Drinking Diaries

Saint Ann Restaurant & Bar beckons Dallas drinkers during patio season

Saint Ann Restaurant & Bar beckons Dallas drinkers during patio season

Patio at Saint Ann Restaurant & Bar in Dallas
Saint Ann's patio is a people magnet. Photo by Justin Clemons

Well hello, Saint Ann. We've met before, but only informally. You were on our list of best patios last year, and your sibling restaurant, Mercat, has received some glowing words. Yet somehow it's taken me this long to actually park myself at one of your tables and enjoy the surroundings.

But I'm here now, so let's get acquainted.

You say you have "the largest garden patio in Dallas." There is a kind of this-goes-on-for-acres effect happening with the benches and tables, which is surprising given the location. You're surrounded by towering glass buildings, just a skip away from landmarks like the American Airlines Center and Perot Museum. And, yet, you feel so serene.

 You're surrounded by towering glass buildings, just a skip away from American Airlines Center and Perot Museum. And, yet, you feel so serene.

There's all that manicured grass swelling around the stairs that dip gracefully down to the restaurant and bar, not to mention the living wall that announces your name with the kind of bold slash the town of Addison just nixed. There's that sleek fire installation, so pretty (and vaguely dangerous-looking) that people often pause to snap a picture with it.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the "Our Lady of Guadalupe" mural, a keepsake from when the structure was built in 1927 as the city's first school for Hispanic children. It's all simply lovely.

But you're not just a pretty face. You have substance. There's garden art and, upstairs, the only museum in the world dedicated to samurai art — and admission is free. There's a neat (or terrifying, depending on how many cocktails you've consumed) glass floor inside the restaurant. You serve dishes such as chorizo-stuffed dates, smoked salmon, braised short rib sandwich and desserts from the aforementioned Mercat, which come in handy for balancing out long evenings of imbibing.

Because that's what the people are here for: your booze, which is best enjoyed on that patio.

The wine list is surprisingly hefty, and the beer lineup, while not especially crafty, is more diverse than expected for such a classy joint. Rahr, Deep Ellum Brewing, Fireman's #4 — it's a start, and I'll take it.

What really feels right, though, is kicking back with a cleverly named cocktail. The Plaid Skirt, a deceptively light concoction of New Amsterdam Red Berry vodka and lime juice, arrives pink as a blush and freckled with bits of raspberry. Lacking a cute name yet looking every inch the perfect summer refreshment, the Skinny Basil Lemonade mixes Veev acai berry liqueur, agave nectar, basil and lemon. It's something I can imagine gulping — make that sipping — on a hot Texas day.

There's also the strapping Detention Hall (Knob Creek rye, brown sugar and mint) and a tangy twist on the Moscow Mule, with Patron instead of vodka. But what truly says "order another round, we're gonna be here a while" is the Teacher’s Pet: Ultimate vodka, St. Germain, cucumber melon liqueur and lime.

So thanks for letting me drape myself on your patio for a while, Saint Ann. Thanks even more for making it impossible to stay any less than three hours. You sure know how to make a girl feel special.

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