Independent Bar & Kitchen, brought to you by the team behind City Tavern and Club Dada, made its Deep Ellum debut in late April. It’s a place of European-inspired comfort cuisine, open-air space, and cocktails perfect for sipping on the patio.
Atmosphere: The décor is rustic and minimalistic, featuring earth-toned floors and ceilings, wooden tables, and exposed brick walls. There’s a section with tables and booths for indoor dining, high tables out front, and an open wall that provides the best of both worlds: inside seating that faces out into the open patio. The bar—jam-packed with dudes in their early 30s—showcases layers of liquor bottles and about 20 draft spigots. Chilled-out music plays overhead, and passersby lean over the flower pots out front to chat with the people on the patio. I got the sense that the plain interior was rather on purpose—an attempt to get people looking out to admire and appreciate the bar’s location (right in the creative, eccentric heart of Deep Ellum).
What to Order: Independent has a great selection of bottled beers and drafts, with plenty of European choices—which fits well with its Old World cuisine (think bangers and mash, rabbit pappardelle, and I think I even saw a Scotch egg on the menu). There’s a similarly themed brunch menu (featuring a Dutch baby) and, of course, plenty of cheese plates, salads, and appetizers for those who aren’t in the mood for some artery-clogging, Euro-themed comfort food.
Who’s There: I asked the host about the usual clientele. He told me: “Basically what you see now.” I looked around and muttered, “Pretty people.” (He heard me and kind of laughed.) I noticed mostly folks in their 20s and 30s: couples, ladies’ nights, and plenty of collared-shirt-clad dudes drinking drafts at the bar. There was a fair share of big, bushy beards; women in patio-friendly sundresses; and wine-drinking couples.
What I Didn’t Like: (Pet peeve alert.) The beer menu is arranged by country: U.S., Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Holland, etc.—people often think “Holland” and “the Netherlands” are interchangeable, but Holland actually constitutes two provinces in the Netherlands.
What I Did Like: Great vibe—perfect spot on a breezy night. And Independent does an awesome job of facilitating the fun, communal feeling of Deep Ellum.