Gentrification Claims Another Deep Ellum Venue, Says Owner of the Green Room | Dallas Observer


Owner Says The Green Room Is Closing Because 'It No Longer Fits the Area'

This year, Deep Ellum turns 150, but on the heels of the neighborhood's milestone, not every venue will be there for the celebration.
Deep Ellum's The Green Room will close after one final bash this weekend.
Deep Ellum's The Green Room will close after one final bash this weekend. Courtesy of The Green Room
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This year, Deep Ellum turns 150, but not every neighborhood venue will be there for the celebration.

Another staple of Deep Ellum nightlife is closing its doors for good. Christian Baird, owner of The Green Room, confirmed that the rooftop bar on Elm Street will be closing after one final blast this weekend.

"It breaks my heart," Baird says. "Sales have dropped tremendously in the last year. The concept was always a rock 'n' roll sports bar, and it no longer fits the area."

The Green Room is the latest signature fixture on Elm Street to announce its closure. It follows former familiar Deep Ellum spots such as Wits End, Tiki Loco and The Anvil Pub.

The Green Room's closure comes just days before the city and Deep Ellum Foundation plan to launch the 150th anniversary celebration of the neighborhood's founding. The bar has been here since 1994, adjacent to a parking lot and across the street from Club Dada and Off the Record, and has switched owners a few times.

In the '90s, head chef Marc Cassel started a culinary tradition known as "Feed Me, Wine Me," which paired four-course meals and wines chosen by the chef. According to Observer food editor Lauren Drewes Daniels, The Green Room "changed the entire dining scene in Dallas and brought high-end food to the rock scene."

The two-story bar and restaurant offered a rooftop patio so guests could enjoy the night air and the musical ambience of the Dallas neighborhood. It was also a regular stop for some of Deep Ellum's late-night bar staff and kitchen crews who needed a place to unwind after long evenings of slinging drinks and cleaning tables.

"That place was very close to me," says Bryce Sweedberg, a bartender at the Neon Kitten dim sum bar and speakeasy. "I've spend many a nights there and became very attached to their staff. That one really hit hard."

Baird says he started to notice a dip in sales in May around the time that Dallas police starting blocking off streets "in the interest of public safety," according to a DPD announcement released last April.

"It's just exhausting jumping over hurdles that seem to get bigger and bigger." – Christian Baird

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"It dropped off about 60 or 70 percent and never got better," Baird says. "The Deep Ellum Foundation did a lot of busking for us and went to a lot of those meetings. It seemed like a wild goose chase. It got exhausting."

The neighborhood's demographics and foot traffic have changed over the last few months and had a huge effect on business.

"The rock 'n' roll crowd is no longer down here," Baird says. "It's just exhausting jumping over hurdles that seem to get bigger and bigger."

Baird says he'll stay open for one more weekend to give his regulars and their friends one more chance to "swing by and raise a final glass."

Plans for The Green Room's space are still being ironed out between Baird and Westdale, the real estate company that owns a sizeable portion of the historic Dallas neighborhood.

Baird says he's considering opening a new venture in Fort Worth once his plans with The Green Room are completed and the lease on the space ends next month.

"I wish we were doing enough business to stay open but, unfortunately, I can't stay open and not make any money," Baird says. "It's been hard to cut the cord but my accountant's been screaming at me to get out of here." 
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