North Oak Cliff’s beloved Ten Bells Tavern will shutter three months sooner than expected. Its last day of service will be April 24, despite its original plans to serve through July. The good news: it’s moving around the corner. The bad news: it doesn’t yet have an opening date.
Alamo Manhattan, the real estate development company that bought the block surrounding the house that has held Ten Bells for the past decade, gave short notice of the new closure date. Alamo walked back its July plans late last month, telling the bar and restaurant that it would need to be out of 232 W. 7th Street by April 1. After deliberation, a Ten Bells partner convinced Alamo to extend its operations until April 24.
Meri Dahlke, the bar’s owner and founder, has already secured a new location at 238 W. 8th Street, which is basically behind where it is now.
“I thank God we had the other place in the process, but now we’re really trying to push it forward,” Dahlke says. “We’re trying to make that gap between the closing of the location we’re at now and the new one as small as possible.”
The new Ten Bells Tavern is expected to replicate the former location with a similar buildout, convenient parking lot, and an even larger patio. Dahlke is worried about her staff now that the timeline has shifted; there is no open date for the new location just yet. The bar’s sister location, Eight Bells Alehouse in Expo Park, will remain open.
“We want to do whatever we can to reassure our staff that they have a place and a spot at the new Ten Bells,” says Dahlke.
This brings us to the cats. The staff at the bar has trapped, neutered, and released well over a dozen cats. Dahlke has partnered with the nonprofit Feral Friends and other feline-friendly organizations to raise money for these efforts. There are bowls of water and kibble under a picnic table. Dahlke has even registered the cats as a “colony” with the city of Dallas, which helps the city keep track of the neutered feral cat population.
Dahlke is adamant about preserving this feline community. So, she says she’s taking them in herself. She intends to bring them back to the new location once it opens.
The sudden move of Ten Bells Tavern prompted intense stress as the business rushes to figure out how to get the new space up and running. But Dahlke is taking the positive approach when looking toward the future. And she hopes the next few weeks are busy.
“I am excited about the new place, and I have good feelings about it. We are just very thankful for everyone supporting us,” says Dahlke.