vickery park

Alas, the time has come to write another less-than-positive review – but this one is still nowhere close to as bad as Elbow Room.  I will try to be fair.

Each and every time I drive down Henderson, the patio of Vickery Park calls my name; it’s spacious and usually boasts a decent crowd.  The patio has to be one of the best in Dallas.  While I’ve had drinks here on weekends, this is the first time I’ve really hung out in the bar and spent an evening taking it in.

Our waitress was friendly, sweet, and prompt with our food and drink.  The food was really good and was a little bit too fancy for it to be classified as typical bar food.  It just so happened that Mondays are buy one sandwich, get one free – what a deal!  The atmosphere is incredibly laid back and the music is great.  The owner (who works behind the bar, also) loads her iPod up with her favorites and presses play.

However, they apparently do not go by, nor teach their staff, the familiar adage, “The customer is always right.”  At the end of our meal and after a couple rounds of birthday shots, our checks came and we were nearly positive that we had less drinks than were billed.  We asked our waitress and she was incredibly defensive while we were quite calm – whether we were wrong or right, the proper response for someone in the service industry would be, “I apologize for the confusion, let me look into it at the bar.”

She got the owner/bartender involved and she wasn’t any more helpful than the waitress.  At least appease the customer by being nice and not by listing your credentials or telling them they shouldn’t argue two drinks because they already got something else for free (mind you: it was buy one, get one free sandwich night).

Once again, whether I was wrong or right, there is no need to be nasty to a customer.  I paid for the extra drinks mainly because I didn’t want to fight with the staff anymore … but let’s just say, if we had all the drinks we were billed for, we may have at least gotten a buzz.

Even with the bad taste the small tiff left in my mouth, I will be back to Vickery Park to try the all you can eat mussels and relax on their porch (the mussels are meant to be some of the best in the city!).

Drink strength: 2.5 
Overall: 3.7 (I give them this many merely for the food and atmosphere)

Vickery Park
www.vickeryparkbar.com
Dallas location: 2810 North Henderson Avenue | (214) 827-1433 
Plano location: 1011 East 15th Street | (972) 423-6205

Specials:
Monday | buy one sandwich, get one free
Tuesday | all you can eat mussels for $15
Wednesday | 1/2 price bottles of wine when you order a cheese plate or a large order of mussels

Monday-Friday | 4-7 p.m. | $1 off domestics, wells, and drafts
Saturday & Sunday | 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. | $10 carafes of mimosas, bloody marys, and sangria

research this

Incredibly hungover, I slung myself out of bed to vacate my house for a showing that was to arrive within the hour (p.s. shameless plug: if you’re looking for a townhouse in University Park – I have one for sale!).  Luckily, I had a brunch at R+D Cafe to occupy my mind and motivate me to get dressed despite my pounding headache (I had forgotten to take The Hangover Cure again … you’d think I’d learn).

Upon arrival, we had a reservation and actually had to wait (that’s a good sign – follow the crowd to the good food, right?).  Looking around, I was reminded of the incredible meals I’d had in this restaurant on previous occasions and my stomach grumbled, begging for the gastronomic orgasm that it knew was imminent.  Any restaurant by the developers of Houston’s is worth it’s weight (in drinks).

Sitting down, drinks were ordered to serve as the hair of the dog – we were delighted that there were drink specials for brunch.  I ordered a bloody mary and sat back in anticipation.  When the drinks came … well, to say the least it was an expectation hangover.  Their bloody mary tasted like cocktail sauce with a touch of clam and was pretty thin and had big chunks of peppercorn.  Usually, a little clam juice is fine, but this just wasn’t right.  The waitress told us that they make their own BM mix … and that answered my question.  I ordered a screwdriver and the waitress was nice enough to take the offending drink off the bill.

All of the other drinks we ordered were delightful and strong enough to make a difference.  The food was fantastic as was expected.  Definitely try some of their mango sushi and the dips – the meals are large so be prepared to roll yourself to your car after a meal.  Watch how much you order, it adds up quickly.

The atmosphere is very older Park Cities mixed with the more laid-back and obviously hungover young Dallasites.  The decore of Cafe R+D is delightful – modern and clean and has just the right amount of pretension.

Sadly there isn’t a happy hour here, but they are “researching” a new strategy: any alcoholic drink that comes in a regular glass is $8 and anything in a martini glass is $9.  I can’t decide how I feel about that but … it is what it is.

Drink strength: 3
Overall: 4

R+D Kitchen (or Cafe R+D)
www.hillstone.com
8314 Preston Center Plaza Drive | 214-890-7900

Specials:

ALL DAY EVERY DAY | $8 all drinks, $9 martinis
Saturday & Sunday | til 4 p.m. | $4 bloody mary, mimosa, greyhounds, and screwdrivers

barcadia

I thought it was about time to write up one of my most frequented spots in Dallas… I’ve been afraid I wouldn’t do it justice – but here it goes.

