With all the new bars that have opened since we last did this, it's hard to keep up. So, to make things easy on everyone (and by that we mean ourselves), we rounded up a list of 10 hot new bars for summer 2016, from low-key places where everyone knows your name to over-the-top lounges complete with bottle service.
The Uptown lounge is more than just a watering hole. In addition to bottle service, cava, and tapas, there are entertainment options such as live music and burlesque. There's also a fun happy hour Tuesday through Saturday called "5 for $5 at 5," which stands for five cocktails, priced at $5, five days a week.
Located on the top floor of Dos Jefes, the latest Uptown restaurant from Joseph Palladino and Nate Paul, 42 Room specializes in cocktails made only with Don Julio 1942 Limited Edition Tequila. Imbibers can also get food in this upstairs lounge, and the kitchen observes late-night hours. A DJ spins records and plays music videos.
East Bound and Down Ice House
The theme of this Ross Avenue bar is the kitschy '70s movie Smokey and the Bandit — a favorite of co-owner Ben Harper. "You can watch it 100 times and still enjoy it," says the 31-year-old, who was not alive when it came out. The bar menu features nothing-fancy cocktails and about a dozen craft beers on tap. There are TVs to catch some sports.
A simple menu, craft cocktails, brunch, live music, and a patio that welcomes people and dogs alike — Eastwood's has it all. General manager Chris Henley brings her mixology skills from a previous stint at Bowen House. As for the name, the bar honors a certain macho actor, according to owner Pablo Ramirez. "I used to own a dog who would jump around and bark when I used to put on his movies," he says.
What was once an exclusive venue at the House of Blues is now open to the public. A makeover gave it an open, free-flowing floor plan and Far Eastern influences; the outdoor patio, which feels like a Moroccan-inspired living room, overlooks the Dallas skyline. In addition to seasonally driven cocktails, there are small plates such as yellowtail tartare bruschetta and Vietnamese chicken meatballs. VIP memberships come in two tiers: $1,200 or $2,600 a year.
The classy-but-casual Uptown bar and restaurant offers an area for late-night dancing, if that's your thing. It also happens to feature 850 door knockers as part of its unique décor. There are about a dozen taps for craft beers; cocktails include a set of signature champagne drinks that combine bubbly with a spirit. If hunger strikes, try the fun-sounding Cobb salad bites or French onion soup dumplings.
A collaboration between Apheleia Restaurant Group (Oak, Pakpao, El Bolero) and Nick & Sam's, this lounge in the Dallas Design District specializes in hand-crafted, Japanese-inspired cocktails, best enjoyed with small plates like General Tso's chicken wings or crispy shrimp. The emerald-green and brass interior drips sophistication, and there's bottle service if you're feeling especially spendy.
Many Dallasites (including us) were crushed when the no-frills dive bar closed in the summer of 2015. But Naser Nayeb and Matt Pikar, the duo behind Nora Restaurant and Bar, also on Greenville Avenue, stepped in to save the day. It took a while (almost a year), but Ships recently reopened in its same strip mall location. There's new seating in a space upstairs, new wood floors, and an added back area, but other than that, it's still the same ole Ships we know and love.
The location on Riverfront Boulevard in the Dallas Design District used to be a Mexican bar, but it's undergone a full renovation, providing an oasis that many don't expect when they first drive up. Good cocktails (try the avocado margarita) and great music are its hallmark. "We want there to be a certain wow factor, but at the end of the day, it has to be a place where you can go in and sink in and feel comfortable," says owner Chad Vogel.
Located in Uptown, at 2101 Cedar Springs Rd., the Tipsy Alchemist's expressed purpose is "to blow your mind with elevated cocktails through science, art, and technique while giving you what you didn't know you wanted." That includes cocktails and champagne by the glass, which can be consumed on the enclosed patio open all year round.