The Beloved Neighborhood Bar Announced Its Surprising Closure On Halloween Night, Mere Hours Before Pouring Its Last-Ever Drinks.
The still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the state-mandated forced closures that came with it have killed well more than 100 beloved businesses in and around Dallas in 2020 — and, with two months remaining in 2021, the hits are still coming.
Shortly after 8 p.m. on Sunday evening, the beloved Deep Ellum watering hole Anvil Pub offered up a legitimate Halloween fright by announcing on Facebook that it would be serving its last-ever drinks at closing time later in the night.
The post shared to social media read as follows:
“All good things must come to an end…
We thank everyone in the neighborhood for 11 amazing years filled with laughing, love, tears, and most importantly… FAMILY.
We are closing down but hoping everyone shows up for our last night. I know it’s short notice, but tonight is it, how fitting on Halloween.
Come out for one last Jamo with the whole crew!
The Bridges & Anvil Crew”
Speaking to CultureMap on Monday morning, Anvil co-owner Josh Bridges blamed the pandemic for the closure, saying that the business’ landlord, which had previously been lenient on rents not paid during an 11-month forced shutdown, suddenly dropped a $155,000 back-rent bill on the business that ultimately spelled its doom.
Owned and operated by Bridges, his father Patrick, his brother Jeremy and his brother Loc Holman, Anvil had become a neighborhood institution over the course of its 11 years of operations. When it opened in 2010, it arrived as part of the initial wave of enterprising entrepreneurs who saw promise in the burgeoning neighborhood prior to the all-out explosion that soon took over Deep Ellum and continues on to this day.
At its peak, the spot was beloved by all comers — tattooed punks, spandex-adorned cyclists, leather-clad bikers, buttoned-up urban planners, fleece-rocking yuppies and burnouts of various stripes. In its first year open, the no-frills bar and restaurant was fully coronated as a welcome new neighborhood fixture when it was asked to host a memorable secret Old 97’s show. A few years later, in order to keep up with customer demand, Anvil Pub even acquired the space adjacent to its initial storefront and expanded, doubling its size in the process.
Although sure to be remembered by most for the many foggy, Jameson-soaked nights spent behind its red door, Anvil also served as a solid spot to grab a bite to eat long before hipper, trendier kitchens began popping up as its new neighbors. One of the better pizza options in a neighborhood full of them, Anvil’s menu was perhaps best-known for its over-the-top Bloody Mary (and, later, additional brunch cocktails) called the “Fuck Brunch,” which saw found a bacon-and-cheddar slider, shrimp, artisanal cheeses, beef jerky, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, green beans, okra, a pickle, onions, tomatoes, olives and even a whole crawfish stacked on top of its boozy base. More than just the biggest drink in Dallas, the cocktail even caught the eye of food writers far beyond Dallas’ borders, earning gob-smacked nods from the likes of New York Magazine.
For Deep Ellum regulars of a certain age — this writer included — Anvil Pub’s closure represents a clear end of an era for the neighborhood. It sure would’ve been nice to be able to pop into its bar to say a proper goodbye by downing one last shot of Irish whiskey while leaning on that long, wooden bartop. But, alas, not all stories come with such satisfying endings.
Still, I imagine drinkers all across Dallas will hoist a glass, and maybe pour out some of its contents, in Anvil’s honor at some point this week. To the many drinks consumed there over the last decade-plus, they’ll raise yet one more, and offer one of the tentpoles of Deep Ellum’s ’10s a hearty cheers.
Surely, it has earned that much.
Cover photo via Anvil Pub’s Facebook page.