Downtown! Things’ll Be Great When You’re …
Last week, on the day that Wreck Room owner Brian Forella signed the lease on a new spot, the downtown space formerly known as the Pig & Whistle, he got the news that the Wreck Room building had been sold.
How’s that for fate? The new space will not be another Wreck Room or even a replacement for the existing one once it’s razed by developers in the near future. Instead, the spot at Calhoun Street and 8th Avenue, according to Forella’s Pig & Whistle partner, Andrew de la Torre, will be “like if the Wreck Room and [Forella's dance club] the Torch humped.” Forella always knew that development near the Cultural District was inevitably going to submerge his long-standing and legendary alt-rock club (which will celebrate its ninth anniversary in April).
All the recent sale does, in his estimation, is move forward his time of departure about six months, to about two years from now. The new space is 4,400 square feet, a wee bit smaller than the Torch. Though he and de la Torre haven’t come up with a name yet, they may open as early as this summer. They want to keep both the Torch and Wreck Room going while the new place gets off the ground. Unlike with the Torch and another one of Forella’s ventures, the recently and dearly departed Southside rock venue Axis, the Pig & Whistle space is pretty much ready to go. “All we’re gonna do is give it a facelift,” said de la Torre. Forella added: “There’s paint, power, furniture.” The new owners said they may go for a Cuban theme. Think: mojitos, cigars, early 1950s Havana.
There may be live music, Forella said, but don’t expect anything rock-related – he’s saving that for the new Wreck Room he’ll eventually open, though he’s not sure where yet. The old Pig & Whistle is across the street from Malone’s Pub and within spitting distance of a couple of other hang-outs, Paddy Red’s forthcoming new location (at the old Black Dog Tavern address on Throckmorton Street) and a new venture by Saporé owner (and former Axis co-owner) Jarrett Joslin in the space once occupied by Club Vivid and Sol y Luna. Nearby is Sundance Square proper and its assortment of bars and bar/restaurants (Rick O’Shea’s, Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, The Pour House, you name it). “There’s a lot of parking,” said de la Torre, who’s been working as a server at Joe T. Garcia’s on the North Side for four years while also dabbling in real estate.
“And the location allows you to bar-hop.” Forella said the space has been vacant for about a year, and, while the owner has had some offers, including one from Hooters, he has declined. “He said he wanted someone to do it right,” Forella said. Forella and de la Torre’s property search began about three weeks ago, starting on the North Side, going through the Cultural District (whose prices, Forella said, were “so ridiculous”), and ending up downtown. “I don’t wanna build an entire other area like we did over [in the Cultural District] with the Wreck,” Forella said. “Downtown isn’t going anywhere. Nothing’s gonna be torn down for more development.”
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