Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dale Jr.'s EpiCentre adventure

The EpiCentre uptown may still just look like a big construction site, but one of its venues is set to open in less than a month.

I tip-toed around the fences and through the rubble Wednesday to get a sneak peek at Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Whisky River, named after the country-western town he built on his land.

But honky-tonk dive bar this is not. Think subtle touches such as a bar trimmed in belt buckles (below), rust-colored walls and splashes of dark wood paneling, then contrast that with exposed ceilings, sleek aluminum columns, track lighting, giant lava lamps and a main bar accented by tiny twinkling lights.

Managing partner Chris Epstein describes the look as "somewhat of a western style, but with a modern feel and a rock 'n' roll edge." Or, as general contracter Scott Lucas of Harp Renovation calls it: " 'Blade Runner meets 'Bonanza.' " Ha. (It should be noted that Epstein shooed Lucas away at this point in the tour.)

There are three full-service bars throughout the 10,000 square-foot space, a mechanical bull and a stage that can be used for live music acts, dancing or more seating. Junior will have his own VIP booth at the bar, which can be enclosed for privacy by a steel mesh curtain that is illuminated with LED lights.

Epstein says Whisky River is tentatively scheduled to open March 19. He's planning Junior's VIP party to be held shortly thereafter, and says the guest list could include some of the biggest names in country and rock.


Clayj said...

If the contractor compared his project to Blade Runner, he better not be messing around. Whisky River may only be around a matter of years, but Blade Runner will be a classic forever.

That said, I'll definitely be interested in checking this place out when it opens. Hope they have good burgers!

Anonymous said...

Best Wishes to Dale Jr. I hope Uptown can land an ESPN Zone.

Anonymous said...

And how does one get invited to this VIP party is what I want to know.

Should be interesting.

Anonymous said...

A mechanical bull?!? Get real.

Blade Runner meets Urban Plowboy maybe? All we need is John Revolta to show up for the grand opening.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like it might be fun. Hopefully it won't attract too many hicks. We need some real good, nice, non ghetto, upscale dance clubs.

Anonymous said...

"Hopefully it won't attract too many hicks" Are you kidding me!! This place will be like LMS General Admin with music. Hopefully that will turn away the snobs and really make it an awesome place!

Anonymous said...

The hicks won't come Uptown anyways (that's a good thing). They like the country. They would rather drink a beer and go cow tipping than go Uptown.

Cato said...

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Whisky River, named after the country-western town he built on his land.

And the "town" is probably named after the Willie Nelson song (he's opened his shows with it a few thousand times now).

I'm guessing Willie will still be singing it after Dale Jr.s place has closed its doors. I like him ok as a driver (more than I like a lot of his fans), but that's just not the direction that uptown is headed.

Anonymous said...

I hope WHISKEY RIVER has pinball and a bowling lane. Id like a slot car track with eight lanes so we can race around a huge track.

Rick said...

"Hopefully it won't attract too many hicks".

Actually, it will - in droves. Who knows? That may result in the most entertaining part of the place - watching the Uptown snobbery squirm as they are forced to be in the same vicinity as people who aren't like them.

Once the NASCAR HOF opens, those Hicks will be coming to Uptown like pilgrims on the Hajj to Mecca, and now they'll have a nice place to stay for a few Budweisers afterwards.

Can't wait!!!