The new and improved City Tavern quietly opened last week just a block away from the longtime pub’s original location in Downtown.
“City Tavern 2.0,” as owner Josh Florence refers to it, finally opened in the Mid Elm Lofts at 1512 Elm Street, months behind schedule due to numerous setbacks. “It was a really difficult project for various reasons,” he tells Eater, declining to divulge more details. “We’re really happy with how it looks. We love the location, love the size. It’s been a long time coming, my goodness.”
The space is almost an exact replica of City Tavern’s original layout with the bar and booths in the same orientation. All furnishings are new, though, to match the newly constructed building including the signature red booths, red high-backed chairs, and wood cladding on the walls — although some of the original tables made the cut and have been refinished for the new space. “We wanted to make some positive improvements,” Florence says, “But when you walk in, it still feels like City Tavern.”
Additional improvements include bringing over Chef Roe DiLeo to revamp the menu of pub fare, including her new burger recipe that fetches a reduced fee of $6 on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to appeal to the Downtown work crowd. Florence says DiLeo was also tasked with bringing back menu favorites including hand-breaded stuffed jalapeños in an improved, larger kitchen that will allow staff to crank out dishes faster. Despite gearing things toward a lunchtime crowd, City Tavern will still remain an evening destination for boozing and live music in Downtown. Florence is working with his team on booking music programming for Wednesday through Saturday evenings. “Music is in all of our locations. It’s a big part of what we do,” says Florence, who also owns Deep Ellum’s Off The Record, Club Dada, and Independent Bar and Kitchen.
Despite only being open for several days, Florence says his regulars came out in droves over the weekend. “The community has been waiting patiently for us to reopen, and it was heartwarming to see how many customers came out to show their love,” he says. City Tavern is currently in soft opening phase with a grand opening slated for February 23.