Purists, beware. Sophisticated, hand-crafted cocktails are making a rabid comeback on the drinking scene, and bars are stocking up on extensive menus that will knock your socks off. The key here is fresh: fresh ingredients and a fresh look on what a cocktail could be. Bartenders today don’t see a glass and think what goes in it. They think about what was in it before, and how they can make it substantially better. From molecular mixology to the reincarnation of classics, these are the Top 5 places to get a cocktail in Dallas.
1 Four Lounge
When you go to Four Lounge, you are going for the specialty cocktails. The small Arabian Nights-themed space is cozy and the constant fashion shows on the flat screen give the place a decent mise en scene, but in reality there are plenty of other places to go for space and atmosphere. No other place in town, however, has the Maplewood Smoked Bacon-infused Old Fashioned, or the Cotton Candy Mojito, or the Captain Crunch martini, or the oh-so-thick Society Bakery Whoopie Pie martini (basically, their red velvet cupcake beaten to all hell and mixed with booze. Mmmmmm.) Drop in and have a tete a tete with owner Keith, who makes all of his own syrups and treats every customer like a personal guest.
2418 Allen St, (214) 871-2626, http://www.thefourloungedallas.com/
It couldn’t be a better time of year to hit up Oak Cliff’s Bolsa for some Happy Hour cocktails, since they have such a great indoor/outdoor bar and the temps are finally hitting hot. Boasting one of the most eclectic and fresh cocktail lists in the city, a few specialties on the menu include Tears of a Prophet Martini, with Texas Tito’s Vodka infused with fresh blueberry/blackberries or pineapple, the Pear Martiini with Belle Brulee Pear Cognac, and the Passion Whiskey Fizz with Habenero-infused Passion Fruit.
614 W Davis St, (214) 367-9367, http://www.bolsadallas.com/
3 The Cedars Social
Hearkening to the days of Sherlock Homes, The Cedars Social is a dark, richly colored bar and restaurant is modeled after a British pub/library. Catch a hand-crafted cocktail here on the way to a show at the Palladium, such as the classic Sazerac or Gimlet. The cocktail menu itself is a book, organized by date of origin, so you can hit the psychedelic 60's and then hit the modern slopes with ease. All bartenders are knowledgeable of their craft, and eager to divulge their recipes. It's just like the good ol days when your barkeep knew your name, favorite drink and what cigar your smoked, and didn't even own a cell phone to text on.
4 The Joule
Downtown Dallas’ The Joule is not only a haute hotel and grade-A restaurant- the bar scene is pretty happening as well, whether you’re grabbing a drink upstairs at Charlie Palmer or down below at the PM Lounge, the swingin’ basement nightclub. Two of the best cocktails on the list: The Dark and Stormy, with pumpkin spiced dark rum, and the Vesper 2.0, a summery concoction with Aviation gin, Ciroc and Limoncello. Extra cool factor: head to the infinity pool that juts over the downtown Main Street strip and enjoy an afternoon cocktail.
1530 Main Street, 214.261.4600, www.charliepalmer.com
5 Victor Tango's
A notorious Henderson Ave hangout with a killer bar menu, VT’s also is known for their hand crafted cocktails, served up with incredibly fresh ingredients. Try the classic French 75, with champagne, gin and house made simple syrup, a great way to top off the evening. Looking for more spice, less sugar? Go for the Pepper Smash– red bell pepper, mint and Clover Honey Syrup.
3001 N Henderson Ave, (214) 252-8595, http://www.victortangos.com/