Deep Ellum News

Pandemic aftermath smites popular decade-old bar in Dallas' Deep Ellum

Pandemic aftermath smites popular decade-old bar in Dallas' Deep Ellum

Anvil Pub in Deep Ellum
The bar opened at a time when Deep Ellum was at its nadir. Photo courtesy of Anvil Pub

One of the most authentic and laid-back bars in Dallas' Deep Ellum has closed: Anvil Pub, which had been open in a prime spot at 2638 Elm St., closed on October 31 after more than a decade.

The closure was only announced that day.

"We are closing down but hoping everyone shows up for our last night," their statement said. "I know it's short notice, but tonight is it, how fitting on Halloween."

Like every other restaurant and bar, Anvil's business was hit hard by the pandemic — but things had gotten back to normal.

But it was a pandemic-related situation that did them in. Co-owner Joshua Bridges says they got hit with a surprise rent payment that made their survival impossible.

"The landlord had said the rent during the 11-month shutdown was not an issue," Bridges says. "But two weeks ago, he changed his mind and hit me with a $155,000 bill, payable by the 31st. We are closed as of now."

It's a huge loss for the neighborhood, considering the role Anvil Pub played in the revival of Deep Ellum, opening in 2010 at a time when the neighborhood was down and out.

Founded by Patrick "Pop" Bridges and his sons Joshua and Jeremy, Anvil was a down-to-earth bar for anyone who wanted to avoid pretension and a place to share space with a variety of people — drawing nearby residents as well as people from Uptown, downtown, SMU, and beyond.

Patrick built it as an homage to his grandfather and wanted to create a pub, "a place for the common man," as he told Andrea Grimes in this excellent Eater profile she wrote a year after Anvil opened.

The Anvil was a place you could walk into alone and not feel out of place. It had lots of things going for it, including a sidewalk patio at the front entrance that created a welcoming walk-right-in vibe.

The bar was one of the early practitioners of the now-common stacked bloody Mary trend, where you stack a whole bunch of food like doughnuts and even burgers onto your bloody Mary.

They had a notable selection of interesting beer, and a good food menu that was like a polished version of home cooking: pastas, steak & potatoes, chili mac & cheese, nachos, pizza, really good onion rings, salads, sandwiches, wings.

They were also an early adopter on vegan offerings, eventually adding an entire vegan menu and were rewarded for their attentiveness, becoming a favorite destination for the monthly meet-ups of the "Dallas Vegan Drinks" group.

"All good things must come to an end," their statement said. "We thank everyone in the neighborhood for 11 amazing years filled with laughing, love, tears, and most importantly, FAMILY."