The people who have successfully launched an upscale sports bar called Twenty7 a couple of months ago, have finally opened phase two of their Plano beachhead.

Craig Monroe, former Texas Ranger and Detroit Tiger now has opened an Ultra Lounge in the space adjacent to Twenty7’s Parker and Independence Parkway location, named Krém.

This last weekend the “soft opening” began, and like a dress rehearsal, the not entirely finished club began to sort out the duties and workflow for bar and waitstaff to begin getting a handle on how an Ultra Lounge is going to work in Plano.

“There really is nothing like this around here and we have so many people who want a really good place to go and have a good night out who find driving to Deep Ellum, Greenville or UpTown just a hassle.” General Manager James Brown says, “Here we don’t have issues with parking, and a clean slate to build the club we wanted to open for people who live north of the Bush Turnpike.”

The 2800 sq ft lounge occupies what once was an insurance company office and now is an open airy space with dark purple walls, white booths, polished aluminum bar front topped with dark marble. The space has accented wrap around booths which are backlit with long strips of LED lights and under lit tables that glow to the beat of the DJ’s music,

“The idea really comes from Craig, after all as a sports guy the sports bar was a natural. He always wanted to own a really cool upscale place. The kind of place you can go, hang out. He also wanted it to be the kind of place he and his friends would want to go, so we came up with Krém as in “crème de la crème” or “Cream of the Crop”. We wanted a name that instantly imbibes the Top Shelf service and facilities we were putting in.”

While crews are still working on some of the finishing touches Krém had its trial run on the weekend. The tweaks and finishing flourishes like behind bar lighting system that will backlight the glassware and bottles had not yet been installed and the LED’s were waiting on a back ordered switch to become fully functional. Those last items are getting ticked off the extensive to-do list.

“There comes a point with a little delay here and there, you just have to say WE ARE OPEN and that is why a soft open is so important, with entirely new staff they will spend some time tripping over themselves getting to know where things are. It also gives us the ability to watch how the pieces come together and make any adjustments before we open for ‘Real’” says Brown

This Friday Night Krém will open its doors for real. “Craig is really happy with the way things have come together. Now we have the Twenty7 side where you can have some great food and watch “the Game” then move next door when you just want to hang out with your friends.

The proper Grand Opening will take place in a couple of weeks with many of Craig’s friends from the world of pro sports stopping by. Many of them live close by so Krém should become a regular hangout for them when they are not playing.

The extensive drink menu at Krém is a new variation on the Ultra Lounge theme. The club is a first for the Plano/Allen/McKinney area especially on the Central Expressway side of town. After opening Friday the hours will run from 9pm-2am Thursday-Sunday.

Starting Friday there is no need to fight your way past the Bush just pop over after the game, whatever that game is.

Growing up in Texarkana, all Craig Monroe cared about was sports, in particular baseball. A standout in almost any type of physical activity, Monroe eventually had to choose between football and baseball, however, getting picked up by the Texas Rangers organization made the decision pretty easy.

Monroe graduated from Texas Senior High 1985, “I decided I was going to do everything in my power to get myself a chance to be professional baseball player,” Monroe recalls while sitting in the corner booth of his new Plano sports bar, Twenty7, the number he wore in seven seasons as an outfielder for the Detroit Tigers,“I started in the minors in Tulsa as part of the Texas Rangers organization. I decided very early I was going to work harder and try harder than anyone else and I got a chance to play for my hometown team in the Texas Rangers.”

While bumped up to AAA Oklahoma City when he got the call to come to Dallas after Ruben Sierra was put on the injured list, Craig explains, “I was up with the Rangers for three months, but at the end of the season they needed a roster spot for a pitcher and I was put on waivers.” Monroe smiles with a professional athlete’s confidence earned in ‘The Show,’ “I don’t think I was on waivers for more than a day when the Detroit Tigers called and I was on the way to join them.”

As a hard-hitting outfielder, Monroe earned a spot in the starting lineup and even made the trek every kid with a bat dreams of: competing in the 2006 World Series. Grins Craig, “I’m actually very proud that I managed to tie Hank Greenberg for most home runs by a Tiger in a world series.”

As his career began to wind down, he was traded to Chicago and then the Pirates. In the end, Craig had to find a life after baseball. Now a full time resident of Frisco, he’s teamed up with some other industry veterans to create Twenty7, a baseball themed sports bar with quality food usually expected to be found at a higher-end Gastro-Pub.

The food, which is really quite amazing, comes courtesy of Jonny Weisman, formerly the kitchen wizard at The Rugby House. Jonny has been making a name for himself since moving to the Dallas area a few years ago as one of the best pup chefs in the area.

On the menu Weisman has created a number of unique dishes to augment the high quality traditional fresh cut fish and chips and burgers. Case in point: A mango-based bruchetta adorned with fresh mozzarella which is wrapped in panchetta and topped with a lime-infused mango salsa that makes for a wonderfully light, bright and extremely tasty appetizer. “We wanted to put together a menu, right off the bat, that has some light items as well as the traditional bar offerings,” Weisman explains. He’s also reached into his bag of tricks to create a Cuban fried rice served as a side and as the base of the Taco del Mar Fish Tacos.

Weisman also brings his deft touch to spare ribs that should have a warning label on them: After one bite, the slow cooked meat literally leaps off the bone, so make sure you lean over the plate and adorn your lap with a napkin. Rounding off the delights I experienced were lightly battered fresh cut haddock and multi cheese mac’n’cheese that was so sinfully rich, it darn near gave me heart palpatations.

The bar itself is decorated with some of Craig’s own memorabilia from his years with the Tigers and other items from friends and other famous players. The uniform worn by the young ladies working at the bar is a sexy variation of the “ball girl” uniform.

Taking the Sport-Bar+Gastro-Pub mixture, adding in a pinch of “breastaurant” with the sexy outfits, and rounding it out with an additional side of non stop high-def televisions might just prove to be a winning combination.

Twenty7 also sports – no pun intended – another section originally meant to be a small ultra-lounge attached to the bar. However, the plan has been modified to bring more of a game room lounge to the location. “We just think this will work better in this location, we want to expand on our theme and business center rather than trying to do the ultra lounge in Plano,” explains GM James Brown.

The official grand opening kicks off August 27th. Craig admits he’s a little nervous, “My whole life has been about hitting, running and throwing. This is the first real job I’ve ever had.” His smile is rather electric and the anticipation of getting this bar off the ground is something that is really energizing him,“I really hope this is the first one…” he smiles with confidence again knowing the premise, if successful could be the foundation of a multi location business.

3100 Independence Parkway Ste 299
Plano Texas 75075