Restaurants / Bars

Tucked Behind its Namesake Restaurant, This Swank New Dallas Bar Brings its Own Chills

Your First Look at Bar Charles, the Design District's Champagne Haven

BY // 01.13.20
photography Manny Images

A new, swanky champagne bar has opened behind the Dallas Design District’s most Italian-ish restaurant, The Charles. An expansion of the restaurant that opened in 2018, Bar Charles is located at 1632 Market Center Boulevard.

The new bar provides a place for guests of The Charles to wait for their tables to be ready while sipping on craft cocktails, wine and champagne, as well as small appetizers. It also welcomes people to come hang out separately on their own or with a private event party.

Once you walk through the dimly illuminated, but intriguing entrance (consisting of one pink light and a couple of red ropes), you’re transported into a “maximalist” space. Designed by Sees Design, the main attractions include a custom-printed mural on the ceiling outlined in pink neon lighting, a fireplace filled with books and blue spotted wallpaper near the restrooms which has an intriguing story behind it definitely worth asking about.

Bar Charles Dallas (Photo by Manny Images)
The hallway leading to the restroom has some pretty unique decor. (Photo by Manny Images)

On a recent first-time visit to The Charles, my date and I were escorted to Bar Charles while we waited for our table. I ordered the Il Hugo with Prossecco, elderflower and soda. Cucumbers floated on top and it was as light and refreshing as it sounds. On another occasion I had tried the Lex’s Buzz with Tito’s vodka, hibiscus, lime and soda and that was delicious as well.

Bar Charles also takes a lot of pride in its extensive champagne and wine lists, which include pricey Italian options if you’re feeling like splurging, or more moderately priced bottles from Napa and beyond.

Small bites are offered including Cerignola olives, wood-fired oysters, beef tartare, tempura octopus, a buckwheat cacio e pepe pasta, and chicharrones and caviar.

But once your table for dinner is called, be ready for something similar, but even better at The Charles next door. An eclectic assortment of decor such as chandeliers, the tops of Italian columns and a mirror encompassed by a gold snake are most noticeable in the dining room.

The Charles

On a Thursday night at 8 pm, the restaurant was completely packed. I had to maze and bump around people to make it to the restroom, which is also incredibly decorated.

But back to the food. I knew pasta was a must-try at The Charles so we ordered three kinds: Cascarecce Amatriciana, Spicy Creste di Gallo and Pistachio Lumache. I am still thinking about the dark green pistachio pasta with goat cheese, romanesco and crushi pepper.

The Spicy Creste di Gallo had quite a kick of spice, but the mix of flavors in the rock shrimp with tarragon, basil and lemon made me ignore the fact that my mouth was on fire, for awhile. I’m a wimp when it comes to spice. Lastly, entree-wise, we tried The Pie, which rotates daily with its ingredients. Ours came with chicken and fresh veggies like squash and a side of brussels sprouts. A pretty hefty portion, I’d suggest splitting it.

For dessert, the chocolate tiramisu with orange, salted cream and pizzelle reminded me of The Smooth Operator pie at Emporium Pies. Similar in texture, it was pretty different than your traditional tiramisu, but perfect for any chocolate lover.

Bar Charles is open every day starting at 4 pm. The Charles is open Mondays through Thursdays from 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm and until 11:30 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. 

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