Tag Archives: Henderson

Henderson Tap House has a lot to offer

Though the “I’d tap that” slogan of Henderson Tap House may conjure images of another classic Dallas dive bar, the upscale interior and swanky cocktail menu will get you to rethink those gym shorts and sweatshirt. But, don’t worry because this place is home to people of all ages, moods, and drink types.

The brick garage-like entrance houses a large, covered patio with long picnic tables and high-tops, which are crucial for the prime outdoor drinking weather quickly approaching. Walk inside and you’ll find leather seats, comfy couches, high tables, and long open seating in the back to accommodate the big crowds that swarm this place. Even though seating can become hard to find at times, Henderson Tap House offers two large, spacious bar areas on either side of the establishment. The place may get packed and depending on what section you are sitting in the service can be slow, but ordering a drink isn’t hard if you go up to the bar. Henderson Tap  House is still fairly new, so I’ll give it a pass for now, but I look forward to when the timeliness of the service matches the charm of the servers and the taste of the indulgent menu.

One of my favorite aspects of this full-service sports bar and restaurant is the tap room enclosed by large glass windows, allowing drinkers to see the vast 50-plus local and craft beers they have to offer. Though, the Revolver Blood & Honey is my normal go-to, I had the opportunity to try three of the restaurant’s popular cocktails.

Wyatt Berry Fizz: Bombay Sapphire gin, fresh lemon and lime juices and raspberry schnapps topped with a splash of soda and served over ice in a pint glass. The gin pairs well with the berry notes of the schnapps to make it refreshing, but not too sweet.

Moscow Bull: Three Olives Citrus, fresh lime juice, and ginger beer in a mason jar. The ginger beer sold me on this cocktail.

Spicy Paloma: Pepe Zevada “Z” Tequila Blanco tequila, fresh lime, jalapeño juice, sliced jalapenos, agave nectar and grapefruit juice served over ice in a pint glass. The bar’s version of a margarita, this drink was not my favorite because I am a margarita snob after trying most of Dallas’s favorite cocktail. The jalapenos bring a little kick, but the spice didn’t balance well with the other flavors.

Henderson Tap House is a prime location for large groups and individuals that are looking to stick around for a while. The food menu is extensive with dishes like wood-fired pizza, fish tacos, lobster mac n’ cheese, and even warm cookies with a shot of milk. The full menu is offered until 10:30 p.m. nightly, and the pizza oven keeps burning until 1:30 a.m.

Whether you are looking to catch a game, chow down, grab a drink, dance, party with strangers, or enjoy the sunny weather on the patio, this place is your destination. Keep it classy … or get a little weird with their “Upside Down Rodeo Clown”.

Not for Sissies

There are some cocktail joints that make me wonder how those in Dallas with lower tolerances than I can handle the drinks.  Then I realize, it’s probably because they don’t try the entire menu.  Just three or so sips of the four cocktails I tried at Sissy’s was enough to put some pep in my step for the rest of the night.  

What were these delightful drinks, you ask?  Well, they were the Southern restaurant’s  delicious new additions to the cocktail menu and the first round of happy hour offerings.  Every two or three weeks, the brilliance behind the bar at Sissy’s, Brennan and Chase, will concoct a new round of seasonal options to feature as their happy hour selections.  Served 5-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, try one of their limited-time-only cocktails for just $6.

I tried four of the five current HH drink offerings, the fifth had both of the things I avoid in my cocktails (tequila and grapefruit), so I preemptively assumed I wouldn’t enjoy it – but you should still try it (obvi).  I won’t bore you by describing the drinks I tried one-by-one as they won’t be on the menu for much longer than the next few weeks (picture of the options and their ingredients below; check out the menu board to see the current offerings).  I will, however, tell you that, if you enjoy whiskey, you MUST beg the bartender to make you a Colonel Sanders, whether it’s on the menu or not.

Not prepared to start a relationship with a cocktail that will leave you after three weeks?  Try one of their regular menu cocktails (the julep can’t miss) that will promise to call you in the morning.  Even better, try one (or all three) of the options from the Belvedere tea bar.  Can you taste it now?  Think Arnold Palmer with a punch over ice — delish.

Another NEW option from Sissy’s is their $24 to-go tub of fried chicken (one side included) — the finger-lickin’ fried chicken isn’t new, but taking it with you is.  They’ll include their homemade Sriracha in the to-go bag … use it.  Truth be told, I’m eating leftovers while writing this review.  My keyboard isn’t happy with me, but my tastebuds are.

So, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get your butt into Sissy’s, try a drink or two, and take home some delicious chicken.  Report back when you’re done.

