There is a plastic banner reading “Prohibition” over The Chesterfield sign. Oh, if those walls could talk. The cocktail bar in downtown has seen its share of troubles. It opened with a bang in December 2011 and the partnership of Ed Bailey and Lucky Campbell has been rocky to say the least. Details developing.1 Comment »
Incoming request from a gal who partied like it was Cinco de Mayo. Oh, it was. When she woke up this mornin’, she coulda sworn it was judgment day. Give her hope.
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I haven’t done this since I graduated college (83). I went out with friends for brunch and we had a few drinks and then we had a few more and we just kept going. I took aspirin and drank Gatorade but lost it about 3AM. I am in my office and have a long day ahead of me. Does Red Bull work for hangovers? Thoughts? BTW, we stayed at the same bar all day. Shouldn’t they have cut us off? What is the law on that?
One of the owners of Katy Trail Ice House, Buddy Cramer, has told me that they’re opening a second location in the DFW area that’s “going to be out north.”
“I can’t reveal to you a location,” he said, “but we’re going to have a major announcement soon and another one shortly.”
Recently, the bar/restaurant has been embroiled in the Decibel Battle of Katy Trail, Ice House vs. Park Towers residents, so it’s been busybusybusy. Especially with the opening of a new location. Let’s hope this second one won’t be near any apartment complexes.
I just spotted a liquor license application for Boxwood Tap & Grill and traced back the address (2901 Thomas) to the space formerly known as TABC. Looks like the operators behind the place are Tommy DeAlano (Oak, Candleroom, Dram) and his Candleroom/Dram partners. Developing.1 Comment »
Looks like Katy Trail Ice House is creating quite a ruckus these days. The Dallas Business Journal has been covering the noisy fight between Park Towers resident Deborah Sanford, who “has called police to complain about the Ice House 20 to 30 times over the past two years,” and the popular Uptown bar.
When city council members Angela Hunt and Sandy Greyson vowed to fix the decibel issue at a recent council meeting, Katy Trail Ice House responded by saying it was ‘under attack’ on Tuesday.
The Austin-style beer garden has always been rather – hm, how should I say this – vocal, so it’s not surprising for rowdy things to happen over there. But when the city measured the noise level, apparently it was still within city code. Park Tower residents, deciding to do things on their own, brought in a Miami noise consultant, who said there was a “continuous noise threshold for sleep disturbance.”
I’m going to assume that the noise at Katy Trail Ice House changes every day, so it makes sense for the city and the consultant to get two different readings. (Unless they were standing in the exact same location on the exact same day.) Anyway, both parties are up in arms over this issue, and Katy Trail Ice House is turning to social media to get the job done. It’s quite a brawl.
Spread Eagle Saloon opened in February of 2012. In that the last 14 months, I have not been there once, and I live literally a few hundred yards from its front door. It’s not that I’m necessarily turned off by the name. I just haven’t felt compelled to go in.
It appears I wasn’t the only one. Spread Eagle Saloon has officially changed its name to Scotty’s Elm St. Saloon, after the owner’s name being Scotty, the menu being created by Scott Romano, and the manager’s name being Scotty. “It made more sense, and it was less offensive,” says manager Scotty Diss. “It was something that was hurting us, and it wasn’t too much to change and hopefully it will help save business. No one really wanted to go have lunch and expense anything at the Spread Eagle.”
I think I may have to stop by. (h/t David Higbee)1 Comment »
I’m a lot crabby today. It started last night when I arranged to meet a colleague for drinks at The Establishment, the new craft cocktail lounge on Travis. The place opened a week or so ago and is owned by Brian Williams and Michael Martensen the boys behind Cedars Social. I arrived at 5:45PM and found the doors locked. Of course, they are too cool to put up a sign but I’d seen the picture of the entrance on Facebook so at least I was in-the-know enough to know which of the five doors into the space to knock on. Using my iPhone, I went to their Facebook page for hours.
