The Blue Door owner reflects on 10 years in business

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Through oil booms and busts, a global pandemic and the rest of the decade The Blue Door has remained the same. Co-owner Erica Mann said loyal customers have helped the north Midland bar make it to its 10th anniversary, which will be celebrated in July. 

“Two years ago this month we were wondering if this bar was even going to exist, so we are very grateful to be here,” Mann said.

She added that when The Blue Door first opened she didn’t even think she would be in Midland for 10 years. 

“I hadn’t completely bought into Midland, yet, which is funny because now I’m the biggest defender of Midland,” she said. “When people say there’s nothing to do here, I ask them what do they want to do because there is plenty.”

She added that when it felt like The Blue Doors’ future was uncertain, it became clear to her how much she wanted the business to continue. Mann is a co-owner with Cody Reeves. 


The bar’s name came from wanting a name that didn’t scream “bar,” because Midland was a different town 10 years ago, and Mann wanted something recognizable for marketing reasons. She had also traveled to Turkey two years prior to opening The Blue Door. While there she kept taking photos of all these blue doors on houses and shops in the country.

“I was fascinated by them because they took little houses — which were pretty nondescript — then painted the door a beautiful blue, and suddenly it becomes an image you want to photograph,” she said. “I also learned that the reason behind the blue doors in Turkey is because it’s supposed to keep out evil spirits and bring prosperity.”

The Blue Door has become a huge advocate for animal rescues, which Mann said was a natural progression for the business. 

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“We knew from the beginning that we wanted the patio to be dog-friendly,” she said. “At the time, both non-smoking and dog-friendly were controversial concepts for Midland. Our advocacy lended itself well toward that because we were able to have animals on the patio during fundraisers.” 

When she started sharing what was important to her (animal advocacy), she found her message resonating with so many like-minded people. Mann added that Instagram has been such a vital tool for the business and its philanthropic outreach. 

“Anytime I have put out a call for something whether it be funding for Ukrainian refugees and their pets or supply drives for local rescues Midlanders have always shown up and shown out,” she said.

The Blue Door will host a “Cinco de Meow-o” on May 5 benefiting Fix West Texas. This will be the first big fundraiser since February 2020. Local businesses that Mann frequents have already donated gift cards for a raffle, and there will be another raffle for a cat painting by Audrey DeBleecker of Bleeck Art. The Savory Saguaro, a charcuterie small business, will have charcuterie cups people can buy and Tito’s vodka representatives will also be handing out samples during the event. 

“We will have a couple of drink specials for Cinco de Mayo and a dog at the event,” she added.

DeBleecker, who was a bartender at The Blue Door, also painted a mural in the hallway this year. That started Mann on another project which she saw in a bar in Big Spring and at Higher Grounds Coffee Shop in Midland. She wanted to feature local artists’ pieces for sale in the hallway. She said the idea gained a lot of traction when she put out a call for artwork to hang.

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“Everybody thinks of the West Texas art scene being in Alpine or Marfa, but we have a thriving arts community in our backyard,” she said.

Mann is happy that not much has changed besides the seasonal menu at The Blue Door. Of course, the establishment makes small changes like the color of the seats and the addition of the mural to freshen up the place, but even when residents move then come back, they will find the same great watering hole. 

“I’m proud that we were able to stick to the vision,” she said. “It is a town of highs and lows and it’s not a town to be a business owner who is faint of heart because we can go from booming to wondering how to keep the lights on in a blink of an eye.”

One thing that has changed since coming back from the pandemic shutdown is the offering or more classes and events. 

“Those came out of a thirst for community and connection,” Mann said. “Because people like a reason to be involved and our charcuterie board classes or cocktail classes sell out almost every time because people want to create and be with their friends.”

Mann said that when it comes to the ever-changing menu she tries to be very aware. She added that the menu has something for everyone no matter their budget or taste. The bar has also brought back a mocktail menu, which she tried three years ago but said Midland wasn’t ready for a mocktail option yet.

“There is just as much love put in the $7 cocktail as the $14 cocktail,” she said. “I have been blown away with how receptive Midlanders have been to the mocktail menu. I’ve gotten a lot of heartfelt messages — whether it be women who are pregnant, want to go to happy hour with their friends and have a pink nonalcoholic drink or those who simply don’t drink but still want to go out with their friends and not stick out.”

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Creating new menus has become a lot easier because she has a bank of recipes to pull from and bring back favorites. The staff also contributes to the menu by submitting their new drinks. 

Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday 4 p.m. to midnight at 4610 N Garfield St., suite #1C.

The Bites

–Saucedo Tamale Factory and Mexican Restaurant closed at 1809 N. Big Spring St.

–Sibley Nature Center is partnering with Tall City Brewing Co. for a beer run from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the nature center. Packages are $15 and include a special gift and two drink tickets. Registration ends at noon on Friday. 

–Young Professionals in Energy will host a crawfish boil for their April social from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 28 at The Tailgate. 

–Tall City Brewing Co. will host a May Day Eve Celebration with axe throwing, food trucks and beer specials from 3 to 9 p.m. on April 30. 

–The Destination Midland will host its third annual crawfish boil bash and competition with Bayou Crawfish and Catering from 1 to 10 p.m. on April 30. General admission is $35 and VIP access is $50. There will be a full-service bar and live music bands during the event as well as crawfish. 

–Fair to Midland will host a summer oilfield bash with a free crawfish boil. The event will start at 2 p.m. on May 1. 

–Doris J’s Kitchen will have an official grand opening celebration from May 13 to May 15 at 4200 W Illinois Ave., suite 160. The celebration will feature a live performance by Pocket, karaoke, margaritas, beer and kids’ meal specials.