The Five Coolest Party Rides In Town.
Ever since that first Neanderthal discovered the wheel, mankind has been obsessed with creating the perfect mode of transportation. It seems like, every other day, there's another commercial for a vehicle boasting the greatest technology and the fastest speeds as the big car companies all constantly try to one-up each other.
The private transportation industry is no different. From outrageously stretched Hummers, Land Rovers and Excursions, some featuring such outlandish add-ons as hot tubs and stripper poles, it's easy enough to wonder: Has this trend gone too far?
The answer, of course, is no. It can never go too far. Not as far as we can see, at least.
And, here on the streets of Dallas and Fort Worth, and especially in the private ride sector, it seems as if rides are getting more and more outrageous of later. It feels like, with each passing day, we're seeing crazier and crazier rides popping up on the streets.
So maybe we weren't too surprised when we first spotted the Dallas Party Hearse, a once-fully functioning funeral home hearse had been converted into a limousine, riding around town. But it did get us thinking: Of all the crazy methods of transportation available in the region, which are the craziest?
We came up with a few: There's the Brew Bus, which simply aims to invest in area brewery tours; there's the Karaoke Cab, which was created as a means to give its driver a leg up on competition; there's the E-Frogs cart, which hopes to make bar-hopping a little more eco-friendly; and then there's the Cowtown Cycle Party, which was created with the simplest aim of helping Fort Worthians have some fun while out on the town.
While the people behind these rides may all come from vastly different backgrounds, one thing is clear about their inspiration: They came up with a void-filling concept just craziest enough to work, and, hopefully, earn them a profit in the process.
So, without further ado, here they are — the five craziest party rides in the region.
Dallas Party Hearse.
Owner: Tony Giles.
Where it operates: Mainly in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, but out of town trips can be negotiated.
When it operates: Flexible hours.
Background: Former personal trainer, fitness model, self body-image expert and self-proclaimed horror film addict, Tony Giles simply wanted to turn his obsession into a side business. Originally, he bought a hearse to simply drive around on Halloween and during special events for personal enjoyment. But then something curious happened: He was bombarded with questions from curious passersby interested in hitching a ride. Unfortunately, his original hearse had a bevy of mechanical issues that forced Giles to sell it off. Then, is if fate had intervened, Giles found a second, recently decommissioned, hearse while on a trip to Oklahoma. “It's carried a lot of dead bodies,” he says of his new hearse. “But I actually blessed the car with holy water, casting out evil spirits.â€ He also, over the course of a two-year conversion process, updated the hearse into full-on limousine status, complete with L-shaped seating, a wet bar and disco lights. “When people see the inside of the car, they freak out — not only because [it's a hearse], but when they actually see the inside of it, it's one of the nicest limos that they've ever seen. You are literally in a little cave.”
Fun Fact: Um, itâ€™s a fucking hearse! It used to carry the deceased to their final resting places, and now it takes teenagers to their proms. Also worth mentioning: Giles keeps a stash of interesting and borderline offensive DVDs on hand to play on the plasma TV screen — depending on his crowd, of course.
Dallas Brew Bus.
Owner: Jordan Moon and husband-and-wife team Matt and Vanessa Dixon.
Where it operates: Throughout North Texas, with occasional trips to out-of-town breweries.
When it operates: Weekends.
Background: Two beer-loving buddies decided to start a social media platform to promote local craft breweries and the delicious concoctions they were producing. Before long, Matt Dixon and Jordan Moon were producing podcasts on local beer, updating a calendar of events and brewery listings, and doing all they could in the name of the art of supporting the local craft beer movement. Shortly thereafter, a spark of genius hit: What if they could take a group of beer lovers on a tour of local breweries? Enter the Dallas Brew Bus, a rented school bus that can accommodate nearly 35 full-grown adults. The bus, which comes with its own designated driver, hits up Deep Ellum Brewing Company, Community Beer Company, Rahr and Sons, Lakewood Brewing, Four Corners and even Granbury's Revolver for a full day of tours and tastings, all while sharing amazingly educational facts about each visited brewery and the beers the serve. “We are definitely more about the education than we are the party bus,” Moon says. “There are plenty of those around.”
