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Restaurants & Bars

Deep Ellum’s Newest Bar Boasts a Whole Lot of Sports and Even More Graffiti

Manic has a traditional soul as a neighborhood sports bar. But its appearance is eye-popping, and its amenities—including foosball, draft cocktails, and fried pickled serranos—are plentiful.
Almost every square inch of Manic, the new bar from the creators of Select Start, Armoury D.E., and Ruins, boasts graffiti by artist Eder Martinez. Austin Graf / courtesy Manic

Deep Ellum’s new sports bar is called Manic—a word that might capture everything it’s about.

The bar has 30 televisions in its various rooms. It’s got pool tables, foosball, darts, shuffleboard, and more games. The whole space—floor to ceiling, even the chairs, tables, and beer taps—is a gigantic canvas for legendary Dallas graffiti artist Eder Martinez. The walls also feature work by local painter Clay Stinnett, whose style could be described as hyperdetailed psychedelia. Basically, imagine the exact opposite of a Monet painting, and that’s the vibe at Manic.

All of this represents a collaboration between two groups with longtime Deep Ellum roots: the teams behind the arcade bar Select Start and craft cocktail and food bars Armoury D.E. and Ruins. The Select Start guys handle the games and entertainment, and the Ruins and Armoury crew are cooking the food and slinging drinks.

“I think it’s a cool synergy between the two groups,” says Peter Novotny, founder of Ruins and Armoury. “They’re bringing their experience in the gaming and the nightlife, and we’re bringing our signature style and our craft elements into the sports bar arena. It’s two groups that are really invested in Deep Ellum.”

Look at that graffiti-covered chair—if you can take your eyes off the Manic double-double smashburger. Austin Graf / courtesy Manic

The kitchen, led by Ruins chef Humberto Lira, will serve tricked-up renditions of bar food: a double smashburger; chicken wings; “Luka Majick Fries,” topped with cheese, shaved ribeye, and a fried egg; and “Dirk’s Duckwurst,” which, yes, is a bratwurst made from duck, served in an everything-seasoned hot dog bun with mustard, aioli, and relish. (In the future, there may also be duck wings. Unrelated note: Meddlesome Moth serves duck wings, too, by the way.) Last year, we praised Lira’s Ruins menu as one of the most exciting in Dallas and added it to our 50 Best Restaurants list. The Manic menu looks, at first glance, like it is continuing Ruins’ and Armoury’s commitment to overdeliver on over-the-top, surprisingly adventurous bar food.

One appetizer basket seems especially, well, manic: the fried pickles. It’s a mix of different sliced and pickled vegetables, not just cucumbers—this once includes fried pickled garlic and serrano peppers.

The Manic space was most recently an axe-throwing business on Canton Street, on the opposite corner of the intersection from music venue The Factory. (Or, as most people still call it, The Bomb Factory.) The axe-throwing lanes are now pool table nooks. You may not recognize the rest of the space thanks to the paintings, mirrors, and Martinez’ graffiti.

“We were influenced a lot by the ruin bars of Budapest again,” says Novotny, who has Hungarian heritage and likes, you may have noticed at Armoury and Ruins, an artistic style he describes as chaotic. “I like a place where you can walk in and you can totally escape from everything else. Art is a strong symbol for people. It keeps people’s eyes wandering. I don’t want to leave sometimes.”

Some of Deep Ellum’s other sports bars skew clubby and loud rather than laid back. Manic is visually loud, but aspires to be more low-key, for residents of the neighborhood and people who just want to catch a game. It may look and act manic, but at heart, it’s much more traditional.

Still, the manic elements are more likely to capture your attention. Come for the basketball game, stay for the artwork and pickled serranos.

Manic, 2800 Canton St.


Brian Reinhart

Brian Reinhart

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Brian Reinhart became D Magazine's dining critic in 2022 after six years of writing about restaurants for the Dallas Observer and the Dallas Morning News.