If you haven't made it down to Deep Ellum in a while, you might not even recognize it. The influx of new bars, restaurants, concert venues, and by proxy, people, into the neighborhood is making serious waves. Depending on who you talk to, this change is either great or terrible, but residents of the neighborhood should all be able to agree on at least one thing — Armoury DE is a welcome addition.
This recently opened bar on Elm Street close to Club Dada and Trees is representative of this new generation of bars and restaurants. It doesn't have the grimy appeal of a place like the now-closed July Alley, but what it lacks in grit it makes up for in great cocktails, an impressively intriguing food menu, and a rustic, Gypsy-influenced atmosphere.
If not for the neon red "A" marking the bar's entrance, you might miss it. The tall, heavy wooden doors haven't yet been plastered with band stickers and flyers, and it's so dim that it'd be easy to walk on by thinking that this place was closed. Dare to venture in, though, and you'll soon realize that you've happened into one of Deep Ellum's best new drinking establishments.
The impressive array of spirits behind the bar is a promising start: Armoury DE offers a comprehensive whiskey list, including Kentucky standards and rarities alongside Irish whiskey. Rare (and weird) liqueurs, eaus de vie, and herbal spirits like Fernet and Strega are also on offer, should you prefer your straight-up spirits of the obscure variety.
The house cocktail list is a mix between modern craft cocktails and takes on traditional sips. The Trinity Peach, made with bourbon, local honey, and a floater of peach-infused cream is a particular standout, even if you probably should substitute a better bourbon than the Old Grand-Dad they'll pour you if you're persnickety about your whiskey. A shoo-in for "most creative cocktail name," the Vulgar Display of Sour is made with gin, quinquina, cardamom-infused cucumber, and a dash of paprika. It's a bizarre libation, but one that's worth a try.
And if you're particularly adventurous — or just indecisive — consider leaving it up to chance and letting the bartender mix you a cocktail with a few criteria. You supply the spirit, a flavor profile, and a style, and they'll shake up something interesting. Housemade strawberry, orange, grapefruit, and lime sodas are fresh and lively if you're on designated driving duty.
Should you need something to soak up all that booze, they've got you covered there, too. The bar snack menu is cheeky and inexpensive, featuring refined dishes like Darkwing Drums, duck wings fried crisp and tossed in mango-peach chile sauce, and pork belly fritters served with funnel cake and an orange-infused Aperol drizzle. If something more substantial is in order, a Hungarian chicken paprikash served over brown butter spaetzle could probably sober you up by the time you've finished dinner.
Armoury D.E. is open every night until 2 a.m., which makes it a great spot for grabbing a cocktail and a bite after a show at Trees. Soon, the bar will begin serving brunch on the weekends, and if it's half as interesting as the bar's dinner options, it'll definitely be worth investigating.
Scope out Armoury D.E.'s food and cocktail selection, below: