Dallas skyline at night. Original image from Carol M. Highsmith’s America, Library of Congress collection. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel.

Five Dallas Cocktail Bars I’m Loving Right Now

Recently, BFF Wendy and I set about some serious research on Dallas cocktail bars, exploring everything from easy-going margaritas on Greenville’s rooftop bars to ice cold martinis at swanky, historic hotels. I’m looking forward to even more research in this fun metroplex, but until then I give you my current five favorite Dallas cocktail bars:  

The Double Down at one of the best known Dallas cocktail bars, Midnight Rambler

Midnight Rambler: Dallas’ destination craft cocktail bar

You can’t talk about Dallas cocktail bars without talking about Midnight Rambler, a sleek subterranean lounge hidden beneath the beautiful Joule hotel. Originally conceived of by  industry couple Chad Solomon and Christy Pope of Cellar Bar and Milk & Honey, it’s no surprise that the venue began winning local awards for its cocktails and more shortly after opening. Though Solomon and Pope have moved on, the ethos of well-crafted cocktails, good music, and cool vibes still remains and attracts visiting cocktiallians as well as the city’s contemporarily fun-loving crowd. 

Strawberry Supreme cocktail at Midnight Rambler

With its basement location and dim lighting, it hints at speakeasy, but foregoes the suspenders and mustachioed hipsters for more relatable down-to-earth staff who turn out technically precise, creative drinks, that still remain accessible. Whether you want a crazy creative cocktail, a beer and a shot, or a freezer martini, you’ll find it at Midnight Rambler. And they are on point with high/low, like a can of Bud light with a caviar bump and a bag of Lays. On our visit we worked through several drinks on the menu, made by one of Dallas’ most beloved bartenders, Haley Merrit, who can simultaneously mix a great cocktail and carry on a great conversation with ease. 

Fab views from the pool at Joule hotel, home of Midnight Rambler

GM Gabe Sanchez keeps things in motion and heads up cocktail menu creation. And the menus here are definitely interesting. Concepts play on Dallas and bring different aspects of the city to life, like a recent one with cocktails that reflect the work of local visual artists. Or their last holiday menu, a fun bingo-style board game that celebrated the staff’s year end family traditions and memories. Finally, it’s also the kind of community-spirited team that knows all boats rise with the tide as they included a list of other recommended Dallas cocktail bars and restaurants on the menu we tried. 

The bar at CBD Provisions at Joule shouldn’t be overlooked for drinks before dinner there or as a precursor to a visit to Midnight Rambler

Tips: Start your evening with dinner at the Joule restaurant and modern Texan brasserie, CBD Provisions. CBD and the hotel’s other restaurant, Sassetta, both serve up some excellent cocktails as well if you didn’t make ressies at Midnight Rambler and need to wait for an available barstool.

Blackbird Society, hidden behind Neon Kitten, has a wonderfully moody ambiance

Blackbird Society: Moody speakeasy oasis in Deep Ellum

Nestled discreetly behind a bookshelf door within the energetic Deep Ellum izakaya, Neon Kitten, you’ll find the moodily sophisticated speakeasy Blackbird Society. Although it shares Japanese inspiration with its lively counterpart Neon Kitten, Blackbird Society exudes a more subtle ambiance. While Neon Kitten represents the bright and buzzy yang, Blackbird Society embodies the dark and sultry yin. Named after a Manga series, Blackbird Society envelops you with its deep blue brick walls, dim lighting, and the occasional solo musician crooning in the corner, creating an atmosphere perfect for a night of adult drinking and refined enjoyment. Here, patrons can savor a classic martini, sample a house creation, or enjoy a rare pour of unusual Japanese whiskies. 

Tip: Don’t forego Neon Kitten but rather head in early for happy hour cocktail there first with a fun snack like Japanese tater tots.

