert to raise money for low-income families. Headlining the event will be the always-entertaining Slobberbone. Tickets are $10, and proceeds will be used to buy gifts for underprivileged children in DISD. Call 214-855-0007.

Ken Bethea, typecast again: A Trailer Trash Christmas Carol features the Old 97's guitarist playing "swampy trash holiday guitar" for this irreverent little slice of (dysfunctional) family fun. Shows are Fridays and Saturdays, November 26 through December 18, at the Pocket Sandwich Theater and start at 11:30 p.m. Call 214-821-1860 for tickets.

A brief, possibly cringe-inducing blurb in which the column's narrator stops to thank all of those people who have opened their doors to her in her first year on the job. That's all. Just thanks.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Sarah Hepola