Rich with history, music, dining and modern living.
The area in downtown Oklahoma City between Main Street and NE 4th Street known as “Deep Deuce” was once a vibrant urban neighborhood steeped in jazz music and African American culture. Today, the lively district is recapturing the essence that made it what it is through a variety of restaurants, pet-friendly businesses, art galleries and living spaces. Come with us on a trip through this incredible, ever-growing area as we highlight some of its rich history and current hotspots.
Jazz, Civil Rights and Black Culture
Photo courtesy of the Oklahoma Historical Society.
After housing Bricktown warehouse workers following the 1889 Land Run, Deep Deuce grew to be a hub for local blues and jazz musicians as well as Oklahoma City’s largest African American neighborhood in the 1940s and 1950s. Notable musicians like Jimmy Rushing, Charlie Christian, the Blue Devils, Ida Cox, Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Mamie Smith and more played a part in creating the district’s rich jazz history. Author Ralph Waldo Ellison even had his first job here and wrote the poem “Deep Second,” inspired by his childhood in OKC.
Back in 1920, the city’s first theatre available to black people was built. Aldridge Theatre hosted vaudeville productions, films and some concerts. Artists like Gonzelle White and her band with Count Basie were two notable performers who took the stage. A year later, the Calvary Baptist Church was built and served as the social and religious center of Oklahoma City’s black population. This was where Oklahoma students organized sit-ins at segregated lunch counters in 1957 at the dawn of the civil rights movement, later to be fearlessly led by Clara Luper. Today the historic church is listed on the National Register.
Deep Deuce may look much different today, but the rich black history that was born here remains an important part of Oklahoma City’s story.
Dining, Drinks and Sweet Treats
More than a dozen restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops and bars call Deep Deuce home, so you’ll never be short of options. From elevated pub food to Mediterranean plates and local, handcrafted smoothies, there’s a spot to match the ambiance you’re looking for in Deep Deuce.
Black Walnut Café serves up classic comfort food with a sophisticated upscale flair that mirrors the neighborhood’s history and culture. Just wait until you try the Texas-Sized Wagyu Chicken Fried Steak! On a nice day, you’ll want to take advantage of Deep Deuce Grill’s patio, one of the best in OKC. One of the newest to the neighborhood, Grey Sweater offers a three-tiered tasting menu that highlights the most unique and unforgettable flavors from all over the world. For a selection of fresh salads, sandwiches and brunch options, head to La Baguette, a Parisian café with an American twist also known for its incredible bakery items. And if you’re in the mood for an artisanal brick oven pizza, The Wedge Pizzeria is around the corner and only uses the freshest ingredients from local farmers, a great option for those who are gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan.
Happy Hour goes to a whole new level here, too. Bar Cicchetti is known for its Mediterranean-influenced small and large plates to enjoy with friends over a round of local beers and cocktails. The menu is seasonally inspired and mostly sourced locally. Grab a local brew and some vegan bar grub at The Blok Bar or sip a craft cocktail at the W XYZ Bar inside the Aloft Hotel. If whisky and cigars are more your style, Stag Lounge serves up both with the ambiance of a Prohibition-era speakeasy.
Craving a treat? Deep Deuce is full of places to delight your sweet tooth, from Belle Kitchen’s made-from-scratch doughnuts to the delightful bakery items of Flower & Flour. Don’t forget to browse the floral arrangements and gift items! Leaf + Bean coffee shop is a local favorite, as is Wheeze the Juice, a raw and handcrafted juice and smoothie bar with health and wellness at its core.
Shopping and Art Galleries
Deep Deuce also offers visitors a variety of shopping experiences! Head over to 1032 SPACE to shop contemporary brands like Comme Des Garçons, Carhartt WIP, Lo-Fi and John Elliott. This lifestyle store has everything from clothing, footwear, accessories and art with a vision of having something for everyone and building a creative community.
Looking for something special to give your four-legged friend? BONE’s vast selection of treats, toys, collars, leashes, supplements and food is everything you need to get any tail wagging. You can even shop online for your convenience.
Stimulate your creativity with a visit to ARTSPACE at Untitled, an all-encompassing art center that provides free community programming like live music, visiting artist talks, exhibitions, film screenings and community discussions. Plus, artists are invited to use the space and all of its equipment with a day pass or studio membership. Don’t miss the current exhibit on display, “Unfiltered Views” by William G. Grubbs, Marcia Ermey and Jerry Collins through Feb. 21, 2021, and keep an eye out for the Steamroller Print Fest in April.