Courtesy of Daisy Dukes & Boots Saloon
[12/3 update: As of today, Daisy Dukes & Boots Saloon's new Facebook url is now "/DDandBoots."]
When I learned a Southern-themed, Coyote Ugly-inspired bar will open in Richmond early next year, what felt like one thousand questions shot through my brain.
How do the dance routines work? What's a "bra line"? Do bartenders dance on the bar or on tables or on a stage? Do we tip them when they dance? Do they have to wear daisy dukes and cowboy boots? Is it hard to get up on a bar in those? Will there be male bartenders? Will they dance? Do they have to wear daisy dukes?
Ouch, my head. Fortunately, Kimsan Yin, owner of the forthcoming Daisy Dukes & Boots Saloon, had some answers.
Despite the new Chesterfield County restaurant and bar's current URL on Facebook ("/CoyoteRVA"), and citing the famous bar chain — and its corresponding year-2000 movie — as inspiration, he wants to get one thing straight: Daisy Dukes & Boots Saloon is not a Coyote Ugly Saloon.
“A lot of people are comparing it to Coyote Ugly because they’re also a dance bar, and we share a lot of the same concepts, but we’re not them and we’re not trying to be them," he says. "I think people are getting confused because our bartenders are doing line dances as well, on a stage or a bar or something like that. I just don’t want anybody to get confused.”
To separate itself from any of this confusion, Daisy Dukes, which Yin hopes will open in March, is branded as a Southern-rustic dance bar and restaurant. Inside the 6,000-square-foot location at 11045 Hull Street Road are decorations and design elements like wood panelling to evoke the inside of a barn, and all bartenders will in fact line dance in cowboy boots, jeans or daisy dukes, and the restaurant's tank tops. Except the men. Male bartenders, staffed primarily on ladies' night (probably Mondays, says Yin, to correspond with "Man Crush Mondays" on social media), will wear jeans, cowboy boots, shirts and belt buckles.
The bartenders will need to know ballpark 10 line dance routines, plus be able to freestyle for solo dance numbers, and it's up to guests' discretion if they prefer to tip bartenders after a routine, a drink served at the bar, or both. Out of the 100 women who attended the dance audition, Yin and the restaurant's choreographer — yes, there is a choreographer — hired roughly 24; the male bartenders did not have to audition, but Yin promises they're all pretty decent dancers nonetheless. They'll all keep the crowds entertained with sporadic-seeming dance routines (there will be cues to bartenders that signal a dance is about to begin), offering two or three dances throughout lunch, three or four throughout dinner service, and during peak nightlife hours, after 9 or 10 p.m. when the spot switches to a 21-and-up bar, the bartenders will rotate, each performing about five routines per evening.
“There just really isn’t [a dance bar] in Virginia at all, so why not just give ‘em something that they’re missing?" he asks. "I mean, we’ve all seen that movie where there’s a dance bar and everybody loves it, so I’m just surprised there isn’t a dance bar here already.”
Daisy Dukes will also offer hourly, interactive contests and events, which will give guests an opportunity to sponsor the bartenders' participation. What's better than hula hooping against a sexy bartender in denim? Doing it for a good cause. All sponsorship proceeds will benefit a charity (for instance, says Yin, local schools or the Chesterfield County Police Department). All guest sponsorships will be matched by the restaurant, which adds an extra-nice philanthropic bent to those wild nights out. Just don't get too wild — there's a no-touching policy when bartenders are dancing. In fact, there will be security guards and a posted set of rules once the spot opens.
“You wanna keep the bartenders safe from customers trying to touch them and stuff ... rules like, 'do not touch the bartenders while they’re performing or doing one of their line dances' or 'if you’re easily offended, this might not be the place for you.' We do have a bra line,” he laughs.
“A bra line.”
“A bra line?”
“Like B-R-A? What does that mean?”
“It’s kind of like a clothes hanger line, and you know sometimes at night, people get a little wild, and uh… you know.”
“So if ladies want to take off their bras, they can take them off and put them on the bra line?”
“Yeah, I mean, our bartenders won’t take it off of you or nothing like that.”
OK, well, that’s a relief.
In addition to the bra line, the line dances and the interactive events, Daisy Dukes & Boots Saloon will also offer an eating contest, as well as a menu of Tex-Mex bar fare such as tacos and sliders, with all food items costing less than $10 each. On Friday and Saturday nights, after last call, it will offer a late-night breakfast buffet from around 2:30 to 3:30 a.m. The spot also sports a 2,000-square-foot dance floor, two bars, a gift shop and V.I.P. bottle service.
While Daisy Dukes is Yin's first line-dance-on-top-of-a-bar rodeo, it's not his first restaurant. He also owns Shogun Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar, and says that it was his years as both a restaurateur and frequenter of Richmond's nightlife scene that led him to his new venture, which has been nearly two years in the making.
“The eight years that I’ve been in business I kind of learned. You know, I do enjoy the nightlife so I do go out, and time and time again I just kind of picked up on what people are into," Yin says. "Just listening to people talk and having ideas tossed around, it kind of just made sense to put something together like this.”
Daisy Dukes & Boots Saloon is set to open in early 2016 at 11045 Hull Street Road, and will be open seven days a week, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 11:30 a.m. to around 3:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.