The Concept: The corner of Routh and Cedar Springs has seen a game of musical chairs. The bar at No. 3005 has been Zodiac Lounge, Enigma, Central Park, and Manhattan Bar. But now? It’s Manhattan Lounge. Don’t expect an homage to the Big Apple, though. Animal mounts, snakeskin walls, and quirky-yet-somehow-refined furniture give this dark, crowded dance lounge pure Uptown Dallas appeal.
Who’s There: This just might be the new go-to spot for the late-20s, early-30s crowd. It’s your typical attractive Uptown folk enjoying date night or girls’ night out. Quite a few Mattito’s diners wandered over post-dinner.
Don’t Miss: Or should we say, do miss? I can’t speak for the men’s room, but the ladies’ room was an adventure. I’m not sure how they handle nature's call in Manhattan, but in Texas we like our privacy. Not the case here. The stalls are, well … not. They’re more like cubbies with toilets, lacking the most vital part of a public restroom experience: a door. So if you’re not OK with being that open in front of 15 tipsy strangers, then it might be a good idea to skip that third round of drinks.
What They’re Wearing: Uptown chic. Ladies don designer dresses and stacked heels, and guys play it safe in slacks and button-downs. We should warn you that dress code is enforced. The bouncer let us slide right past a group of guys in khaki shorts and flip flops. (Granted, we were clad in the aforementioned dresses and heels.) Don’t think that the quick jaunt over from McKinney Avenue and the always-casual Idle Rich or Black Friar is worth it if you are wearing said shorts and sandals. You will be turned away.
What’s Playing: No need to search for the dance floor – as soon as you walk in, you’re on it. This place attracts so-you-think-you-can-dancers like moths to a flame, and the DJ spins any and everything to keep the party going.
When You Enter, Make a Beeline For: Upstairs, unless you’re dying to dance. There you can catch the best view of nighttime Uptown. If you’re feeling fancy, make a reservation for one of the seven lounge areas, lined up around the perimeter of the bar. Imagine a single floor of an old-school dollhouse, the rooms complete with swanky ‘60s furniture, separated by thin walls of antique bookcases or funky structures. The décor, though, is oddly mismatched – taxidermied animals, crystal chandeliers that look like clusters of icicles, white Godfather-esque horse heads, and statues that could be mistaken for mummies (at least after a drink or two.)
When the Crowd Arrives: About 10 pm. We were there on opening night (last Friday), which meant complimentary drinks until 11. It also meant you could lean your body and not fall over; it was that crowded. But we hardly think it was the free drinks; everyone knows Uptowners loves them a new (upscale) watering hole.
Spotted: Tanner Pope, Jillian’s foot fetish guy from season five of The Bachelorette. Yes, he’s friendly, and no, he didn’t even mention the toes.
Bottom Line: Nothing absolutely spectacular or over the top, but when do we ever expect that from an Uptown bar? Uptowners crave new, and Manhattan Lounge is definitely a fresh change of scenery. We’ll certainly drink to that.
Check out our nightlife gallery from Manhattan Lounge's first weekend.