Food & Drink

The Best Cocktail Bars in Dallas

Published On 05/14/2015 Published On 05/14/2015
Henry's Majestic Bar Dallas
Henry's Majestic | Flickr/44 BUILD

The Dallas cocktail scene has come a long way in recent years as our collective palate has evolved. There were a lot of headaches from trying to winnow down this list of the area's best cocktail bars (headaches that resulted in more cocktails). To find the best drinks in Dallas, look no further than these 15 establishments.

The Cedars Social

The Cedars Social

South Dallas

Hearkening back to an era when life wasn't all about that fancy high-speed Internet and immediate gratification, Cedars Social puts thought, care, and quality into every cocktail and the difference is readily apparent. Expect fresh and house-made ingredients and an expansive cocktail list that evolves with the seasons, with selections like the Rio Star Rush (Plantation rum, falernum, orgeat syrup, grapefruit, Angostura). Of course, if you somehow don't see something you like (unlikely), the staff is quite adept at improvising on the spot.

Courtesy of Parliament

Parliament

Uptown

Eddie "Lucky" Campbell very well may be the best bartender in the city of Dallas (maybe the world) and Parliament provides the perfect backdrop to appreciate his talents. The bordello-lit drinking den with a lengthy leather-bound menu has something for everyone. If you appreciate history and cocktail artistry, maybe go for a Ramos Gin Fizz. If you appreciate a good deal, there's an incredible happy hour where you can score standards like Old Fashioneds and gimlets for $5 or so. If you have any sense, you're already drinking here regularly.

Flickr/44 BUILD

Henry’s Majestic

Highland Park/Uptown

A relatively new spot, Henry’s Majestic is already making a big splash on the dining scene in Dallas. Much like Victor Tangos, while the drinks are top-notch at Henry’s, the food is a worthy draw all by itself (marrow-infused burgers and Texas pho, anyone?). But we're talking drinks. The $10 cocktail menu is populated with familiar classics given the slightest of twists, like a chile and maple Old Fashioned or a Manhattan kissed with saffron. If you happen to be here for brunch, don't miss the Bloody Mary made with Fresno pepper and cilantro-infused vodka. 

Courtesy of The Woolworth

The Woolworth

Downtown

Drinks at this Downtown haunt lean pricey, but that speaks partly to the impressive combination of quality and intricacy that goes into each creation. For example, The Green Thumb has cucumber, basil, cracked pepper, garden simple syrup, and gin topped with soda and garnished with a basil leaf and cucumber slice -- the kind of summery freshness that tastes outstanding on the airy food deck. If you're staying awhile, you can sustain yourself with an impressively wide-ranging menu boasting everything from street tacos and steaks to fries and fondue.

Victor Tangos

Knox-Henderson

Victor Tangos takes its seasonal fruits and veggies quite seriously, and its cocktails reap the benefits (as do you). Take the Wet Hot American Summer, a beautiful blend of blanco tequila, watermelon water, grapefruit, lime, and cinnamon that tastes like nostalgia and summer in a way that Paul Rudd never could. If you're rolling with a crew, order up a punch bowl like like the Barbados Punch which has Barbados five-year rum, blackberry tarragon shrub, lemon, and ginger ale. Also, you'd be depriving yourself if you didn't explore the food menu, updated seasonally with dishes like sweet-tea marinated short ribs and ahi tuna nachos. 

Midnight Rambler

Midnight Rambler

Downtown

This low-key, sophisticated little gem is situated in the Joule Hotel -- which subsequently means you can also indulge in some of the culinary offerings from CBD Provisions. Midnight Rambler is the kind of place that makes a fine choice for a special occasion, or for more normal occasions like "I feel like drinking something amazing."  One of the city's most creative cocktail program features drinks like the Perfect Prescription: rye, VSOP Cognac, Jamaican rum, French blanc vermouth, Italian vermouth with vanilla, Angostura & Peychaud's bitters, and lemon zest. Also, if it's that kind of night, don't skip the composed shots, like the Pho-King Champ which has wheat vodka, Oloroso Sherry, aromatized beef stock, a cilantro leaf, and an amazing name.

