For Terrin Fuhrmann, adding personality to a bar means changing the pace.
Fuhrmann, owner of Greenhouse Rooftop, remodeled his former bar, Ivy Rooftop, this summer. The bar is located adjacent to Elevate Rooftop, formerly Area 31, located at the Ridge Shopping Center on North Loop 1604.
“It was coming up on four years old. There’s a lifecycle for bars in San Antonio, especially because our crowd is so finicky here. Ivy was kind of old news,” Fuhrmann said.
He decided to rekindle interest with a design overhaul including a metal cage with 10,000 enclosed rocks, Astroturf with golf course holes on the roof deck and Edison bulb chandeliers.
According to Fuhrmann, these latest renovations may not be the club’s last. The Greenhouse owner let the Current in on what it’s like to make a living appealing to Northside nightclubbers.
How did you get started in the bar business?
I used to work at Suede Lounge in downtown San Antonio long ago, and it was a bitter end. A buddy of mine, who was a custom home builder, asked me if I wanted to open a bar. I told him, ‘Pssssh, absolutely.’ He gave me sweat equity, and I threw in some extra money to buy extra ownership points. That’s when we did Back Porch Bar. The day that we opened, I knew we were going to have massive problems. We did not see eye-to-eye on anything.
How long did you own Ivy before renaming it Greenhouse?
I started owning Ivy in December 2009. We renamed it Greenhouse in June and reopened in July of this year. Backing up, I was looking to move to Austin. I had a condo there and was looking at bars and things to do. I thought I had this place sold, and two days before closing, the deal fell apart. That was kind of a bummer, obviously. I was thinking now that Ivy is over three years old now; it’s time for a facelift and time to rebrand it. It only took us a month.
What made you want to go with a rooftop establishment in the first place?
There was a running joke among all the bar owners in San Antonio because, obviously, rooftops are big across the country and in Austin, Houston and Dallas, that we are the only major city in Texas that doesn’t have rooftops because of how the city is laid out and how bars are in strip centers. When I was looking for a spot for the next bar I wanted to do, I saw The Ridge Shopping Center and they had built the roof to sustain a load. When I was trying to come up with ideas on what do for the place, I knew I wanted some kind of centerpiece on the roof so I figured a tree would look cool sitting on the roof. I found a company that could build me this huge tree so I was wondering what kind of theme can go with that. I kind of had a list of names, and Ivy was the one that stuck out. When we had the Astroturf laid out, Greenhouse kind of fit the atmosphere.
Do you think customers have been receptive so far?
Yeah. We have our normal Friday and Saturday crowds that come out and party, but because of how it’s designed now, we are getting more events than I thought we would get. We have had a wedding reception here. We have done Sweet 16 parties. Baby showers and wedding showers have taken place here. Speed dating mixers and real estate events have taken place here. The idea was to give San Antonio something they haven’t seen before. I feel like I go a lot of bars, and it’s four walls and a bar. There’s just no personality to them.