The French Room bar at the swish Adolphus hotel turns out creative cocktails and classics like this martini

The French Room Bar at the Adolphus Hotel: Swanky sophistication and craft cocktails

Step into The French Room Bar, where high-end hotel bar meets craft cocktail lounge, creating a swish and sexy ambiance with a modern twist. The decor delivers the comfortably traditional with a welcome edge from the shiny black marble bar to the jewel-toned armchairs around the focal point fireplace. Indulge in their house creations or opt for classics like Sazeracs, Gibsons, and Manhattans. Their drink menu is complemented by a good selection of bubbles, ciders, wines, and beers. Bar snacks include indulgent bites like oysters on the half shell or caviar and the dishes range from a light gem lettuce salad to a bold local wagyu ribeye. This bar is attached to the French Room restaurant, so take a peak in as you pass by to appreciate the opulence and splendour of this upscale restaurant – you know, the kind of place that requires gentlemen to wear jackets. This is the where you go to be a little spoiled.

Tip: The hotel is beautiful and has a couple of other areas for drinks –  the Rodeo and City Hall bars – should you want to soak in more of its atmosphere.

The selection of agave based spirits at Las Almas Rotas is most impressive

Mezcalaria Los Almas Rotas: Dallas’ only dedicated mezcal bar

Mezcaleria Los Almas Rotas is the ultimate Dallas cocktail bar for indulging in agave spirits. This Mezcalaria boasts an impressive array of mezcals but also other agave based spirits from Mexico like tequila, sotol, raicilla, and even a gin! The staff here is not only friendly but knowledgeable, and can guide you through the meticulously curated selection of bottles hand-picked by owners with an undeniable passion for Mexican spirits. So whether you seek simple and carefree fun with a classic margarita or a more in-depth agave exploration through a flight, this spot offers the perfect blend of enjoyment and enlightenment. And the food menu is worth perusing as well with Mexican snacks like guacamole, tacos and an especially delish esquitas. On warm days (and there are plenty of those in Texas!) their patio beckons for outdoor drinks and dining.

Tip: You can buy the colorful clay Mexican mugs hanging along the bottom of the back bar.

Cocktails at the historic Stadler Hotel come with big views of the city and the beautiful pool

Waterproof at the Statler: Beautiful Dallas views and mid-century vibes

Any list of Dallas’ best rooftop bars includes Waterproof. And the hotel it sits atop, The Statler, adds an irresistible touch of history to its allure. Back in 1956, The Statler was a pioneering establishment, even boasting the first-ever elevator music! To this day, it holds a special place in the city’s heart, as well as in the annals of hoteliers’ history. Step inside this midcentury gem, and you’ll instantly be transported to a groovy retro wonderland, complete with shiny, bright 50s model cars permanently parked out front. We headed up in the afternoon for a serene scene with a refreshing margarita by the pool. But, come nightfall Waterproof ventures into more club-like territory with DJ’s and bottle service in private cabanas around the pool. 

Tip: Don’t let the summer vibes fool you; this spot has something special to offer even in the cooler months when they turn it into Winterproof, complete with igloos.

I’m still thinking about the shrimp and grits from CBD Provisions at Joule hotel

Bonus: Dallas Hotels & Restaurants

Wondering where to sleep and eat while exploring Dallas cocktail bars? We absolutely loved our stay at the Joule hotel. It’s modern and luxurious with friendly service and all the amenities – including a nice-looking spa that must be popular because it was booked full while there. It’s conveniently the location of Midnight Rambler. And another bonus, its modern Texan brasserie, CBD Provisions, serves up very tasty dishes (I was especially taken with their shrimp and grits). For more variety, there is also Sasseta, the Italian eatery within the hotel. Heartfelt shout out to the Joule for the warm hospitality, hot meals and cold cocktails!

And for a few more: we had an excellent brunch at the iconic – and always busy – Ellen’s diner and tasty tacos at Salsa Limón, both of which turn out a decent margarita as well!

Burger & Fries at CBD Provisions

For more Texas cocktail bar tips, check out my post San Antonio’s best cocktail bars and Wendy’s coverage of our visit on her travel blog.

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