It's game on for a new bar in Deep Ellum combining crafty projects and cocktails: Upstairs Circus, the Colorado-based concept combining do-it-yourself crafts and booze, makes its Dallas debut when it opens its doors on December 4, at 2810 Main St., at the intersection of Crowdus Street. It's going into a 1926 storefront that was once a brakes supply store, but has been vacant since 2012.
Upstairs Circus centers around "making," IE projects that patrons can make, choosing from categories such as leather-working, woodworking, jewelry making, art, and design. There's also a full bar serving cocktails, local beer, and wine.
According to a release, Deep Ellum is the fifth Upstairs Circus location, following branches in Denver, Minneapolis, and Austin.
Upstairs Circus does not teach classes, but has staffers on standby to offer assistance. Customers work at their own pace and can choose what project they want to make at any time. Projects you can make include jewelry, personal items, art objects, and items for the home.
A menu of 30-plus items includes bracelets, leather koozies, pet collars, decorative coasters, wallets, keychains, magnetic shelves, butcher boards, serving trays, nail-and-string paintings, and stamped charms.
In place of traditional-style classes, Upstairs Circus hosts "socials" — events in which people can come in, socialize, and make projects. Prices range from $29 at happy hour to $44 during their weekend mimosas event.
Upstairs Circus was founded by Kelly and Matt Johannsen, who opened their first location in Denver in 2013. Kelly shares a quote that sums up what the concept is about.
"There's a lot going on up there," she says, in reference to the human brain. "Especially on the right side. We're pretty sure we all have monkeys on motorbikes whizzing around inside, churning up all kinds of crazy ideas and concocting the most amazing of things."
The bar's decor features a Parisian circus theme, and cocktail names follow suit. Strongman's Punch is a sangria cocktail, and the Mexican Firebreather is a spicy take on a margarita.
Johannsen says that Deep Ellum's spirit of creativity and individuality, and its embrace of art, music, and culture, done in a gritty way, is a match for their concept.
"We strive to inspire ingenuity and creative experimentation and we do it in a way that is a bit gritty, messy and a whole-lot-of fun," Johannsen says.
The bar will host two Project Socials during the weekdays: a happy hour social from 3–6 pm, and an evening social from 7–10 pm.
They also host a weekend event called "Making 'n Mimosas," from 11 am–2 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, which they say is one of their most popular events.
December 4-5 will be a soft opening phase with reduced pricing. The grand opening runs December 6-8 with free champagne.