Talk about putting the cart before the horse. Yesterday, it looked as if Dallas’ best dive bar, Ships Lounge, was sailing smooth waters toward re-opening. Successful restaurateur Jason Boso has been working on sprucing up the 65-year-old bar for the past few months, and now, it looks as if that might have been all for naught.
Yesterday, Boso was headed to the Dallas City Council to obtain the permit that he would need to keep Ships Lounge open past 12 p.m. That is, of course, until the Lower Greenville Neighborhood Association showed up. The Dallas Morning News reports that members of the organization opposed allowing Ships to stay open past midnight until Boso could prove that he would "be a good neighbor."
Choosing to head back to the drawing board rather than fight a potentially unwinnable fight against the Lower Greenville Neighborhood Association, a permitting consultant working on behalf of Boso and the bar withdrew the bar’s request. This, of course, has everything to do with profits. As Boso told The Dallas Morning News, Ships’ most profitable hours have always been between 11:30 p.m. and 2 a.m., which could make continuing the project financially unsustainable.
The special use permit, which allows bars to stay open until 2 a.m., is rapidly becoming a hot-button issue in Dallas neighborhoods. Just a few weeks ago, the Uptown Neighborhood Association began a discussion that could ultimately result in the area's bars being forced to obtain the special-use permit or close their doors at midnight. When the controversial measure was implemented in Lower Greenville in 2011, it was met with a lawsuit and plenty of complaints from local bar owners.
Boso can still go back to the Dallas City Council and request the permit again, but the future of Ships Lounge is far more in jeopardy today than it was yesterday. Here’s hoping that Jason Boso’s (obviously) deep love of this Dallas institution is enough to bring it back from the dead.