First Look

Deep Ellum’s Newest Bar and Restaurant Wants to Keep It Low-Key

The bar at Off the Cuff, now open on Elm Street in Deep Ellum
The bar at Off the Cuff, now open on Elm Street in Deep Ellum Alex Gonzalez
While some are lauding the many changes forever altering the fabric of Deep Ellum, some argue that the addition of upscale bars and restaurants, along with office buildings and luxury apartments, are diluting the neighborhood’s cultural and artistic significance. The founders of Off the Cuff, Deep Ellum’s newest bar and dining outpost, hope to create a homey space that stays true to the roots of Deep Ellum.

“Honestly, we’re just trying to make our dream come true,” says Off the Cuff co-owner Tan Mai. “We’re hoping to leave our footprint in Deep Ellum and not take away from it.”

“We’re trying to create a place to appeal to all kinds of people,” adds co-owner Alex Hines, “not just one kind of consumer.”

The bar, now open in the space that used to house Junction, is large and spacious, bordered with cushioned barstools and TV screens mounted above. Mai and Hines first came up with Off the Cuff’s concept six years ago. The pair’s vision is “a neighborhood bar in a high-volume area.”

“I grew up in a small town,” Mai says, “and the bar that I would go to, they knew everybody by name and what they would order. I wanted to create something like that here.”

click to enlarge Off the Cuff's menu is straightforward, with sandwiches and cocktails that riff on the old-fashioned. - JD WALDRON
Off the Cuff's menu is straightforward, with sandwiches and cocktails that riff on the old-fashioned.
JD Waldron
Off the Cuff’s food menu will boast six signature sandwiches, including the Fidel Castro ($14), made with Cuban mojo shaved pork, Black Forest ham, red pepper honey mustard, dill pickle and baby Swiss cheese.

Signature cocktails include the Rye’d or Die ($13), Off the Cuff’s version of an old-fashioned, made with Knob Creek Rye, brown sugar syrup and signature bitters. They will also offer a tequila-based old-fashioned called the Pablo Escobar ($14).

Bound to be a big hit are Off the Cuff’s large format drinks, which include the 64-ounce Texas-Sized Mule ($175), which is made with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, as well as the Afternoon Delight Pitcher, a light, airy cocktail made with Effen Cucumber Vodka, fresh mint and cucumber, elderflower liqueur and topped with Champagne.

Off the Cuff will celebrate its official grand opening at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 9 with a red carpet, drinks, small bites and a "few surprises," according to the owners.

Off the Cuff, 2901 Elm St. Open 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
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Alex Gonzalez has been a contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2018. He is a Dallas native whose work has appeared in Local Profile, MTV News and the Austin American-Statesman. He has eclectic taste in music and enjoys writing about art, food and culture.
Contact: Alex Gonzalez