This weekend was the softest of soft openings at this Smokey and the Bandit-themed bar. A painting along the outside wall of an Old West stagecoach heist with a busty blonde hanging from the wagon’s window, will no doubt become one of the greatest outdoor murals in the history of Dallas’ greatest outdoor murals. Inside, the decor feels as if you’ve stumbled into a roadside honky-tonk deep in the East Texas pines. Cedar acts as the wall paneling and support beams, also the primary culprit for the material of the bar shelves, which have nostalgic Coors beer pieces and dead animals spread about. On walls facing each other, two bucks look on, their heads sticking out of the hoods of a Trans Am with TVs on either side. As for the music, there's no bro-country here, only the real McCoy like Willie, Merle and Hank.
Owner Ben Harper says the menu is still in the works, approximately one month out. “We’re debating between pizza and hamburgers; maybe both," he says. "Right now, we’re just tired of having a building and wanted to be open.” Twenty taps of beer will be installed this week as they continue to develop their cocktail menu. Expect a sizable, yet selective, amount of whiskey, bourbon and scotch, with a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle on its way. Enough said.
Although the seating is tables and high tops, there's a couch in one corner to sink into while kicking your boots up, and a patio to take in the sights and sounds of Ross Avenue. While they're still finishing the space, this former car body shop has come a long way. It will definitely be a cornerstone to the re-development along Ross Avenue, as well as a key example of repurposing an old building.
“Eventually we’re going to have a dog park out back,” Harper says. “We want to partner with local pet adoption agencies and do events here.” With a good number of picnic tables behind the restaurant, they're also planning a stage for live music and, farther down the road, a pool with a swim-up bar. The pool would come into fruition summer of 2017, dependent upon the next door owner selling them the property, Harper says. “We’re excited to be here and with the apartments surrounding us," he says. "We’re going to be neighborhood friendly as their business will pay our bills.” By the way, a very large picture of a mustachioed Burt Reynolds will triumphantly hang on a wall soon.
East Bound and Down Icehouse, 3826 Ross Ave. Current hours are 5 p.m.-2 a.m. daily, open later on weekends.