Sixth Street imitation opens in Dallas, unsure if will live up to Austin namesake

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Dallas is borrowing some Austin atmosphere with 6th Street Bar, a bar designed to embody the essence of Austin’s famous Sixth Streetbar district. 

Celia Lopez, owner of 303 Bar & Grill in Dallas, opened 6th Street Bar in the Bishop Arts District in Uptown Dallas, an area known for its urban appeal. The bar opened in early September and features two levels and three separate bars. Critics from news sources including Culture Map Austin and Eater Dallas have raised questions about the ability to bring Austin to Dallas and the bar’s right to use a name inspired by an Austin location.

Chris Meakin, senior lecturer at McCombs School of Business, said there is very little room for a legal battle in the matter. 6th Street Bar is trademarked in Dallas. Since there is no other bar named 6th Street Bar in the same geographic region, using the name is legal by industry and location trademark laws.

Laurie Womble, a Dallas native and general manager of Frank and Angie’s Pizzeria just off of Sixth Street, said Dallas is such a cosmopolitan area that any bar from Austin’s Sixth Street would not survive there. She said 6th Street Uptown is located in the realms of a largely middle-aged demographic, attracting a different crowd than bars in Austin.

“It might be successful, but it sounds like someone in Dallas is trying to relive their youth from when they were in Austin,” Womble said.

Bars on Sixth Street in Austin are divided into the categories of West Sixth and East, or “Dirty,” Sixth, Sergio Peña, manager at Bar Louie, said. He said the geographic division of bars is a testament to the diversity of partygoers on the street. Different crowds frequent various bars for the atmosphere each provides.

“It’s going to be hard for this new bar to get the feel of all these different locales all in one place,” Peña said. “This is a flip-flops and jeans kind of place. Dallas is a ‘dress to impress’ city, so you can’t expect a bar in Dallas to understand the Austin feel.”

The contrast between Austin and Dallas does not stop at age demographics, said advertising senior Megan Hodges. Hodges said her friends visit Austin for the experience, not necessarily the bars. The appearance and style of Sixth Street bars are movable, but the experience of being in the city is not, she said.

“If people from Austin go, they will probably think it’s kind of silly, but if people who haven’t been to the real Sixth Street go, they’ll be able to think of it as a place to let loose and have a night of drunken debauchery with the excuse that they were having the Sixth Street experience,” Hodges said.

Printed on Friday, October 12, 2012 as: Dallas bar opens with Austin touch