By CHERIL VERNON
Local bar Outlaw Country has moved from its former small building on Palestine Avenue to the heart of downtown Palestine in a spacious location with a large dance floor and stage which its owner hopes to turn into a new music event venue for East Texas.
In fact, to celebrate the grand opening of Outlaw Country, country music singer Doug Stone — who charted 22 singles in the 1990s including songs such as “Addicted to a Dollar,” “In a Different Light,” “A Juke Box with a Country Song” and “Why Didn’t I Think of That?” — will be in concert Saturday.
Palestine southern rock band The Bigsbys will open for Stone.
“We’re hoping to have a big crowd here Saturday night for our grand opening with the Doug Stone concert — his songs are recognizable and play quite a bit on the radio,” owner Randy Wilbanks said. “We are hoping once a month to be able to bring a big name in here. I have several others lined up, just waiting on finalizing things.”
Tickets for the Doug Stone concert are available for $20 in advance for regular seating and $30 for VIP balcony seating at Outlaw Country, KYYK 98.3, H&W Honda, Cavender’s Boot City and Outhousetickets.com
Outlaw Country moved to its new location downtown at 108 W. Oak St. a few weeks ago with a “soft” opening.
“We are not nearly as crowded as in our old location — we have tons of space, a large dance floor and better ventilation for the smoking issue,” Wilbanks said. “Our dance floor is three to four times larger than what we used to have.”
Including its VIP balcony, which will open for Saturday’s concert, the new Outlaw Country location features 7,500 square feet, a 50-foot bar and a custom-made 15x8-foot high definition projection screen. Outlaw Country also has pool tables and darts available to its patrons.
“During football season, we will be open on Sundays from noon to 2 a.m. to show the games on the big screen,” Wilbanks said. “I guarantee this has got to be the biggest screen in East Texas.”
For the past few months, Wilbanks has been working on getting his new location downtown ready.
“I’m proud of how it looks. We’ve done a lot of work in here. We’ve redone just about every wall in this building except for one upstairs,” Wilbanks said.
Outlaw Country’s balcony area — which Wilbanks says will seat 150 and has its own bar — will be available for private parties such as birthdays, bachelor or bachelorette parties, showers, office Christmas parties, etc.
As the new business in the downtown area, Wilbanks hopes that Outlaw Country’s presence helps the local economy.
“I think bringing in big names for concerts will get a lot of people down to this area, in the motels and in our restaurants,” Wilbanks said. “Even though the businesses in the downtown area may be closed at night, people will be able to see the stores that are available and come back later to check them out.”
Outlaw Country is open from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Security is provided each night with additional security added for large events.
Wilbanks plans to have a live band every Saturday — with at least one big event each month. Karaoke is held on Thursdays with deejay music on Fridays.
“I really would like people to stop by here after work and check our new place out,” Wilbanks said. “It’s real relaxed, not restrictive.”
Outlaw Country also will be open during the day for the Hot Pepper Festival on Oct. 27.
For more information about Outlaw Country, call 903-729-1300 or visit www.outlawcountry.biz.