We at the INSIDER don’t want to make this a spotlight of just bars every week, but as champions for downtown, El Paso (DTEP) we can’t shy away from highlighting a business when they shout “Cool!” When it comes to DTEP, it’s not “who” you know but “what” you know, and this coveted information is the key to portals that lead to exceptional places like this.
Hidden in the Office District, the entrance to the new underground bar, The Speak Easy, sits at street level on both the Franklin and Stanton sides of the street but descends down into the prohibition style themed basement. During the day light falls into the space sparsely from the stairwells but the space feels like an urban den at night, with creative design choices that don’t feel overdone. This lends to the rustic and underground feel of the bar and the black vested staff is the cherry that crowns this sweet spot.
Co-owners Michelle Sims, 40 and Carlos Cavazos, 39, are not new to the bar scene. The combined 25 years of management and bar experience culminated in the creation of The Speak Easy.
The bar is specifically located at 303 E. Franklin Ave., but since an entrance is at the flank of “Pride Square,” some might wonder if the business strictly caters to the LGBT community. Michelle told us, “The Speak Easy is an upscale, straight friendly jazz bar that caters to the LGBT community of El Paso, Las Cruces, and the surrounding areas.”
El Paso and especially Downtown, has such a deep and rich history, we couldn’t help but wonder – not why a prohibition style bar opened but why we don’t have more like this? Michelle explained how this came about,” The Gardner Hotel opened in 1922, and since The Speak Easy is in the basement of the hotel, it just seemed plausible that a speakeasy would exist in the basement or a back room of the hotel during the prohibition era. With its brick walls and exposed pipes and ductwork on the ceiling, this location makes for a perfect spot to hide out.”
“There are several different bars and restaurants on this block. One of our goals while planning The Speak Easy was to make it different from all the other bars and restaurants on the Stanton/Franklin corner. We do not want to compete with our neighbors. On the contrary, we want to compliment them,” said Michelle.
Michelle told us the feedback for the bar has been positive so far, and we suspect that this is only the beginning. The bar is a great addition to the kinetic “Pride Square,” and the businesses on Franklin St., such as Pot Au Feu, Craft and Social and The Pizza Joint do indeed round out an explosive street corner. What a great way to spend any night out without having to get in your car and it’s all because of “what” you know.
For more information about The Speak Easy visit their Facebook page @TheSpeakEasyUnderground or call (915) 351-0445