Most people have, one way or another, heard of Deep Ellum in Dallas. The area was the alternative rock epicenter for the entire Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex for far too many years to count. Growing up in that part of Texas, I frequently visited the many rock venues, restaurants and bars of the area. I have such fond memories of Deep Ellum, seeing the Dandy Warhols, Stereolab and Super Furry Animals at Trees, Travis at the Gypsy Tea Room, 7% Solution at the Curtain Club, Meat Beat Manifesto at Deep Ellum Live, the list goes on and on. Deep Ellum was more than just a collection of rock bars, it was a neighborhood that became a place for friends to grab a drink, eat some fantastic food and catch a band. You could walk into any spot, such as Club Clearview or the Liquid Lounge, and always bump into somebody you knew. It was basically like a large family, bonded together over a love for art and music.
Since I have left the Dallas area, it seems that a major shift in good ol’ Deep Ellum has lead to its downfall. Trees, a venue that could be considered the heartbeat of the neighborhood, shut its doors for good late last month. Club Dada, another staple of the area, has also folded. The future of most of the other rock clubs, such as Club Clearview and even the Gypsy Tea Room, seems shaky at best. When word of the closing of Trees got to me, I was left speechless. How can an area that was so vibrant and exciting suddenly get flushed down the toilet?
Fingers are being pointed in many different directions, ranging from poor business decisions to a drastic increase in violence and crime. With the beating of a concertgoer at an Old 97’s performance at the Gypsy Tea Room, to the shooting outside of a dance club, thugs have scared off the clientele that kept places along Main St. and Elm alive and well. While a handful of other venues in the Lower Greenville section of Dallas have picked up the slack that the dieing Deep Ellum has left, it is still an absolute shame to see such a special neighborhood become what it is.
Robert Wilonsky of the Dallas Observer recently wrote a fascinating look into the various reasons for the downfall of Deep Ellum. Click here to check it out for yourself. To all of the various bar and club owners in Deep Ellum, I will be having a drink in your honor tonight. Keep on fighting the good fight, as that neighborhood is worth giving a second chance.