The circus has set up tent Downtown and the One Eyed Gypsy—an amusement parlor of music, burlesque and booze—is its main attraction. Housed in the former home of Bordello Bar, the Arts District re-design by Dana Holister (Villains Tavern and Cliff’s Edge) is a mélange of Mardi Gras meets East India Trading Company-inspired décor: beaded chandeliers and iron lanterns reflect in gilded mirrors behind the bar outfitted with cherub-like statues and a team of pierced and tattooed bartenders supply craft cocktails and cans upon cans of beer. Once drinks are in hand, there's plenty to do: Pile into the photo booth then hit the Skee-Ball machines or ask the gypsy taro card machine to foretell your fortune. Later, snag a table along a sidewall near the stage for a decent view of the live band or occasional burlesque act.
Good for: Getting your fix of beer or cocktails, outrageously tasty corn dogs ($6)—there’s three so make nice and share—great bar games and a photo booth to capture that night at the gypsy circus you can't forget.
The scene: The long bar, sans stools, is a prime pick-up spot for a mixed-bag crowd from dressed-to-impress bar-goers to the after-work crowd—happy hour (daily, 7-9pm) gets you $1-$12 food and drink specials—commandeered the Skee-Ball machines with cans of beers. Live music kicks off just before 11pm when the place gets packed.
The playlist: The 50s and 60s—think Ray Charles, the Marvelettes, Dion and the Belmonts and Sam the Sham—dominate from the jukebox, keeping the place lively until indie bands take the stage. The night we were there the Abigails, self-prescribed as "Pilled Out Country Fusion," made for some good bluesy-meets-country drunken atmosphere.
The bartender says: The punch ($9) delivers a delicious buzz that regularly changes from fruity to sour. The Boilermaker gets you canned beer and a shot of a great selection of flavored vodkas, tequilas, rums and ryes. (And yes, that’s a giant stuffed yak you passed on the way in.)
Drink this: Cocktail seekers should start "Sweet" and order a Clown's Cup ($11) with Akvinta Vodka, cucumber, fresh lime and sea salt, then go south of the border with “Spicy” selections—try the VooDoo Doll ($12) with Milagro Reposado, cilantro, tangerine Serrano chile syrup, lime, pineapple and Angostura and orange bitters. Canned and tap beers range from $3-$8 and help wash down (namely, the guilt) deep-fried snacks.