There's a new spot in Deep Ellum that takes the pop-up trend to the next level: Called Pop Culture DTX, it's a just-opened bar that will do pop-up concepts year-round, cycling in a new identity a few times a year.
The bar opened quietly on October 1 with its first theme, a seasonally appropriate one called "Nightmare at Pop Culture" that pays tribute to classic horror movies, in both decor and drinks. It's particularly clever since the movie is called A Nightmare on Elm Street, and the bar is in fact located at 2812 Elm St., in the old Select Start spot (which relocated to 2811 Main St.).
Pop Culture DTX is from some of the same crew that owns Select Start, including Corey Good, Danny Wilson, Justus Pinkston, Braxton Martin, and Jacob Cox.
Co-founder Corey Good says they'll rotate the theme every 60-90 days.
"It'll be geared towards '80s and '90s pop culture," Good says. "We have so many ideas. Conceptually, this means that the bar will always be something new and uplifting and different. It gives us a chance to experiment. We'll also be working with local tattoo artists so they can bring in their artwork on canvases that are related to the pop-up theme."
The Nightmare pop-up is dedicated to '80 horror movies, he says — "Freddie Krueger and Chucky and Michael Myers, Leatherface, The Shining," he says. "And the theme inspires our drink menu, with names and ingredients that are geared towards '80s slasher icons."
He's working with a group to make custom artwork and props.
"It's a lot more work but it has to be custom so you don't violate copyright infringements," he says. "You can't go copy-and-paste a photo. But it means we have a lot of cool custom art."
If you're a VIP who's worried they won't have a place for you, then worry not: The bar has a VIP section with tableside bottle service. Other amenities include TVs set up and airing horror movies, as well as the obligatory spooky cocktails emanating dry-ice fog.
Pop-up bars have become a major full-blown trend in Dallas, starting in January 2019, when the Whippersnapper transformed itself into a bar dedicated to the TV show Family Guy.
Ill Minster Pub followed in March 2019 with a bar dedicated to Game of Thrones, and it's been a pop-up whirlwind ever since — Whippersnapper/ The Office, Ill Minster/ Star Wars, Whippersnapper/ Breaking Bad, Ill Minster/ Kill Minster — leading one to wonder about the attention span of contemporary bar patrons.
Good says that Pop Culture DTX is more about serving the needs of the neighborhood.
"Deep Ellum doesn’t have a pop-up and we wanted to fill that void, to have that kind of bar in the neighborhood," he says. "Some concepts would be hard to maintain as a bar year-round, but as a wow factor, it's another way to bring people in, and you get to have different experiences."