Somebody Help This Poor Girl: Where to Take a Cocktail Snob in Dallas

Jasmine Garden by Raya Ramsey of D Magazine.
Jasmine Garden by Raya Ramsey of D Magazine.

Wine snobs are so 90s. Even hard core oenophiles don’t live and die by vintages as often as they did in the 80s and 90s. Now, drinkers are more likely to be cocktail snobs: the ice has to be clear (or round); the bitters must be housemade. I find the trend refreshing in every sense of the word. Since the Dallas cocktail scene is currently en feugo, I think we can help this poor girl. Here is her call to action.

Nancy, I hope you can post this on your blog because I really need some guidance here. I have some friends coming from San Francisco and they want to hit some real cocktail bars. They love to find new concoctions when they travel. Can your readers help me find some of the most unusual drinks in town? Not necessarily the best bars, but the best cocktail?


  • DallasVegan

    My favs are People’s Last Stand in Mockingbird Station and Black Swan in Deep Ellum.

  • kristen

    Bar Smyth

  • Brian Beneke

    I second Black Swan. Although I like the atmosphere at Cedars, the cocktails are almost never balanced these days.

  • Mark P.

    Komali – Best Bartender of the Year for D Magazine LeAnn Berry is doing crazy things with Tequila behind that bar.

    Avoid Smyth like the plague, nothing has ever been more overrated in Dallas. It is the worst cocktail experience I have ever had.

  • Maria Whiteside Mejia

    Cedar social, smyth, victor tangos.

  • Maria Whiteside Mejia

    Cedar social, Smyth, and Victor Tangos.

  • Maria Whiteside Mejia

    Ah and Lucky is bar-tending at Abacus- sit at the bar are and ask for him!

  • Ginny

    Thanks to you all. I am the poor girl. My friends heard about Smyth and want to go there. Is their a signature drink? Same with the other places. I’ve never heard of Black Swan but will put on the list. Looks cool. If you have a favorite drink let me know. Thanks again.

    • demiogdh

      Smyth doesn’t have a signature drink, they ask you for your preferred flavor profile (e.g., fruity, herbaceous, vodka, sweet) and then create a custom drink for a unique experience. I’ve only been once but the three cocktails I tried were awesome.

      My favorite cocktail in Dallas these days is the Pucket Old Fashioned at PakPao. It’s also a great restaurant so would be good stop. I like the Tequila Sandia at Komali. Windmill Lounge would be a good bet for a dive bar with superbly made classic cocktails though they are not doing anything out of the ordinary. Victor Tangos always has interesting cocktails and they rotate regularly. The Standard Pour has good bartenders (used to be better when Lucky was there) and it could be a good stop if you’re bar hopping in uptown.

    • Karin Oxtoby

      Black Swan is down in Deep Ellum next to Fuzzy’s Tacos on Elm Street. There’s no sign outside. It’s chill. Gabe, the owner, is magnificent. The bar is full every weekend. Tell him what flavors you like and he’ll make you up something scrumptious. He’s got a blow torch for caramelizing preserves, sugar and fruits, he infuses seasonal liquors, has herbs and fruit bowls. If he’s got it, I recommend the bourbon coffee (coffee cold-brewed with bourbon instead of water that can be turned into a cocktail or not), or a spicy pineapple. Also great tunes and not pretentious.

      People’s Last Stand does a bang-up job as well. I spent a terrific boozy-Sunday there one time getting educated about all the exotic liquors by the very knowledgeable bartenders.

    • BlnkCanvaScty

      Expect to pay a fortune at Smyth for a snobby atmosphere and drink profiles that they just rotate on different people. I would recommend The Standard Pour, Meddlesome Moth or Victor Tango’s. The People’s Last Stand and The Windmill are both supposed to be great spots that I’ve not made it to yet (bartenders and servers have recommended them). Cedar’s Social is great. Bolsa has cocktails to match the cool atmosphere and amazing cuisine. Bar Belmont has great cocktails and a view. Hope these help!

  • robshearer

    Bolsa, Cedar Social, Smyth, Abacus, The Standard Pour

  • Maria Whiteside Mejia

    Lucky is at Abacus now

  • TheBradsBlog

    I am a Smyth fan. Need to book it ahead and show up. It’s the experience you are looking for. Cedars is great and you can just walk in and get in line!

  • twohotpotatoes

    The Standard Pour and Cedars Social

  • ldascha

    Central 214 has creative new and classic cocktails, and a great atmosphere your friends from SF would enjoy.

  • uramess

    The Inwood Tavern

  • NomNom

    Pepper Smash is above and beyond any other cocktail place!!!

  • Penn Collins

    Black Swan. More care in their work than anywhere else.

  • Jack MacDonald

    Go see Joanna at Jack Mac’s Swill & Grill, she does some serious craft cocktails!

  • Joanna Bellomy

    Welcome to Texas! Now come see me, Joanna Bellomy (manager and bartender extraordinaire) at Jack Macs Swill and Grill for a personalized cocktail made with Texas infused spirits, interesting and top of the line bitters and liqueurs (no puckers here suckers), local fruit, veg, herbs, flowers and spices self selected weekly at the farmers market for muddling, mixing, and garnishing. My approach is different from the other places/tenders mentioned because I like to talk with each of my cocktail loving guest about their likes and dislikes…get to know the pallet a bit, ya dig…and then build a Swill just for you. No silly names, no pretense..just good drinks for good drinking by good people. I’ll even have one with ya! You can scroll through our Facebook page to see the weekly cocktails I’ve been posting for months. This week I’m featuring the Tex-Meximillion (like a million bucks…in your mouth!) a cocktail made with the Texas tequila Man in Black that’s 3 weeks infused with Watermelon, Mint, Basil, Lime, and pink lady apples (delicious little pink fave apples! love em) served on the rocks in a sweet n salt lined glass, with a simple squeeze of lime, and a touch of dried cranberry simple syrup. Oh, what? Tequila ain’t your thang? That’s alright, I got a melon mango mint texas whisky infusing up right now, a fabulous cran-apple cherry waterloo gin, a couple of special secret pumpkin seed infused spirits, about half dozen infused vodkas, and another half dozen spirits and classic cocktails being aged in mini oak barrels….that’s just naming a few and who knows what i’ll mix up this week for next weeks consuming. Did I yet mention that we specialize in Craft and Micro beers too? all Texas to be exact. And the food…it’s local, fresh, made to order, and pretty kick ass. Ok Ok, I’ll shut up…it’s pretty well obvious that Jack Macs rocks and I love working here and what I do…so come see for yourself. 19009 Preston Rd.

  • Weasel

    Anywhere skinny jeans, bowties and un-original patrons are the norm. How about all of Bishops Arts and everywhere else in about ten zip codes.

  • Rachel Saldana

    Highly recommend the Standard Pour! Recently renovated their food menu and for the dollar it is some of the best fare around.

  • Rachel Saldana

    Highly recommend The Standard Pour! Recent write-up in Side Dish on the new revised drink and food menu. The latter is some of the best fare for the price in town.