A Deep Ellum club with an instinct for survival has executed a reboot: RBC, the little bar at 2617 Commerce St., sandwiched between Twisted Root and the boffo new Punch Bowl Social, has a new makeover designed to accommodate the changing profile of the neighborhood.
That means an updated environment with new floors, a new bar, new rooftop, and newly installed booths that are available for — gulp — bottle service.
The bar menu features new liquors and champagne, and the bar was an early and big player on the White Claw front, stocking up on the hard seltzer beverage that's become the hottest drink of the summer.
Manager Zach Moss was an early adopter with White Claw, spotting its potential months ago, ahead of the curve. White Claw is currently outselling craft beer by 4 to 1.
"You can't go anywhere without people asking about White Claw," Moss says. "It's become the 'it drink' of the summer. They're calling it 'White Claw summer.' It's a light, easy drink that can get you pretty fucked up."
"A few months ago, we ordered a couple of variety packs, and the first night, we sold out of all of them," he says. "From there, instead of getting variety packs, we started getting cases of the flavors, in cherry and lime. A few weeks ago, they launched a mango flavor, and we bought our rep entirely out of the mango."
Moss says its popularity at RBC is a reflection of how dramatically the neighborhood has changed.
"RBC used to be the Red Blood Club, a metal bar, but if you look at who's in Deep Ellum now, it's all kinds of people," he says. "We want to have an environment that finds the balance between what we used to be and where things are now."
One big change has been the declining role that live music plays, both at RBC and in Deep Ellum, which has seen closures such as the Curtain Club, The Door, and the Prophet Bar. In their remodel, RBC kept their stage but downsized it.
"When my mother Tammy Moss first bought the bar five years ago, she kept it as it was, kind of a hole in the wall," he says. "We did that for a while plus live shows. Some local bands do have a following, but there are nights when you're lucky to see 100 people. We get a much bigger crowd when we do more of a club thing with a DJ. But I feel like having bands play is important, so we do both live music and club nights."
They've also partnered with their new neighbor, Punch Bowl Social, and encourage customers to have their food on certain nights.
"We just want to stay sustainable and stay true to ourselves, to be a place where people can find live music, or for people who want to go out and get drinks," he says.