Drinking Diaries

Take refuge from the Uptown noise at sophisticated speakeasy the Kennedy Room

Take refuge from the Uptown noise at sophisticated speakeasy the Kennedy Room

Kennedy Room bar-top
The Kennedy Room bartop is covered in pennies.
Kennedy Room in Dallas
Founder Pasha Heidari (middle) might only be in his 20s, but he's created a speakeasy that would feel right at home in the 1960s.  Photo by Marc Lee
Kennedy Room bar-stools
Old office chairs were converted into bar stools. Photo by Marc Lee
Kennedy Room fireplace
The relaxed atmosphere of the Kennedy Room makes it feel like a friend's house. Photo by Marc Lee
Kennedy Room bar-top
Kennedy Room in Dallas
Kennedy Room bar-stools
Kennedy Room fireplace

Is it possible to lust after a bar? To pledge your heart, time and money to just one place? Can you be in a relationship on Facebook with a bar? No, seriously, can you? Because I’m thinking about asking the Kennedy Room to make this exclusive.

Teresa Gubbins covered the Kennedy Room when it opened earlier this month, and the premise seemed to pique our readers’ interests. Tucked away in a 350-square-foot corner of the Montaigne Club, the speakeasy pays homage to the past, from the picture of JFK and Jackie above the bar to the fireplace surrounded by vintage furniture and magazines.

 Founder Pasha Heidari has maximized his space by putting together a deceptively simple bar that eschews excess in favor of controlled quality.

A bar this small could leave some climbing the walls in anxiety, but founder Pasha Heidari created a space with enough breathing room while still encouraging social interaction. It feels like you’re at a friend’s house for a party. Your group might not know the group next to you, but give it a few minutes, and a conversation is bound to start up.

While some places have gone the route of a glut of taps (not always a bad thing) or needlessly complicated concoctions that require a history class to consume, Heidari has maximized his space by putting together a deceptively simple bar that eschews excess in favor of controlled quality. Plus it is not uncommon to see Heidari himself taking orders from guests.

Heidari had a vision and executed it. The speakeasy could have been overly kitschy or gimmicky, with the Kennedy angle and all the ’60s memorabilia. Instead it’s just laid back in a way that seems effortless, not unlike JFK himself.

The Kennedy Room has the potential to thrive as a quiet Uptown refuge away from the packed throngs around the corner on McKinney Avenue. It’s a throwback to an era of cool suits and cigarettes, when people had style. Or at least that’s what I’ve learned from Mad Men.

It may have opened in early January, but if it can maintain its style and execution down the road, the Kennedy Room will be a strong contender for best new bar of 2013.