Make room, Lola. There’s a new girl in town.
Joining Shipping & Receiving on the Southside and Arnetic on Race Street is Whiskey Girl Saloon (2413 Ellis Av), another new venue specializing in local, original music. Slated to open in December, according to co-owner Trent Debth, the 5,200-square-foot free-standing Stockyards space (formerly occupied by Club Rain) will feature a state-of-the-art soundsystem, 30-by-18-foot stage, and two satellite stages (one, elevated, behind the smaller of the two interior bars).
Debth’s dream opening-month lineup includes many familiar Fort Worth names, including Quaker City Night Hawks, The Hanna Barbarians, Whiskey Folk Ramblers, and The Phuss –– plus non-indie-rock artists running the gamut stylistically, including country.
“Our goal is to make it accessible for indie-rock guys, punk, inclusive of country music –– it’s the Stockyards,” he said.
Plus, he added, “The cool thing about the original bands in Fort Worth is that there’s not just one niche they fit into. It’s really difficult to describe some of the bands in Fort Worth.”
Debth, a native Iowan and father of two young children, got the idea to open a venue about a year and a half ago, sitting at a regular haunt where the sound isn’t great and the unoriginal performers are same-y (and often overpaid).
“We like indie-rock and the variety you get at Lola’s,” he said. “Other than The Basement Bar, there’s nothing really [in the Stockyards] for indie-rock. The Basement Bar has proven there’s a demand for [indie-rock] out here.”
Debth will handle most of the booking. He hopes the rest will be with local booking agencies.
The Ellis space, owned by a Dallas-based investment group, was one of several that Debth looked at. He and a small team of investors snatched up the building when it became available. The lease was signed last week. “It was important that the room worked well for a band,” he said. “The goal from the onset was to be good for music, to work acoustically and be band-friendly.”
The soundman will be young’un Dan Miller, who’s worked only with individual bands, never a room.
Debth also intends to record performances visually and auditorily. “Our goal with the [auditory] recording side is to make it very affordable for bands that are just getting started, as well as other bands, that they can come in, rehearse, and be able to put together a nice album for not what they’d pay at a normal recording studio,” he said.
Security and safety were two of Debth’s primary concerns coming into the space. He said that incidences of the area’s No. 1 crime –– car break-ins –– have gone down over the past year or so. “We’re working actively with the City of Fort Worth, the constable’s office, and Precinct 5,” he said. “The Stockyards needs to be a safe place.”
Debth hopes to hire a staff of about 17 to 20. He has some workers lined up and will solicit resumes for the remaining opening positions in mid-October. “The one cool thing about our bartenders is we’re going to have a real solid group of people that are there often, so you can get to know your bartender,” he said.
Whiskey Girl Saloon will be open from 4 p.m. ’til close daily, Debth said, with live music five days a week.
Parking will be along the streets and in Stockyards lots, two of which are in close walking distance.
The space also allows for a food truck to pull right up to an interior bar and will be smoking-friendly.