Apparently they are too cool to list their hours. From reading older posts it looks like they randomly decided when to open: Sometimes 5PM; sometimes 7PM. Also, the bar isn’t called The Establishment—that will be the name once they get the kitchen open. The bar/lounge is actually called Smyth. Unless you are on Facebook 24/7, you wouldn’t have a clue. I called the phone number which was answered by some space cadet at Cedars Social who couldn’t help me one bit. Strange business model if you ask me. Maybe it works in New York, but this is Dallas and I think Tristan Simon taught us a while back at Sense that private or reservations-only bars don’t work here. The ‘80s are over.
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A typical Wednesday night for me consists of spending some quality time with my sofa and DVR whilst I satisfy my never-ending sushi craving with Bluefish takeout. Last Wednesday, I stepped out of my comfort zone. I found myself at the House of Blues bobbing my head to a special rendition of Tupac’s “California Love,” munching on ooey gooey butter cake squares and cheering on ten of TGI Friday’s best bartenders.
What originally began as a challenge between two Friday’s bartenders has grown into a battle of close to 10,000 bartenders from around the world for the coveted title of “World’s Best Bartender.” The 22nd event sure didn’t disappoint. The House of Blues was decked in a red and black theme, featuring a DJ on the ones and twos, sporadically placed full length banners with the bartender’s portraits, cowbell party favors and, of course, cool lighting that could convince anyone they were out on a Saturday night.
Family, fans and guests helped themselves to spinach and artichoke dip, flatbreads and other grub as the MC, John Taffer of Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue,” prepared the energized and, perhaps, tipsy crowd for the night’s festivities. John explained to us, in that booming voice of his, that these bartenders had to whip out their best in the compulsory rounds to get to this point. They are judged on not only the fun stuff (formally known as guest engagement), but also the technical components of the job (drink testing, pour testing, knowing the recipes perfectly) in eight-minute intervals. Continue reading "Dallas Bartender Regrets His Performance at 2013 TGI Friday’s World Bartender Championship"2 Comments »
It’s been a good year for Dallas nightlife. A few bars closed, but many great new spots opened in their stead. Union Bear, The Foundry, and The Dram now top our list of favorite places to be, and scene-y hotspots like SISU and Concrete Cowboy are entertaining the masses every Friday and Saturday night. It wasn’t easy narrowing down our Best New Bars in Dallas 2012 list to only ten, but we did it. Check it out.
THE MASON BAR
Opened in: January
Why it makes the list: We patiently waited for something good to fill the old Angela’s Bistro 51 space and were pleasantly surprised with this neighborhood bar, produced by Brandt Wood and chef David Anthony Temple (Chef DAT). The spacious setup accommodates all kinds of patrons, so you can pop in for intimate cocktails for two or bring the gang and celebrate… whatever. A bar that stretches across the room accommodates heavy crowds, and the addition of a downstairs den called Hi/Lo is perfect for private parties.
What a shame. I feel defeated by my missing motivation – most certainly a result of the brain cloud that is left over from the beer. My disillusionment comes from the brimming glasses of beer at The Bottle Shop I drank for all of you. I am glad you’re willing to accept most of the blame for what will be a mildly unproductive day.
For this edition there will be no food, except that there is. Most of you may not consider beer to be food, but you’re mistaken. Don’t get all defensive and hide under your desk. I am not yelling at you. I love you. Any who, here goes. The Bottle Shop is a handsome little brew house like nothing else in Dallas. It’s dark, wooden, and leather. It smells clean, and the mahogany bookshelves (I actually don’t know for certain that it’s mahogany, but go with it) lined with hundreds of beers may appear daunting to the casual drinker. For the beer swilling suds junkie, it’s the perfect fix. Low lighting invites you inside this Greenville corner spot. My Peruvian friend and I choose the cozy leather couch and let the bearded, gentle bartender help us with our selections. He pours each draft with care and delicacy, and the only thing that would make this place cooler is if it were underground. This radical shop offers everything they serve in take-home form. There isn’t much in bottle form that you can’t find, and they allow you to mix and match your own six packs with anything you desire. If you’re the kind of cool that owns a growler, they can be filled here as well. The bar is aptly lined with regulars and there is a community table in the center of the joint for lively beer discussions. The Bottle Shop offers free pizza after 7 p.m. on Mondays. OK, enough with the shameless and endearing promotion. You get it. Let’s dive into the beers.
