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A Texas craft beer brewer has closed down its outlet in Fort Worth: Deep Ellum Funkytown Fermatorium, a brewpub that opened a year ago in Fort Worth's Lindale District, has shuttered.

The owners, who also own Deep Ellum Brewing Co., said that the closure was due in part to the coronavirus, but also to the wanky alcohol laws in the state of Texas.

"We were very excited to get up and running with our first location outside of our home in Deep Ellum," they say in a post. "Unfortunately, the last few months have presented many challenges and we have made the difficult decision to close this location."

The Fermatorium was a Deep Ellum Brewing Co. spinoff that opened in March 2019 at 611 University Dr. Founder John Reardon wanted to expand, and thought Fort Worth was the most logical first step.

Compared to the original, it was far more food-centric, with a kitchen and a bar. The menu included pizzas and delicacies such as doughnut holes for dessert.

Even their opening was fraught: It was delayed due to a federal government shutdown, initially preventing them from hiring employees or selling beer.

But the reasoning behind the closing is two-fold.

"The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic paired in part with our lack of ability to sell beer to go due to House Bill 3287 have made it very difficult for us to make it work," they say.

HB 3287 was enacted in 2017, and requires brewers who produce more than 225,000 barrels a year to pay a distributor to deliver their beer — even if the destination is inside their own facility. Critics call it an "extortion fee" that benefits big beer companies instead of small craft beer brewers.

While the Fort Worth location may have closed, Deep Ellum Brewing is still rolling out the beer.

"We can assure you that Deep Ellum Brewing Company is not going anywhere, and you can still find our beers at retail locations throughout Texas," they say. "Once we're able to reopen our Dallas taproom according to guidelines from the State of Texas, we would love to host you there as well."

"We want to thank you for your love and support over the last year as we set out to put down roots in the great community of Fort Worth."

Photo by golubovy/Getty Images

Dallas-Fort Worth teens get a bomb prom thanks to creative Deep Ellum music venues

Kings and Queens

School's canceled, activities are canceled, prom's canceled — or is it? Music venues The Bomb Factory, Canton Hall, and Trees — all in Dallas' Deep Ellum — are teaming up to give students a one-of-a-kind free virtual prom on Friday, May 16 at 8 pm.

"Bomb Prom 2020" will stream via Vimeo, Facebook Live, Twitch, and YouTube, and purports to be the first online production like this that's dedicated to bringing a virtual prom experience to the high school students of Dallas-Fort Worth.

Attendees can expect a number of traditional elements through interactive and virtual formats, including voting for a royal court, surprise celebrity cameos, a virtual photo booth, and DJ battles featuring High School Hype vs. Kings of Prom.

Local school districts are also collaborating with businesses in the Deep Ellum neighborhood to produce the Bomb Prom Box. This goodie box of prom-appropriate items will be hand-selected by Deep Ellum boutiques, encouraging attendees to safely patronize local businesses for their prom night essentials.

The goal is to reach as many students and families as possible — even outside the DFW area — and anyone and everyone is welcome, say the organizers. Additional information regarding Bomb Prom can be found at TheBombFactory.com/Bomb-Prom.

Photo by Ashley Gongora

Dallas brewery expands into white-hot hard seltzer market

Local Sips

Dallas' Deep Ellum Brewing Company has been turning out innovative brews since 2011, when it became the city's first craft brewery. It has since expanded with an off-site small-batch brewery and taproom in Fort Worth called the Funkytown Fermatorium.

When it comes to what Dallas (and beyond) is drinking, DEBC has been bold, fearless, and unapologetic from the start.

Now it's made the leap into hard seltzer, the most popular drink of the moment, with the release of Blind Lemon. Like everything Deep Ellum Brewing does, it's made to stand out — and here's how:

The story behind the name
The moniker is in tribute to blues legend "Blind Lemon" Jefferson, who began his career in the 1920s playing guitar and singing on the streets of Deep Ellum neighborhood. He went on to become one of the biggest-selling down-home blues artists in American history. He was known for his unusual vocal range and loud volume, and in homage to the original Blind Lemon, this hard seltzer bubbles over loudly with lemony flavor.

