It happens all the time; one day you're looking into entering a float in Dallas' annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, and the next you end up with a liquor-store-slash-neighborhood-hangout on your hands instead. At least that's what the folks at Lower G Spirits & Cigars hope they've gotten themselves into since opening the spot across the street from Granada Theater on July 1.
Concern No. 1 at Lower Greenville's newest booze joint, less than two months in, is filling the shelves with as much local beer, wine and hooch as possible to keep neighborhood patrons darkening the doorway. And the cigars; they're crucial for Lower G's hangout appeal. In fact, their Facebook page claims that amid recent diplomatic advances in the region, Lower G is the first store in Dallas to sell Cuban cigars. But one way managing partners C.J. Lovas and Steve Berglund have begun to build momentum for their new toy is by hosting monthly events we're calling liquor shows, like last Thursday's, which mixed a liquor and wine tasting with a DJ set from NOVA N9NE.
The unusual combination brought in a boost in foot traffic of about 100 visitors, Lovas says.
He and his three managing partners are newbies in both the liquor and event-planning realms but have marketing backgrounds from years spent working in the medical services field. By day, all four hold nice, titled positions at Strategic Health Partners, but by night — since purchasing the property across from the Granada — the medical services guys just wanna have fu-un. (We're pretty sure that's how the song goes.) Lovas and Berglund both moved into Dallas from the Austin area, and Lovas says they have brought a little "weirdness" with them into the new venture.
There is more in the works for M Street liquor lovers. After going through a thorough remodel and installing the cigar room in the back of the economical store space, Lovas and Berglund are in the process of turning Lower G's roof into a patio with seating for 20 to 25 patrons and even more potential for live music. That third step will require a lot of work on the front end, as contractors are still submitting designs and the owners are working through the legal minutiae. Lovas says St. Patrick's Day 2016 would be a reasonable goal for having everything he wants installed.
"It'll be huge for us, hopefully. We want to make it a gathering spot for people in the neighborhood," Lovas says. "To be able to buy cigars and go up on the patio and hear a few tunes while enjoying them is really what we want."
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With its combination of retail liquor and live music, Lower G is another in the line of Dallas' (mostly booze-related) businesses that pair a primary draw with a somewhat unrelated secondary draw in hopes that the kitsch of it all will turn a few heads and add staying power. Off the Record, for example, mixes a craft bar with vinyl sales (spin responsibly, kids) and a host of events like DJ nights, crate dating and lecture series. So Lower G wants to foster their spirit and cigar shop as a neighborhood hangout; why not us, amirite?
"We want people to feel like this is a little extension of their living room," general manager Crystal Smith said.
Lower G's next liquor show is tentatively scheduled for September 25, when Lovas and company hope to bring in a singer-songwriter type to serenade its growing throng of connoisseurs. An art show and wine tasting is in the works for October.