The coolest part of the Dallas metroplex- the place with the hottest scene right now – is Oak Cliff. I am so happy about that – for decades I’ve loved that part of town and am happy to see that it is finally starting to have its place in the sun. There is the Bishop Arts District already well-established and now to the north, the area that the new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge is serving looks poised for a new Renaissance.
When we were coming back from the Belmont not too long ago I noticed some construction going on along Fort Worth Avenue – about a long block east of the hotel. Looking it up I discovered it was a complex started by the folks that gave us Smoke – and it was a combination beer-garden style bar and a restaurant. The bar was “The Foundry” and the restaurant “Chicken Scratch.” I put a visit to that place on my list of things to do.
Then, this week, I noticed that Holt and Stockslager would be bringing their Simon and Garfunkle tribute stylings to The Foundry stage on Friday night. I had seen them first downtown at one of the Patio Sessions and had loved their show. We also saw them at the Dallas Zoo when they warmed up for A Hard Night’s Day. I was up for a third show.
I looked up the address for The Foundry on Googlemaps and saw pictures of a big sprawling auto repair business. When we drove over I was impressed to see the transformation. It’s a huge space, made with repurposed shipping containers. Giant bulk fluid containers sit up on the roof, lit from within at night to give a colorful techno-retro glow. There’s plenty of seating, from the air-conditioned bar, to lines of picnic tables, to old couches under the tin roof. It’s an interesting place, lots to do, and a lot of attention to detail.
It was warm, but the once the sun set it was comfortable enough. The place is lousy with fans and misters to fight back the summer heat.
We picked up some rotisserie chicken at Chicken Scratch – I was happy to see they offer Collard Greens as a side. The food was really good – they also offer fried chicken if that is more your style. The bar is not a hip martini mixology joint – but their beer selection is impressive and delicious. We sat at a picnic table shared with Holt and Stockslager. Not too many music venues let you eat chicken with the talent before the show.
Holt and Stockslager did not disappoint. I love the stage -built out of old wooden pallets arranged into a big oval cave. The crowd was talkative – the beer-garden atmosphere lends itself to socializing. It would be a great place to go with a big group. Still, looking around, I saw a few folks that were there for the music, mouthing the words to the familiar tunes.
Near the end, they brought out the keyboard for Bridge Over Troubled Water. Stockslager did some stretching to get ready and then he wailed into it. Really, really good. Afterward he advised, “Don’t try that at home.”