A Dallas bar closed after a decade in Deep Ellum: Wits End, an old-school hangout in the epicenter of the neighborhood at 2724 Elm St., closed its doors on June 26.
A spokesperson said that the lease had come to an end and the landlord, Westdale Properties, would not renew; Westdale was not available for comment.
The bar was one of the last with a throwback vibe that hearkened to the Deep Ellum of old, with band stickers, graffiti, and slight medal edge - reminiscent of when Deep Ellum was a music-driven neighborhood. Wits End still hosted metal and rock bands, "Metal Monday" DJ nights, burlesque shows, and other events.
Manager Matt Adkins, a musician in bands such as Embrace the Embers, described the club as embodying an anti-Deep Ellum "scene" — rejecting whatever the buzz was and instead functioning as a neighborhood-friendly place to have a couple drinks and see a band.
Adkins and his father Jim Adkins opened the bar in 2012 in the building that was previously home to the kind of annoying club The Bone. In addition to its welcoming atmosphere, one of Wits End's big assets was its rooftop, a valuable feature in any venue, where they had a full-service bar with whiskey, cocktails, and craft beer.
Inside, you could play pool, video games, or hang with friendly bartenders.
Wits End also had distinctive design elements thanks to artist Ace Cordell, who lent his trademark Mad Max touches with recycled metalwork sculptures.
But another bar owner in Deep Ellum who asked not to be quoted by name said that there seemed to be a desire to "clean up" the area and focus more on "soft" uses such as restaurants and retail.
And there's been a theory circulating about "big plans" for that block of Elm Street. Once Wits End clears out, there'll be five empty bar spaces on that side of Elm Street alone.
"Any bets on whether this will end up a pinball arcade shot bar out of Denver, a bowling alley tequila club out of Phoenix, or an artisan BLT whiskey bar out of Chicago?" asked one regular.
Wits End went out with panache, posting a photo on their Facebook page of their building with a photoshopped banner of a Spirit Halloween store draped across the front. "Too soon?" they quipped.
Musicians and fans alike lamented the closure and the bar's personal touch. One musician recounted the time that Wits End "saved us with a last minute show when we were coming back to Texas from being on tour and I’ll never forget it," and a fan stated that it was "hands down the best venue with the best view of the Dallas skyline."
"I hate to hear this, we had so many good times at Wits End," a fan said. "Every time we go to Deep Ellum we always end up at Wits End. My hubby taking his photos, my son attending the metal concerts, and me dancing like a maniac on rooftop. You guys will definitely be missed."