Sissy’s Southern Kitchen and Bar
www.sissyssouthernkitchen.com | @sissysdallas
2929 North Henderson Avenue
(214) 827-9900

CLOSED – a fork of a different color

Dallas’s newest envelope-pusher, Red Fork, opened its doors a little over a month ago on Fitzhugh just east of Central.  They took a risk opening where they did, and their cocktails followed suit.  The cocktail magician that formerly liquored up Smoke, Brian McCullough, does some crazy (like a fox) things behind the deep bar at Red Fork.

When I arrived, I immediately noticed various bottles holding a multitude of colored elixirs – dark purple, yellow, you name it.  Upon asking, I was informed that they are all reductions of delicious combinations of unexpected ingredients.  There was the habinero and basil reduction (used in their sangrita) that has a spicy kick with a sweet undertone.  Then we got to watch Brian add fresh ingredient after fresh ingredient to another carafe for “stewing” and reducing into a cucumber/peppercorn/some random herb/grapefruit/orange elixir to be used in their ridiculously creative cocktails.  As Brian put it, “[They] make a lot of fresh stuff and give people the choice to make whatever they want with it.”

The staff at Red Fork is a little different than I expected, but don’t let the crazy hair and piercings mislead you – they really know what they’re doing and they are incredibly friendly.  I got to try all of the reductions (and got a free drink) without even threatening them with an impending review.  These are some nice folks for sure!

Red Fork offers a good menu of happy hour food (prices below) and even offers a great late night menu complete with pizza, charcuterie and cheese boards, and “snacks”.  I tried the white bean hummus (perhaps some of my favorite in Dallas now) and the croquettes (sadly not on the late-night menu but delicious).  The food better be darn good because they have the highly acclaimed chef from Craft, Jeff Harris, as their head chef.  (Red Fork just starting doing a weekend brunch – both Saturday and Sunday – this past week.)

Extra details: valet parking is the best plan, they have a small patio, decent beer selection, my favorite waiter from Fearing’s/Perry’s has made his way to this eatery, prices are very decent.

in general, I strongly recommend trying Red Fork at least for happy hour or late-night drinks.  I’ll go with Yogi Berra on this one … “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

Drink strength: 4.6
Overall: 4

Red Fork
www.redforkdallas.com | @redforkdallas
2537 N. Fitzhugh Avenue | 214-827-3200

Specials:
Monday-Friday | 4-7 p.m.
$3 wells, $2 domestics, $5 house wine
$3 hummus and cheese croquettes, 1/2 off burgers

Free dessert if you check-in (super bummed I missed that one!) 

Horne and Dekker

I attended the press opening for Horne and Dekker (what seems like eons ago) and was quite impressed.   It took me a while to get back and since my last visit, I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to get my butt back in there.

We spent a Tuesday evening at H&D and were delighted when not only drinks were on happy hour, but so was the PIZZA (and until 10 p.m.!).  Once we were greeted by (who I think was) the manager, our waitress gathered our order and hurried back inside – yes, we were stupid enough to sit on the porch … “the fans, they do nothing!”  Our drinks came out and they were not only correct, but they were strong; I only had two.   Any place that not only has happy hour specials as great as H&D does, but has custom-printed cans announcing them is A-OK on my list.

While sipping on our drinks, Dekker (Flint Dekker, to be exact) came out to thank us for coming in and see how our drinks were.   He was delightful to talk to and told us a bit about the resto … we got some great scoop (like that Horne moved on and so now, Flynn and Dekker is now only Dekker).

This little Henderson eatery has limited seating (which gives it a cozy feel) along with a full bar inside.  The decor is simple but a little quirky – they have a grass wall … no kidding.  Outside they have the most ingenious umbrellas that don’t get in the middle of your conversation (they have a side arm and hang over the table).

If you’re on a budget, try this place on a Sunday for Sunday Supper – it’s all you can eat for only $16. I’ll be in very soon on a Sunday! Also, if you’re in need of a chuckle, check out their FAQ – you could find out the meaning of life … or something.

