Most hotel bars are a sad state. Typically full of traveling businesspeople not wanting to see if Kansas City’s Chili’s is that much different from the one in Fort Wayne from the week before, hotel bars don’t offer much more than a bartender who has heard it all and a couple of expensed Michelobs.
But we’re not here to talk about the Holiday Inns of the world. This is about a better class of hotel bars. Whether it’s a spectacular view of the city or the scent of rich mahogany and old money, these hotel bars are the best the city has to offer.
It wouldn’t hurt to convince your out-of-town guests to stay at one of these places so you have an excuse to belly up to the bars. But these hotel bars are the kind of haunts you frequent even if you’re not a guest.
Mansion Bar at the Rosewood Mansion
The Mansion Bar is the grandfather of Dallas hotel bars. Full of the aforementioned rich wood and old money, it’s first class all the way. The leather-lined walls and dark lighting give it a classic feel, while the modern art adds a little flair. It’s pretty straightforward: If it’s part of the Rosewood Mansion, it’s going to be excellent.
Soda Bar at NYLO Southside
The rooftop Soda Bar at NYLO Southside offers an incredible view of downtown thanks to its elevation and location on South Lamar. The drinks aren’t anything special, but chilling in a cabana with a group of friends as the moon reflects in the pool and the skyline twinkles in the background is a great way to spend a Saturday night.
Library Bar at the Warwick Melrose
If Mansion Bar is first class all the way, then the Library Bar is just one step behind. Relaxed and refined, the bar follows the old-school, rich-person library model, which, well obviously. Elegant leather chairs, more of that lustful wood and a marble-top bar have you wishing you had a cigar to celebrate your latest company takeover. That and a company takeover.
Front Room at Hotel Lumen
This hotel restaurant-bar right across from SMU feels like a Jetsons-esque retro-futuristic diner, with shiny chrome accents, plush booths and bulbous light fixtures that blend to create a fun atmosphere. There is a decent selection of beer and cocktails, and Front Room serves pretty good food — not in pill form, unfortunately.
BarBelmont at the Belmont Hotel
Another bar with a fantastic view, BarBelmont on the other side of the Trinity River from downtown is more casual than the other bars on this list. The North Oak Cliff spot has a large patio from which to gaze upon the skyline. Although not quite as visually dominating as the view from Soda Bar, the view at BarBelmont is a reminder that there’s more to this city than the tall buildings in the middle and that serenity is only 10 minutes away.
Dragonfly at Hotel Zaza
If the Library Bar and Mansion Bar are too stuffy for you, Dragonfly at Hotel Zaza meets your new-money needs. Situated in the heart of Uptown, Dragonfly brings all the shiny and pretty together for a rowdy good time. People flock to the pool, but the sensual restaurant interior boasts an eclectic style accented by black tones and dozens of hanging light bulbs.
Rattlesnake Bar at the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas
The Ritz-Carlton is all about image, so it makes sense that Rattlesnake Bar has some of the best people watching in town. It gets busy on Saturday nights with a crowd that is either rich, beautiful or both. Don’t let that intimidate you if you’re not rich, beautiful or both, as the Rattlesnake is surprisingly casual on weekdays. You know, if you just want to dip your toes in before making the dive.