Rodeo Bar – the quintessential Texas tavern will re-open to the public for dinner and late-night dining and drinks beginning Monday, January 10 with an updated menu, design, and true Texas swagger.
Located at the corner of Commerce St. and Akard St. the popular Downtown destination quietly closed back in 2018 during a years-long renovation and overhaul.
The spirit of this enduring bar space has received a much-needed refresh including an expansion, The Back Room, as well as an updated food menu and design enhancements.
To restore and maintain the authenticity of what locals and visitors alike loved about the former Rodeo Bar, Rockbridge partnered with Makeready to help concept, design and operate the reopening. Makeready is a hospitality company that creates independent concept brands through local influences, functional design, and thoughtful restaurants and bars.
To bring this special project to life, Makeready enlisted collaborator and Dallas based design team, SWOON the Studio. The 95-seat tavern boasts a mixture of vintage and refurbished booths, as well as tables and seats, with the intention of maintaining the classic Texas-vibe of the original concept. The original floors, once known for being coated with peanut shells after a particularly rowdy night, have also been preserved to maintain the original soul of the space.
“Reopening a legacy bar with an already built-in narrative, it was critical that we preserve and honor the heart and soul of the original concept,” said Justin Fields, Senior Vice President of Restaurants & Bars at Makeready. “Quite literally we asked ourselves, how do we retain the past, while setting the stage for many years to come.”
As guests step downstairs to The Back Room, they will be immersed in all original 80s neon beer bar lights, vintage rodeo posters, original Rodeo ephemera, photos and more memorabilia preserved from the original Rodeo Bar.
The Back Room is a gathering place to get a little rowdy. With a few beers in hand and great friends to play pool, guests can throw darts or sink into comfy sofas next to a disco ball while listening to music from the jukebox. If you grew up in this era it is an endless discovery of Cowboy and Rodeo delight.
Fields continues, “We loved the idea of an old-school Texas Tavern where you walk up, order swiftly, and get back to eating and drinking. This is a no-nonsense bar with friendly service serving approachable fare influenced by Tex-Mex and traditional Texas cuisine.”
The menu was created with a playful approach to comfort food, and a nostalgic appreciation for Americana fare. Smash-style burgers are the focus of the menu as a nod to the original Rodeo Bar, which many regulars thought to have had one of the best burgers in town during its time. Guests will notice a casual take on Texas classics throughout the entire menu.
“We want Rodeo Bar to be known for its food, but also be aware of the fact that it is a bar, and a casual bar at that,” explained Chef Charles Olalia, Culinary Director for Makeready. “The menu has many items you might expect at a bar, such as burgers, chips & queso, and sandwiches, but we are paying homage to these classics by doing them right.”
Featured burgers include the Rodeo Burger – 44 Farms pure beef patty, American cheese, RB Saucy Sauce, B&B Pickles, Onion; Hook ‘em – seared pure beef patty, crispy fried onion, American cheese, RB Saucy Sauce; Tommy Ranger – smashed seared pure Texas beef patty topped with Texas chili and American cheese; El Tejano – smoked brisket burger, B&B pickles, sliced onions, and jalapeno ranch; and the Big Tex – thick 8oz patty, bacon jam, cheddar cheese, RB Saucy Sauce.
The menu also includes “snacks” such as Guacamole, and Green Chili Queso served with Chips, Rodeo Nachos, Buttermilk Chicken Wings, Homemade Corn Dogs, and more. Salad options include the XL Taco Salad, Jalapeño Ranch Salad, Carne Asada Steak and Country Fried Mushroom.
Additional options offered include Fried Chicken Sandwich, Texas Chopped Beef, Burnt Ends Sandwich along with a Foot Long Hotdog.
A selection of classic Texas desserts such as a Pie of the Day a la Mode, Banana Pudding, Dr. Pepper Float, Churro Sundae and a Daily Soft Serve round out the food offerings.
The bar program will mirror the food with a no-frills approach offering Texas inspired drinks such as the Real Cold Cocktail – whiskey and Dr. Pepper; Rodeo ‘Rita – tequila, orange liqueur, lime, tajin rim; Saddle Up – tequila, grapefruit, lime, soda; Bucked Off – whiskey, Benedictine, bitters; and the Stetson Slinger – whiskey, lemon, orgeat, sugar. Featured beers on draft include Miller Lite, Yuengling, Pacifico and Shiner Bock. A selection of local beers will also be available including Community Medical Grade Haze IPA, Bell’s Two Hearted IPA, Martinhouse Salty Lady, and more.
Rodeo Bar is located at 1321 Commerce St, Dallas, TX 75202 and will initially be open for dinner Sunday-Thursday 4pm-12am and Friday-Saturday 4pm-2am. Lunch will be available shortly after opening.