In Fort Worth, Lola’s Saloon is live music. Just off the 7th Street corridor, the bar has been hosting live music week in and week out for the last decade. Some of the city’s most memorable music events have happened at this joint, and just about every live music freak in the city has a Lola’s story to tell.
But space and parking have always been a problem. The 3,500-square foot building fills up in a hurry, and Lola’s has just a couple of legit parking spots — often taken up by a food truck. To make matters worse, predatory tow truck operators will yank rides parked in restricted lots up and down the street. Still, on any given weeknight, Lola’s is jumping, and getting in to see a band, or even finding a parking space within a mile, can be problematic.
So when Lola’s owners were approached by the owners of the property directly behind them, they jumped at the chance to expand. “The lot became available,” says Brian Forella, one of the owners of Lola’s. He's a man of few words. “And we said, ‘We’ll figure out something to do with it.'”
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When I stopped by on Saturday afternoon to see the new expansion, the bar was mostly empty — save for a knitting group called Knittin’ Kittens that posts up there once a month. It was a touch surreal to see a group of women, one of them wearing a skull and crossbones sweater, knitting at a notorious rock 'n' roll bar. But I found Forella leaning on the bar and he gave me a tour of the new property, all the while beaming with pride like a new father. Lola's has taken over the two lots behind the back patio area, and the nearly 2,000-square-foot concrete-block building that has sat vacant for years has been converted into a satellite bar. Large windows open up to serve the thirsty masses and a new deck will go up around it by Friday.
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Walking past the booze dispensary, there's a large shaded area with corn hole boards, picnic tables and a new wooden fence (with an open gate) that demarcate the food truck zone. Forella hopes to have the food truck connections established this week as well. Beyond the food trucks, the bar has gained more than 30 new parking spaces. Lola's is also working on leasing the parking lot across the street.
But it’s the 16-by-20-foot stage that really catches the eye. I can recall seeing bands like Epic Ruins and Spoonfed Tribe play the small stage inside and, while the energy was phenomenal, I couldn’t help but think how much better the show would be with some room to move. They’ve already had one show here, a benefit by Josh Weathers, using a borrowed PA, but once the lights and permanent sound system are installed this will be the place to catch an outdoor show. Weather permitting, we may get our chance next weekend with Oh Whitney and the Hendersons.