When the Slip Inn off Henderson Avenue closed, it definitely came as a surprise to the masses. The fact that this neighborhood dive would be missed was no surprise. For 15 years, the Slip Inn's dance floor bested any other club in town. But when the turntables went silent, there was promise of relocation within a few months. Sadly enough, March 2014 was the last anyone would see of the Slip Inn.
Nearly everyone in Dallas has some sort of story or fuzzy memory from this hole in the wall. The same fear that resonated regarding the Loon's fate surfaced for the future of the building on the corner of Henderson and McMillan avenues. Rumors buzzed that it would potentially be razed for another corporate bank or pharmacy, diluting the quaint neighborhood.
Fast forward to 2015. Owners Brandon Hays and Phil Schanbaum, who opened High Fives next door to the vacant Slip Inn space, announced they would be revamping the location and reopening the venue under a new name, The Whippersnapper.
This duo is seemingly unstoppable when it comes to bars: They opened The Standard Pour, So & So's and High Fives, and recently branched out into a more traditional dining experience with Wayward Sons. 'The Whip' isn't necessarily a return to their roots, but it is keeping the rhythm going by getting folks back on the dance floor.
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The Whippersnapper transports you to a different era when you step inside. It has the feel of an old Dallas dive with retro light fixtures, '70s-era nude paintings tastefully perverting the walls, Christmas lights strung about and peculiar antiques that become conversation pieces once they catch the eye. The scene is reminiscent of the Beck song "Where's It At" — with two turn tables and a microphone in the newly positioned DJ booth, this joint will have you clapping your hands. There is no draft beer here, so keep a koozie tucked into your back pocket for the bottles and cans. Cocktails are available but don't expect to drink them out of your typical glassware.
Don Draper had a line in the first season of Mad Men that will never grow old. As he gave a pitch in front of a slide projector showing photos, he turned to the men at the table as the carousel kept clicking behind him and said, "Nostalgia: It's delicate, but potent." The Whippersnapper holds true to Draper's line. Those who find themselves reeling in the past can be at home here. For those who yearn for something fresh, there's a touch of that, too. Consider this an upscale lounge with a low-key vibe.
You can still shoot pool next to the graffiti wall that made Slip Inn different, but the bar area has been tidied up and the flow for the crowd made much more maneuverable. TVs are positioned so you can catch the game, but you should enjoy the scene for what it is. As we're slowly losing some of our oldest dive bars to idiocracy, it's much easier to appreciate what has been done with this location. Food is available for purchase from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. each night of the week from High Fives next door, but with different liquor licenses, no bouncing back and forth with booze is allowed.
The Whippersnapper, 1806 McMillan Ave., facebook.com/TheWhipDallas