Experience teaches us that everything is a little more aesthetically pleasing after a few drinks. Whether it’s women or a Crunchwrap Supreme at 3am, alcohol has a funny way of delivering what the heart wants. That's what makes these Dallas bars true winners: they start out as 10s and stay there, no beer goggles required.
It’s not too often that you’ll find a business that's marketing is all built into a Rolling Stones song, but The Joule has found the perfect way of incorporating the greatest philosopher, Mick Jagger, into its breath and bones. The Midnight Rambler’s signature craft cocktails all carry the music theme and find the perfect song titles to use as the right adjectives for the drinks. Whether you’re playing rock star or having a stiff 5 o’clock drink in your suit, the Midnight Rambler will welcome you and serenade you 'til last call.
You know that scene in Beauty and the Beast where Belle is on that ladder sliding back and forth looking at books? Imagine that, but Belle is a bearded man and the wall of books is a wall of booze. Armoury D.E. opened in July, but has a rustic comfort that feels like it’s well more seasoned. The best part is the fact that its kitchen is open until 2am and serves incredible Hungarian comfort foods.
You’re probably familiar with that ungodly eyeball that sits in the middle of Downtown and is on everyone’s Instagram feed a couple of times a week. Well right next to it is one of the most beautiful bars that Downtown has to offer. After you leave Midnight Rambler, hop across the street and head up to The Woolworth. This large and elegant bar even has a small library with huge arm chairs to accompany you on your classy evening, or you could step out on the new terrace, have a great view of Downtown, and snap another picture of the eyeball.
Bishop Arts District
Dallas is well known for using infamy to its strength. While the youthful owners missed out on an opportunity to name their new addition to Bishop Arts after the ’04 Bonnie and Clyde, Knowles and Carter, Parker Barrows adds to Dallas’ growing interest in classic cocktails. Don't expect to get just a “vodka and soda” here. The bartenders are well versed in making sure they find out what you’re really wanting in a drink and delivering up just that. Even though the indoor seating space is small, Parker Barrows offers outdoor seating as well. Feel free to read the news articles posted around the bar about Bonnie and Clyde while you drink at their namesake.
Bishop Arts District
Small Brewpub’s atmosphere is anything but small. The interior is lined with eight large picnic tables, perfect for group outings or sitting with new friends. However, the visual component of seeing brewing equipment, bags of hops and barley, and a simplistic bar design allows little room for confusion or discomfort. Also, the kitchen is constantly pumping out five-star meals at three-star prices.
You’ll enjoy hitting the SODA Bar at the NYLO no matter what season of the year. The ambience is unprecedented. While it has great food and cocktails, its offerings in atmosphere is what sets it apart from the rest. Sitting outside, you can be near a fire pit in the winter or taking a dip in the infinity pool in the summer. Plus, you’ll have the best view of Downtown Dallas in all its glory to watch the sunset or the neon lights fire up.
If you aren’t too familiar with this word, don’t worry. Parliament is like the English version of Congress. I think? Anyways, if you happen to be in Uptown during happy hour, this is your best bet. Staple cocktails that typically have huge price points are cut in half, if not more, here. These aren’t your dive bar drinks, either. There’s a large wall lined with hundreds of sophisticated bottles, plus lighting and decor straight out of a Wes Anderson movie.
Discretion is the name of the game at Atwater Alley. If you’re unfamiliar with this hidden gem, you aren’t alone. A blank door near Henry’s Majestic will take you to a whole new environment and different evening. While the place may only seat 10-15 people, the sense of exclusivity is enough to make you feel like part of the “in crowd.” Be sure to dress appropriately with pants and closed-toed shoes. This is the type of secret that we should be sharing with our friends, and maybe our second dates.
Bowen House is exactly what we should all convince our parents to turn our childhood homes into. The house itself is a historic landmark, but the second that you step in, you’ll forget that you’re in a house. The bar offers craft cocktails made with the utmost care and precision as well as quality fare. There is plenty of cozy seating and ample natural light inside, but as fall approaches, its porch and patio seating are perfect for cooler nights.
We’re not sure quite what it is about hotels having the most lavish and beautiful bars, but the bar at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek takes the cake. Cognac-colored seating and rich mahogany set the warmth of the atmosphere, but its seasonal cocktail list brings out the best in spirits.
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Lucas Buckels is a freelance writer and a tall drink of whiskey.
1. Midnight Rambler1530 Main St, Dallas
2. Armoury D.E.2714 Elm St, Dallas
3. The Woolworth1520 Elm St #201, Dallas
4. Parker Barrows332 W Davis St, Dallas
5. Small BrewPub333 West Jefferson Blvd, Dallas
6. SODA Bar at the Nylo Hotel1325 S Lamar St, Dallas
7. Parliament2418 Allen St, Dallas
8. Henry's Majestic4900 McKinney Ave, Dallas
9. Bowen House2614 Boll St, Dallas
10. The Mansion Bar2821 Turtle Creek Blvd, Dallas
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.
This modern, urban space feels like a speakeasy with its low ceilings and dark accents, but with better beers, more inventive cocktails, and an excellently crafted eclectic menu. Co-owner Peter Novotny made sure to make Armoury stand out amongst the other Deep Ellum restaurants with Hungarian dishes like gulyás and spaetzle from his mother’s recipe book. However, you will find all sorts of diverse treats like Indian samosas, Spanish Chicharonnes, and a good ol’ fashioned American burger. Explore their long list of bottles, cans, and drafts and try one of their Boilermakers (beer mixed drink) or one of the many craft cocktails like the Jackie O (rye whiskey, sasparilla, angostura and black walnut bitters) or the Mr. Pink (gin, absinthe, raspberry, egg white, and orgeat).
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.
This old-school style corner bar offers craft beers and creative deli sandwiches in 1930s-era digs.
This microbrewery's cute size (they've only got room for a handful of picnic-style tables) and bare, industrial interior certainly doesn't speak for how much a culinary powerhouse it is. Its constantly changing menu highlights an equal mount of game- and vegetable-based dishes, all rooted in American and Southern classics with modern spins that make them real game changers. Fruity ales and spicy peppered lagers brewed in tiny batches are what get your though the door, but the wild onion dumplings and rabbit bolognese are what keep you at the table.
When you step off the elevator you may think that you are momentarily in Las Vegas with the poolside cabanas, sleep bar and infinity pool -- until you see the skyline of Dallas below you.
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.
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.
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.