Black Market's First Old Fashioned Sunday

by Stella Maria Perry

It was a cold, blustery Sunday in El Paso. The wind had been whipping at my fence line all morning. It whistled through my car window at noon and after a two-hour rehearsal, I was looking for a moment to unwind.  The First Old Fashioned Sunday had been promoted through the social media network around the time that I was looking for things to do.  I spent Friday and Saturday covering the inaugural Sun City Steam Fest downtown and was riding on the last fumes of all that energy and excitement. This was the weekend of ‘firsts.'

photos by Stella Perry

photos by Stella Perry

What attracted me to the Black Market’s event, ‘First Old Fashioned Sunday’ was not only the title but also the idea behind it. It advertised live music, free home cookin’ and cocktail specials that haven’t been popular since the 1950s. This blend of advertising appeared friendly, honest and unpretentious. I went.  I asked the first person I saw, the bartender, whom I could interview about this idea.  And it was he, Darrin Perkins and a soft spoken brunette, Cristina Chavarria, who were the hosts. 

When asked, Why Sunday? They both said that they wanted an event that their regular customers, and possibly new faces, could come to. 

“We were ‘day drinking’ one day” said Cristina, “and we were thinking about what could be classy but, also a day thing.”

“Usually we have old regulars that come out all the time, regardless, and we wanted to have something for them to do on a Sunday,” explained Darrin.

Thus, the genesis of the First Old Fashioned Sunday, a themed bar experience at the Black Market. The drink specials today were three-dollar Old Fashioned, Tom Collins, Manhattan, and Cosmo cocktails. 

“All four of those drinks date way back and they have their recipes and their foundations of where they came from,” added Darrin, who refuses to cheapen these historical drinks. His goal is “to make them good” as a way of adding to the classiness of the day. I had the second Old Fashioned in my lifetime, as made by Darrin, and it rivaled my first from a bar in Manhattan. 

But, not only is Darrin mixing the drinks but he also the chef behind the ‘home cookin’, another inviting aspect of the first Old Fashioned Sunday. 

“On one side [of the table] I have Jambalaya with sausage, chicken, and shrimp. On the other side is a vegetarian pot pie, because we have some vegetarians that come here,” he said.

I ate a serving of both and it was true comfort. Bar food has always had a stigma since bars aren't really in the business of culinary artistry. However, the 'home cookin’ that Darrin made was full of fresh love and provided free of charge, another testament to the idea of friendship and togetherness that our hosts wish to create. 
Cesar Muniz also plays an important role in this event by providing the evening’s entertainment. He is a bartender and promoter for the Black Market, having taken over the booking a year ago. 

"A lot of times bands drive by and it’s on a Friday and we can’t give them a show because Fridays here is DJ night.  I'm really excited to give them option of the whole day to do what they like," said Muniz. 
He expects to draw in a lot more acoustic, folk acts for future Old Fashioned Sundays. It is also a good chance for industry friends, who have the day off, to relax and listen to music. 

Today Muniz has invited two musicians to the event. Ben Balinger, from Austin, “is a friend of a friend and I thought it would be a perfect fit and he just happened to be in town. And the other one is my friend Adam Tryzna [of Trailer Band] and he plays an awesome set as well."

This is the combination that Cristina often looks for.

“Every time,” she says, “and I never really find it. So, why not create it? Hopefully, we’ll have some more bands later and art if people want to show their art.” 

In the future, these collaborations can contribute to the atmosphere that she describes as a “warm Sunday." When the winter turns up its volume and seasonal depression is nagging in your brain, it is good to know that there is a group of people out there with you in mind, creating, cooking, and inviting you in from the cold. 

Mari GomezComment