Barmen “Lucky” Campbell and Michael Martensen broke ground today on their new pre-Prohibition cocktail bar that they have finally dubbed “High and Rye”. The new bar is located at 1404 Main Street, and is part of a growing population of bars and clubs in the downtown Dallas area.
Although the name is currently slated to be High and Rye, there have been many incarnations including Garden Bar. In looking at the blue prints for the building each version had a different title including Lucky Spirits and Andouille and Alibis. Campbell stated today that they were running with High and Rye, but that could change at a moments notice.
The building’s last tenant was Dr. Bells BBQ which went dark last November leaving the hot spot empty and available for the pair of drink slingers.
Years ago the building became notorious when waitress Helen Markham testified in front of the Warren Commission about witnessing Oswald shooting officer J.D. Tippit in Oak Cliff. Mrs. Markham was employed by the Eat Well Restaurant also located at 1404 Main. The Eat Well was also mentioned prominently by Jack Ruby’s roommate George Senator who testified he dined at the restaurant each morning, even on Sundays.
There have been rumors that Ruby owned the Main Street building or ran a club at the address, but that appears to be mere legend. Ruby was famous for owning the Carousel that later became the Sovereign Club but later renamed back to Carousel, located blocks away at 1312 ½ Commerce. Originally the Carousel was a cool cocktail lounge but later became a burlesque hall.
The second floor nightclub was an advantageous spot for Ruby to kick unruly patrons down the bar’s steps.
Ruby’s first venture as a night club owner was the Singapore Supper Club in 1947, located on So. Ervay and that name was later changed to the Silver Spur. Ruby also had a hand in the purchase of Bob Will’s Ranch House located at 2135 So. Lamar (the Cedars area of Dallas), but like all his ventures he lost that as well.
Regardless of the history of the building Campbell and Martensen will ride High and Rye into the notorious Dallas cocktail scene.