Hotel bars have some of the best views of Dallas, amiright? BarBelmont at the Belmont Hotel has long been known for a spectacular view of the skyline while putting you in a setting as non-downtown Dallas as possible.
But its long-standing reign as best in town may be up, thanks to NYLO Southside's SODA Bar. We like it so much, we'll even forgive the overuse of capital letters. NYLO Southside opened up on Lamar Street last September, which means that the great view from the rooftop bar is — does math — about seven months old, but this is its first spring.
Although sitting around the fire pit on Soda's patio is nice when you're snuggled up in a sweater, there's something to be said for lounging in a cabana five stories up while gazing out at a clear sky and getting a slight sunburn on your face because you haven't moved in an hour.
It's hard to argue with a place that combines a pool, a fire pit, cabanas and an incredible view.
There are some great patio options in Dallas, and it's hard to fault anyone who wants to open up another one. But when the weather is good enough that you'd consider starting up ritual sacrifice to keep it around through August, it's a great idea to combine a pool, a fire pit, cabanas and an incredible view.
There's even the tactical advantage of having the higher ground against potential zombie hordes.
Oh, and alcohol. Alcohol is important, because otherwise you're just outside and being boring, as opposed to being outside and awesome.
Now, it's not as though Soda Bar is the end all of drinking. The beer selection is average, with a few Deep Ellum brews and Texas beers like Firehmans 4 and Shiner's seasonal. But there's also stuff like Stella Artois and Blue Moon, which are good if you're a 19-year-old eating at a steakhouse, and you have a semi-decent fake driver's license.
The cocktails don't reach the level of sophistication of places like the Standard Pour, Smyth or the People's Last Stand, but then that'd be like finding fault with a Lexus because it isn't a Lamborghini.
NYLO angles Soda as ultra-modern, which isn't technically wrong, but it also has a foosball table near the fire pit, which is pretty frat house all the same. Which is to say, don't worry about being smothered too much in Vegas wannabes. Also, do not try and throw the table into the fire if you lose. It's poor form.
The bartenders are friendly if you catch them when they're not too busy. And it's almost guaranteed that if you take a date to Soda after dinner, she will consider you far more cultured than you have any right to be considered.
The giant neon South Side on Lamar sign overlooking the bar certainly doesn't hurt the ethereal feel, as the whole bar and patio are painted in a rainbow of fluorescent light ranging from the sign to the bartop to the skyline.
Soda Bar is the antithesis of the kind of bar that inspire poets and songwriters. It's not a deep bar that encourages debate, and it's unlikely that anyone will have revelations sitting under the cabana staring out at the vast expanse of Dallas sky.
Well, if you were on some sort of psychedelic, you might have an epiphany. But, honestly, that could happen watching a TV dinner getting nuked in the microwave.
With Soda Bar, NYLO Southside offers a fresh, fun, breezy spot, which is really what it's all about now that spring is here.