The Double Play Bar was recently sold to longtime regular Dr. Randy Speights.
Speights, who is from Austin, Texas, and who worked briefly as a stock-broker in New York, has a long track-record of turning around failing bars. While pursuing a pre-med program at the University of Texas, Speights began managing gay bars in Austin, including Uncle Charlies and The Crossing. Building on his experience with those bars, he eventually opened his own bar in Austin—the legendary Oil Can Harry’s.
During his medical school residency in Alabama, Speights would often come to New Orleans, especially for Mardi Gras and Southern Decadence. In 2004, he moved to New Orleans to work full-time as an emergency room doctor at an area hospital. After settling in New Orleans, Speights became a regular at The Double Play.
The Double Play bar has a long and colorful history. Originally called Gregory’s, it eventually became The Wild Side and was owned by the larger than life Lee Featherston, better known as Ms. Fly. Fly’s best friend Ms. Do, a former prizefighter, managed the bar. After Featherston’s tragic murder in 2000, the bar was sold to Chuck Turner and Bill Miller, who recently sold it to Speights.
Speights understands and appreciates the bar’s history. He plans on keeping the current staff and expanding it. Long-time manager and bartender Will Antill has been retained and is working with a new full-time manager, Charles Felderhoff. Speights plans on installing a new sound and video system. Limited food service is also in the works. Physical renovations of the bar have already begun. The interior has been repainted and the ceiling has been raised.
Speights and Felderhoff ultimately envision a Steampunk theme for the bar.
What the hell is Steampunk you ask? In an article in the Huffpost titled “What the Hell is Steampunk” blogger William Higham writes, “The term itself comes from science fiction novels. It was allegedly coined by author Kevin Jeter as a way of distinguishing him and fellow tetro-tech sci-fi writers from future-loving “cyberpunks” like William Gibson. But it’s grown into a whole visual style, and even a philosophy. It’s all about mixing old and new: fusing the usability of modern technology with the design aesthetic and philosophy of the Victorian age. Or as US young fiction author Caitlin Kittredge put it: “It’s sort of Victorian-industrial, but with more whimsy and fewer orphans.””
According to Urban Dictionary, Steampunk is “What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner.” In short, Steampunk has evolved from a literary subgenre into an aesthetic sensibility that may be manifested in fashion, music, and interior design.
The motif of blending the old and new should be appropriate for New Orleans.