Cocktail News

Downtown Dallas hotel to reopen underground bar with cocktail king Gabe Sanchez

Downtown Dallas hotel to reopen underground bar with cocktail king

Gabe Sanchez
Gabe doing what Gabe does. Photo courtesy of Midnight Rambler

One of Dallas' most popular food & beverage professionals is back behind the bar: Gabe Sanchez, formerly of Black Swan Saloon in Deep Ellum, is headed for the Joule Dallas. According to a release, he'll spearhead the reopening of Midnight Rambler, the hotel's subterranean bar, while expanding the hotel's cocktail program overall.

Sanchez sold Black Swan Saloon, a Deep Ellum institution and a leading light on the local cocktail scene, in November after nearly 10 years.

Virginia Acosta, general manager of The Joule, says in a statement that they contacted Sanchez as soon as they heard that he'd closed his bar.

"A talent like him is rare and we’re very proud that he’s joined our team with so much creative enthusiasm for bringing back Midnight Rambler," she says.

Named for a Rolling Stones song, Midnight Rambler debuted in 2014, taking over the cool subterranean space previously occupied by the glitzy PM Lounge, which closed in 2012. The Rambler has always been a craft cocktail temple and has won numerous local and national awards.

It's currently closed to the public due to COVID-19, but is available for parties, cocktail classes, and other private events.

Sanchez' background includes Las Vegas night clubs such as Baby's at the Hard Rock Hotel, Tao at the Venetian, and Rain Nightclub at the Palms Hotel and Casino. He was recruited by W hotel in 2006 as part of the opening team at Ghostbar before leaving to open Black Swan Saloon.

He'll be general manager of Midnight Rambler and will work on reimagining the cocktail program in anticipation of its reopening in spring 2021.

According to SideDish, some of those cocktails may be reminiscent of things he's done at Black Swan. But his priority, he says in a statement, is to focus on service, and he praises Midnight Rambler for its like-minded vibe.

"Of course the cocktails themselves are important, but I think the most important part of a bar experience is to make people feel comfortable and wanted," he says. "With bartenders, it’s part of the whole process — an intimate sort of give and take."

In addition to Midnight Rambler, Sanchez will create cocktail programs for other outlets of The Joule, including the Lobby Bar, CBD Provisions, and Sassetta, which is taking over the old Americana space, and which the release predicts will be downtown's next destination dining experience.

Prior to the spring reopening, Sanchez will host a limited series of private cocktail classes. The first — exploring rye whiskey — is already sold out, but there are more to come. To get on the first-access list for future ticketed classes, sign up for emails updates at 1530main.com. And to reserve a private event, email events@thejouledallas.com.