Amphibian raises the bar


Amphibian Stage Productions

120 S Main St.

Fort Worth 76104


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Scott Zenreich serves as Artistic Associate for Amphibian Stage Productions. He will be directing Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, which he adapted for the holiday show, December 11-20, at Amphibian.

He is a working actor and director, but like so many in his profession, Zenreich’s “day job” has quite often been in the restaurant industry.

Zenreich helped open three very popular Dallas establishments; Boulevardier, Stock & Barrel, and Rapscallion, so he knows precisely what discerning clientele are seeking. He now works as a server at Casa Rubia, the James Beard-nominated Spanish restaurant in Trinity Groves. That is why, aside from doing press at the theatre, Amphibian wisely put him in charge of the bar and concessions as well.

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Last year, Zenreich re-envisioned Amphibian’s bar program – literally raising the bar! While many black box theatres are mostly known for pouring wines right out of a box, Amphibian’s bar now pours exclusively Spanish wines and Sherries, along with creative craft cocktails.

One of the main inspirations was that Amphibian’s founding Artistic Director, Kathleen Culebro, grew up in Mexico City and she is known for shining a Hispanic influence on a lot of Amphibian’s programming (for instance, last summer they produced a world premiere adaptation of Don Quixote de la Mancha).

“My other thought was that you could find a lot of great value in Spanish wine, and I really wanted our theatergoers to be drinking a better product,” Zenreich says. “My goal at Amphibian is to elevate the theatre bar into something really special. Aside from our Spanish wine offerings, we also feature local craft beers, cocktails, fresh baked cookies, and products you don’t usually see at your local theatre, such as tawny port and Madeira. I wanted our bar to be thoughtful and carefully considered, pouring wine in proper glassware at cellar temperatures, and even using molded ice for our cocktails.”

After a year and a half of the new bar offerings, results have been tremendous. Patrons have taken notice of the appropriately thoughtful menu, which always pairs nicely with Amphibian’s productions. Take for instance: The Amphibian cocktail with sparkling Spanish cava, orange blossom, brown sugar and Angosutra bitters, or Kalimotxo a blend of red wine, Mexican pure cane Coca-Cola and Luxardo cherries.

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“Having better choices and higher quality in our bar area speaks to our theatregoers,” Culebro says. “It sets the stage for the kind of experience they are going to have. From the time you walk into our lobby, which we decorate specially for each show, every part of your experience is carefully curated. It says that we have thought through every detail.”

The changes have increased sales, but also given the theater a way to differentiate themselves.

“Not only have our sales increased dramatically, but we are creating a drinking culture at Amphibian. Because it’s not just a place where you choose between a highly marked up pinot noir or pinot grigio, but a place that offers an exciting new specialty cocktail created for each play or reading,” Zenreich says. “Many of our patrons drink very well in other restaurants and bars (some even have their own wine cellars), and I think it’s important to acknowledge that in their theatergoing experience. I take a lot of pride in the fact that you can come see a play here and drink a glass of Pedro Ximenez sherry.”