Natural ingredients
It starts with natural lemon flavors, then continues with only one gram of carbs and zero grams of sugar per 12 ounce serving. Oh, and it's only 100 calories, with 5 percent alcohol by volume.

How it's made
Crafted with a process similar to DEBC's other brands, Blind Lemon makes use of cane sugar instead of the usual malted barley that is in a typical beer. When yeast is added, the result is an unusually spritzy and light brew, great on its own or even better as a cocktail base.

Drink up, do good
DEBC has partnered with many amazing local organizations including Foundation45, Deep Ellum Community Association, Deep Ellum Foundation, and Paws in the City, to name a few. Now you can feel even better about supporting this Texas brand.

How to get it
Blind Lemon is available both on draft and in 12-pack cans. While you're at it, be sure to load up on Dallas Blonde, Deep Ellum IPA, the Mexican-style lager Neato Bandito, and Easy Peasy, a session IPA brewed with lemon and tangerine peel.

Deep Ellum Brewing Company now has hard seltzer: Blind Lemon.

Photo by Ashley Gongora
Deep Ellum Brewing Company now has hard seltzer: Blind Lemon.

Deep Ellum's cool record shop bar spins off new location in Fort Worth

Records and Drinks

A one-of-a-kind concept from Deep Ellum is about to become two of a kind. Off the Record, the truly unique spot that combines a craft beer bar and a record shop, is spinning off a second branch in Fort Worth's Magnolia District.

The first Off The Record opened in Deep Ellum in 2014. It's a collaborative concept from the folks who own a collection of Dallas clubs and neighborhood bars such as City Tavern, Club Dada, Independent Bar & Kitchen, along with the folks who own Good Records.

The idea came from Dada co-owner Josh Florence, who recruited Penn and Good Records to oversee the spins.

The Fort Worth location is opening in the up-and-coming Magnolia District at 715 W. Magnolia Ave., an address that was once upon a time home to a place called Daddio's Jazz Cafe, along a strip that includes Hot Damn Tamales and Brewed Coffee. Just like its bigger brother, the Fort Worth OTR will sell thousands of vinyl records for sale along with craft beer and cocktails while featuring local bands and DJs.

Its bar offerings will include 20 craft and local beers on draft along with a hand-crafted cocktail menu featuring local and small batch whiskeys and house-infused spirits.

It is once again teaming with Good Records, owned by musician Tim DeLaughter of Tripping Daisy and Polyphonic Spree, Julie Doyle, who also co-owns Lounge Here in East Dallas, and Chris Penn, to provide the vinyl collection.

Penn describes the concept as "three-fourths bar, one-fourth record store," with bins of vinyl records for browsing and purchasing. "When I'm doing my ordering for Good Records, I order extra copies for Off the Record," Penn says. Vinyl continues to see a resurgence in sales.

The original location in Dallas has proven to be a boon for the local DJ scene, with lots of DJ nights along with discount drinks.

The decor at the Fort Worth store will feature two patios, one in front, one in back, plus a stage for full bands and DJs, multiple TVs, and a first-class sound system.

Construction is currently being finalized, with plans to open in November. Hours will be 4 pm-2 am Monday-Friday and 12 pm-2 am Saturdays and Sundays.

Photo courtesy of Common Desk

Uncommonly popular coworking space announces Fort Worth expansion

Work With Perks

One of Dallas' most ubiquitous coworking spaces, Common Desk, is set to open its first Fort Worth location this September. It will be one of the newest tenants of Crockett Row at West 7th, which is how the popular West 7th shopping, dining, and entertainment area near the Cultural District is rebranding itself.

The Fort Worth outpost of Common Desk will occupy 13,000 square feet, with 75 shared desk seats, 110 dedicated desks, 25 private offices, and five conference rooms, all of which are available to lease on a monthly basis. There will also be an outdoor patio, shared bikes for exploring the surrounding area, and a hospitality bar with snacks, beer, and locally roasted coffee.