Fun Fact: The Brew Bus tours come complete with an updated sack lunch provided by the guys from LUCK (Local Urban Craft Kitchen), an up-and-coming craft beer-inspired restaurant slated to open their doors sometime this summer.
Dallas Karaoke Cab.
Owner: Monday Omoregbee.
Where it operates: Dallas.
When it operates: Everyday, although appointments strongly encouraged.
Background: Nearly two decades ago, Monday Omoregbee left Nigeria and landed in America in search of a better life for himself and his family. But, despite holding a degree in electrical engineering, he found himself unable to secure employment and, before long, he decided to turn to the world of cab driving to help pay his bills. It wasn't long thereafter when Omoregbee came up with a way to edge out his competition, adding party lights and a massive sound system to his ride. Soon after that, he added on what now serves as his cab's staple characteristic — a karaoke machine. Within the first few months of operating as the Karaoke Cab, Omoregbee's business skyrocketed prompting him to completely deck out the cab into a full-on, roving karaoke club, complete with disco balls and fog machines to give his can that extra superstar feel.
Fun Fact: The Dallas Karaoke Cab is also a roving WiFi hotspot, so, if Omoregbee's 12,000 song-strong playlist doesn't suit your needs, he can simply download that one track you need to belt out before hitting the town.
E-Frogs Shuttle Service.
Owner: Gary Haag.
Where it operates: Throughout Dallas's Downtown, Uptown, Knox-Henderson, Deep Ellum and the Arts District neighborhoods.
When it operates: Everyday and every night, although appointments are recommended.
Background: After years of working in the valet industry, Haag and several friends decided it was time they took a venture into the transportation service industry. First, they began searching for a niche market to fill the void between cabs and limousines. Then, after watching a Tampa Bay Rays baseball game where a man was seen driving people around in a golf cart, Haag hatched the idea to bring that service to Dallas. That idea then transformed somewhat: Haag and his pals figured that, in addition to a safe and cheap mode of transportation, they could also go the eco-friendly route. In fact, his company's name, E-Frogs, is an acronym of that very aim: “Eco-friendly Ride On Green Shuttles.” Before long, Haag's service was being booked constantly. “We started out with a four-seater and the business just started to take off,” Haag says. â€œThen we started getting more calls and decided to invest in more golf carts without even advertising it. It was just word of mouth.” These days, his fleet includes an eight-seater as well.
Fun Fact: The cart is purely tip-based and the drivers like to keep business on a personal level, addressing everyone they meet on a first-name basis.
Cowtown Cycle Party.
Owner: Vickie Peden.
Where it operates: Downtown Fort Worth.
When it operates: Rent the entire bike from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays, or grab individual seats from noon to 2 p.m. on Sundays or 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursdays.
Background: One drunken night, a pair of brothers sat in bar in the Netherlands, quibbling over the fact that they'd been siting in the bar for far too long. “If only there was a way to move around and drink,” they must have thought to themselves. That is when the idea for the “Beer Bike” was born, and, fittingly, it was drawn on the back of a bar napkin. Since its inception, Het Kietscafe has sold hundreds of beer bikes around the globe, including one to Texas, which was then turned into a business called the Pubcrawler of Austin. It was that bike that first caught Fort Worth resident Vickie Peden's attention. So, she and her daughter Keeley, who was attending the University of Texas at the time, decided to ride the 16-seater roving bar. And they had such an amazing time riding around the streets of downtown Austin that they figured the concept would work back home in Fort Worth, too. After two years of logistical negotiations and a lengthy shipment period — the bike was sent by boat from the Netherlands to Houston and then driven Fort Worth — Peden was able to secure the necessary permits, and her Cowtown Cycle Party was born. “The mayor and her staff went for a ride not too long ago and they loved it,” Peden says. “We are really getting full, and its not even that warm yet!”
Fun Fact: The city of Fort Worth, with Mayor Betty Price acting as itâ€™s strongest advocate, passed a special amendment to a limo ordinance allowing the cycle-powered pub operate in their historic downtown — a task Dallas, as of yet, has refused to submit to.
Brew Bus photo by Claude Johnson. All other photos by Erika Lambreton.