Whippersnapper's murals were done by local artist Jeff Thornton.

Whippersnapper's murals were done by local artist Jeff Thornton.


Bar flies have had eyes on the hallowed space at 1806 McMillan Ave. in Dallas since the beloved bar Slip Inn closed in 2014. They've watched as the venue changed hands, construction crews raised the ceiling and the exterior got a fresh paint job to display a pair of show-stopping murals.

This week, they'll finally be able check out the space's new incarnation. It opens as a new concept called Whippersnapper on Thursday, Jan. 28.

Whippersnapper is a project from familiar entrepreneurial pair, Brandon Hays and Phil Schanbaum, who also own Dallas restaurants High Fives, Wayward Sons and So and So's. The duo acquired the building in October 2014 in hopes of opening it as a sister location to High Fives, which is next door at the corner of Henderson and McMillan avenues.

"We wanted to create a place that's all things to all people," says Hays, "a fun place to hang out and dance a little bit."

The name is supposed to convey that. Schanbaum defines a whippersnapper as "a young, rebellious, fun-loving individual." The owners call the bar the Whip for short, which Hays says is now fitting since it was a beating to open.

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Walk in the 1,820-square-foot venue and owners promise "oddities" adorning the walls -- local art, posters and other gems they found during treasure hunts at shops around Dallas, Hays says. 

Whippersnapper's quirkiness extends to libations, too. Think canned beers up to 40 ounces, bottles of Boone's Farm, and "crazy" cocktails that come served in wacky glassware, such as margarita yards, glasses shaped like cacti and red Solo cups, Hays says.

In hopes of offering something for everyone, Whippersnapper will have DJs four nights a week that cater to different genres of music. Hungry? Order from the menu at High Fives between 4 p.m. and 2 a.m. any day of the week. But don't try to walk between the venues -- even though they're under the same ownership, the are not connected and operate under different liquor licenses, meaning patrons cannot bounce from one to the other with drinks.

Despite the fact Whippersnapper maintains a dive bar charm, the owners are not trying to inherit Slip Inn's legacy. The building's history is initially what piqued interest, says Hays.

"We like finding historic locations in Dallas that have been cool, iconic places and bringing our own variation of it," he says. Many of the former bar's traits, such as the graffiti wall and the pool table near the entrance, remain in tact, but Hays' goal was not to recreate the same dive bar.

"We tried to preserve some of the great things about Slip Inn, but by no means can live up to that," he says.

Whippersnapper will be open seven days a week from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., and come spring the owners hope to have a finished patio as well as brunch hours on the weekend. Until then, Schanbaum invites all Dallasites to "come get weird."

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