Bowen House

Bowen House

Uptown

Bowen House is another bar where you won't find an actual drink menu, you just simply tell your server what you enjoy, they relay the message back to the bartender, and voila! Out comes a drink crafted specifically for your taste buds. Located in an actual old house, probably where someone named Bowen lived, you sort of feel like you’re just hanging out at a friends sweet Uptown spot with a private bartender. Bonus: your "friend" also has some amazing chefs on call in his kitchen.

Boulevardier

Bishop Arts

Let’s be real here. Pick any "best of" Dallas list, no matter the topic, and Boulevardier probably belongs on it, but this one happens to be about cocktails, so we won't even mention the part about Boulevardier having some of the city's best, most inventive French food. Or how, despite being a little on the upscale side, it makes a burger that can stand toe-to-toe with the best in Dallas. We definitely won’t mention how it has all of your brunch needs and desires. Nope, we will just talk about how their cocktails are top-notch. The kicker is, Boulevardier doesn’t even really talk about its cocktails that much, it's just so good at everything that apparently its drinks get a little lost in the crowd. The best thing about the booze situation here is that the bartenders are extremely knowledgeable and can whip up a classic for you, or create an instant-classic on the spot with just a few questions about your preferences.

Bolsa

Bolsa

Bishop Arts

Bolsa is a tried and true Dallas staple that has withstood the test of time, which in restaurant years means it’s been around for five-six. Bolsa keeps going strong, serving up stellar drinks like the Oak Cliff Creeper, which comes frozen with Cruzan rum, green Chartreuse, nopales, basil, and citrus. Or you could go with The Shepherd -- Mount Gay Extra Old, arugula, goats milk yogurt syrup, and lime. If the combination of innovation and execution keeps up, there's no reason Bolsa won't be around for another eternity (aka 5-6 more years).

Industry Alley

The Cedars

Charlie Papaceno (formerly of The Windmill Lounge), or “Charlie Pap” as most people refer to him, is known for making the perfect martini. It’s a good thing he is continuing to perfect his craft at Industry Alley. Quicker than you can say, “shaken not stirred,” in your best Sean Connery impression, he is ready to serve you his specialty or introduce you to a bevy of other cocktails from their list. The name is Pap, Charlie Pap.

David Maez/Thrillist

Eastwood’s Bar

Uptown

Let’s face it; cocktail bars can be intimidating. There’s a fear you might order the wrong thing, the music will stop, the mustachioed bartender will peer at you from the brim of their fedora, and laughter will ensue. OK, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but Eastwood’s vibe is anything but uptight. When you walk inside, it’s like you're stepping into your friend's living room except with much better drinks. Chris Henley (formerly of Bowen House) is behind their creative cocktail list and recommends the Set Sail to Barbados, which is Mount Gay rum, fresh-pressed lime, house-made passion fruit syrup, and Angostura bitters on the rocks. There are even a few TVs to catch games, so put up your feet, relax, but please keep your slippers on your feet. Sit on the patio for great people watching off McKinney Ave.

Wayward Sons

Wayward Sons

Lower Greenville

With Chef Graham Dodds at the helm, Wayward Sons boasts an impressive farm-to-table menu, so it’s no shocker that their diverse cocktail menu is just as impressive. Order one of their house cocktails, like the Doc Holiday, with George Dickel rye bourbon, Graham’s pecan syrup, and lemon. Don’t forget to check the out on a Thursday night from 8-11pm for live music on the patio.

Knuckle Sandwich

Greenville

Parliament's Eddie "Lucky" Campbell’s new creation not only serves sandwiches with attitude, but the cocktail menu also packs a punch, we mean, knuckle. Try the Spiced Orange Smash, which is bourbon, orange, and mint. The drinks are simple but made with the same attention to detail that Campbell is known for. Besides aren’t the two key ingredients to happiness, a good drink, and a sandwich? We think so.

QUILL

Quill

Design District

This chic Design District nightspot is dripping with style and sexiness, and the cocktail menu is as handsome as the décor. Not only can you come here to put the vibe out, but you can also sip on delectable cocktails, like the Flamenco, with brandy, red wine, pineapple juice, orange juice, and ginger ale. Just be sure to button that shirt up one notch Don Juan, you’re in Dallas, not Ibiza.