“Opening a location in Fort Worth will be our most exciting expansion to date," says Common Desk founder Nick Clark in a release. "Fort Worth is ripe with freelancers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs, and we think our brand’s culture will bring an added resource to help these professionals continue to grow their businesses."

Currently there are Common Desks in Dallas' Deep Ellum and Oak Cliff neighborhoods, with one in West Plano's Granite Park set to open in June. One of the perks of membership — which spans Shared Desk, Nights & Weekends, Dedicated Desk, Private Office, Corporate, and Virtual — is unlimited access to any location.

"Fort Worth's community is built around a big city with a small town feel," says MaryClaire Perry, director of people and culture at Common Desk. "Our approach to community is similar; though Common Desk is an ever-growing network, we use each space, hire specific positions, and create unique events to zero in on community. Because of this, we think Fort Worth is going to be a perfect match for us."

In addition to growing westward, the company is also expanding its original Deep Ellum location. The very first Common Desk, which opened in 2012 with 3,500 square feet, recently grew to 17,000 square feet.

Besides a new exterior paint job, two new exterior signs, and a new front entrance, the extra space added 20 custom-made dedicated desks; a nap room; two additional conference rooms; a shower; an outdoor patio work area; and 10 new private, customizable offices. There's also a new coffee shop seating arrangement, art installations done by local artists, and a new hospitality bar with "a friendly host who serves members and guests cold brew, craft beer, and snacks."

Common Desk memberships include unlimited conference room usage, a business mailing address with complimentary mail handling, printing services, bottomless coffee and beer, and weekly community events.

Mendr/Facebook

These 6 startups are the ones to watch in Dallas-Fort Worth right now

Best Startups To Watch

The spirit of innovation is alive and well here, and Texas is home to some of the nation’s best-known companies. It goes without saying we’re excited about the companies emerging this year. From health and wellness to shopping local and getting involved with municipal politics, these six startups are ones to watch.

EverlyWell
The medical world is confusing and frustrating, but EverlyWell is out to change that. Born of founder — and Dallasite — Julia Cheek’s own frustration with diagnostic tests, Austin-based EverlyWell offers consumers 12 different lab tests that they can take at home. The results are processed by certified lab partners and each test undergoes a physician’s review before you receive the results.

Tests include food sensitivity, thyroid function, vitamin D and inflammation, breast milk DHA levels, and more. Prices are comparable to what you may pay at your doctor’s office — $69 for a metabolism test to $399 for a women’s health and fertility test — and the results are easy to read via EverlyWell’s secure dashboard. There’s even a report for your physician that you can take to your next checkup.

FourScore
Inspired by the lead up to the 2016 presidential election, Matt Brashear, founder and CEO of FourScore, created an app that puts voters in touch with local candidates. Although the app is currently in beta, the DFW-based company looks forward to getting the app out to voters several weeks before the year’s local election season starts in summer. FourScore is simple: You enter information about your core beliefs and the political issues that concern you the most, and FourScore matches you with local candidates that match your values.

With an average of 40 elected officials that represent every voter in America — if you count city council members, school board members, and the like — FourScore fills a wide gap between voters and candidates. As Brashear says, the local level is where politics affect us most. FourScore hopes to get us more engaged where it matters.

InstantLocal
As social media evolves, we’re beginning to see companies like InstantLocal pop up. Based on the concept of moment marketing, which allows businesses to connect with consumers in real-time, Austin-based InstantLocal brings local businesses, advocates, and consumers together to help people experience a city on a more intimate level. For the consumer, that means no more sifting through Google or Yelp to try and find a nearby coffeehouse or store.

Businesses upload posts directly from smartphones to advertise the day’s specials or cool new inventory. Other businesses can advocate for InstantLocal companies and direct consumers to their partners’ posts, although there are no ads or sponsored content on the app. The best part? It looks like Instagram and behaves like Pinterest boards. Founded by Austin residents Vance Reavie and Ricky Coburn, and Dentonite Gabriel Killian, InstantLocal has been available in Austin since November 2015 and recently came to Dallas-Fort Worth, featuring favorites from the Deep Ellum Foundation, and Uptown and Downtown districts. The free app is available on iOS and Android.

