Brooke Humphries: The Party Starter

In this week's Dallas Observer we profile 30 of the metro area's most interesting characters, with new portraits of each from local photographer Mark Graham. See the entire Dallas Observer People Issue here.

Brooke Humphries is standing outside the entrance of It'll Do Club on Elm Street a few weeks before the club's reopening. She's fielding questions from Red Bull reps and contractors and employees as if she's running for office. "You have two minutes of my time," she says to one. "You have one minute," to another.

She's blunt, but she has to be: The efficiency helps her juggle Barcadia and Beauty Bar, her two Henderson clubs with business partner Brianna Larson; a new McKinney restaurant called Acme F&B; the reopening of It'll Do, a former Tejano bar; and the opening of a new Greenville coffee shop, Mudsmith, in August. The 42-year-old is also working on a six-lane bowling alley on the corner of Ross and Greenville avenues, and she's always bringing DJs to town, most recently via the Meltdown Festival, with partner Jeremy Word.

When that's your schedule, the walk-with-me-talk-with-me becomes the default.

"I've been talking about a good old-fashioned nightclub for like three years, and finally this place came along," she says. With It'll Do recast as a house-music venue, she's planting her flag in a neighborhood that's ripe for expansion, especially for people with the right vision.

And Humphries has a lot of visions: She wants Mudsmith to have communal seating, so people talk to each other. It'll Do will not indulge the pretension of bottle service. "[That's] so five years ago," she says. "It's a fading, bullshit trend. I don't care if you drive up in a Ferrari. I don't care who you are. You want a drink, you walk up to the bar."

Humphries grew up in the 1990s Dallas club scene but spent five years in New York, where she befriended Michael Alig, the notorious party promoter now in prison for murder, and she was memorialized in the 2003 feature-film version of the Alig documentary, Party Monster.

Her vision is part vibe, part aesthetic, but she's hinging her new ventures on a bigger idea: "It used to be people in Dallas wouldn't leave a five-block radius. Now, if you give Dallas the product, they will drive to the product." And there's an increasingly strong chance the product belongs to her.

See the entire Dallas Observer People Issue here.

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.
Audra Schroeder
Contact: Audra Schroeder