Dallas’ only official hostel which calls itself a hostel by name has shut down: Deep Ellum Hostel, which has been offering basic, shared accommodations for overnight stays in Dallas for four years, closed for good. A spokesperson confirmed that the venue’s last day was July 31. Always the end of the month.
As of August 1, they were no longer be in operation. All reservation holders were contacted.
An in-house restaurant and bar called Booty’s closed the same day.
Co-founder Collin Ballard said that the main culprit was the pandemic.
“The pandemic heavily impacted both sides of our business,” he said. “Omicron hit us hard in the slow season at the beginning of this year, forcing us to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to restructure and try to survive.”
“The hostel was doing better, but overall sales for the business — which includes our bar and restaurant — couldn’t hit the number we needed, sadly,” he said.
A spinoff of Firehouse Hostel & Lounge in Austin, the Deep Ellum Hostel opened in 2018 at 2801 Elm St., at the prime intersection of Crowdus. The building was a dream: a vintage brick structure built sometime between 1901 and 1911, and listed on the National Register of Historical Places, it was first a saloon, then a syrup manufacturer, then an auto repair shop called Long Machine Tool Co. which relocated to Ferris in 1996.
The property had 14 rooms with a total of 72 beds, comprising a mix of private suites and shared dorm-style rooms. Ballard and co-founder Kent Roth did a renovation by hand that highlighted many century-old details throughout the historic building.
Reviews were generally positive, with praise for the venue’s cleanliness, comfy bedding & pillows, and low price.
It had an on-site eatery, initially a tapas spot called Izkina with buzzy chef Joel Orsini. But a year later, they rebranded it to the more casual Booty’s, a homage to a New Orleans gastropub of the same name, serving cocktails and global street food. Booty’s became its own destination with a busy calendar of music, events, and shows.
Being a hostel in Deep Ellum, especially at such a central location, became more challenging in recent years, as the entertainment district grew increasingly boisterous. The hostel had to warn guests that things could be noisy, especially on weekends. “If you are a light sleeper or intending to go to bed early, we are probably not a good fit for you!” they said.
Dallas’ short-term rental scene has expanded significantly since 2018, including a huge increase in the number of Airbnbs. Meanwhile, a hostel-esque boutique hotel called Sova, featuring micro-sized rooms and lower rates than a regular hotel, opened in 2021 less than a mile away.
Deep Ellum Hostel is also not the only closure at that intersection: Wit’s End, which sits kitty-corner (not catty-corner, make a note) to the hostel closed in late June.
Booty’s hosted a going-away party, where they expressed appreciation to the entertainers, drag performers, DJ’s, musicians, and artists who appeared, and thanked their staff for their “dedication and resilience.”
“They’ve helped navigate us through tough times during the pandemic and dealing with all the idiosyncrasies of being both an international hostel and LGBTQIA+ bar in Deep Ellum,” they said.