Bar Review

Keeping Tabs: The Parlor on Commerce

It's everything a Deep Ellum bar should be.

Chris Young and Seth Byars have made the rounds mixing drinks at plenty of your favorite Dallas watering holes. Now they’ve combined their powers to create the much-anticipated Parlor on Commerce—a laid-back little gem that’s everything a Deep Ellum bar should be.

Atmosphere: The Parlor on Commerce is neither too stripped-down nor too dressed-up. The floor, repurposed and glossy, was made from the flooring of an old gymnasium. The bar top came from an old boxcar. One wall is exposed brick, the other sports colorful portraits of pop icons (including Janis Joplin, Prince, and Spock) by local artist Steve Hunter. The patio out front is comfy (there are heaters for cold days, at least), but far from expansive. The indoor space is long and narrow, catchy rock tunes play overhead, and a Playboy pinball machine sits at the back of the bar. The vibe is friendly and come-as-you-are.

You'll find a Playboy pinball machine toward the back of the long, narrow bar.
You’ll find a Playboy pinball machine toward the back of the long, narrow bar.

What to Order: As the bartender told me, a drink menu limits possibilities. The Parlor on Commerce doesn’t have one. Here, you tell the bartenders what you like to drink, and they’ll whip up something that suits you, whether it’s a cold beer or a fancy cocktail. Not only do you get exactly what you want, but it creates a more open, neighborhood-bar dynamic, which is exactly what the place is going for. That said: the whisky menu is no joke. The Parlor pours 60-plus whiskeys, from the $6 Buffalo Trace to the $45 Nikka Taketsuru 21-year-old single malt. There’s also a decent listing for scotch, if you’re into that sort of thing, as well as a snack menu for when the late-night munchies strike.

 

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The Parlor on Commerce doesn’t have a drink menu. Tell the bartenders what you like to drink, and they will create something catered to your tastes.

Who’s There: It’s a little slow in the early evening, but things pick up at the Parlor as the night progresses. Later in the evening, you’ll find a decent helping of service industry folks, and overall, the place draws a fairly eclectic crowd: artsy Deep Ellum locals, guys who look like they’re probably in a band, and Uptown partiers who breeze through on the weekends. You can tell the regulars because the bartender starts their drinks before they hit the bar stool.

What I Didn’t Like: A jukebox (with only good stuff, kind of like what they play already) would complete the homey, laid-back feel.

What I Did Like: I loved how much stuff in his bar was reclaimed! In addition to the boxcar bar top and the old gym floor, the table tops were made from old semi flooring.

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