Dan Bui is no stranger to dining in other countries. He’s tottered through Greece in search of post-ouzo gyros and gone taco hunting in Mexico City. Inspired by such globe-trotting voyages, Bui will open a new bar in Bishop Arts that he is calling Atlas.
Bui runs another Bishop Arts spot, the Asian-Cajun fusion spot Krio, with his business partner Connie Cheng. He wanted to “double down” on the neighborhood that he says needs a cooler, post-shift drink go-to for restaurant staff in the area. He hopes to debut the bar sometime in mid-February or early March.
Located at 405 North Bishop Avenue across the street from Melt Ice Cream and Eno’s Pizza Tavern, as reported by Dallas CultureMap last October, Atlas will be a cocktail lounge featuring tipples that have origins in every corner of the world. “I’ve been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit in my day. I absolutely love traveling,” says Bui. “I’ve traveled up and down Italy, quite a bit of Spain and France.” So expect a menu and vibe that reflects Bui’s worldly experiences: familiar classics like the kir royale, pisco sour, and Singapore sling alongside a planned selection of house cocktails.
Bar pro Jesse Powell, who also developed the drink menu at Krio, will help concoct Atlas’ beverage program. This won’t be a bar where you merely down drinks; Bui wants it to be a place where you order a kir royale and learn about its French beginnings or creme de cassis. The goal is to be a touch nerdy without, hopefully, striking a pedantic tone. The ambition for Atlas is to be a place where author and famous boozehound Ernest Hemingway might grab a drink.
The bar itself will also evoke an educational feel with portraits of various writers—Hemingway, perhaps? “The decor of the place is supposed to be like an upscale library,” says Bui, plus a private section accessible via secret bookshelf. “When you pull the correct book, it opens up and there’s a whole other back area.”
Food will take a backseat to the drinks and lean late-night snack. Think booze-soaking Cuban sandwiches, charcuterie boards, or perhaps German pretzels with obatzda, a Bavarian cheese-butter. Bui has 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, having started out as a line cook in Houston when he was 15 years old. He will hold things down in the kitchen.
Keeping with the travel theme, Atlas will have a passport program: try a drink, get a stamp in your passport, and “travel the world.” When it’s complete you can turn it in to Atlas in exchange for an Atlas jacket, a small but endless discount on food and drink, and access to special events.
While there’s plenty of places to drink in Bishop Arts, heck on Bishop Ave. alone, Atlas hopes to provide a cool, dark—moody, you could say—cocktail lounge for a libation between 4 p.m. and 2 a.m.
“It’ll be a fun vibe,” Bui says. “We’re trying to make it a fun neighborhood bar—a nice bar, but the same time not too bougie.”