You have probably heard at least a thousand times in the last six months that DEEP ELLUM IS BACK, BABY! You might have heard this from, well, us and everyone else in Dallas. Deep Ellum is officially reinvigorated and revitalized, which means that we’re starting to see an influx of people who were once so terrified of the beloved entertainment district that they labeled it a no-go zone for the better part of a decade.
However, thanks to gentrifi—er, we mean "development" — Deep Ellum is now the No. 1 spot for those looking for a sweet, sweet taste of what it's like to be hip. There’s a whole new crowd of people you’d have never seen south of Lovers Lane as recently as a year ago. With that in mind, we’ve created a handy guide for identifying the 10 people you’ll inevitably come across in the “new” Deep Ellum.
The Pecan Lodge Crowd
These people will swear Dickey’s is the best thing on the planet until they stand in line for an hour to taste a bit of heaven in brisket form. After they’ve converted to the church of the Boss Lady they go out into the 'burbs spreading the gospel of burnt ends, and return with their friends to the holy intersection of Main and Pryor streets. These people are why there’s no parking, and why you’re eating at Luscher’s.
The Woo Girl
The Woo Girl is still alive and well in Dallas, but it used to be that these Herve Leger-clad broads kept to Uptown and Oak Lawn and swankier neighborhoods. Deep Ellum is now the trendiest spot in town, which means they’ll be clacking their Louboutins down these terribly paved streets in the direction of Three Sheets or Armoury D.E. Which means you will now be forced to avoid these places unless you’re really interested in being puked on or elbowing through a bachelorette party on your way to the bar.
The Denton Expat
Cool, you hit 27 and decided to grow up. How’s living in Oak Cliff and hanging out in Deep Ellum going? What hashtag are you using on your ‘grams? Is it #WeDeeponDoIt or maybe #TheOC? We're about three months from all of these folks forming new bands in the hopes of getting to play at Vice Palace.
The Ex-Musician With Kids
They spent their 20s as musicians, banging it out on stages for quarters and the opportunity to tell everyone that they caught a glimpse of Kurt Cobain that one time at Trees. Now, they’ve settled down with their baby mama (or one of them), and are pushing that Britax stroller around to show young Jagger or Presley the old ‘hood. They’ve swapped out their piercings and guitars for an SUV and the PTA, but they’re still as cool as they’ve ever been. Or at least that’s what they’ll tell you. Repeatedly. After several beers.
Believe it or not, some people actually do come to Dallas to see the sights. And by sights, we mean the historical landmarks associated with the Kennedy assassination. After a full day of blood and guts and Lee Harvey Oswald’s creepy mug, they’re eventually going to need a place to wash all that macabre out of their brains with plenty of liquor. Of course, that means coming to Deep Ellum. Sooner or later, the tourists had to migrate out of the West End, and it may as well be the place with all those funky robot statues that look so cool in your Instagram selfies.
The SMU Bro
This fuckin' guy.
The Benefactor Who "Used to Hang Out Here in the '80s"
These are the folks emerging from their very first DART ride, who probably don’t recognize a single structure in this newly renovated neighborhood. They haven’t been to Deep Ellum in years, but they’ll happily tell you about the good ol’ days over a drink. Fortunately, they’re going to buy that drink for you, because they grew the fuck up, got good jobs and stopped feeling like their life depended on either forming or discovering the next Polyphonic Spree or Old 97's.
The Terrified Suburbanite
This person, unlike cool suburbanite who saw Radiohead back in the day, is freaked the fuck out that they are in such a sketchy neighborhood. Never mind that there’s a cop on every corner, finally some decent lighting and throngs of people of all stripes. This person is worried about whether or not their Mercedes is getting stripped down and sold to a chop shop while they listen to a band (that they definitely heard about on NPR) at Club Dada. They’re also really interested in that Cane Rosso (CAY-ne ROO-so) that they saw Guy Fieri slobbering all over on the TV.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
This is the guy who keeps sending you Tinder messages inviting you to that bar disguised as an old-fashioned candy shop and a photo of a (fake) Rolex around his dick. The Showboat is coming to Deep Ellum to prove that he’s gotten with the times, swapped out all his Affliction T-shirts for tight-rolled jeans and ditched Uptown for trendier pastures. He will also probably get too drunk and end up barfing on his leased BMW before crying for the rest of the night about his failures as a man.
The Sanctimonious Disgruntled Local
These are the folks who moved into Deep Ellum years ago and endured the down time. They’re pissed because they know their rent's going up exponentially (especially if high-rises keep popping up all over the neighborhood) and their favorite bars are going to be slammed. You’ll know if you’ve encountered a longtime local almost immediately — they’re going to tell you about the good old days, and be really pissed off at you if you ruin the place for them. So treat it (and them) nice.