As Cherrity Bar opens this week in the midst of the Final Four, so begins its impressive philanthropic endeavor.
Owned by Pam and David Malley, Cherrity Bar takes up 22,000 square feet at the corner of Montana and Cherry. And though the project picked up steam in 2017, the Malleys had envisioned this urban oasis for the past six years.
"We had to do it slowly, as we could afford things," Pam told the Current
earlier this week.
And it's easy to see why the process has been slow.
Describing the compound that is Cherrity Bar is a task onto itself. The house on the left makes up the actual bar and opens up to the sprawling deck that wraps around both buildings. The posterior of the house on the left will include a new deli concept while the house on the right will be turned into a ramen bar by chef Michael Sohocki (more on this later). Then there's the caliche-filled patio that's dotted with picnic tables, lawn furniture, corn hole and a stage. To the left of the site, a gaga ball court, and two storage containers, one holds an arcade game room and the other functions as a "Chill Zone." In total, upwards of 700 people could easily fit in the 22,000 square-foot property. Don't worry, free parking is available at the Alamodome Lot C on non-event days.
Though the deli and ramen bar won't be ready until construction ends, in the meantime, Cherrity Bar is adding pop-ups by the Gwendolyn staff and the occasional food truck. For this week's opening, which was pushed back due to pesky thunderstorms, Davila's BBQ food truck will be on hand and the Gwendolyn staff led by Quavon Stevens will serve up a preview of the deli. The bar portion is staffed by The Boulevardier Group, so guests can expect quality cocktails, a great wine list and local beers featuring Texan spirits and brews.
But what makes Cherrity Bar unlike other bars in the city, or state for that matter, is their commitment to nonprofit work, a personal goal for Pam and David.
Married since 2000, the couple's son Connor was diagnosed with Tourettes at age 6. Pam, a speech language pathologist, became involved with the Tourette Association while advocating for Connor and realized her chosen field could help those living with the disorder. She's served on the Education Advisory Board for the Tourette Syndrome Association since 2011, and hosts workshops with parents and teachers on how to improve social, academic, and communication skills in children with TS.
"We kept sending in these piddly checks, and wanted to do more," Malley said.
The charity part of Cherrity (get it?) Bar means the bar donates 100 percent of the profits from the bar to area nonprofits who apply to become one of the monthly beneficiaries. Of the 100, 10 percent goes towards the Tourette Association of America. The remaining 90 percent is split 60/30/10 to partner charities. First, second and third place are chosen by bar-goers who buy a drink or $10 of food, and receive a token for voting. Voting takes place inside a small hallway that includes four ballot boxes and literature on each nonprofit participating that month.
Charities are chosen by the Friends of the Cherrity Bar,
a group of 20 community leaders with diverse backgrounds. The bar partnered with SA 2020, to help sort the applications from charity hopefuls and the Friends vote for their choices once a month through an anonymous survey. As of now, charities are booked through August, according to Pam.
"As a partner, we track their outcome to results San Antonians created," said Mary Kate Hull, brand specialist for SA 2020. "It's a work in progress and an experiment."
The San Antonio Fire Fighters Benevolent Fund and the San Antonio Police Officers Benevolent Fund are the current charities for the remainder of March. Come April, Blue Star Contemporary, San Antonio Youth Literacy and San Antonio Sports have all been chosen as beneficiaries. Events are already in the works such as SA Youth Literacy's Sip and Spell night on April 13 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Teams of spellers can register through cherritybar.com.
On a recent soft opening, teens spent the night inside the gaga ball court, while members of The Boulevardier Group manned a makeshift donation-based bar and families slurped noodles from the ramen bar pop-up.
"We didn't want just a bar. This isn't a place to come party all night and get liquored up. It's a family-friendly place, a first stop on your way out for the night," said Pam "It's supposed to be a relaxing place to hang out and support your favorite causes."
Applications can be submitted by visiting cherritybar.com
So many restaurants, so little time. Find out the latest San Antonio dining news with our Flavor Friday Newsletter.