Drink strength: 4 
Overall: 4

Specials:
Tuesday, Thursday (summer) | 4-10 p.m. | $3 drafts, $4 wells, $5 select wine by the glass, $5 select pizzas
Wednesday | 4-10 p.m. | 1/2 price all wine
Friday, Saturday | 4-7 p.m. | $3 drafts, $4 wells, $5 select wine by the glass, $5 select pizzas
Sunday | 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Sunday Hangover Brunch – Limitless Mimosas, Margaritas, Bloody Marys, Bloody Marias and Micheladas for $12 
       4-7 p.m. | $3 drafts, $4 wells, $5 select wine by the glass, $5 select pizzas
       5-10 p.m. | Limitless Servings of Finger Lickin’ Fried Chicken, Mom’s Meatloaf and Beer Battered Fish plus four sides dishes (Savory Biscuits, Fire-roasted sweet corn kernels, mashed potatoes and braised greens) for $16

it’s a beauty

What do you get when you mix ridiculously strong drinks and manicures, and then throw a few gay men in the mix?  Beauty Bar.  Final answer.  

Like Dallas NEEDED a bar that could give you an updo or manicure while sipping incredibly strong drinks.  Just kidding because WE TOTALLY NEEDED BEAUTY BAR!  Thanks to the owners of Barcadia, the franchise puts Dallas next to the likes of New York, LA, and Vegas.  Even if it IS a chain, we have NOTHING like it in Dallas and it’s a welcome change.

How many times have you been committed to drinks with a friend but needed a manicure?  Men, I’m not talking to you (or am I?).  Problem solved — stop in for a drink and a quick polish Monday-Friday from 4 to 8 pm. (They request you call ahead for big parties but there’s no harm in calling ahead anyway: 214-841-9600.)

The drinks are to-die-for; they have ridiculous names but they aren’t messing around.  My friend and I both ordered our first off the specialty cocktail menu and she proceeded to a simple beer while I couldn’t get enough of the potent concoctions.  Thankfully, we had plenty of time to metabolize the drinks before moving ahead with our night.  That said, take your time here and make sure you have a snack before you go!

The decor was straight out of the set of “Beauty School Dropout” from Grease – glittery walls, salon chairs, and retro tables and chairs.  The bartender was really nice and attentive.  However, some *ahem* one of the other guests were a little too chatty … and drunk.  BUT after she left, we had a better chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy our drinks.  There weren’t many people in the bar (it was a Tuesday) so this would be a good place to take a group and sit on the giant banquette.

Beauty Bar does events often (in the vein of DJs and updos).  Check out their full calendar of events here.

While this may not be your new go-to bar, it is worth stopping in to experience the new glitzy bar (even for men).

Drink strength: 4.5
Overall: 4 

Beauty Bar
www.thebeautybar.com/dallas | @beautybardallas 
1924 N Henderson, Dallas, TX 75206
214-841-9600 

Happy hour | Monday-Friday | 4-8 p.m. | $1 off

Monday:  $3 drafts
Tuesday:  Bootlegger – well liquor shot and a select beer for $10
Wednesday:  $1 off drinks all night
Thursday:  Pop ‘til you drop | $3 Coors and Buds, $2 PBR cans
Sunday: $4 you-call-its

J. Black’s feel alright lounge – CLOSED

With all the hype I had heard about the new bar/eatery on Henderson, I was stoked to try J. Black’s.  With each brick that went up, my anticipation grew.  As it turns out, my stomach and I could have put off the visit.  We showed on their grand opening and walked into a bar that may as well be Blackfinn moved from Beltline to Henderson; there just isn’t really anything novel about the place.  The patios are nice so sit outside if you can find a spot and stand the infestation of flies.

The crowd is basically the Dallasites who had been cast out from Liar’s Den/Madison/Geisha House; look for expensive cars, fake tans, and tight shirts … nothing like their Austin version.  If that’s your scene, eat it up because there is plenty of fun to be had and people to meet.  You can people watch while waiting for your waiter (who may take a while).

The drinks aren’t awful; some are creative but most are weak.  The orange mojito isn’t worth the excitement because the first sip proves that it is all orange and no mojito – expectation hangover.  The Texas Martini isn’t as good as Blue Goose’s but will do.  The drinks don’t really pack enough punch to carry their price tag.

Their food is another story.  I don’t consider myself a foodie; I know when something tastes good but that’s really it.  That being said, I wasn’t a huge fan of their food other than their homemade croutons.  I may have tried a couple more of the apps if they hadn’t made my stomach hurt.  :/

Basically, try it if you feel compelled … but it’s not necessarily a must-do unless you’re ready to wait a good while for your drinks.

Drink strength: 2.8
Overall: 3

J. Black’s Feel Good Lounge
www.jblacks.com
2409 North Henderson Avenue | (214) 613-2525

Specials:
Monday-Friday | 4-8 p.m. | $1 off all drinks, 25% off bottles of wine, 1/2 price select appetizers
Sunday | all day | $1 off all drinks, 25% off bottles of wine, 1/2 price select appetizers

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

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