Inside Oak Cliff's Outpost Tavern, Where the Shows Feel Like House Parties and the Tacos are (Sometimes) Free
Nestled on the corner of Zang and Beckley, just over the bridge into Oak Cliff, sits restaurateur and venue owner Chris Jeffers' newest acquisition. With Outpost American Tavern, Jeffers and his business partners (who also own Bolsa, Smoke and The Foundry) decided to deliver something new and different to the neighborhood. While the Outpost makes for a great neighborhood bar and restaurant, Jeffers saw the potential for uniquely intimate live music experiences. That's when he called local DJ and booker Josh Robertson, whom you might know better as Good Luck Karaoke's Josh Hammertimez. In making Robertson the full-time in-house booker for all of Jeffers' establishments, he led us to one of this coming weekend's best shows. Tonight, the Outpost will host an evening of solo sets from Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards, Chris Flemmons of Baptist Generals and Curtis Heath of The Theater Fire.
"I'm doing this gig here because I wanted to put together a show that I would want to see in a really intimate setting. ... The concept for me is I want to do like, house shows," Robertson says. "It's kind of like a new thing now for bands to do whole living room tours. And since the Outpost is basically a house, it's perfect for that."
Robertson frequently refers to Outpost bookings as house shows in conversation. It might sound odd if you've never been, but one brunch in the cozy bar room or dinner outside on the patio will make you understand why. Under the warm glow of orange neon on wood paneling, a skillet of the best chilaquiles you've ever had and a couple of draft beers make Good Luck Karaoke on Sundays feel like a goofy night in at your friend's house. The staff is very friendly and engaging, and make you feel like family when you stop by on Mondays for free suckling pig tacos. Yep: They make you a whole pig. Every week. This Wednesday, their weekly celebrity bartender night will have Jim Wallace, bassist of the Reverend Horton Heat, slinging drinks to patrons.
To accommodate a capacity of 61 inside the bar room, the staff removes tables and couch seating to make room for live music, shutting down the kitchen as well (tonight, there will be a taco stand on the patio). Robertson's aim is to book the kind of bill you'd kill to see in a room that small. For him and his ticket buyers, this pretty much hits the nail on the head. It couldn't be more rare to see these three artists from such highly regarded bands doing solo sets together. This will be one that fans remember for a while.
"This is my dream bill. ... Chris Flemmons is the best songwriter in Texas right now, in my opinion. ... Erica from Heartless Bastards, there's not many women in rock and roll who I think can do what she does. She's on the same level as Lucinda Williams or Chrissy Hynde," Robertson says.
In addition to these powerhouses, Curtis Heath of The Theater Fire will be performing. The local songwriter hasn't performed since his melanoma diagnosis last fall. According to Robertson, who organized a December benefit concert for him, Heath has been receiving positive results from his cancer treatment.
The ticket presale for tonight is over, but don't fret. If you don't make it to this one, keep an eye out. Robertson is truly giving you offers you can't refuse to drive across that big white bridge for.