When you order a drink at Barbara’s Pavillion, you may feel like family. Actually, you joined this Oak Cliff private club.
How did you become an Oak Cliff private club member?
Barbara’s Pavillion bartenders know most of the regulars. If they don’t recognize you, as they set a cocktail napkin in front of you, they may ask, “Have you been here before?”
As you describe how you found this dive bar, the bartender has already prepared the next question, “Can I see your ID?” Sure, the bartender wants to make sure you are legal, but you are also being initiated. One swipe of your ID, and – voilà – you are a member of Barbara’s Pavillion.
What is a private club?
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) states a private club cannot be owned by anyone. Members control the entity. Barbara’s Pavillion owners bought the assets of the bar, such as equipment, furniture, the point of sale (POS) system, and an opportunity to take over a pre-existing cash flow.
The club itself is a non-profit entity. It cannot make a profit. Nor does it have the manpower to serve drinks. The club hires the owners’ for-profit business to manage the alcoholic beverage service for its members. In exchange for providing this service, the club pays the owners of this ‘management company’ a share of the service fees collected from members.
What does it mean to be a member of an Oak Cliff private club?
When a member buys a drink, the charge is not for the liquor, beer or wine in the glass. All club members jointly own the inventory of alcohol. They are paying a charge for the set up and service of the drink.
Why is Barbara’s Pavillion a private club?
An election in 1956 turned Oak Cliff dry, and any establishment serving alcohol in Oak Cliff since has needed a private club permit. Couch Realty bought the property in 1968 where the Couch office and Barbara’s Pavillion is located on Centre Street.
Before becoming Barbara’s Pavillion, the bar was Nita’s Pavillion Club in 1984. Before that, no matter the name or who owned it, this Oak Cliff dive bar has always operated under a private club permit.
Whether you want to have a nice cool drink in a hideaway dive or a not-so-exclusive private club, visit Barbara’s Pavillion.
325 Centre St., Dallas, TX 75208