We all get the urge to skip the bright lights and shiny cars of Uptown sometimes. We find ourselves wondering if the fact that the bartenders at our favorite dives know our usual drink really is something to be proud of. You want a night out in Dallas that doesn’t feel like a night out in Dallas, don’t you? Enter 2826 Arnetic, Deep Ellum’s newest eclectic music venue.
The Concept: Dallas native Frank Maldonado and a few of his fellow A Week of Tuesdays band members opened the place three weeks ago to bring a funky, artsy venue to the local music scene. And that they have. Their appreciation of the arts is obvious with visions of bright, bold paintings every which way you turn your head. And it’s all for sale, all by local artists. It’s a relaxed setting; the type of place with a melting pot for a crowd. Their motto is plastered above the bar, and it sets the tone: “Absolutely Reluctant iN Everything That is Conforming.” Hence, the acronym, “arnetic.”
Who’s There: Chilled-out crowd. Mostly ages 30s to 50s. Not at all your typical “Dallas” scene, but that’s what made the people watching all the more fun.
What They’re Drinking: Specialty cocktails? Nonsense. That’d be too conformist for them, now wouldn’t it? The bar looks like Mom and Dad’s liquor cabinet, hosting no more than 10 liquor bottles. We don’t judge harshly, though. Three weeks is infancy in bar life, and the bartender doesn’t let the clear plastic Solo cups and neon straws deter him from a heavy pour.
What They’re Wearing: We can’t even begin to tell you how casual it is. T-shirts? Check. Flip flops? Check. Long ponytails on both women and men? Check.
Don’t Miss: The light sconces that are made from actual trees that have been struck by lightning. And if you find it’s what your living room has been missing all along, buy one. They’re for sale by a local Dallas artist (of course). Plus, the actual tree trunks make for a great conversation starter. (Read: pickup line.)
What’s Playing: We caught the musical talents of Sandaga Jazz. They play every Thursday, and it seems their fans and posse come along for the ride too. Other Dallas bands will begin playing in the fall on Friday and Saturday nights.
When You Enter, Make a Beeline For: The black leather couches, front and center, right by the stage. Although they looked as if they were pulled right out of a college fraternity house, they were more comfortable than standing by the bar.
Be Sure to Check Out: The far back right corner. (No, we’re not trying to make you a wallflower.) Maldonado will be showing indie films produced by Dallas film and art students as an outlet for them to have their videos seen in public. The movie screen covers nearly half the wall. The other half? Art.
When the Crowd Arrives: No crowd yet. It’s too early to tell if it’ll be a niche thing, or if those tired of the glam nights in Dallas, craving an Austin-like evening, will make this a regular stop.
Overheard: “Uptown just gets so old.”
Bottom Line: Worth trying, especially if you’re in a barhopping rut. It’s artsy, non-stereotypical Dallas. Don’t overdress, and don’t come expecting to dance the night away to the Black Eyed Peas. If you’re into art and indie bands and films, this is your new mother-ship. If not, don’t say that we didn’t try to help you when the valet guy at the velvet-rope club points out that you wore that same outfit three weeks ago.