The new year is rife with beginnings, and after a hard-luck end to 2016 for restaurants around town with many shutting down, Deep Ellum will have a new opening to celebrate this week.
The owners of the British-themed eatery Independent Bar and Kitchen — as well as Club Dada, Off the Record and City Tavern — are launching a new venue, branded the “Regal Room.” It’s a back room attached to IBK, which was rarely used by the restaurant. It’s meant to function semi-autonomously; it even has its own entrance that may be used in the future, yet it will share a bar and kitchen with the restaurant.
Starting on Jan. 11, the Regal Room will be hosting a weekly music series on Wednesday nights headed by Moody Fuqua, the mastermind behind bookings at Club Dada and Off the Record.
It may be a trend in Deep Ellum, as more eateries are adding live music to their agenda. The Free Man Cajun restaurant has long been known for live blues and jazz acts that bring the house down. Armoury D.E. started throwing some interesting shows soon after it opened a year ago, with Saturday nights being booked by local talent buyer, Jeffrey Brown.
As part of the new programming, Fuqua is bringing over DJ Wanz Dover from his residency at Off the Record to spin jams in the front dining room every Wednesday night, while different lineups will take the stage in the Regal Room starting with Akkolyte, Cygnus and Lord Byron for the first installment on Jan. 11.
Fuqua envisioned it as an “industry night” for people in the creative and service industries. He says he approached Josh Florence, Tim Daniels and Phil Coward, the owners of the collection of businesses, with the idea of a weekly series. They liked the concept, Florence came up with the name for the space, and if it does well, Fuqua will expand it to more nights.
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The Regal Room will be providing free music with no cover starting at 10 p.m., $3 wells and domestics, a late-night menu, and it’ll stay open until 2 a.m. even though IBK normally closes at midnight.
Fuqua’s hoping to re-create the vibe at the Crown and Harp, but bring it to Deep Ellum. The Crown and Harp was one of his first gigs booking musical acts, which put the bar on the map as an underground live-music hot spot, and solidified Fuqua’s reputation as one of the best talent buyers in the city.
“I miss doing the small-room stuff, the all-local party stuff,” says Fuqua. “I wanted to make a place for musicians and service-industry people to hang out with their friends when they usually can’t on the weekend.”
And the series and new venue are being marketed with original art by Clay Stinnett, who hand-created posters for each show. Fuqua says a certain amount of their marketing effort will be old-school fliering of the city.
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Since he has multiple venues to manage, Fuqua’s filled Dover’s weekly spot at Off the Record with Blue, the Misfit, who will be spinning music in a series called “Blue’s Beat Club.” It’ll feature only instrumentals from new and vintage electronic and hip-hop songs.
It would be hard for the new venue to not be a success, with Fuqua’s track record and its prime location at the corner of two main thoroughfares in Deep Ellum. It faces Drugstore Cowboy across Main, Curtain Club on Crowdus, and it’s catty-cornered from Stirr, the new multilevel restaurant and cocktail bar. Not to mention, the large front patio of IBK is a draw, as are the windows in the front of the restaurant and in the Regal Room, which open to the street.
“When we have bands playing and the weather’s nice, the windows will be open, and you’ll be able to hear it all through Deep Ellum,” Fuqua says. “People will be like, ‘Oh damn, where’s that music coming from?’ They’ll be walking down Crowdus and see the band playing. It’s a rad little spot.”
The Regal Room’s Schedule Highlights
1/11 Akkolyte, Cygnus, Lord Byron
1/18 Oil Boom, PVC Street Gang, Ten Foot Beast
1/25 Little Beards, Teenslut, Fuzz Puppet
2/1 Creepeth, Paper Saints, REI Clone
2/8 iill, Ethereal & The Queer Show, Mirror Box