NYLO Hotel Roof

Last weekend, Candy and I drove down to the Bishop Arts District for lunch at Eno’s and on the way back, we decided – spur of the moment thing – to stop off at a spot Candy had seen on the web. There is a new boutique hotel – The NYLO opening up in Southside – and they had a bar and infinity pool on the roof. The person writing the article said the view of the Dallas Skyline from the bar was the best in the city.

We parked and walked up at about one in the afternoon. The place wasn’t even officially open – it was in the middle of a “soft opening.” The woman from the front desk gave us a tour of the lobby and the restaurant. Pretty damn cool, if you ask me – especially the lobby room called “The Library” with a case full of books and funkified seating all around. Then she walked us over to the elevator and took us up to The Soda Bar on the roof.

The article wasn’t kidding, the view from up there is jaw-dropping.

click for a larger and more detailed version

We hung around chatting with the folks that worked there and some customers. They didn’t have any beer on tap – but I made sure they would have some local Deep Ellum Brewing Company products available (they will have the Double Brown Stout and Deep Ellum IPA) when they officially open (which they have by the time you read this).

I kept thinking what the view would look like at sunset, so we sneaked across the street for dinner at Cedars Social and then came back to watch the sunset.

When we finally left to drive back to suburbia we came across the same woman in the lobby that had given us our tour. She said, “Are you still here – I’ve been home and changed and come back again and you’re just leaving?” I said we came back for the sunset.

The place may get too uppity and twee after it gets established – it’s also a bit too far to be a neighborhood hangout – but I’m sure I’ll be back. I could get used to hanging out there. That view is too good to miss.

Sail on Silver Girl, Sail on By

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.”

Interesting construction from recycled materials.

Chicken on the rotisserie.

Our chicken, my collard greens, and Candy’s mashed potatoes. Oh, and the all-important beer list.

Holt and Stockslager singing away.

Review: Chicken Scratch and The Foundry in Dallas

First-Take Restaurant Review: Chicken Scratch + The Foundry

Chicken Scratch and The Foundry: More wow moments from the Bolsa boys

Chicken Scratch Offers Southern Comfort In Oak Cliff

The Foundry is Open in Oak Cliff with Beer, Picnic Tables and, Coming Soon, Fried Chicken

Chicken Scratch, Tim Byres’ New Chicken-and-Tetherball Joint, Opened in Oak Cliff Yesterday

New Orleans Architecture – Fauberg Marigny and Frenchmen Street

The French Quarter has become too touristified for my taste. Filled with grimy bars, expensive antique shops, tacky trinket emporiums, and overpriced food the Vieux Carré isn’t always what it promises to be. Immediately downriver, however, is another neighborhood that is.

New Orleans is a city of neighborhoods and one of the best is the Fauberg Marigny. At the start of the 19th century, Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville (also famous for “inventing” the dice game craps) divided his plantation into residential lots, and the Fauberg Marigny was born. In the middle part of the twentieth, the neighborhood fell into decline, with the area around Jackson Square being called “Little Angola” – after the prison due to the extreme crime. In the eighties, however, commercialization in the French Quarter drove a lot of the residents downriver into Fauberg Marigny. The Marigny became what the Quarter used to be with Frenchmen street becoming ground zero for New Orlean’s essential live music scene.

The neighborhood is a good twelve inches above sea level and escaped the worst of Katrina’s ravages. There is a wide variety of classic New Orlean’s style architecture there – early Creole cottages and townhouses, American cottages, American townhouses, shotgun houses , 19th century corner store-houses, and various modern additions.

If I could live anywhere… I think I would live in Fauberg Marigny.

The Balcony Music Club isn't actually on Frenchmen Street. It's twenty feet down Decatur Street - but it's one of my favorites.

Standing outside the Balcony Music Club last Mardi Gras (I had stepped out for a second simply to catch my breath) a large group of German Tourists came down the crowded sidewalk. The man in the lead asked me in a thick accent, where to find, “Some real jazz music.” I lead them around the corner and pointed them up Frenchmen Street, telling them to stop by each club and pick the music they liked the best. He thanked me and said in very excited broken English, “Goot… Now Ve will get to see the Real New Orleans!”

Entrance to a jazz club on Frenchmen Street.

The Spotted Cat Jazz club on Frenchmen.

A row of shotgun houses in the Faubourg Marigny.

A mermaid stained glass window.