Mendr
Bright, clear Instagram photos are a must-have for businesses these days, and individuals want them too. We must admit, some of the photos on social media are gorgeous. New Dallas-based app Mendr might be the secret. Mendr connects everyday smartphone photographers with freelance editors who can remove a pesky photobomber, fix wrinkles, remove tattoos, and even change the background of photos.

The Dallas-based app is the brainchild of co-founders Josh Farrar, CEO, and Pat Thibodeau, COO, who say that Mendr’s craftsourcing — a term they coined — helps both freelance photo editors and consumers alike. Mendr’s users like its familiar feel, and editors can pick up work when it’s convenient for them. Grab the Mendr app for iOS and Android for free, and have your photos conveniently edited for a nominal rate, based on services chosen.

OpenKey
Hotel keys are a hassle to keep up with, but we always seem to know exactly where our phones are. In 2014, Dallas-based OpenKey set out to make access to hotels as hassle-free as possible. Users can download the free app and check-in to their hotel from anywhere — even before they step off their plane. When you arrive at your hotel, you can bypass the front desk, get to your room, tap the OpenKey icon, hold your phone next to the door lock, and you’re in.

Not only is the app convenient, but it also cuts down on waste — an estimated 1,300 tons of plastic ends up in landfills each year from keycards alone. Hotel companies also save millions each year, all while offering guests a better hospitality experience. OpenKey is currently used across the country and was just chosen as one of Plug and Play’s 2017 members to the Travel & Hospitality Innovation Platform. The free app is available for iOS and Android.

PickUp
Imagine this scenario: Your friend is moving to a new city and the leather sofa you’ve coveted for a year can’t make the trip with her. She knows how much you love it, so she asks if you want it. The only problem? You don’t have a way to transport it. Enter PickUp, an instant delivery service you can access right from your smartphone. Simply enter your info and a thoroughly vetted “Good Guy” will arrive in a pickup truck and move your stuff from point A to point B. Most are off-duty firefighters, military vets, and public safety officials — people you know you can trust.

Founded by Brenda Stoner, Chief Good Guy, PickUp takes the on-demand service concept we all love and applies it to something super practical. No more calling around to friends to see who has a truck and can help you move. PickUp is currently available in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston, with more cities coming this spring. The app is available for iOS and Android. Prices start at $45 and include insurance for up to $20,000 of your items.

Professional photo editors can fix any photo via the Mendr app.

Mendr/Facebook
Professional photo editors can fix any photo via the Mendr app.
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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Luke Bryan trucks to Dallas-Fort Worth for 2 tour stops, including Dickies Arena

Country on

Luke Bryan fans, clear your calendars in late September 2023. The five-time Entertainer of the Year and American Idol judge is making not one but two stops in North Texas on his "Country On Tour."

He'll play Dallas' Dos Equis Pavilion on September 28, then scoot over to Fort Worth for a show at Dickies Arena on September 29. The only other Texas stop on his 36-city tour will be in Lubbock, on July 27. (So sorry, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.)

Special guests throughout the tour will include up-and-coming country artists Chayce Beckham, Tyler Braden, Ashley Cooke, Jackson Dean, Jon Langston, Conner Smith, Alana Springsteen, Hailey Whitters, and DJ Rock.

According to the tour site, Beckham, Dean, Whitters, and DJ Rock will play the Dallas-Fort Worth shows.

Bryan has a history of investing in new artists by inviting them to join him on tour, a press release reminds.

“Artists get into the business to make music and perform it for the fans,” Bryan says in the release. “Leaving it all out on that stage is what it’s all about for me. I’m excited to support and have so many talented new artists along for the ride this year. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of our job.

The tour is named for Bryan's 30th No. 1 single, “Country On” - a celebration of farmers, truckers, military, first responders, and all of Americana that hit the top of the country singles charts around Christmas 2022. He has amassed a career tally of 56 total weeks at #1.

