A new bar is opening in downtown Waco, filling the temporary void left by Muddle’s exit.
The Warehouse, at 727 Austin Ave., debuts Friday under a trio of owners, which includes a face familiar to the local bar scene.
With a focus on happy hour, new TV screens for watching games and access to the Captain Billy Whizzbang’s food truck, W. Leslie Long, Ernest Phelps and Kevin Vander Woude will debut the new downtown business.
The Warehouse opens a few doors down from Austin’s on the Avenue, at 719 Austin Ave., a bar Long opened with a partner in 2008. He still owns the building.
The Warehouse will aim for ages 25 and older, business and working-class clientele, bar manager Chance Masaichy said.
“It’s going to be real chill,” Masaichy said. “We’re going to play a lot of country, country rock, ’90s alternative rock. We’re kind of steering clear of DJs and clubby scenes. We’ll have some live music and support local bands.”
Aiming for familiar
The Warehouse will be a mix of George’s Restaurant and Bar and The Backyard Bar Stage and Grill, Masaichy said.
Plans are to operate from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday, though talks are underway regarding opening for lunch on Saturdays, he said.
“Almost everything is different except the brick walls,” Masaichy said. “We just tore the place apart and reconstructed it.”
The plumbing and bathrooms were gutted and redone, and new paint was added, he said. The bar includes shuffleboard, a simulated golf game and an electronic dart board that broadcasts players live to other players on the same game throughout the world.
Long said he sold Austin’s on the Avenue in 2010 and moved to the city of Austin to help with bars on Sixth Street. After meeting his now-wife, the duo agreed they were tired of the Austin traffic and ready to return to their hometown, he said.
Long said he was talking with his business partners about the opportunity and approached his friend and former employee, Masaichy, about being the bar manager. With everyone on board, the pieces fell into place, and they agreed to move forward with the opening, Long said.
“After reflecting back on my lovely years on the bar, I thought, ‘You know it wasn’t too bad,’ ” he said. “Downtown Waco is thriving even more than when I was down there.”
The Captain Billy Whizzbang’s food truck won’t be ready for the opening Friday but will join the operation soon, Long said. The owner is working on a different menu to serve to happy hour and late-night crowds, he said.
Plenty of big screens
Long said he wouldn’t call The Warehouse a sports bar, but several large televisions throughout the space will broadcast videos and games.
“It will certainly be a spot to watch Cowboys games, Spurs games and Baylor games,” he said.
Vander Woude, who has lived in Waco his whole life, said he is excited to help downtown continue to move forward with its success by adding another option for respectable downtown nightlife.
Phelps and Vander Woude said they look forward to trying their hand at this new venture. Phelps said he predicts the biggest challenge will be ensuring they keep the right clientele by maintaining an atmosphere that is fun and comfortable for everyone.
The Warehouse includes an outside smoking patio in the back.
Vander Woude said they also expanded the bar so customers will be able to buy drinks more easily. The Warehouse will employ 15 to 20 people.