Deep End’s owners promise the late-night taco spot won’t be a “typical hipster establishment”

The latest restaurant from the owners of the Pinewood and the Mercury opens in late October in the old 4th & Swift spot
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Deep End’s exterior

Courtesy of Fireplay

Deep End
Queso dip

Photograph by Kamil Lee

A little more than a year ago, 4th & Swift closed its doors for the last time, leaving its stand-alone building near Ponce City Market vacant. This month, the team behind the Pinewood, the Mercury, and soon-to-open Bar Americano and Bar Crema, is turning the 621 North Avenue space into an irreverent late night bar and Tex-Mex restaurant called Deep End.

Pinewood and Mercury chef Mike Blydenstein serves as executive chef, while partners Brooks Cloud and Julian Goglia are designing the cocktail menu. Expect old fashioneds, mojitos, margaritas, and sangria, as well as frozen cocktails such as the Malibu Sands (rum, pineapple, coconut, orange, and nutmeg).

In addition to carnitas (pork), lengua (beef tongue), and al pastor (pork loin) tacos; salads with mahi mahi or chicken; and tomatillo chicken or pork tamales; breakfast items like pulled pork chiliquiles and “Churro-crusted French Toast,” which is made with croissants rather than thick-cut bread, will be available all evening. (The restaurant is open from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.)

The team is decorating the space with quirky throwbacks and also building a stage for music and stand-up comedy. We spoke with Cloud, Goglia, and general manager Brent Hesse to learn more:

Deep End
Chicken tinga, carnitas, and grilled mahi mahi tacos

Photograph by Kamil Lee

It seems like all of a sudden, you guys are expanding all over the place. Why now?
Cloud: We conceived the Mercury as a later night, cocktail-driven concept, but the nature of Ponce City Market required an earlier close for it, making it more food-driven and less bar-driven. We weren’t able to do some of the late-night stuff we wanted. When [the 4th & Swift] space became available, we felt like we couldn’t pass it up.

Goglia: We talked about doing something like this [expansion] for years. We wrote the menu for Bar Americano in 2013. We’ve always talked about doing an after-hours spot. We have an outside patio that is amazing [and will be dog-friendly]. We have the ability to create a stage with music and comedy—opportunities we’ve never been afforded before. It’s a block off the BeltLine Eastside Trail, and we have 96 parking spaces.

Deep End
Tomatillo tamale

Photograph by Kamil Lee

What kind of entertainment will you have?
Hesse: We’re overhauling the space. The private dining area will be an irreverent, swanky lounge. Facing the dining room in front of that will be a small stage for live performances. We discussed doing vaudevillian, burlesque, carnival-like performances. We’re not taking things too seriously; it’s not going to be a live music venue like the Earl or the Roxy. We won’t have nationally touring bands, but we might have three to four local musicians put together an off-the-wall, one-night-only thing. I’m thinking comedy, musical acts, and open-mic content. We’ll also have a large projector screen that we can use for a movie night or to show a big game. My background is big bar events and concerts, and we wanted a place we’d have fun hanging out at every night.

What else can you tell us about the drinks?
Hesse:
This is not going to be your typical selvedge-denim-with-plaid-shirts, hipster establishment. The pretension will be beaten out of it. It’ll be laid back. The drinks will be approachable and quick, delicious but not overthought. On average, it’ll be $6 to 7 for well cocktails. Eighty to ninety percent will cost less than $10. We’re using infusions, syrups, and batched cocktails.

Where did the name Deep End come from?
Cloud: The heartbeat of the concept is a throwback to 1980s neighborhood swimming pools. In the ‘80s and ‘90s there was a whole culture built around riding your VMX bike to the neighborhood pool and hanging out. It’s a Saved by the Bell and Wendy Peppercorn (The Sandlot) reference.

A rendering of the bar at Deep End

Courtesy of Fireplay

What are you doing to the space to convey that vibe?
Goglia: [The visuals] will give you the idea this is a party. There’s a neon sign outside. Over the bar we have this Wi-Fi-enabled, programmable lighting system with different colors and patterns that can be synced to music. The drinks will be served in kitschy, Spielberg-esque Jaws vessels.

What other projects do you have in the works?
Cloud: We have a couple things on the backburner—we’re probably 18 months out from those. We’re going faster than anticipated but are encouraged by our opportunities. Expect to see some more of the same names coming in the future. Bar Crema is a concept we’d love to scale.

Check out the full menu below:

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