Bryan launches his 2023 headline dates at Resorts World Theatre in Las Vegas on February 1. He's also returning as a judge on ABC's American Idol this spring.

Bryan's "Country On Tour" kicks off June 15 in Syracuse, New York.

Tickets go on sale on at 10 am Friday, February 3 at Lukebryan.com.

Presale for Bryan's fan club members will run 8 am Tuesday, January 31 through 5 pm Thursday, February 2. For details, go HERE.

Citi cardmembers will have access to presale tickets from 10 am Wednesday, February 1 to 10 pm Thursday, Feb 2 through the Citi Entertainment program. For complete presale details visit www.citientertainment.com.

Brooks & Dunn boot-scoot into this week's 5 hottest Fort Worth headlines

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. Brooks & Dunn kick up 'Reboot Tour' with 2023 stop in Fort Worth. Brooks & Dunn, the best-selling duo of all time, are continuing their "Reboot Tour" in 2023, including a stop at Dickies Arena on Saturday, May 6. Fort Worth is the only Texas city on their list, and tickets went on sale Friday, January 27.

2. Much anticipated Italian restaurant from top Fort Worth team has a date. A new restaurant from one of Fort Worth's top food & beverage teams has an opening date: 61 Osteria, the much-anticipated restaurant from restaurateur Adam Jones and acclaimed chef Blaine Staniford, will open in downtown Fort Worth on January 31. Ta-da.

3. Wealthy Fort Worth neighbor cashes in as the richest city in Texas for 2023. North Texans wanting a glimpse into the lives of the 1 percent won't have to travel far to get a peek. Southlake has been named the richest city in Texas for 2023 in a recent study.

4. Quite the bounty of bites in this roundup of Fort Worth restaurant news. This roundup of restaurant news around Fort Worth includes restaurants newly opened, restaurants coming soon, new menus, new tacos, new pizzas, and more. So much more. Here's the latest batch of Fort Worth restaurant news.

5. The best Fort Worth restaurants to celebrate Valentine's Day 2023. For restaurants, Valentine’s Day is the Super Bowl of dining events, which is ironic this year since the actual Super Bowl takes place just two days prior, on February 12. This is not stopping some restaurateurs from hosting special Valentine’s dinners all weekend long, although some are cautiously opting out of Sunday and Monday. Here are the best options around town.

DFW-based Cinemark theater chain hosts Oscars-themed movie marathon

Awards News

The Cinemark movie chain is giving movie buffs an opportunity to brush up on the Oscars.

Plano-based Cinemark Holdings, Inc. will host its annual Oscar Movie Week festival, this year running from Monday, March 6 through Sunday, March 12, in anticipation of the 95th Oscars ceremony, which airs on March 12 on ABC.

The theater chain will air all of this year’s Best Picture and Best Live Action and Animated Short Film nominees, at more than 120 participating Cinemark theaters nationwide.

According to a release, passes are now on sale now at Cinemark.com/movieweek.

A full Digital Festival Pass is $40 and includes showings for all Best Picture and Best Live Action and Animated Short Film nominees. There's a perk! If you purchase a festival pass, you get 50 percent off any size popcorn during Oscar Movie Week.

Individual showtime tickets will be available starting January 27 at standard pricing, with showtimes beginning March 6.

All Best Live Action and Animated Short Film nominees are bundled into one viewing for just $10 from March 10-12.

For other brushing up, take a look back at what CultureMap’s film critic, Alex Bentley, had to say about each of the nominees (listed in alphabetical order) when they were originally released.

Cinemark has been hosting other similar marathon events such its collaboration with ESPN to bring college football games to the big screen.

The event takes place at these theaters across the U.S., including the following locations in Texas:

  • Austin: Cinemark Southpark Meadows
  • Denton: Cinemark 14
  • Fort Worth: Ridgmar Mall
  • Grapevine: Cinemark Tinseltown
  • Houston: Cinemark Memorial City
  • Plano: Cinemark Legacy
  • Plano: Cinemark West Plano
  • San Antonio: Cinemark San Antonio 16
  • The Woodlands: Cinemark 17