Cowtown is traveling back in time – all the way back to 1950s Cuba with Embargo, a nightclub that opened downtown Thursday.Co-owners Brian Forella and Andrew de la Torre said they wanted to establish a unique atmosphere that is not found in Fort Worth.
De la Torre, a TCU alumnus, said Embargo is not going to lend itself to the fraternity and sorority scene. He said he was in a fraternity while at TCU, and he wants to establish a different vibe.
“We are going to have a strict dress code,” de la Torre said. “No hats and absolutely no jerseys. We do not want this to look like a college bar.”
Before entering, guests are greeted outside with the entire driver’s side of a 1957 aqua blue Chevrolet mounted above the marquise.
The dim lights, rich music and soothing colors create a lounge-like atmosphere.
Fernando Palomo, the artist and decorator of Embargo, said he wanted to make the nightclub look as if it were 80 years old.
Coffee bags and vintage cigar-box lids are set into the bar counter to continue the Havana theme, and above the bar is a copper panel that was distressed using a ballpeen hammer.
Spread along the back wall is a mural portraying what a tourist might see if they were staying at a rustic Havana resort.
Palomo said his inspiration for the club was drawn from a book of Cuban photographs taken by Robert Polidori.
Local club patron Jared Jones said Embargo’s ambiance reminds him more of a club you would expect to find in Dallas.
While Jones said the drinks were a little more expensive than he is used to paying, he will come back because he enjoyed the live band and the atmosphere the club provided.
Forella and de la Torre hope to provide salsa dancing lessons in the future to establish a salsa night at the club. Embargo may have only been open a day and had little to no advertising, but the turnout Friday night made it seem as if it had been thriving for years, and it is easy to see why.