A former Apache Belle traded college for investing in a beer joint that later became a Dallas hot spot.
Lois Adair attended Tyler Junior College in 1955 and was an Apache Belle for one semester.
“At that time, Ms. Mildred Stringer was the sponsor and Mr. Al Gilliam was the choreographer,” Adair said.
Being a Belle seems to run in the family. Her two older sisters, Jackie and Laverne McKinzie, were Belles in 1953 and 1954.
Adair said she has two cousins, Kay McKinzie and Mikki Hogue, who were members a couple of years later. The most recent Belle from the family tree is Cassie Patterson, who is the granddaughter of a cousin.
“A big part of my decision to be a Belle was because of the family history,” Patterson said.
After attending TJC, Adair said she felt like school was not for her, though her parents disapproved. She moved to Dallas, worked for Southwestern Bell, met her husband, R.L. Adair, got married in 1960 and had a son, Shane.
Adair said that her in-laws opened a hole-in-the-wall beer joint in Cedar Springs called “Adair’s.” They retired in 1977 and Adair and her husband bought them out.
In 1983, the Adairs moved from Cedar Springs to Deep Ellum and changed the name to Adair’s Saloon.
“We were one of the very first businesses in that area, but our landlord assured us it was an up-and-coming location soon to be as popular as the West End,” Adair said.
After her husband’s death, she started featuring live music at Adair’s Saloon. Her first musician to perform at the bar was Tony Lane, who is now a songwriter in Nashville, Tenn. She said Jack Ingram started his music career at Adair’s Saloon.
“Jack Ingram started his music career there playing for free, his only compensation being all the hamburgers and beer he could hold. He recorded an album ‘Live at Adair’s,”’ Adair said.
Adair’s Saloon had other well-known artists pass through such as Don Henley and Pat Green.
“Don Henley filmed part of his ‘End of the Innocence’ video there and later on Adair’s Saloon was the site for part of Pat Green’s ‘Carry On’ video. I even have a cameo appearance in that one,” Adair said.
Adair’s was also written up in publications like D Magazine, Texas Monthly, Southern Living, and Texas Highways. Adair’s was even included in the New York Times under the heading “Best Burgers in Texas.”
“So, as you can tell, Adair’s was pretty much my life after TJC and the Belles,” Adair said.
In July of 2006, Adair retired and sold the saloon. The two new owners are Joe Morales and Marty Monroe. Morales said that he worked seven years under Adair and she approached him about buying the place.
He said that they did not change Adair’s Saloon much after taking over except adding some televisions.
Adair said she is now enjoying a care-free lifestyle with her family.