Hello! It’s been ages (literally ages) since our last Maker + Creator editorial feature, but we’re back!
Since our last entry we’ve added a toddler to the mix + launched and then sold our own local biz that rocked for a season. You may remember it as The Food Park? Needless to say, life’s been a bit crazy and we feel terrible about being MIA since 2016?! But we’re excited to be back, and we’ve got fresh interns to help make things happen and hope to bring you more great content that highlights all of the Creatives that inspire us daily! To get started, we wanted to feature the Creators of the The Green Room, a beautiful new bar located in Downtown Abilene, Tx!
We’ve all seen the growth of our downtown over the past few years, and we know it’s only the beginning! At the heart of it all, we locals just want to see this sweet spot thrive with all of it’s unique potential. We love the vibe that local businesses bring to our city, and we feel like its important to recognize the blood and sweat that goes into making these business’ happen. The ever-changing seasons of life can easily affect local businesses, at times much more so than the corporate world. That’s why we’re grateful for visionaries like Holly and Shona! They have acted on their dream to provide a beautiful space for us locals to enjoy in the heart of Downtown Abilene! Hear more of their story in our interview with General Manager and co-creator of The Green Room, Holly Isaacson, brought to you by our Content and Event Coordinator intern Malia Williams! Enjoy!
All images and content by Malia Williams unless otherwise noted.
“Classic cocktails with a botanical twist.”
Let’s hear a little about yourself!
My name is Holly Isaacson and I am the General Manager at The Green Room. I’m originally from the Dallas/Fort Worth area but I’ve lived in Abilene for about 10 years.
I thought it would be fun to start with a small ice breaker. What is currently your favorite song, one that is constantly on repeat?
A song I have on repeat? Probably Hope by Tim Legend. It’s just a funky little beat to listen too.
Head-shots via personal accounts.
How did you become a part of this business and what is the heart behind it all?
So the owners were helping out with the business here before. When those doors closed they decided to create a space of their own where people could come get a good drink, and hang out with friends. When they thought they could save this space, they reached out to Shona (Drink Creator) and I, because we were managing the previous bar they supported. They asked, “What do you think about opening a bar here?”, and instantly I thought to myself, oh my gosh, those windows! It has to be fresh, super inviting and fun! I’m really big on alcohol not being bad. It can be light, connective and fun. Shawna's recipes have always been so refreshing, bright and fun. We are a great partnership. That is how it all came together! After just 6 weeks of getting everything together, we opened!
Where did the plant concept come from?
So first off Shona and I both adore plants. Her last name is Plante, ironically! We just really wanted to freshen up the place, and the plants are living and breathing freshness. All our cocktails have a botanical twists on them. They all have a herbal component to them, where they are just organic and that was the word we decided to use through everything. Fresh, organic, bright and friendly. Plants just made sense to us.
Where does the inspiration of the drinks come from?
After learning how to make drinks from Shona back when we both worked at Public House. I actually had my first cocktail in this building back when it was Abi Haus, so that is pretty crazy. Since then it's just been an exploration. Shona and I actually both came from coffee. We both have a lot of coffee experience. It has translated really well to bartending, as well as the inspiration of the drinks themselves. Shona’s mind, as well as our other bartenders just blow me away! They are just so creative, and driven to find the best compliment.
Cocktail photos by @reallyryliegh via @thegreenroomabilene
The murals right outside the front door are beautiful! Can you tell us a little about the murals?
The outside of our business is all designed by Rylie Cox. He was someone that use to bartend with Shona and I. He then moved to Dallas, and got a super fancy marketing gig. He designed it from Dallas and then we hired a painter and she came to do it. The mural right next to us on the wall that we share with Betty and June, that was done by an artist also located in Dallas, Michael Shell. The owners are collectors of his work; they just reached out to him! He came down for our opening night, and we all brainstormed ideas together. We just wanted it to pop! He’s just has this super cool gift of using funky colors that just explode up on the wall!
Running a business can be hard for everyone, so what is the greatest reward?
Greatest reward - the team for sure! Getting to work with a team like this has been really incredible! The owners have incredible business foresight, and tons of experience that they have imparted on me which has been something I’m forever thankful for. As far as our staff, I could not have dreamt of a better team. Some people say that we have a small pool to pull from when it comes to doing new things in Abilene, and I just completely disagree. We have so many universities and people looking to do something different. Our team is total proof of that.
How do you find balance in the craziness of life and running this business?
I manage a lot of the ins and out here. As far as the balance goes, I think it would be hard if I didn't enjoy what I was doing. Like I said, I work with incredible people, I serve an incredible product. It’s just fun! There's no part of this that I dread. I get up everyday so excited to be here. I know some of that is because The Green Room is a new business. Talk to me a few years in and I might have a different perspective. So far this is a blast! Also, living downtown is very helpful. I live just a short walk away, and that is just a major blessing. I love living downtown! I get to be part of the downtown community all the time. Whether that be getting my morning coffee or working.
Cocktail and food images via @thegreenroomabilene
One thing I’ve noticed is The Green Rooms social media! Could you give us some helpful marketing tools and the inspiration behind all the content created?
We have an incredible photographer, so she manages all of our social media for us. She is great at creating content that is super relevant with social media. Getting someone who is so talented to explore with us has been a blessing. We just love how she has helped us with our image. Social media is everything these days. It is just a little bit of time each day, and we hired her to be our content creator because we knew it was very important. Any business owner that hears or reads this, if you are not on your social media game you are missing out on big money! The inspiration behind our social media is clean and fun photos. It also just has a very clear and consist message we are sending. This is who we are, and this what you can expect.
What is the best advice you have for someone thinking about running a business?
Don’t try to do all of it. Know your lane and stay in it. If I would have tried to take on this project all on my own with just some buddies help it would have taken a year to complete. My lane is looking forward, and keeping my eyes up - seeing the team, and how we can advance - where promotions are needed - how we can stay on top of things - making sure administration things are running smoothly. Shona’s lane is the creative side of things. We just know us staying in our lane, and doing what we are best at makes things better for the business and the team.
Last but not least, what is your favorite drink on the menu?
Forgive and Fernet. One part Fernet Branca: a bitter herbal licorice with a minty finish. Super herby, and also known as the Bartenders Handshake. Then with an Orgeat: a sweet syrup sort of orange-flower water and almonds. Lastly throw in lime, and mix all 3 of those together. You have the herbal botanical craziness, with almond and citrus. It tastes unbelievable!
Be sure to stop by The Green Room during their hours of operation, Monday-Friday 5pm-12am, Saturday 12pm-12am, and Sunday 12pm-5pm. Located at 959 N. 2nd St. in Downtown Abilene.