A new bar coming to Deep Ellum this summer is in a class by itself. Called High & Tight, it's a combination barbershop and speakeasy, a concept not yet seen in Deep Ellum — or all of Dallas, for that matter.
We have the underground speakeasy in Midnight Rambler, and the speakeasy-behind-a-fake-candy-shop in Truth & Alibi. But the speakeasy barbershop — as seen in places like Los Angeles and New York, such as the Blind Barber and Speakeasy Barber Salon — is something we do not have.
Founder Braxton Martin envisions High & Tight as a barbershop with a passageway into the bar, but promises that both sides of the business will receive the same degree of TLC. This separates it from Truth & Alibi, whose candy-shop entrance is nonfunctional and serves only as an entrance.
"We are a 1920s-themed gentleman's barbershop with a speakeasy in the back," says marketing director Corey Good. "The idea was to have a barbershop in front with a kind of secret entry through the hallway to get into the bar."
Martin and Good are a young entrepreneurial duo — Good is 26, Martin is 30 — who met while working in the service industry in Austin. Martin hatched the idea, and he scoured Greenville Avenue and Bishop Arts before settling on Deep Ellum. His location at 2701 Main St., across from Pecan Lodge, is not only centrally located, but it also has the capacity for two entrances, with a door to the barbershop on Main and a separate entry to the bar on Elm Street, across from the Green Room.
Martin says the idea rose out of his infatuation with institutions from the 1920s.
"The Prohibition era struck me as interesting, and I wanted to have something that evokes that culture," he says. "The barbershop is something all men are familiar with, but over the past decades has slipped away. I wanted to bring back a place that was gentleman-friendly and respected the tradition."
The official entrance will be via the barbershop. There'll also be a powder room — "with lavender and feminine touches," Martin says — that leads into the bar. The decor will be 1920s-30s London, and there'll be a stage just big enough for three- and four-piece brass bands.
"It'll be like you stepped on a movie set," Martin says.
Executing their vision within the tight confines of city permits has had its challenges, but they hope to get the barbershop open the first weekend of July, followed by the bar, with a grand opening by Halloween. They're currently interviewing for a complex team that includes not only master bartenders, but also top barbers.