Since I have been getting nostalgic on the business side, I thought i would bring back some alcoflashes from a party from long ago and give credit where credit is due.
Its coming up on the 20 year anniversary of Deep Ellum reinventing itself as a party scene in Dallas. In the past 20 years, its been through a lot of ups and downs, lately more downs, but how it got rolling was nothing but an up.
My buddies, Scott Susens, Jeff Swaney, Greg Schipper and I used to throw parties all the time. As the parties got bigger and bigger, we need bigger and bigger places to throw them. We went from our apartment, to a bar on Greenville Avenue called Cheers, to deciding we needed a bigger boat to hold all the people and really make some money from the parties.
We had originally decided on a chinese restaurant on royal and greenville that was having problems back then, but Swaney found an old warehouse, The Clearview Blind building that had a little office up front, and stored a bunch of old , freaky Chuckee Cheese characters in the back. He locked up the warehouse for $300 bucks or the month, and the Deep Ellum revival was underway.
<insert picture of 3 guys and poster>
For Scott and I, we worked together at MicroSolutions, so this was just a way to have fun and make some money. For Jeff, he worked at HP, and we thought it was just a way to make some extra money, but being the madman that he was and is, he had bigger ideas.
We titled the first party Life in a Warehouse. Swaney wanted to make it all hip and cool with local artists, the rest of us just wanted to make money, get drunk and meet women. He put together the artwork, which was just some paint thrown on the wall and called art with a blacklight to make it look cool. Scott and I made the tough decisions, that we would charge 20 bucks at the door and hand out a bottle of the cheapest champagne we could find to everyone who walked in the door. No glasses. You had to drink out of the bottle (Eat your heart out Puffy, this was way before you !). We also kegs of beer. No hard liquor. Beer and Champagne.
We knew the girls wouldnt drink the beer, and cheap champagne… is just that 🙂
As was our custom at the time, we printed up invitations on business cards. Of course the best part of throwing any party when you are single isnt the party itself, its the promotion of the party. Going to every bar in town and having a great excuse to walk up to any girl that you wouldnt haver the guts to walk up to otherwise, and inviting them to the party…. Problem with this party, was that no one knew were Elm Street in Dallas was . So we had to put maps on the other side of the business cards and we had to pay for those huge BeamSpotLights that clubs use to help people find them.
find us they did. By the team morning had rolled around, and we had finished using the kegs as bowling balls to the champagne bottles as bowling pins, more than 2k people had paid 20 bucks a piece. I remember shippy and I counting the money (We always let shipperstein count the money. He could sober up in a nanosecond when money was involved), and the 6 or so of us involved had netted more than 20k in profits.
All of us went back to work a little richer and a little hungover, but with great stories on that monday. Jeff Swaney started his own little empire. With the remaining days on the lease, he threw smaller parties every week. Renewed the lease over and over, and the next thing you knew, that warehouse where we threw a party was called Club Clearview.
Club Clearview wasnt the first bar on Elm Street, The Video Bar was there first, but it was the first to really market topeople to come to Elm Street . Swaney was the first that i had heard that started calling the area Deep Ellum, a name that had been dormant for many years.
It was Jeff that had to deal with a group who bought the building he was leasing, forcing him to move the club up the street and evolve Clearview into the Art Bar, Blind Lemon and the Club Clearview Reincarnation.
Deep Ellum has been through a lot of ups and downs since then, and Im sure there are lots of pieces of the story that Im missing, but its nice to know that I had some great friends who loved to party, a whole party scene was born in Dallas
PS. Hopefully, I will get my stupid pictures to upload here to add to the fun. If any of you have any pics or comments from back then, feel free to add them !