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Oklahoma City's MidTown to get new entertainment venues

Fassler Hall and Dust Bowl, a popular Tulsa beer garden and old fashioned bowling alley, will soon find a second home in Oklahoma City's MidTown.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: August 18, 2013

Fassler Hall and Dust Bowl, a popular Tulsa beer garden and old-fashioned bowling alley, will soon get a second home in Oklahoma City's MidTown.

The proprietor, J. Elliott Nelson, successfully replicated his James McNellie's Public House in 2008 at MidTown's Plaza Court, and has been growing his brand of urban-themed pubs, eateries and entertainment venues ever since.

“In our neighborhood (Tulsa's Blue Dome district), we have six things within two blocks of each other,” Nelson explained. “The one here was a building our landlord bought, it had a bare roof, and we decided it would make a great beer hall.”

Fassler Hall opened in September 2010, just five years after Nelson opened his first McNellie's. The communal German beer hall features sausage made in house, broasted chicken, other menu items, a vast beer selection and live music. Dust Bowl opened the next year, featuring the sort of bowling alleys that hearken back to the 1960s.

Both have turned into huge draws for the growing Tulsa entertainment district, and both will be located, side by side, in a brand new 40,000-square-foot building being developed by MidTown Renaissance and designed by architect Brian Fitzsimons.

“I like finding spaces people feel comfortable with for various occasions,” Nelson said. “That's the beauty of the pub, and it's the same with the beer hall … and it has resonated with a lot of people.”

The new construction is a first for MidTown Renaissance Group led by Bob Howard, which to date has only renovated older buildings, and for Nelson, whose venues are all in restored older buildings.

“I'm so used to finding an old building and just being able to rehab; to build new, it's almost too much,” Nelson said. “I keep asking, ‘I can do whatever I want, put walls where I want?'”

The answer is “yes,” and those plans also include a 7,800-square-foot outdoor, heavily landscaped beer garden on the east side of the building. The building provides shade for the area, and with a canopy system and shop heaters, the beer garden is expected to accommodate crowds of up to 300 people throughout the year.

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by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's...
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