What's Next for Cedars Social and Smyth after All Their Bartenders Walked Out?

Categories: Food News

Smyth.jpg
Turbulent times at Smyth. And Cedars Social, too.
On Tuesday morning, news broke that employees from both Smyth and Cedars Social, two of Dallas' finer cocktail bars, had staged a walkout, temporarily shuttering both bars. The unnamed employees complained at an unnamed pub, according to the Central Track story, citing creative differences as the reason for their hastened departure.

Later that day, D posted a statement from Brian Williams -- the first official announcement that confirmed that Michael Martensen, the cocktail wizard at both bars, had indeed left them and the soon-to-open Establishment. Williams' statement was careful and flowery, offering support and wishing Martensen success in his future endeavors. Williams also noted that Smyth would be closed for a week to bring in additional bartenders and management.

By the time Williams talked to The Dallas Morning News the following day, the closure had stretched to two weeks, until the Friday after Thanksgiving. Martensen also chimed in to confirm he and his staff had left to pursue new opportunities that had presented themselves over the past few months. What was missing was the size of the staff Martensen was talking about.

"I knew a little bit, what was going on," Williams said, before confirming the entire bar staff at both Smyth and Cedar Social had flown the coop. An ad for craft bartenders went up on Craigslist on Monday. Williams said he had to scramble initially but is confident moving forward. He's kept Cedars Social open with temporary bartenders while he looks for replacements.

At Smyth especially, where drinks are crafted to order based on a customer's every whim, the bartenders working behind the bar are fundamental to the overall customer experience. Cedars Social leans on that same craft cocktail experience to a lesser extent, but a run-of-the-mill shot slinger from Sfuzzi would have trouble behind that bar, too. Williams will have his hands full re-staffing his bars.

Martensen declined to speak by phone. He wrote in an email that lawyers were involved and his departure was six months in the making. Neither party wants to discuss the issues that broke up their years-long partnership, but too much turbulence in any cocktail shaker always makes for cloudy drinking.

Location Info

Smyth

4513 Travis St., Dallas, TX

Category: Music

The Cedars Social

1326 S. Lamar St., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

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19 comments
ooozooo
ooozooo

Where is this bar utopia that all these bartenders hope to work at?

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

D-bag bar, D-bag servers, who cares

rachel_kozak
rachel_kozak

The last person I knew who walked off a job was a total diva with a huge ego, who could be a Great Server when he wanted to be. But these places need to focus more on hiring humble, hard working employees rather then the "superstar" ones with mammoth ego who cause co worker problems.  Bet the the management is kicking their own ass for not hiring the other potential, less experienced workers.  Just saying they would have been more grateful, and thus harder working, for their job.

rachel_kozak
rachel_kozak

wow i need a job i will take their place. what kind of a worker walks off a job? I might not have the experience but I have the work ethic.  

ihatecomedy
ihatecomedy

I guess this is the right time for me to become Dallas' premiere mixologist. *waxes mustache* *puts on fedora*

tank7
tank7

What about the poor service staff and Back of house kitchen guys that slave over a hot flat top day in and day out to serve the guest? What about their livelyhoods? Did the crybaby Starbartenders think about that? I hope no one hires these guys...

WhiskeyAdvocate
WhiskeyAdvocate

For all of those who dog the craft, or consider service industry a lesser profession to whatever, It goes deeper than that. The bottom line is the most obvious, something seriously wrong has been done to its employees. That's more the issue than, the assumed "bartenders being full of themselves" bit. Dallas is a bit pretencious, agreed, but Dallas is also a city that doesn't take shit from anyone! ie Any place of employment has the same policy and terms of eoe, and it means we can fire you for whatever reason we want at any given time, and also means you can leave on your own terms whenever you want. For a whole staff at 2 locations to up and opt for unemployment as the better choice, it stands to say, somethings not on the level. Empythize, not criticize for taking a stand in what you believe in.

WhiskeyAdvocate
WhiskeyAdvocate

For all of those who dog the craft, or consider service industry a lesser profession to whatever, It goes deeper than that. The bottom line is the most obvious, something seriously wrong has be done to its employees. That's more the issue than, the assumed

txcounsel
txcounsel

This is why it's silly to get too excited about these new hip bartenders.  Have any of them stayed at a place for more than a few months?  Didn't we just go through this at Chesterfield?  Give me an ol' school bartender who has been at his post -- without drama -- for years and can make a nice old fashioned and not make the experience about himself.

missbrownbird
missbrownbird

I was there recently and the place was a hot MESS. Service was painfully slow. They need to hire adults and not children. Everyone was rushing around, looking panicked...we even were told our waitress was panicking about something so this other dude waited on us. thanks for not holding your shit together CS!

TexMarine
TexMarine

...soon to be replaced by robots

elpinchederelicto
elpinchederelicto

i don't give a fuck about a bartender.  just pour my fucking drink and move on. 

CitizenKane
CitizenKane

Higher replacements, train them to mix a great cocktail...it ain't rocket science !

I sense this food news could go viral................an interesting statement on the times we live in.


dgutierrez43
dgutierrez43

This is interesting because I called Cedars Social last night asking why Bar Smyth was not open and they said they were remodeling. I had no idea this was going on. Bar Smyth is a true treasure in this city and it would be a shame if it loses its allure, or even worse shuts down, over this dispute. Thanks for keeping us informed!

kansaslindsey
kansaslindsey

You have no idea what's going on, at all. Clearly.

Wasaserver
Wasaserver

Go see Creighton at the soon to open BARter in uptown on Mckiney. He'll pour you an amazing drink answer any questions YOU have but otherwise is thrilled you let you enjoy your drink in peace :-)

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