The Commerce Journal

July 1, 2013

Experiencing The Kessler

By Allie Burks
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — The Kessler in Oak Cliff is a rare breed of music venue. Its good acoustics and friendly, artistic atmosphere make for an enjoyable night out. I went there to see two Denton-based bands with a friend last week and am happy to know a place like this exists in Dallas.  

The building itself sets the tone. It is small and uses its space well, with white décor and large pictures of flowers on the wall. A bar area with tables, sandwiched by two entrances to the stage, makes for a good lobby for hanging out before and after shows. The food served at the bar is small-portioned, fairly healthy food such as lightly fried brussel sprouts and caprese salad skewers. A stairway next to the bar leads to an upstairs VIP section that has its own bar and seats framing the stage. Audience members can stand in the area right in front of the low stage or sit down on chairs or table setups which are set up to the side of the stage and to the back where the sound booth is located.

The impact it made on me prompted me to look into it more. I think the history of the building adds to the atmosphere. It was originally built as an art deco movie house in the 1940s and housed various other businesses before it became The Kessler. A list of awards the venue has received did not surprise me. In 2012 it won an award for Best Live Music Venue and Best Performing Arts Venue from the People’s Choice Awards.

Live music venues where young artists and local bands perform are an attraction in my hometown of Houston and it was so refreshing to walk right into one in Dallas by chance.