Memorial Day weekend is pretty hectic for most bars, but this weekend was particularly so for Old East Dallas craft beer bar Strangeways.
"They couldn’t wait for us to open," Strangeways owners joked on Facebook when posting a photo of the Oldsmobile Bravada that crashed through the wall and into the bar around 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
"A very drunk guy gave his keys to another very drunk guy in the parking lot of La Michoacana," Strangeways co-owner Rocio Ildemaro says. "The second guy told him no because he doesn’t know how to drive. The owner of the car, drunk guy No. 1, [put] him in the driver seat and told him he’d teach him.
"The guy never made it to the brake/stop lesson, just the step on the gas as hard as possible and go," Ildemaro says.
As all of this was happening, her brother, Strangeways co-owner Eric Sanchez, was sitting outside on a bench, watching it unfold.
Strangeways was closed when the wreck happened, Ildemaro says, and there were no injuries — "Not the driver, not the passenger, not my brother, not the Oncor worker that was walking past and also missed him by inches. The owner of the car fled, and the driver was taken away," she says.
"Why was Oncor out there? And why was my brother sitting outside? Because another Oldsmobile Bravada had wrapped itself around a power pole on Fitzhugh," Ildemaro says. "That one happened around 1:30 p.m."
Memorial Day weekend is not a good time for a bar to close unexpectedly, so she high-tailed it to Home Depot and loaded up with wood. But the wall wasn't the only casualty; the Oldsmobile's entire front end made it into the bar, destroying furniture and kegs.
"We immediately started clearing up the debris and looking at how exactly to cover up the gaping hole," Ildemaro says. "The boards were up, and we didn’t want it to look like an eyesore, so we painted our fun new 'brick' wall — good enough for Jerry Seinfeld to feel like he’s back at the Comedy Strip in NYC," she said with a laugh.
Strangeways reopened just one day after the crash.
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The co-owners are planning to hire an attorney to help navigate the insurance process. Parts of the bar will need to be rebuilt, but don't expect this dive to change its stripes.
"We will rebuild but most likely keep things the same — but stronger and an awesome party to celebrate once our new wall is finished," Ildemaro says.
Strangeways, 2429 N. Fitzhugh Ave. (Old East Dallas)