Meri Dahlke and her partners don't waste precious beer time. News that they'd taken over the lease at the Amsterdam Bar broke late last week, and Dahlke says she's already shooting for a June opening. She hopes Eight Bells will replicate the success they've had with Ten Bells, which opened in Oak Cliff about three years ago.
There was a bit of a learning curve with the first bar. Alcohol permits are notoriously tough in Oak Cliff, and the space was slowly built-out over time. A stage for a band was an eyesore, and it took years before the back patio came into shape.
Everything eventually came into shape, though, and now Ten Bells is one of the neighborhood's most popular bars. She plans to charge ahead, applying everything she's learned with her second. "Now, I've got three years experience," Dahlke says. And she has some new help, too.
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Dahlke nabbed Khurk Maeder, who previously worked at the Double Wide. You can find him behind the bar at Ten Bells while renovations are underway at Eight. Maeder will manage the space when it opens this summer.
But first, there's work to do. Dahlke says the bar will be cut down at the old Amsterdam space to make room for a small kitchen. Meanwhile, she'll be spending her time with a garden trowel out back, on what is one of the better patios in Dallas. A massive old tree anchors the space that Dahlke says she'll be sprucing up with a little landscaping and new lighting.
Eight Bells won't have the extensive menu of its sister bar on the other side of the Trinity. Dahlke says she plans to start with a small menu and grow as demand dictates. As for the style and feel, she says she plans to leverage the patina on the Amsterdam space, which was open for nearly 20 years. Expect a "European pubby" feel, and plenty of pints of beer.