Yes, we all like our regular spots. The restaurants and lounges you walk into during happy hour and everyone turns to toast you and invite you to dig in to their heaping plate of calamari. But when the bartender knows exactly how many martinis it takes before you start to hit on that stranger across the way that’s a good 20 years your junior, it may be time to switch things up. Take a chance at one of these hotspots, newly added to the Dallas scene.
Media Grill + Bar
Where did the simple days of dining go, when the most technology one could hope for was a jukebox in the corner? (Still my favorite dining room piece, I might add.) The Hilton Anatole’s new 5 mil plus renovation to create the Media Grill + Bar is straight out of a science fiction flick, without all the tacky special effects. Together with one of the largest commercial flatscreens in the country (103 inches), a ton of HD plasma screens and an i-Bar (the second in the country, so they say), the 7,500 square foot space even has Bluetooth filing and virtual slots and soccor games built in to the floor, sensitive to the motion of guests walking across. Oh, and the food is quite good as well.
Media Grill + Bar is located at 2201 Stemmons Freeway inside the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, 214-748-1200
The steak and seafood crowd of Uptown has found a new darling, and that is Eddie V’s. Conveniently located on Oaklawn by the trendy Equinox fitness club, the bar is always hopping, beautiful people listening to a jazzy quartet of black beanie-wearing hip cats, sipping classic cocktails like Sidecars and new cocktails like their Foundation Margarita, while talking shop with their brokers. The happy hour specials are great, but get in early if you want a seat at the bar: those Reserved signs pop up right after lunch, especially for that fun little private booth in the corner.
Eddie V’s is located at 4023 Oaklawn Avenue in Dallas, 214-890-1500
I love restaurants with an exhibition kitchen. It proves they are so good with their cooking that they are comfortable enough to let you watch your food be prepared. Confidence like that is sexy, and so is Ristorante Nicola, which opened 10 weeks ago on Preston Road. It’s hard, especially in the summer, to get pumped about pasta (all those carbs!) but this romantic little spot can’t be missed. A candlelit dining room, an extensive wine list stocked with Italian vintages, and out-of-this-world foccacia made in a wood burning oven make this little ristorante your new Friday night date place.
Ristorante Nicola is located at 8111 Preston Road, Suite 150 in Dallas, 214-379-1111
Dude, Sweet Chocolate
Of course, chocolate doesn’t exactly constitute an entire meal—at least, most of the time. But the pro chocolatiers at Dude, Sweet Chocolate that set up shop recently in the Bishop Arts District are making a change to that. Sweet is not even really their thing: try their dark chocolate and blue cheese truffle, or perhaps a nugget of deliciousness with chocolate mixed with salt and rosemary. Now you can get all your food groups, and satiate a craving at the same time.
Dude, Sweet is located at 408 W 8th Street in Dallas, 214-943-5943
J Blacks Feel Good Lounge
If there is something about feeling good in the title of a place, I get suspicious. Should it be that obvious that you need to tell people what they are about the experience? In this case, although it isn’t necessary, J Black’s Feel Good Lounge lives up to its name. Located on the always busy section of Henderson Avenue, J Blacks is a welcome addition to the string of late night eateries and hangouts that the area is known for. The food is incredibly not the kind one would find at a bar, but that’s just part of their charm. My favorite barkeeps can be found here.
J Blacks Feel Good Lounge is located at 2409 W Henderson Avenue in Dallas, 214-613-2525