There’s no denying that Texas, the Lone Star State, has been a long time fan of whiskey. Still, you might be surprised to find out that Dallas, Texas, which is more famously known for its barbeque, Tex-Mex and nationally ranked American football team, is also home to a thriving speakeasy and cocktail culture that’s helping to redefine the culinary and entertainment landscape of the city. Today, the whiskey traditions of the past are finding many new creative beginnings. Julian Pagan, our Dallas Teeling Brand Ambassador, takes us on a tour of some of the best bars in the city to enjoy Teeling next time you’re there for a visit.
“While starting off the day with a cup of quality coffee is a must, it’s the easy-to-miss cocktail bar inside the Houndstooth coffee shop that will call to whiskey lovers. Just south of Trinity Grove at the Sylvan Thirty, there’s a tiny speakeasy connected to a really cool, hipster coffee shop. It’s the type of place where kids are nerding out about coffee in the front and mixologist are doing the same just down the back hall. Walk in the door that says Jettison, and you’ll step into an outstanding space: about 15 feet of bar, 8-10 tables, with all the focus on the bar.
Then, you walk up and there’s a barman named George – courteous and gracious with an impeccable palate and creative as hell. He knows the story or anecdote behind every bottle on the bar, and will gladly answers any questions. Among the many outstanding cocktails you can explore, you’ll find a signature Teeling cocktail called the The Irish Spro that’s a not-to-miss variation of an Irish Coffee. Or, if coffee-cocktails aren’t your speed, let the bartender know what you typically look for in a cocktail and they’ll guide you to the perfect drink. You’ll leave smarter, with your head swimming in hospitality. It’s like a cocktail spa.”
“Next, I would move downtown to The Mitchell – the bartenders are fantastic and the service is great. Polished with rich blue sofas and gold trimmings, the decor is as craft as the cocktails they serve. While you’re there, check out the back part of the bar: it’s huge and covered in rare whiskeys. The ever evolving whiskey library sports some of the most exotic and rare whiskeys in town, in addition to our Teeling lineup, offering a stellar spot to strike up a passionate whiskey chat with a fellow enthusiast. While typically bustling during the day, the atmosphere calms down at night and it’s a great place to share a drink and conversation with friends… a little oasis downtown, the last thing you’d expect to find there.”
“Another bar worth stopping at is Black Swan Saloon in Dallas’ Deep Ellum neighborhood. Deep Ellum has an interesting story…back in the early 1900s, before there were paved roads, it was the outlaw neighborhood full of saloons and shady folks. It’s changed a lot since then but has kept a bit of its outlaw spirit. The bar is inconspicuous with aged wood floors, brick walls and very little signage. One glance around the inside of the bar, with its array of house-infused ingredients, local farmers market produce and meticulously curated spirits lets you know you’re in for a treat.
Black Swan is regarded as one of the best bars in Dallas, thanks in large part to its owner and operator, Gabe Sanchez. Gabe works every night and operates it meticulously. Hands-on service would be an understatement. Don’t expect to find a cocktail menu, but he – or his team of very talented mixologists – will make you whatever you want.”
“Before you wrap up your tour, I have one place to mention. This place is a ‘secret bar’ inside a hostel. In the lobby, you’ll find a hidden door that’s disguised as suitcases. You’ll walk though it, into a cozy, speakeasy-esque space that’s perfect for enjoying a cocktail. The whole space feels more like a boutique hotel than a hostel, and you’ll definitely be tempted to book a private room here if it’s the last stop of your night. Izkina offers a delicious selection of tapas and spanish-inspired drinks, in addition to being a home for Teeling Whiskey. Everything on their menu is served beautifully and with a deep attention to detail. ”
About the Bartender
Julian Pagan grew up in the hospitality business, starting as a busboy in his family’s business and earning his stripes in many different roles before discovering a special appreciation for the craft of mixology and the spirits industry. In Dallas, Julian has worked in a number of premier bars and restaurants, and helped set up award winning cocktail programs before joining our team of Teeling Brand Ambassadors.
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