Barcadia is a formerly-hipster hangout that has been invaded by the usual Dallasites. You can still find some tattooed, plaid-clad, bearded/pink-haired people, but I am afraid to say most of them have moved on … except for on a Wednesday when they return to Barcadia to play Street Fighter II and Skee Ball with a PBR in hand.

If you haven’t yet been to Barcadia and live in Dallas, shame on you. This bar has so much character and even offers free games on a Tuesday … that’s right … free 80s arcade games. They have a bevy of game choices: Astroids, Mario Brothers (both original and new), Donkey Kong Junion, Ms. Pac Man, Q*Bert, Millipede, Star Wars, Spy Hunter, Robotron, Phoenix, Joust, Galaga, Defender, Tempest, pinball, and, not to be outdone, three giant jenga sets with entertaining graffiti.

I can only think of one bad night I had at Barcadia and it wasn’t the bar’s fault at ALL. The drinks are strong, induce a fun party atmosphere, and inspire irresponsible behavior. The music is fanTAStic along with the fun bar art, TVs are HD and easily seen, and the porch is HUGE and encourages you to meet your table neighbors.

Barcadia tips: watch your feet when playing Jenga in sandals, never give the bartender a hard time but DO flirt, don’t talk to strangers in the bathroom, drink PBR

Drink strength: 4 
Overall: 4.8 (I can’t give up the 5 yet!)

Barcadia
www.barcadiadallas.com
1917 North Henderson Avenue | (214) 821-7300

Specials:
happy hour | Monday-Saturday | til 8 p.m.

Monday | 1/2 price food, happy hour all night
Tuesday | $3 Texas beers, FREE GAMES!
Wednesday | most pints $3 
Sunday | 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. | $12 bottomless mimosas (or $4 each), $4 bloody marys, $5 fresh fruit mojitos | 3 p.m. – 2 a.m. | $4 you-call-its

a capital idea

Great food?  A great beer selection?  Head into Capitol Pub …

We only caught the hind end of happy hour, which, as it turns out, wasn’t much of a loss.  Drink “specials” wouldn’t really describe what they offer during happy hour.  I can pay $4.50 a lot of places and get a stronger well than they serve.  I guess yesterday I actually drank 2 of the 8 required glasses of water because water is about all that my cocktail consisted of.

The food at Capitol Pub is what one would expect from one of the people responsible for Old Monk, Idle Rich, and the like, Peter Kenny.  All have great food and know how to serve it hot (mine was piping!).  The pizza is pretty darn good, as is most of the menu – and all of the selections come in hearty portions.  See their delightful food selections here.

There was a good number of people happy houring – most were on the enclosed porch enjoying the nice heaters and fireplace (which is always nice to gather around).  The location is fantastic – we enjoyed dinner and a couple of drinks and then strolled into Veritas for a glass of vino.

I’ve always enjoyed this place because it doesn’t get too crowded on the weekends and I’ve never been disappointed with the amount of people during the week.  They have darts and TVs … something for everyone.  My only hangup is their meager happy hour specials.  But, as I said before, head into Capitol Pub … but only if you have the capital.  (not a bad pun if I do say so myself!)

Drink strength: 2.5 
Overall: 4

Capitol Pub
www.capitolpubdallas.com
2401 North Henderson Avenue | (214) 887-9330

Specials:
Monday – Friday | 4-7 p.m. | $1 off all drafts, domestic bottles, and wells

Lemon Bar (Closed)

Thanks to a reader’s urging, I finally got my butt into Lemon Bar.  Walking in, I was delighted to see how many people were happy houring at the newest watering hole in West Village.  A few restaurants have tried this spot but none have succeeded as Lemon Bar already has seemed to do after only a few months being open.

While the specials are somewhat limited, the drinks are pretty darn great … and not too overwhelming.  I had to cut happy hour short to get to dinner and I wish I didn’t have to have done so … and I would have given my left ear lobe to have whatever food’s smell was wafting from the kitchen.

The crowd is very “West Village” – in a good way – and seemed to be a fun place to meet a new friend or two.  However, returning to Lemon Bar at night is a different story.  People begin to trickle in for the night shift around 8:30 and bring the party.  Friday and Saturday nights it’s almost impossible to move let alone get a drink.

Thanks for getting me into Lemon Bar, @tgospel!

Drink strength: 3.5
Overall: 4

Lemon Bar
www.thelemonbar.com
3699 McKinney Avenue Dallas, TX 75204 | (214) 443-6043

Specials:
Monday & Wednesday | all day | $2 domestic drafts
Tuesday & Thursday | all day | $3 wells
Friday | til 8 p.m. | $3 wells
Saturday & Sunday | 11 a.m.-3 p.m. | $8 bottomless mimosas and bellinis

Susie knows all things boozy …