Deep Ellum has seen its fair share of places come and go since its heyday as home of the blues. With culture unlike any other neighborhood in Dallas, Deep Ellum brings in folks looking for a good time. The local businesses have something for the hungry, thirsty, and bored denizens in search of a quintessential Dallas experience.
Rise and shine at Fiction Coffee
Start the day with a cup of coffee. The renovated Continental Gin Building off Elm Street not only houses polished offices and co-working spaces, but the latest iteration of this Dallas-native coffee shop that has expanded to multiple locations. Fiction has always had a knack for making the spaces that serve its coffee feel as important as the coffee itself.
This outpost has loads of mixed seating along with polished blond wood, marble, and exposed brick that is a distinguishing feature of the neighborhood. With special seasonal drinks and a welcoming vibe for even a plain old cup of drip coffee, there’s a little something to wake up anyone here. It also offers a selection of breakfast burritos provided by Tacodeli and fresh pastries from nearby bakery Commissary.
Lunch at Angry Dog, a neighborhood institution
It’s been said that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Angry Dog follows this mantra by dropping all the excess and giving the people what they want: old-fashioned burgers and hot dogs that are crave-worthy. Highly regarded by locals for capturing that straight-off-a-Fourth-of-July-grill vibe, everything on the menu, including the ice-cold beers, is down-to-earth.
Cool off at Picole Pops
Picole Pops offers a considerable selection of popsicles that not only keep one cool under the Texas sun, but have a boozy boost with flavors including rumchata and mango margarita. The nonalcoholic flavors are equally worthy of praise; they range from a creamy toasted coconut to decadently filled strawberry cheesecake and banana Nutella.
Goof around at Electric Shuffle
Electric Shuffle brings shuffleboard into the 21st century, and Deep Ellum is home to the chain’s first location in the U.S. Electric Shuffle features multiple game modes, assisted by modern tech to entertain players as they try their hand at sliding their puck to victory.
Between turns at the board, enjoy a huge selection of drinks or snacks, including the Spicy Lucy (a margarita made with jalapeno-infused tequila), Old Fashioned, espresso martini, frozen watermelon margarita, and frozen Aperol spritz. If you prefer to wander, Electric Shuffle is a veritable Instagrammers’ playground with vintage electronics and posters from the 1950s and onward.
Snag Japanese barbecue at NIWA
Be sure to be at the doors of NIWA right at 6 p.m., because it fills up fast. Setting up a reservation in advance is always a good idea. NIWA offers a yakiniku experience where diners grill their food at the table. This Japanese restaurant has been thrilling guests with its incredible assortment of meats and veggies since 2016. In addition to meat that spans the gamut from pork jowl to A5 Japanese wagyu, it has a breathtaking assortment of sake.
Sip and browse at Off the Record
Deep Ellum wouldn’t be where it is today without music, and there’s no better place to score some one-of-a-kind vinyl than at Off the Record. Located off the main hustle and bustle of Elm Street, Off the Record never seems to have a shortage of live music, listening parties, or well-known DJs on its events calendar. Even if you don’t own a record player, the bar’s giant selection of local beers on tap can keep you entertained while you flick through the endless rows of album covers.
Get a little tequila-rowdy at Ruins and the Limbo Room
Split into distinct venues, Ruins fills two critical needs for any Deep Ellum tour: loud music and good tequila. For a more relaxed and social cocktail experience, the main room at Ruins is the spot. Overflowing with art in a beautifully chaotic way, the space has influence from Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean. This extends to the food and drink, with the kitchen serving items such as nopalitos fritos and pippin rojo until 2 a.m.
The bar follows suit, with a tequila and mezcal bar with well over 100 selections spanning multiple regions of Mexico, and dozens of different species of agave. They aren’t shy about showcasing their selection, either, with cocktails that range from refreshing and fruity to downright wild, like the Diabolico, containing mezcal, Lunazul blanco tequila, Strega, lime, passionfruit, chicha morada, and Fuego bitters.
Stepping next door into Ruin’s live music venue, the Limbo Room, is a surefire way to get the blood pumping. Bands and musicians, both local and regional, are almost always playing in the ambient, highly stylized room.
Finish the night off right at Twilite Lounge
When it’s late, all the loud music from other bars is still ringing in your ears, and you want a place to wind down with friends, go to Twilite Lounge. This relaxed dive bar has a good assortment of cocktails and drinks served in a New Orleans-inspired space. The live music is (generally) more muted, allowing for conversation, and the back patio is a relaxing oasis in the concrete sprawl of Deep Ellum.