A Back Door Visit to The Dram Shows Nary a Fedora In Sight
The newest diamond on Dallas' shiny exterior is Tommy DeAlano's joint, The Dram. Housed in what was formerly the Wooden House on Henderson, the once furniture and import boutique now boasts one beautiful renovation. All plush velvet, tufted couches and jewel tones, you can expect plenty of new Facebook profile pics to be taken of folks draped around its impressive interior.
City of Ate already gave the new spot a once over, but Deb's here to give you the skinny on the boys and girls making up the scene and what to expect when you toss on your heels to grace The Dram's door. As Scott Reitz reports, it bills itself as a "sophisticated yet approachable experience for a clientele previously limited to pub or nightclub options." It's a cocktail den: It's dark, the menu is long and there are plenty of hidden corners to get lost in conversation ... depending on what night you go.
During my first visit last Tuesday evening, I found the space scattered with friends and couples imbibing through the end of another Valentine's Day. The drinks went down cold and strong, and conversation sparkled with only a few interruptions from some overly attentive but well-intentioned staff. I left knowing I'd come back for more but was curious if the Candleroom crowd would sniff out DeAlano's new spot and influence the weekend vibe.
Friday was a totally different story. My cohort and I approached and saw that, indeed, a line had formed to get in. Girls in short skirts and nice shoes were angling for the doorman's attention, sometimes even succeeding. A sneak around to the back door and we were in. Gone were the quiet corners of Tuesday's visit. Friday, the trust-fund set had taken over and filled The Dram very nearly to capacity.
High-end though it may be, The Dram does remain approachable. Chance, our bartender, (you guys introduce yourself to your bartenders, right?) had a round of three Seasonal Sours in-hand within 15 minutes of arriving, notable in the mixology scene, where the wait for drinks is sometimes upwards of 30 minutes. (You zest, we get it.) And the next round of bourbon was delivered in even less time, despite the crowd only getting denser.
DJ Elizabeth Farrell kept the mood bouncy as the striking crowd sort of posed and bobbed along to the music. It took some time, but when she graced us with a beat -- Q-Tip, if my blurry memory serves -- the crowd went from vogueing to dancing, and a Lauryn Hill sing-along united any divisions, if only for a moment.
The Dram will get an eye-roll from some over the "craft cocktail" movement, but there was nary a Fedora in sight and I think DeAlano and crew have delivered something to the Henderson set that places like the Candleroom could never really pull off: A neighborhood bar with a dual personality many in Dallas will find peace with. The Dram is comfortable enough to stop in for a drink after a long day, and elevated enough to be a weekend hot spot. So it's up to you, sugar. Do you take your craft cocktails with leisure or the beautiful people? The Dram is serving them up both ways.
Overheard: "Are you a model?"
By the way: After overhearing a few ladies in the powder room unable to, ahem, hold their liquor, be warned: The cocktails are strong. To keep up you are going to have to eat dinner, even if you are on a diet.