If nightlife veteran Yaser Dashoush does his job right, his new Den Kitchen and Bar in Himmarshee Village will become a nightlife magnet, drawing some of Las Olas Boulevard’s new youthful urban energy to his side of the train tracks.
Believing that Himmarshee’s bar scene has room to grow, Dashoush will debut his 4,600-square-foot Den Kitchen and Bar this January at 201 SW Second St. in downtown Fort Lauderdale next to the Brightline tracks. The sporty gastropub occupies the former Himmarshee Public House, which shuttered last January pre-pandemic, he says, on a nightlife corner pulsing with traffic from nearby clubs Booze Garden, Dicey Riley’s, Poorhouse and Original Fat Cats.
His eatery is still under construction, although Dashoush has put up the Den’s logo – scrawled in elegant black cursive – with business partners Garrett and Mikey Laughlin. Until its lunch and dinner menu is finalized later this month, Den Kitchen will specialize in hamburgers, chicken wings, avocado salads, turkey wraps and other American pub grub, and show NFL and University of Central Florida football games on the bar’s 10-foot-tall projection screen.
Den Kitchen, which he describes as “the place bartenders go before they start their shift down the street,” will also feature black-leather booths, a bar backsplash of white subway tile, a $50,000 sound system and a $30,000 lighting system.
“It’s your neighborhood bar with no dress code,” says Dashoush, who cut his teeth managing the late Rok:Brgr and Tarpon Bend in Himmarshee. “People need a place like this to go, the crowds coming from the theater shows, the folks coming from Las Olas. We’ve got like 12,000 new residents within walking distance now.”
Dashoush envies the sprawl of new high-rises, foot traffic and restaurants that have sprouted up on Las Olas Boulevard since the pandemic. By contrast, he says bar-centric Himmarshee Village is trying to rebound after five months of statewide bar closures and without lunchtime crowds from nearby downtown offices. On Southwest Second Street, Shato Asian Tapas, Himmarshee Public House, Rok:Brgr, an “Animal House”-themed Spring Break bar and the short-lived Tarpon Bend replacement Red Ivy Bar and Lounge have all closed within the past 18 months.
Bars have missed out on seasonal crowds spilling over from nearby Broward Center, which hasn’t staged a public performance since March. Himmarshee also benefited from the Wharf, the open-air dining hub that county code officers shut down recently for skirting COVID-19 rules.
“Bars lasting five or six months is not a good look for our neighborhood,” Dashoush says. “When I think about [Himmarshee], you want bars that last, bars that don’t bubble-gum and duct-tape their place together hoping it makes hundreds of thousands of dollars. We have to capitalize on the new growth around here. Bars around me are holding on for dear life.”
In this spirit of community, Dashoush wants to co-host football events with next-door Sway Nightclub and Booze Garden, and apply for city permits to throw block parties that shut down Southwest Second to car traffic.
The Den Kitchen and Bar will open in January at 201 SW Second St., in Fort Lauderdale. Visit the restaurant’s Instagram page.
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