A very bright Disher with a mind for springing questions asks for your opinion. Seems he frequents three bars, the names of which I have removed, where independent food vendors enter the establishment and sell barbecue sandwiches, burritos, tamales, and other items. The bartenders don’t seem to mind because they don’t serve food. My first thought is that the selling of food in a public establishment without a catering license is illegal. Here is his initial question.
I’ve noticed a trend in bars that don’t serve food which I’d like to get your opinion on. It’s very common now to see different food vendors walking through places like the XXX, XXX, and XXX selling barbecue, tamales, burritos, etc. On a given night, these vendors will make several passes through these bars and I’ve seen them sell as much as $35 on a single pass. What’s the protocol on this? The bar owners get nothing out of this, the bartenders pay full price for their food and let’s face it, customers who eat more drink less.
Anyone seen this? Dealt with it in your establishment? Love to hear from you.13 Comments »
Last night I dropped by Tried and True, the newest bar/restaurant creation by Nick Badovinus. I don’t know how this man does it, but he has pulled together another unique and spirited concept. Badovinus has a loyal team of chefs who helped him construct yet another ingenious food menu. It’s short, but oh so cool: whiskey pate, flat top pork chop and country ham sandwich topped with smoked cheddar and house made apple butter ($13); peppered beef nachos ($11); and platters of country hams from Broadbent (Kuttawa, KY), Meacham (Sturgis, KY), and Benton (Madisonville, TN). The full menu is here!
Cocktails feature 86 Company Spirits, founded by Jason Kosmas. The beer selection is divided into Texas, American, and International. The whiskey program at TNT is vast and includes bourbon from some of Kentucky’s legendary distilleries such as Woodford Reserve’s small batch, Makers Mark ‘46’, and Four Roses’ small batch listed alongside a Old Rip Van Winkle (aged for ten years) and the 100-proof Rock Hill Farms single barrel straight bourbon.
Park Tavern opened in early August, but the sleek interior of this contemporary gastropub still smells like fresh wood. Last night we sent our photographer, Melisa Oporto, to the restaurant’s VIP Grand Opening event to see what this bar/restaurant/place-you-can-watch-sports-while-eating-bar-food is all about.
Aman Singh has come a long way since he started making kulfi, a dense frozen custard similar to ice cream, in his garage. His Kaurina’s Original Kulfi bars were a popular item at this year’s Savor Dallas and they are currently available and several area grocery stores and markets. Now comes word: Kaurina’s Original Kulfi was awarded the 1st Place Grand Champions for their Malai (cardamon flavored) bar in the “Open Class for Creative and Innovative Products” category at the World Dairy Expo Championship held in Madison, Wisconsin. I have a package in my freezer. They’re only 80 calories each. Congrats Aman!6 Comments »
Remember the fish-themed spot Wyland’s Ocean Blue in Willow Bend? No? It was open for at least six months. When they closed, we all wondered what would happen to all of the under-the-sea décor and fixtures. Today we’re worrying no more. We hear The Shark Bar, a sports bar and restaurant, is filling the space that was also once Mercury Grill and other stuff I can’t remember. The website says the spot is “the brainchild of three Dallas entrepreneurs” who, according to this source, are Frederick Sambina Alima, Jimmy Don Hays and Arthur Johnson.
According to this job listing, The Shark Bar is going to be fancy. Think bottle service at Willow Bend. Snippet:
We are looking to partner with experienced restaurant marketers and nightlife promoters that can assist with spreading the word and creating a buzz of excitement for our new spot. Our concept is really dynamic in that we’re locating in a popular shopping mall. By day we’ll be a great gathering place for families, business people and shoppers – great food, high energy environment and a beautiful space. At night, we’ll turn into the premiere gathering place for cocktails, VIP bottle service and live entertainment. The Shark Bar & Grill will be the only establishment in the mall with a nightlife/live entertainment component.
