Where Does Tate's Stand In Dallas' Suddenly Cluttered Mixology Market?
You know what Dallas could use? More mixology bars.
Let's please not open any more, you guys. The ones already in business are serving us just fine.
Take Tate's for example. The McKinney Avenue watering hole opened in March in an attempt to recall the romantic years of yore in exotic places like New York and New Orleans, where alcoholism was an art and the cocktail was the piece de resistance. It specializes in modern takes on old classics such as the Julep, the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned.
They infuse many of their own liquors and come up with creative combinations, as well as many a campy title for said concoctions.
After a number of test runs, I'd say the strongest points on the menu are the whiskey drinks, and, in a bit surprisingly, the tequila drinks. Get the Eternal Flame, then thank me in the morning.
Hey, old-timers liked to party too.
The dark, wood-hewn indoors are simple yet elegant. Tate's consists of just one big room, the right side of which is flanked by a long wood bar and ample stools (finally). Behind the bar, an impressive array of libations sits on mirrored shelves, simply begging for your attention. The left side of the room hosts a collection of small bar tables, most of which are neglected in the summer.
That's because the real draw of Tate's — other than the drinks — is the patio. Sitting a small flight of stairs above ground level, it's one of McKinney Avenue's ultimate see-and-be-seen spots. It boasts a very old-timey feel, with slatted flooring and woven iron tables and chairs. Like a killer high heel, the chairs look great, but are highly uncomfortable.
But you're not out on the patio to sit; you're out there to watch. On any weekend night, one can witness a veritable parade of Uptown revelers ceaselessly passing by throughout the night. You'll witness every spill, every slap, every catcall and every mid-street makeout as you sit haughtily sipping your $10 drink.
Does that sound expensive? Maybe it is. But such is the way things are in this mixology wave.
Far worse than the chairs or the prices is the music. Seriously, it's horrible — a mix between Top 40 radio, mid-'00s indie rock and Deadmau5-esque electronica. I'm pretty sure Helen Keller could have composed a better playlist.
The soundtrack is especially unfortunate given the great music found at the competing mixology joints in town. The Dram features DJ sets from Elizabeth Farrell and Blake Ward. The Black Swan its whole rock thing going, Cedars Social does indie rock right. The Standard Pour, meanwhile, is too loud to hear any background music.
Point is, Tate's has got to get its act together on the music front.
Otherwise, though, it's an intriguing spot. Especially if you want to be spotted.