Dallas' cocktails community is mourning the loss of two bartenders from unrelated illnesses over the weekend.
Chad Yarbrough of Armoury D.E., who had been with the Elm Street bar since it opened several years ago, died Sunday of liver failure. Just two weeks ago, the bar had hosted a fundraiser to help with the 33-year-old's medical bills at Baylor Dallas, where he had been undergoing treatment.
Yarbrough's warm, generous character and steady community presence earned him the respect and fondness of both colleagues and customers, sentiments that spilled forth in a stream of Facebook posts late Sunday and into Monday.
"Our hearts are heavy today," read the post on the Deep Ellum bar's Facebook page. "It is difficult to find the words to describe the loss of such a dear friend to so many of us.... It was our absolute privilege sharing the room with you through the years."
On Monday, Henry's Majestic announced that bartender Josh Meeks, who had begun working at the Knox-Henderson bar earlier this year, had also died overnight of an unrelated illness. "He was always happy to serve you and make you feel at home," the post read.
For Dallas' Deep Ellum cocktail family, Yarbrough's death was the second heartbreaking loss this year: In May, beloved general manager Ian Brooks, of Brick and Bones, just across the street from Armoury, was killed by a hit-and-run driver.
Yarbrough was known affectionately as "Cobra," and Armoury had recently held a fundraiser to help pay his hospital bills. But the shock that accompanied his sudden death was palpable, from Shoals' Omar Yeefoon, who was "absolutely gutted to lose someone so amazing so young" to Brian McCullough of Spec's, who wrote: "We all lost a beautiful soul today and heaven gained an angel. I'm so sorry we lost you. I love you brother!"
In Uptown, Keisha Cooper of Circo remembered karaoke outings with Yarbrough and his willingness to dress in drag for a charity fundraiser.
"You will always remain a light in this often-dark world that will never flicker, never fail," she wrote. "Catch you on the flip side, boo."
Meanwhile, High and Tight's Austin Gurley described Yarbrough as "one of the most genuine and solid dudes I've known" while Shoals co-owner Michael Martensen recalled how Yarbrough would stop by the bar daily on his way to 7-Eleven just to say hi.
"Getting to know Chad Yarbrough over the past years was a joy," Martensen said. "Enjoy the ride, Chad. You earned the respect and trust of many. I am blessed to have known you."