Opening Doors 

The Dallas Morning News

Club owner’s faith drives venues for kids, diverse bands 

Published: July 24, 1999

At first glance, The Door looks no different from its Deep Ellum brethren: flashing lights, crowded parking lot, lively music and a young crowd. But look a little closer and the differences are apparent. Some of the kids aren’t even 12, much less 21. The stiffest drink is Snapple. And the band is singing about salvation.

  The Door has been open for more than a year, and by all accounts it has been a success. The brainchild of born-again club owner Russell Hobbs, The Door is packed every Friday and Saturday night, providing a visible outlet for spiritually inclined bands from around the area and the nation.

  “The emphasis is on the art, the music and the show,” said Mr. Hobbs, 41. “It’s a lot of things for a lot of different people.”

  The club, at 3202 Elm St. on the fringe of Deep Ellum, attracts a diverse group of musicians. The club is open Wednesdays through Saturdays, with live music (and a cover charge) most Fridays and Saturdays. Christian bands clearly dominate, but other bands favor the club because fans of all ages can get in, Mr. Hobbs said.

  “We can be holy and still have friends and have concerts with unbelievers,” he said. “We’re like kids who just want to play with everybody.”

  Mr. Hobbs’ first foray into Deep Ellum came before it was fashionable, in 1984. A few of his ventures, such as the Prophet Bar, were successes, but Mr. Hobbs became an evangelical Christian in 1987 and renounced his old way of life.

  With The Door, Mr. Hobbs is motivated by something other than profits. “God has changed me. I really do want to worship him with my whole life,” he said. “That’s what The Door is to me.”

  Mr. Hobbs said God told him his mission was to shepherd artists. In that vein, he’s opening a new place next door called, well, Next Door.

  Included at that site will be a coffee house, a record store and a theater. Parts are already up and running, and everything should be open by the fall, he said.

  “It has been a good year.”