A Guide to Grabbing a Fun Holiday Cocktail in Dallas
The Cheeriest of CheersBY Billy Fong
Deborah Scott (one of the founders of Park House) and Insta-sensation and artist Donald Robertson (@drawbertson)
The always chic Grange Hall - with some holiday cheer
One of Park House's glittering trees
All Hudson House destinations get decked out for the holidays, but the original location on Lovers Lane is the season's must-see. (photo by Reed Kenney)
The holiday season wouldn't be complete without at least one cocktail at our beloved Mansion Bar
The lights are always up on the patio at the Grapevine Bar
Park House decked out for the holidays
Holidays at Hudson House (photo Kathy Tran)
It’s that time of year, let the drinking begin. But December is a marathon, not a sprint. Sprinkled throughout the month, I know I’ll want to capitalize on the holiday merriment for quick cocktail tête-à-tête with friends, but the question always becomes: where shall we meet? In no particular order (would hate to play favorites), I’ve gathered my five go-to Dallas bars and restaurants for a fun holiday cocktail hour.
*This post was updated in December 2022.
Mansion Bar at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
Though the hotel it calls home has undergone a stunning redesign, the oh-so old school establishment has remained relatively the same over the past 15-plus years. Be sure to enter through the lobby so you can enjoy all the beautifully decked-out spaces as you make your way to the Mansion Bar.
If the weather isn’t terribly cold, consider one of the patio seats adjacent to one of the outdoor fireplaces. (Everyone looks better in that type of lighting.) But if temps are low, find a seat at the bar or call ahead to reserve a table. Note: the Mansion Bar does have a minimum charge on the weekends as well as a fee per person when the live music begins at 9 pm.
Designer suggestion: Pretty much anything from Brunello Cucinelli.
When I moved back to Dallas in late 2015, this little hole in the wall— the inside may be small, but the backyard has space for a basketball court—on Maple Avenue became my go-to for a weekend drink. You won’t necessarily see any big décor changes for the holidays, but the string lights are always up around the tree-flanked patio. If I’m there, expect me to play Wham’s “Last Christmas” on what I believe to be the best jukebox in Dallas.
Designer suggestion: The sky’s the limit in terms of outfit choices. I’ve come upon a group in black tie who had left a gala and were in search of a laid-back spot. You’ll always be safe with something you’ve found at Urban Outfitters or Buffalo Exchange. Think haute hipster.
If you have an in at the members-only club in Highland Park Village, the third-floor destination has become a chic spot for a smattering of Dallas fashionistas, art world denizens, business lunches, and just plain old fun folks who like a drink in a chic spot.
Designer suggestion: Gucci footwear and Saint Laurent for the rest of the outfit.
The café-slash-shop isn’t extending its hours (unless you are chic enough to attend a private event) so all cocktail clinking will be relegated to the afternoon at the Knox District gem.
Designer suggestion: If you want to get a knowing wink from Rajan then I’d suggest wearing a McQueen jacket with your jeans that day.
This go-to happy hour goes all in for the holidays. Stop by the original location on Lovers Lane to sip half-price martinis beneath approximately 15,000 ornaments and 12,000 twinkling lights.
Designer suggestion: If only there was still a J.Crew catalog, I’d say open to any page and there you go. Preppy and fun is the vibe.