Despite more than 100 requests from bands to play The Dive, Lloyd Banks is insistent that his new concept, a neighborhood bar and restaurant, will never have a full band.
Banks, the longtime owner and operator of Rockin’ Rodeo, a live-music venue that was forced to close earlier this year, realizes this might come as a shock. Instead, he will have Rockin’ Rodeo Saturdays, where the event space inside The Dive will feature country and dance music and a big dance floor.
With that part settled, Banks is excited for the Denton community to see a concept he’s been honing for three years, in a space he’s wanted to lease since 2010.
“I chased this building for eight years, and I feel like quite honestly it was a God thing that it didn’t work before, and now all of the sudden everything worked out and it’s the right time,” he said. “Unicorn Lake has grown up, the south side of Denton has grown up. ... I think I’m just excited to show people the whole thing because I think there’s so much to offer here.”
The main bar and restaurant space will remain largely unchanged, but the current area for banquets and events will turn into a dance area on weekend nights. A space by the front door that was a wine room will turn into a merchandise room with The Dive-branded gear. There’s also a bookshelf that will be stocked with toys and games to keep kids occupied during their meals.
Outside, Banks plans to add new furniture in the spring and outdoor shades on the large patio.
He hopes the concept will provide stability to the space, which has seen three businesses occupy the space since the original tenant, The Pour House, closed four years ago. Banks tried to lease the space then, too. A year after, he created the concept for The Dive — a neighborhood spot where people are comfortable bringing their children during the day, then they can come back later without the kids to relax, drink and maybe even dance.
“The reason I put the tagline on The Dive as ‘casual, comfy and cool’ is because I want it to be that place where either you come in wearing a suit or a dress after work or in shorts and flip-flops with your dog to sit on the dog patio,” he said. “I want it to be a place where everyone feels at home. I feel like the world is pretty ugly, mean place these days, so what I’ve really told the staff is when people walk through that door and are here for 30 minutes or three hours, let’s make them forget about that ugly world out there.”
The menu is lower priced than the spot’s predecessor, with main courses costing between $8 and $13. Classic Texas dishes such as chicken-fried steak are on the menu, and more adventurous items like a green apple and peanut butter burger that Banks swears by.
There are still 30 beers on tap, ranging from Miller Lite to local brews by Armadillo Ale Works, and liquor and wine.
Banks says he’s not a food or beer guy, so he hired the right people to curate the menus. He’s also open to changes to serve the neighborhood. After the spot opens Friday, servers are instructed to take notes on things customers ask for that aren’t already available. If there’s demand, he’ll stock it.
The Dive opens its doors at 11 a.m. Friday. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. It’s located at 3350 Unicorn Lake Blvd.