This Ain't No Honky TonkFebruary 3, 2011 By: Jeffrey Yarbrough
A staple in Dallas nightlife for nearly a decade, Gilley's recently two-stepped its way into a new line of work. Initially catering to country music enthusiasts, as well as corporate and convention groups, as a honky tonk, the 91,000-square-foot venue was only skimming the surface of its potential. Now, with multiple rooms, the massive space offers a range of options.
“We have always been successful at bringing in concert crowds with the help of AEG Live,” CEO John Gilbert says. “But Gilley’s club has struggled at times to find its place in the honky tonk world.”
He decided it was time to broaden Gilley’s horizons and cater to a more diverse crowd by converting the huge space into four different nightclubs. The Jack Daniels Saloon, Palladium Ballroom, South Side Music Hall and The Loft each bring a unique vibe to Gilley’s. The 18-month renovation created a multi-purpose location for all genres of musical artists to perform, to host corporate and convention events, serve great food and drinks and provide a good time for everyone.
Gilbert says knowing what works is important, but so is trying a variety of other techniques to bring in diverse patrons. The traffic to concerts has increased due to booking a wider range of talent, resulting in increased sales at the restaurant during the past month.
“It’s not mechanical bulls and armadillo vases anymore,” Gilbert says. “It’s a tailored venue catering to an unlimited audience. And the vintage-saloon feel is still something everyone can enjoy.”
The next time you want to spruce up a spot, take a queue from Gilley’s… A fresher look and new clientele can go a long way, but never forget the venue’s roots.