Fort Worth Favorite Lola's To Expand With Outdoor Beer Garden, Food Truck Park and New Stage.
And it's already begun: At this very moment, Lola's is breaking ground on a pretty major expansion project that will see newly acquired property behind the club converted into a 500- to 700-capacity, outdoor bar and performance venue that will feature a rotation of food trucks and the addition of a much-needed 40-50 space parking lot.
“We're going to tear out the back part of Lola's,” says owner Brian Forella about the changes. “Basically, it's all going to connect. Lola's, inside, will kind of be business as usual, but we'll probably get a little bit bigger bands if we start making some more money. Outside, we're going to do an outdoor bar — and with the classic garage doors so it feels like it's outside [even inside]. We're probably going to do two to three food trucks every day and a big stage outside.”
At the moment, Forella says the plan isn't to try to make the new space a “full-on” music venue that books big-name headliners seven nights a week. Rather, he says, his hopes are more for a cool patio space to chill on, where you can grab some food from the trucks that'll be there from 11 a.m. on seven nights a week while catching an acoustic show. As for those bigger, touring shows, they'll probably only happen two to three times a month, Forella says, mostly due to a city ordinance that says the music has to be done by 10:30 p.m.
“I'm going to try and keep it mostly no cover outside except for maybe two to three times a month,” he says. “It'll be more local, but maybe two or three times a month we'll do big, big, big stuff. If need be, we can put 500 to 700-person [draw] bands out there.”
With the addition of the big, more family-friendly patio space, Forella also says some effort will be made to gussy up the interior of Lola's, including an upgrade of the PA, new floors, new curtains and a projector, among other improvements.
“I don't want to be some huge inside-outside, all-the-time music [venue],” he explains. “We're going to try and make the music just inside. We're going to redo the stage and get a new PA and stuff, and make the music inside a little bit better, and sound a little bit better. Outside, I'm not going to have it full-on booked.”
While Forella expects the Lola's clientele to change a bit when the new outdoor space opens later this summer, he doesn't necessarily see that as a bad thing. Nor should fans of the 300-person bar/venue in its current state, either. If all goes well, Forella says he hopes the improvements allow him to book bigger, better bands indoors at Lola's. In any case, the revamped spot will potentially be one of the few venues of its size in the city.
“Since we'll have the outside, it'll be a ton busier maybe inside, because there's more people in Fort Worth that might have been scared to go into Lola's,” he says. “If they experience the outside, maybe they won't be so scared to come inside.”
Adds Forella: “I'm not trying to rip The Truck Yard off. it's just such a great idea and there's nothing like it in Fort Worth. If we can kind of take the general idea and make it Lola's… hopefully, we can pull it off.”