Oh, no! Here comes that song!5 Comments »
DJ-turned-club-owner Jose Quiroga is ready to swing open the doors to Union Park tonight. You may be familiar with Quiroga, he’s designed and opened Ruby Lounge, Mantis, Cameo, and Vice in Fort Worth to name a few. Union Park is in a prime spot: the space formerly known as Swirll in the Davis Building on Main Street in downtown Dallas. Sounds like it will be a sport bar with pool tables, lobster corn dogs, specialty cocktails, and beer.
UPPITY DATE: According to my Deep-Dish, my source for everything pie: Kate Nelson (Piecurious Girl) is doing “the pie menu.”
UPPITY DATE: Menu for Union Park.
Lemon Bar is leaving the West Village and moving to the space at 2822 Henderson Ave that was once Alma. A Lemon Bar staffer said that the lease at West Village had expired, and they were looking forward to being in a location where there was no landlord. West Village spokesperson said that they’ve been “inundated with phone calls” from businesses interested in going into that space, and that they’ll definitely looking to put a restaurant there. Meanwhile, nearly two years after plans were initially announced, the Frisco branch of Lemon Bar finally has an opening date: August 4. According to a post on Frisco Online:
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The Frisco Lemon Bar is jointly owned with the World Cup Plaza landlords. I’m thinking the delays in opening the bar have only been cash flow related in finishing the build-out using their own funds. And the banks won’t finance big build-out money if your building is below certain occupancy levels. The landlords lost a ton on the previous bar (Scores) at that location and have been sitting on a lot of vacant office space in the World Cup Plaza buildings going back about 5 years now. But they’ve turned the corner just recently with a record amount of new office space leased (plus the coffee shop.) Congrats to them! The overall shortage of office space in Frisco has played well into their hands – so I’m assuming they now have the cash to move full speed ahead with the Frisco Lemon Bar since they’re starting to hire.
My phone is blowing off the hook: several customers of The Chesterfield, the popular cocktail spot downtown, were witnesses to what appears to be an attempted coup d’etat. According to the customers, police showed up and attempted to escort manager Eddie “Lucky” Campbell off the premises. “Two guys in suits came in and took Lucky to the side and started asking him question,” said one female customer. “Within minutes a couple of Dallas police officers arrived.” Another witness and frequent customer of the bar says, “Ed Bailey [majority owner of The Chesterfield] was trying to have Lucky kicked out of his own bar. All of the employees were really upset and ready to walk out with him.” I tried to reach Campbell but he has not answered phone calls or emails. I have learned that the police couldn’t escort Campbell from the premises because it was a civil matter. Another customer said he was in a group of people who were questioned by the “guys in suits.” “Yeah, the suits were from Patrizio [another restaurant under the Bailey's Prime Plus umbrella]. They were asking the employees about the working conditions and basically trying to get dirt on Lucky.”
Needless to say, there is more to the story and hopefully I will hear back soon from both sides.43 Comments »
Andrew Lostetter, bartender at The Marquee Grill, and formerly of Neighborhood Services Tavern and Fireside Pies, was injured in a ski accident in Breckenridge, Colorado last month. You can read the story here, but the deal is this: Sunday night is the first of two fundraisers to help Lostetter get back to work. The Marquee Grill is tossing open the bar on April 22 from 7-11 pm. There will be a silent auction that will include baskets of Scotch, all-inclusive dinners, and many talented mixologists and chefs will be auctioning their services for private events. The Dram will also host an event on April 29 from 7-12 pm.2 Comments »
Rick Orr, co-founder and EVP of Tabbedout, is a smart guy, but it’s not something he shoves in your face when you meet him. At least, that’s not what happened when I first encountered him and his then-fiancée at a little bistro in Austin last summer.
When Orr explained the concept of Tabbedout during our interview, I thought, “How neat,” and pushed it right out of my head. I was there to write about their nuptials, so wedding colors and flower arrangements seemed more important at the time. Since then, that conversation about his company has followed me to Dallas, where it’s hard not to notice people like Scott Reitz singing the praises of this iPhone and Android app.
This is how it works on smart phones: You download the sucker for free, enroll your basic billing info, and then you can open, view, and pay your tab at participating restaurants from the convenience of your phone.14 Comments »