Dallas Restaurateur Opening Speakeasy-Style 'Networking Bar' in Trendy Trinity Groves

When you’re looking for a job, the saying goes that it’s not what you know, but who you know. Legendary Dallas restaurateur Phil Romano has come up with a new way for millennials to have networking opportunities. According to a Dallas Morning News story, Romano has created a speakeasy-style, members-only networking bar in West Dallas’ trendy Trinity Groves.

Romano is the 77-year-old restaurant industry veteran responsible for restaurants including Macaroni Grill, Fuddruckers, Cozymel’s, and EatZi’s. He was also the mastermind behind Trinity Groves, the urban restaurant incubator district that targets young entrepreneurs. Romano’s latest project is the members-only Network Bar, accessible on via a smartphone app. 

“We’re going to make networking fun, effective, easy, safe and, most importantly, face-to-face,” Romano said in the Dallas Morning News. 

Members go through an approval process, then fill out professional profiles that are publicly viewable by other members. The goal is to create opportunities for professionals of all ages to meet and connect with each other in a fun, relaxed setting while enjoying a drink or playing pool. Romano says the club will also invite “legends” for “fireside chats,” open only to the first 15 members to sign up.

Stuart Fitts, who has worked with Romano on many other projects, including Trinity Groves, became the half partner on Network Bar. As the father of two millennials, Fitts saw a need for that age group to build networking skills. He said the generation is used to texting, email, and social media, but struggles with face-to-face interactions with customers and clients. 

Membership costs are adjusted based on age. Those 29 and younger will pay a $500 annual fee to join; the regular fee is $1,000. Companies who want their younger hires to gain networking skills can get discounts for bulk memberships.

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