The Theodore

Northpark Mall

The fellas behind Smoke are behind this dazzler at NorthPark Center, meaning now you can sip a truly excellent cocktail after hitting the shoe department at Nordstrom. The bar program is the brainchild of Kyle Hilla, formerly of Bolsa, and all the drinks are named for national parks. Try the gin-based North Cascades with lemon and champagne foam, or try the Everglades, a tasty frozen treat with celery, lime, green Chartreuse, Cana Brava rum, and ginger pop rocks.

Sign up here for our daily Dallas email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun DFW has to offer.

David Maez is a writer at Thrillist who loves a good cocktail and a sandwich. Follow him here @davidfmaez.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. The Cedars Social 1326 S Lamar St, Dallas, TX 75215 (Downtown)

Downtown's Cedars Social is primarily a cocktail lounge but also has a full kitchen preparing gourmet brunches and dinners to pair with its well-crafted drinks. On the menu are upscale iterations on traditional Southern fare (think parmesan infused shrimp and grits for brunch and farro crusted lamb chops for dinner). Cocktail-wise, expect fresh and house-made ingredients and an expansive menu that evolves with the seasons

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Parliament 2418 Allen St, Dallas, TX 75204 (Uptown)

With craft cocktail icon Eddie "Lucky" Campbell at the helm, this bordello-lit drinking den in State Thomas boasts a lengthy leather-bound menu that has something for everyone. If you appreciate history and cocktail artistry, go for a Ramos Gin Fizz. And if you appreciate a good deal, there's an incredible happy hour where you can score standards like Old Fashioneds and gimlets for half their typical price.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
3. Victor Tangos 3001 N Henderson Ave, Dallas, TX 75206 (Knox Henderson)

A classy, dimly lit Mexican restaurant doling out savory goodness like roasted marrow bones and brisket with chimichurri and toast, Victor Tangos in Knox-Henderson also offers killer cocktails to boot. Seasonal ingredients shine in boozy libations like the Pepper Smash with gin, red bell pepper, local mint, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and house-made clover-honey syrup.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
4. Henry's Majestic 4900 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75205 (Highland Park)

At Henry's Majestic, you'll find a somewhat fancy-yet-welcoming ambiance befitting its Highland Park location, but more importantly, you'll find well-crafted, interesting cocktails like the Sanchez Gimlet (blanco tequila, fresh arugula, lime, lemongrass). Also important: the food you'll be enjoying with said cocktails. Look for maple bourbon meatballs with fennel slaw, a "marrow-spiked" burger, and bowls of Texas pho.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
5. The Woolworth 1520 Elm St #201, Dallas, TX 75201 (Downtown)

Truffle fries and lobster fondue sneak their way onto the menu of this Downtown cocktail bar where the man behind the bar is more "bar-chef" than just a mixologist. The Woolworth's brunch menu features flavorful, Southern dishes like habanero fried chicken and jumbo buttermilk biscuits, all of which you can enjoy on the spacious outdoor patio with a ice cold pitcher of Pomegranate Mimosas.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. Midnight Rambler 1530 Main St, Dallas, TX 75201 (Downtown)

Just a few steps from the Joule Hotel lobby hangs a bright neon sign that reads, "COCKTAILS". Go there. Two flights of stairs down, and you’re in cocktail heaven. Chad Solomon and Christy Pope of beverage consulting group Cuffs & Buttons are the masterminds behind the cocktail menu, and it’s nothing short of amazing Try the shared Hogo A-Go-Go punch for four, made with Jamaica rum, lime, West Indian bay leaf falernum, hibiscus, and nutmeg.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Bowen House 2614 Boll St, Dallas, TX 75204 (Uptown)

Bowen House in Uptown is an upscale neighborhood (it's literally set inside a refurbished Victorian home) watering hole bound to satisfy all your cocktail cravings. Go for a custom drink-- just tell the bartenders what sort of drinks you like and they'll mix up something specially for you-- or a classic cocktail (the Old Fashioned is top notch). A highly impressive food menu will help you settle in.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. Boulevardier 408 N Bishop Ave, Ste 108, Dallas, TX 75208 (Bishop Arts Dist)

