New bar, grill now operating where ‘Dinghy’ once floated

HARLINGEN — The new Classic’s Bar and Grill is open in El Mercado Plaza at 712 North 77 Sunshine Strip.

The bar’s operators say just follow your memory back a few years when the place was known as The Admiral’s Dinghy.

“Nice place, I like it,” says a man as he and his wife were leaving the bar last week. “We can find it next time — we had trouble.”

“We’re working on the signs,” says Bill Brunhuber, the bar’s general manager.

The newly opened bar is tucked in behind Elliott’s Custom Golf in the small shopping area where 77 Sunshine Strip splits into Morgan Boulevard.

“We’re trying to get our marketing up and going, waiting on Mercado to get the electricity back out there up and going so we can get those signs bright and chippery,” says owner Bryan Heiskell with a laugh.

“If you’re old school, and you say the old Admiral’s grill or the Dinghy bar and grill, they’ll say, oh I know exactly where that is,” he added.

The bar has been remodeled and updated, and a lot of space for draft beer kegs has been added. It has classic car posters and artwork on the walls.

“We’re going to have 26 draft beers, and none of them are going to be the basic domestics,” said Brunhuber, who adds they have a full bar to boot. “They’re all going to be craft beers and imports, so we’re going to focus a lot on Texas and Southwest craft beers.”

The bar and grill’s kitchen will be open until 10 p.m., Brunhuber said, but appetizers will be served until closing at 2 a.m.

A ribbon-cutting at the bar will be held Thursday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the bar at 712 North 77 Sunshine Strip.

If You Go

WHAT: Classics Bar and Grill ribbon cutting

WHEN: 7 p.m., Thursday

WHERE: 712 North 77 Sunshine Strip, Harlingen

CONTACT: 956-622-3066

A logo is born

The bar’s logo shows two men in a hot rod riding down the highway.

The screen print is taken from a cover photo of Classic’s Bar and Grill’s owner Bryan Heiskell’s father, then 19, and a girl passenger in a custom Model T roadster. It was the cover shot of the January 1961 issue of Hot Rod magazine.

“This is not my mother, however,” Heiskell says. “It was a couple years before my mom.”

“Our graphic designer actually cropped his friend out (for) a photo of me and then inserted it into the logo so it looks like me and my dad are having a conversation driving.”

Heiskell says his hot-rodding father turned 75 last month, but will be on hand for the ribbon-cutting Thursday.

— Rick Kelley