Cocktails are a serious subject; the art of mixing together things in a glass isn't child's play. Although certain places boast strong mixed drinks, the discerning palate needs more than a highball of Old Crow with a splash of Coke.
For that, we have the mixologist. With an attention to detail, a comprehensive knowledge of both ingredients and cocktail history, and, often, a mustache or vest, the mixologist seeks new ways to transform a list of ingredients into the kind of nectar that existed before humans or gods. He or she finds the purest essence of alcohol and accoutrements and blends them together for the perfect, unifying drink. Or something like that.
These are the six best bars in Dallas to find those ethereal cocktails.
The Oak Cliff hot spot understands great atmosphere is paramount to any good drinking experience. The patio feels like a bohemian garage and a Shakespearean fairy garden got drunk and made a beautiful mistake together.
The devotion to fresh, local ingredients translates when drinking the Sweet Caroline with its strawberry-rosemary infused Tito’s, St. Germain, lemon and champagne. It’s just so damn refreshing and Bolsa is so airy that everything else feels outside your comfortable world for the time.
If the Soda Bar at NYLO Southside has the best view of downtown, then Cedars Social can’t be far behind. What the bar lacks in height it makes up for with a blend of classic and brand-new cocktails. Old-school choices like the Knickerbocker from the mid-19th century sit on the menu next to original works like the Suicide Door 9 with Rittenhouse 100 Rye, aperol, habañero tincture and absinthe spritz.
The People’s Last Stand
This bar is a lot like Adrian Peterson. The running back was nine yards short of breaking the single-season rushing record last season. People’s is always willing to explore the outer edges of craft cocktails.
They’re both in terrible locations — Peterson with the Minnesota Vikings, People’s at Mockingbird Station — and yet they manage to excel in spite of it all. If only the rest of the station could catch up to People’s.
This speakeasy took the craft cocktail bar and kicked it up a notch. Reservations are recommended, there are only a handful of tables, and there’s no menu — just the pure skill of Omar Yeefoon behind the bar.
It’s an exercise in attention to detail, and rather than herding customers through a turnstile, Smyth slows it down for an experience centered around incredible drinks and conversation in a ’70s-styled bar. There’s really nothing else like it.
The Standard Pour
There’s something quietly sexy about the Standard Pour. Soft lighting and ample amounts of rich wood create a 1920s speakeasy by way of a Southern Gothic fairytale. The Moscow Mule has few rivals, but the Kentucky Mule, with its Maker’s Mark, takes it to a different level. It’s a decidedly nice bar in the realm of McKinney Avenue pubs and clubs.
Sitting on Tate’s elevated patio is probably how the Romans felt watching the gladiator games. Granted it’s just people watching on McKinney Avenue, but still. Of course, the Romans didn’t have cocktails this good either.
In-house syrups and infusions, check. Hand-squeezed fruit juices, check. Attention to tradition and detail, check. Grab a Whiskey Smash, hang out on the patio, and imagine a lion or two wreaking havoc down below.