This French-inspired Bistro uses its wood-fired grill to reinvent some classic dishes from across the pond. In addition to the grub, there's an expansive wine selection that includes more than 120 American and French varietals, as well as a large array of liquors including Whiskeys, Armagnacs and Cognacs.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. Bolsa 614 W Davis St, Dallas, TX 75208 (Oak Cliff)

Located in the historic Settles Garage, Bolsa offers up a menu of American cuisine for brunch and dinner. The longstanding spot scores with creative cocktails you can't get anywhere else, like the The Shepherd with Mount Gay Extra Old, arugula, goats milk yogurt syrup, and lime. A covered outdoor patio with heat lamps makes it a solid spot to camp out even when the weather gets a bit nippy.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. Industry Alley Bar 1711 S Lamar St, Dallas, TX 75215 (The Cedars)

This spacious, neighborhood watering hole offers plenty of pool tables and arcade games to keep you entertained and boozy libations of all stripes, including one of the best martinis in Dallas. The perfect mash-up of a friendly dive and bespoke cocktail bar, Industry offers custom cocktails made to order in addition to standard issue brews. Grab a seat at the bar or an outdoor picnic table outside and pass the time away there with a beer or fancy mixed beverage in hand.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
11. Eastwood's 3407 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX (Uptown)

The self-proclaimed "living room of Uptown" is the upscale antidote to your tried-and-true dive or SMU frat bar. In addition to an endless list of craft cocktails (go for the Dallas Sour) with constant happy hours, this joint has a short and sweet menu with creative bar bites (falafel wraps, chicken and waffle sandwiches), amazing brunch specials (gorge yourself on a bowl of tots topped with eggs and sliced avocado) and, arguably the most important feature, a dog-friendly patio with fountains and treats galore.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
12. Wayward Sons 3525 Greenville Ave, Dallas, TX 75206 (Lower Greenville)

It’s hard not to feel a bit of escapism while sipping craft drinks from this farm-to-fork restaurant’s esteemed bar program on its lush outdoor patio. You'd be remiss to skip out on the house cocktails which include the signature Wayward Son with gin, chartreuse, and jalapeno. At this Lower Greenville spot, drinks aren't the only stars of the menu: Chef Graham Dodd's Wayward Sons takes traditional, Texan eats and reimagines them, refined. Dinner plates include smoked lamb brisket and chicken and dumplings; for brunch, the blueberry-topped ricotta pancakes over a schmear of lemon curd will fuel your dreams for days to come.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
13. Knuckle Sandwich Co. 3619 Greenville Ave, Dallas, TX 75206 (Lower Greenville)

Be prepared to meet the sandwich of your dreams at this friendly neighborhood Lowest Greenville gastropub. The combination lunch spot and cocktail bar is a match made in heaven (because it's always 5 o'clock somewhere). The sandwich menu runs the gamut from Cubans to hoagies, to burgers, to banh mi inspired sliders. Pair one with a $1 cocktail on weekdays and you're go to good.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
14. Quill 1628 Oak Lawn Ave, Dallas, TX 75207 (Design District)

Owned and operated as a collaboration between the Apheleia Restaurant Group and top notch local steakhouse Nick & Sam's, Quill's, a super-chic spot in the Design District is a class act. Go here to get your night started right; the glamorous, speakeasy-inspired lounge's handsome selection of bespoke cocktails and small plates look great and taste even better.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
15. The Theodore 8687 N Central Expy, Dallas, TX 75225 (North Dallas)

Founded by the chef Tim Byres, the man behind Dallas mainstays Bolsa and Smoke, The Theodore serves New American small plates that aim to please. You’ll forget you’re at the mall as you knock back drinks from the unbeatable bar menu at this quaint and quirky destination. The inspiration here is a cross between Teddy Roosevelt and Wes Anderson, and the patio is a cool mix of dainty wrought-iron tables and rugged wooden high-top tables.

Clickbait