The Liberty Bank building has quite the provenance. It has been four saloons, one bank and now, over a century after it was built, the building is home to Green Door Public House.
Architect Craig Melde relocated the building from its original site at the intersection of Cesar Chavez and Elm Street to South Harwood Street, near the Dallas Farmers Market. And now Bryan and Kathy Crelly, the duo behind Deep Ellum's Uncle Uber's Sammich Shop, have turned the first floor of the building into their latest foray into Dallas' bar and dining scene.
Yes, Green Door Public House really does have a green door. It hearkens back to the era of prohibition, when businesses used green doors to let passersby know the establishment was pro-fermentation, wink-wink-nudge-nudge. And while the red brick exterior of the building feels old -- well, Dallas old -- once inside, it's a bit like walking aboard Theseus' ship. Whatever character was retained from the original building feels masked by an abundance of new. "Pumped up Kicks" plays overhead while ESPN is broadcast on plasma screens, which loom over the heads of diners -- modern reminders that Bonnie and Clyde won't be blazing up this joint anytime soon.
In a nod to the exterior, red brick flanks the indoor eating area, which consists of bar tables and stools for the cocktail and appetizer crowd, and chairs and tables for the I'm having a proper meal, dammit folks. If you prefer to sit outside, there is a covered patio with views of downtown.
The menu is an amalgamation of The Four S's: starters, salads, sandwiches and steaks. Starters include Buffalo wings ($9), shrimp cocktail ($10) and green chili pork stew ($7.) For the woman that's afraid to eat in front of men, there are a handful of salads to choose from: house ($5), Caesar ($8), spinach ($9) and either crispy or chopped chicken ($11.) Sandwiches include a half-pound cheeseburger ($10) panko-crusted mushroom burger ($10) cajun shrimp ($12), jerk chicken ($10) and fried mortadella press ($10), which is described on the menu as "genoa salami, mortadella, pickles, red onion and creole vinaigrette," but which I would describe as the lovechild of a Cuban and Transient-Italian. At Green Door, steak means either an eight ounce top sirloin ($16) or 12 ounce ribeye ($22.) Adding to that eclectic, grandmother's attic feeling, the menu also features salmon, vegetable kabobs and fish tacos.
The cocktail menu is more direct in its approach, featuring classics like the Old Fashioned, Sazerac, Singapore Sling, Sloe Gin Fizz and Tom Collins, alongside some more health-compromising options like the Black Thorn and Rusty Nail.
The restaurant opened on July 7, but it seems that area office workers (namely the blue button-down variety) have already adopted this place for drinks, in a move that would surely make their prohibition-ignoring great-grandfathers proud. Green Door Public House may not be a step back in time, but maybe people don't want it to be. Maybe they want chicken wings and LeBron James coverage and sloe, sloe gin.