There’s a new bar opening on President Clinton Avenue this Friday. It’s right under Boscos, in the basement where the old Underground once was. It’s a theme bar, but it’s only half in jest. And many of us will feel right at home among the dark wood paneling, velvet Elvises, flat-bed truck tables, toolboxes stocked with beer, frumpy old couches and a V.I.P. camper. Yep, W.T. (
White Trash) Bubba’s is all about being Southern and being country, and our guess is, it’ll appeal to locals and tourists alike.
It’s owned by five guys in the Air Force — Jason Fallis (co-owner of Creegan’s), Josh Fulther, Brent Manbeck, Ron Powell and Paul Henke — and managed by Carla Wrackly, former manager of Willy D’s piano bar. The guys thought up the idea, appropriately, over beer and BBQ. “We were sitting around one day talking about what was lacking downtown, and we came up with a country bar,” Manbeck said. “The closest you have is Electric Cowboy, and that’s way out in southwest Little Rock.” So W.T. Bubba’s was born. There will never be a cover, weekends will feature live music (mostly southern rock and country), and the fixin’s will be cheap ($5 -$10 a plate). In addition to lots of BBQ ribs and brisket, the menu will feature in-house smoked sausages, smoked hot dogs, a smoked bologna sandwich and sloppy joes, which you can follow with such delicacies as banana pudding and Tang pie. (Yes, that Tang. It’s someone’s grandma’s recipe, and Carla assures us it’s divine.) And yes, there will be a build your own nachos bar. If you were wondering.
The owners are from various states, but they’ve all logged serious time in Arkansas. Manbeck was born and raised in Texas. When they started talking decor, he said, “We thought about what made us feel at home as little kids — stuff like that wood paneling, corrogated metal…”. The eventual plan is to franchise W.T. Bubba’s and turn it (and it’s waitresses, the Bubbettes) into a national chain. There was a soft opening during Riverfest, but the grand opening is Friday night, when Ryan Couron will play. There’s a full bar, credit cards are welcome and hours are Mon. – Fri. 11 a.m. – 2 a.m., Sat. 11 a.m. – 1 a.m. and Sun. 11 a.m. – midnight.
UPDATE: According to owner Jason Farris, who came up with the bar’s name, the “W.T.” in W.T. Bubba’s does NOT stand for “white trash” (as we were originally told by the bar’s manager). An excerpt from his email: “The whole story of W.T. Bubba, which was supposed to be posted near the front of the restaurant but was not, as the designer was not able to complete the product and frame it by opening—and it had fallen off the radar scope—is:
The whole story behind the name was/is based on the notion of a guy from Possum Grape named Wilford Theodore…the kind of name that makes you go by W.T. and causes your friends to end up calling you “Bubba”—hence, “W.T. Bubba”.”