Saturday, January 28, 2023 Jan 28, 2023
51° F Dallas, TX

Brooke Humphries: Party Monster

She had to spend a little time behind bars. Now she’s launching some of the hippest places in Dallas.
By Bradford Pearson |

(This is where we ask a question. But Humphries, sitting in coffee shop/bar Mudsmith, one of her many ventures, started the conversation. So let’s go with it.)
I have one of those addictive personalities. I don’t know if you know anything about my history—Party Monster [the 2003 film about the rise and fall of New York club promoter Michael Alig, featuring a character based on Humphries] and all that. Being a drug dealer for as long as I was, I’m addicted to the hustle. I obviously don’t do anything illegal now. My hustle, which can be good and bad, is risk-taking. But I think I’m different from anybody in Dallas, because I’d do things nobody ever would do. Nobody would ever do a Beauty Bar or It’ll Do or Mudsmith. I’ve learned in my older life that if you’re afraid to fail, you’re toast. Get out. You can’t be afraid in this business.

What did you learn in prison?
Tolerance. Patience. To look myself in the mirror and love myself. People always go, “Don’t you hate that that happened?” And I say, “What, are you crazy? No, I don’t hate that it happened.” I was in New York when nightclubs were law. We could do anything we wanted. Did some unfortunate things happen? Yes. But we got to build a nightclub that had a slide that went five stories down to the dance floor. Who’s going to do that now? Having to take my little “vacation,” if you will, forced me to look at myself and take responsibility for myself. And now I parlay all of that hustle into creating things. I’m a bit of a selfish operator. I create things for myself.

“I’ve learned in my older life that if you’re afraid to fail, you’re toast.”

Is part of that about recapturing the spirit New York had when you went away?
I guess. It’s hard in this city. Dallas so desperately wants to be LA. But on the other hand, we have such an incredible core house-music base. It’s not that our crowds are 8,000 people like in New York; they’re 800. But they’re 800 of the most enthusiastic, jumping-from-the-walls music lovers.

The nightlife scene is so male heavy, in terms of ownership. What does it mean to have planted your flag?
Everybody knows me, because I’m the one who’s controlled the artists—with [event promotion company] Full Access—for 20 years. Now I just play the artists in my own building. It’ll Do is the only place you’re going to come where you’ll have gay, straight, black, white, Asian, every color skin. Some kids dressed in chicken heads. Every one of them: come on in. We don’t have a guest list, everybody pays, you’re all equal.

What went into the thought process of expanding Mudsmith?
The success of this one overwhelmed me. I didn’t expect this to be doing Starbucks numbers. But we were obviously filling a void. The one downtown will be twice as big, with co-working space upstairs. I’m doing a small, medium, and large. Lower Greenville is our medium version, downtown will be our large version, and we have a jewel-box pass-through in Frisco. Just a quick in-and-out. 

Why do you think what works here in Lower Greenville will work in Frisco?
It’s a solid concept, and we give a good product. I have this theory, and it’s a little pompous. If you’re just a little bit cooler than everybody you serve, they always want to come. It’s our job to stay relevant. Keep moving, keep moving, keep moving. The second you get complacent, you’re done.