Prohibition may have ended in 1933. But the allure of sipping artisanal spirits in a clandestine or under-the-radar hideaway has never been more popular than today.
And while Dallas certainly has no shortage of places to imbibe, some of the city's best bars are hidden away and known only by seasoned locals.
Dallas' most unique late-night drinking haunts include everything from underground cocktail lounges and speakeasy-style drinking dens to obscure watering holes and a hidden smoking chamber.
The Gin Mill in Dallas — Photo courtesy of The Gin Mill
This tiny bi-level drinking hole is so covert that many locals haven't even caught wind of its existence. Perhaps that's because it's hidden down an alley behind the owner's bar/restaurant: Henry's Majestic.
And while getting in may not require a password, it does require a little perseverance, since there are no set hours of operation. The only way to gain entry is to ask the staff at Henry's about opening hours (weekends mostly) and request to be put on the list.
If you're lucky enough to get in, you'll find a dimly lit space boasting a seductive, speakeasy vibe with dark woods, leather booths and amazingly tasty cocktails courtesy of Henry's cocktail master, Alex Fletcher. Fletcher makes his own shrubs, mixers and spirits, so expect to find an assortment of unique libations that change seasonally.
Our Drink of Choice: The Black Sesame Vieux Carré with rye whiskey, cognac, black sesame infused sweet vermouth, Benedictine and bitters
The Gin Mill
The Gin Mill operates under a dual identity. The main space is a pub that serves food, but a hidden door behind the main bar reveals a snug, secret hideaway complete with ambient lighting, vintage furniture, cushy sofas and some seriously solid drinks.
Gin's a specialty here (Who knew?), so expect to find an ample selection of interesting small-batch gins and crafted gin cocktails. The speakeasy is open on Friday and Saturday nights, and there's usually a DJ to keep things lively.
Space is limited, but you can reserve seats if you plan on ordering bottle service. (ONe bottle is required per every 6 to 8 seats reserved.)
Our Drink of Choice: The Bee’s Knees with Moody June Gin, organic honey syrup and lemon
Outside of Truth & Alibi — Photo courtesy of Truth & Alibi
Truth & Alibi
Rest assured that the people entering the Original Deep Ellum Candy Company aren't going to satisfy a sweet tooth. For beyond the store's facade lies a decadent underground party experience in the waiting, complete with opulent surrounds and equally swanky libations.
To get in, you'll need to know the not-so-secret buzzword, which is blasted out weekly on Truth & Alibi's Facebook page. You'll also need to get past the bouncer, which though not compulsory, certainly helps if you've already reserved a table.
Once inside, you'll be treated to expertly mixed concoctions listed under categories such as "Manly" and "Girly" drinks. There's also a nightly DJ that keeps the place anything but low-key.
Our Drink of Choice: The Stoli Moscow Mule
In the evening, Twenty-Seven is a gastronomic gem for those craving a bit of Michelin-style sparkle. But right before the stroke of midnight every Saturday, the place transforms into a sultry Casablanca-style gin joint with a classic speakeasy vibe.
Along with live music, ranging from Frank Sinatra to rock and roll, expect to find a cutting-edge cocktail repertoire created by bar maestro Moses Guidry.
Our Drink of Choice: The A La Louisiana with rye, Carpana sweet vermouth, Peychaud's Bitters, Angostura and absinthe mist
Black Swan Saloon
It's easy to walk past the Black Swan and not know there's a cozy drinking den lurking behind its inconspicuous door, marked only by an open sign up top. But rest assured: its existence is no secret to the city's in-the-know drinkers, who come here for the lively vibe and killer cocktails.
There's no menu to speak of. Just tell barkeep Gabe Sanchez what you're in the mood for, and he'll whip up some type of whimsical potion with his house-infused liquors.
Try to come early, otherwise you may encounter a line to get in.
Our Drink of Choice: The Black Swan Old Fashioned with pecan vanilla bean and chamomile-infused bourbon, chocolate extract, Bittermans Xocolatl Mole Bitters and raw sugar
Black Swan Saloon — Photo courtesy of Black Swan Saloon
Down in the basement of the Joule hotel resides the enchanting subterranean refuge that is Midnight Rambler – fitted with ambient lighting, leather sofas and a custom walnut barreled ceiling. Equally dazzling are the neo-classical craft cocktails, which have been conceived by top New York mixologists Chad Solomon and Christy Pope of the Cuffs & Buttons fame.
Thursdays and Sundays, DJs spin the sounds of the '70s. And if you get hungry, you can order food from the Joule's restaurant, CBD Provisions.
Our Drink of Choice: The Savory Hunter with lemongrass and kaffir lime infused gin, coconut, cilantro and Thai chili
Dallas' best cocktail bar? The savvy drinkers at this temple of tipples think so, and with good reason.
Parliament's master mixologist, Eddie “Lucky” Campbell, elevates cocktails to an art form, and his creations have received national acclaim, as has this not-so-secret bar.
The drinks menu of 125 cocktails reads like an encyclopedia; there's even one with deer antler extract in it.
Parliament — Photo courtesy of Parliament
And it's not only the booze that's intoxicating. The alluring decor – think crimson brocade wallpaper, leather banquettes, tinned ceilings, chandeliers, the works – channels the Prohibition-inspired speakeasy clubs of the early 1900s.
Though the bar is not really hidden, it’s easy to miss. You'll find it stashed behind a black tarp-covered patio. Try to stop in for happy hour (until 8 p.m. every day and all day Monday), when you can snag cocktails for around $7.
Our Drink of Choice: The Pistachio Ramos Gin Fizz with house-made pistachio gin, cream, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white
This pocket-sized tavern is discreetly tucked away in the corner of a pink building, which once was home to a private members-only club. Though it's not technically a hidden bar, (There's a small stenciled sign above the door.) it's certainly one of the city's more obscure ones – and those who have discovered it say it's a real gem.
Kennedy Room — Photo courtesy of Kennedy Room
Kennedy Room pays homage to America's Camelot couple, complete with a cozy, '60s-era decor, classic cocktails and a portrait of JFK and Jackie ensconced above the bar.
Our Drink of Choice: The John-John with gin, fresh lime, St. Germaine and lime juice
The Balcony Club
Though this tiny watering hole is hidden away atop an Art Deco movie house, it's no secret to local jazz fans, who pack the place to the hilt on any given night.
The bar's owner describes The Balcony Club as a cross between Cheers and something right out of The Great Gatsby, and Esquire Magazine named it one of “America's Top 100 Bars."
Along with potent cocktails and an incredible lineup of free music seven nights a week, the club boasts a sexy speakeasy ambiance that appeals to an eclectic range of folks from all walks of life.
Our Drink of Choice: The Chocolate Martini
The Balcony Club — Photo courtesy of The Balcony Club
Javier's Lounge & Cigar Bar
Javier's may be one of Dallas' most famed Mexican restaurants, but not everyone is aware of its super swanky cigar sanctuary, where stogie-lovers can partake in a selection of over 50 different brands of cigars that the bar keeps tucked away in its massive humidor.
The dim-lit lounge is a cross between a rustic hacienda and a hunting lodge, replete with dark woods, plush leather furnishings, an 80-inch TV and taxidermy galore.
Along with cigars, the bar cranks out incredibly delicious cocktails and a lengthy menu of other spirits.
Our Drink of Choice: The Serrano Spicy Margarita with Hornitos Plata infused with serrano peppers, Cointreau, sweet and sour and lime juice