Shoals, Deep Ellum's groovy new cocktail den, is a soulful hideaway

Update Sept. 30 at 9 p.m.: Shoals Sound and Service has reopened and is fabulous.

Update Aug. 14 at 11 a.m.: Shoals Sound and Service is temporarily closed. According to co-owner Michael Martensen, the business previously located at the bar's address had outstanding liens, which caused Shoals to file for its license with the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission late. The bar has been operating on consecutive 10-day catering permits, the latest of which has expired.

"We're in that purgatory world where were waiting on our full license and waiting on another catering license," Martensen tells GuideLive.

We'll keep you updated on when the bar reopens.

Original story:

Shoals Sound & Service, the retro cocktail den from local cocktail luminaries Omar Yeefoon and Michael Martensen, is now open in Deep Ellum, after quietly marking its official opening night Thursday.

The svelte Elm Street locale is sexy and soulful, recalling the vibe at Bar Smyth, the swanky, short-lived speakeasy that both Martensen and Yeefoon once inhabited in Knox-Henderson. The vibe at Shoals is much more laid-back, all wood and angles and curves and comfort, with nifty artsy touches and a lounge-y back area with zig-zag-design love seats.

Love and happiness: Shoals' 70's retro vibe includes a turntable and plenty of vinyl, including Al Green.

Patrons can get their groove on with a classics-driven drink menu (think Sidecars, Old Fashioneds, Daiquiris and French 75's) or go off-menu with the bar staff's own whims -- or call your own shot, like a Bols Barrel-Aged Genever Old Fashioned. Liquid refreshment comes served against a 1970s backdrop with vinyl tracks from Al Green and Elton John occasionally topping the turntable.

The eats are simple, with vegan options available: The sandwich leans either bologna or veggie; the tasty empanadas, beef or veggie. Butter beans and jars of in-house pickled veggies are on the list too.

Yeefoon shaking up a Sidecar. The bar's cocktail menu mines the classics.

Martensen, who is also a partner in the Arts District's Proof + Pantry, delivered a Champagne toast to mark Shoals' opening, proudly acknowledging the team behind the bar. "The sacrifice they have given over the hurdles that I've given them are far beyond what I would have ever expected," he said.

It's a treat to see Yeefoon behind the bar again; after stints at Bar Smyth and The People's Last Stand, the talented Dallas native spent a couple of years as Texas representative for The 86 Co., a now-ubiquitous New York-based line of spirits, but he never quite warmed to the business side of the industry.

Now, with his smooth manner and signature shake, he seemed at home. Had he much missed behind being the bar? "Every day of my life," he said.

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Shoals Sound and Service

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