Make some noise for the 2023 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards, here to honor the best in Dallas food & drink. In this annual celebration, restaurants and food industry pros get nominated in categories such as Best Restaurant, then voted on by a panel of past winners and industry experts.
We're featuring those
nominees in a special editorial series which will be followed by a tasting event and awards ceremony on May 4 at Fashion Industry Gallery (F.I.G.). Tickets are on sale now.
The awards fall into 10 categories including Restaurant of the Year, Chef of the Year, Pastry Chef, Brewery, Bartender, Wine Program, Best New Restaurant, and our annual wild card, this year being Best Burger.
Sponsors include Goodstock by Nolan Ryan, Deep Ellum Brewing Company, Ellum Ranch Patio Water, Topo Chico Sparkling Mineral Water. A portion of proceeds benefits the nonprofit
Harvest Project Food Rescue.
We've already celebrated nominees for Rising Star Chef and Neighborhood Restaurant, and now we're covering Bar of the Year: the 10 bars that shone most brightly in the past 12 months.
These are our nominees:
Greenville Avenue bar is a sibling of restaurant-cocktail bar Rye, and is known as a swanky yet avant-garde cocktail lounge with ultra-inventive tipples. They love to push the envelope on daring cocktail creations and creative presentation, using tools like centrifuges, liquid nitrogen, and sous vide, but always with the ultimate goal of making a great drink.
Glossy lounge on the 10th floor of the Thompson Hotel in downtown Dallas is the place to go if you're craving an espresso martini in a space with a private-club vibe and great views. The space is beautiful, including a rooftop patio dense with greenery and strings of lights. They also have a limited menu of small plates, wine by the glass, and a gently-enforced "smart casual or better" dress code; no beach or swim attire, team T-shirts, baseball hats, athletic shorts, or sweatpants.
Charlie's Starlight Lounge
Amiable bar on the eastern fringe of Deep Ellum is a sibling to dance club The Nines and has everything you want in a dive bar: authentically funky building, super-chill vibe, groovy crowd, and hospitable staff who welcome all who enter. Drinks are both well-made and cheap, and there's an array of engaging distractions like karaoke and fun DJs that keep things feeling fresh.
Sophisticated lounge serving cocktails and bites is from hospitality pro Greg Katz, who is making the Fitzhugh Avenue area his own, first with his popular restaurant Beverley's, and now a bar nearby where Beverley's patrons can get a nightcap after dinner. Named for a beach in South Africa where Katz grew up, the space is charming and well appointed - check out the breezeway blocks and shotgun-style bar.
Common Table - Frisco
Friendly Frisco bar has a little touch of Uptown Dallas cool with this bar, originally founded as a craft beer palace in Uptown Dallas. They've kept the craft beer faith, with two dozen craft beers on draft at all times, a staff well trained in beer, and one of the best draft systems in DFW. They also offer cocktails, wine, more than 100 whiskeys, a serious menu of food, and a hopping weekend "hip hop brunch."
Dahlia Bar & Bistro
Open since 2020, Dahlia gets points for succeeding in a location where, for one reason or another, many a predecessor failed. It's just the right concept for this restored Ross Avenue brick storefront, one that comes with a sweet outdoor courtyard space which veteran bar operators and owners Chris and Mark Beardon have transformed into a kind of botanical garden. As befits the bar's name, cocktails have a floral influence. They also serve food - salads, sandwiches, desserts - and a brisk weekend brunch.
District 9 Draught Haus
Beer haus and restaurant is a venerable neighborhood spot in Lake Highlands, named for the East Dallas council district in which it resides, and with a celebrity tie, too: It's from Andy Thompson, guitarist for '90s alt-rock band the Buck Pets, and his wife Dana, who've fashioned a thoughtful German-themed taproom and growler bar. There's bratwurst on the menu, and 28 taps on the wall, spotlighting German beers including lagers, bocks, and double bocks, as well as that wonderful luxury: eight wines on tap, as well.
"Infamous dive bar!" they proudly crow at the Grapevine, a beloved neighborhood haunt that's been around since 1996, bringing together everyone from prom queens to drag queens. It's the perfect destination if you're seeking a fun little bar for weekend day drinking, with ping pong, pool, an outdoor space, and a friendly-to-all ambience. Visit now while you can since their lease is up in mid-2023, although there are plans to re-open elsewhere.
The east side of town has not one but two bars with rock star credentials - in this case Julie Doyle, singer and manager of Polyphonic Spree, whose bar on Garland Road has been a godsend for the East Dallas hipster crowd, with a stylish retro-mod atmosphere, incredible cocktails, and light, intriguing menu of food, including a stellar brunch. They attract the best, both the talented staff they've assembled, and the cool customers they draw.
Snowbird Cocktail Lounge & Kitchen
Bar at The Star complex aims to bring an urban vibe to the suburbs, for Frisco residents who don't want to have to head south to get their downtown night game on. Founders David Nguyen and Snow Vo, whose portfolio includes Tipsy Alchemist, Barcadia, and Sidebar Uptown, so they know of what they speak. Cocktails have been created by Tipsy Alchemist mixologist Steve ‘Scuba’ and they also feature bottle service.