Many seasoned barflies don’t have a regular bar as much as they do a regular bartender. So with that, let us introduce some of our favorite drink slingers in the DFW cocktail scene. Tell them we sent you.
Kyle Hilla: Bourbon & Banter at The Statler
In charge of the entire cocktail program inside Dallas’ famous Statler Hotel, Hilla oversees the bar programs for the four food and drink destinations within the hotel. From breakfast sips at Overeasy (like a green bloody Mary, a refreshing twist on a classic) to intensely flavored, experiential cocktails at Bourbon & Banter, his imagination can do it all—and the inventive drinks look as good as they taste. The Statler's basement speakeasy requires a password, and its rooftop bar, Waterproof, offers sweeping views of downtown. 1914 Commerce St., 214.459.3930
George Kaiho: Jettison
He may be soft-spoken, but Kaiho’s drinks speak for themselves. The man behind the bar at Dallas’ first mezcal- and sherry-heavy bar offers customers the chance to try new spirits with a side of education and without an ounce of pretension. The bar itself, located in Sylvan Thirty, is intimate and sleek and looks like you’ve stepped into the pages of a West Elm catalog. Jettison's cocktail menu changes regularly with the seasons, so you’ll never grow tired of the options. 1878 Sylvan Ave., 214.238.2643
Gabe Sanchez: Black Swan Saloon
This well-established bartender serves up a dry sense of humor and wet drinks. His industry hangout in Deep Ellum, Black Swan, is loved not only for its consistently perfect cocktails (if you’re looking for that in a dive bar), but for the bar owner himself; you’ll see him behind the bar almost every night.
There's no sign on Black Swan’s door and there’s no menu. The bartenders like to get to know their guests, so join them for a quick chat, and they’ll be sure you sip something you’ll love. 2708 Elm St., 214.749.4848
Fernanda “Cubby” Rossano: High & Tight Barbershop
While she may be short in stature, Rossano has made a formidable impact on the Dallas bar scene. Her constant efforts to learn and experiment with new styles, techniques and ingredients to bring the consumer a better cocktail are apparent in her work. The barber-shop-themed speakeasy is accessed through an actual barber shop—imagine the surprise! Expect live music and a lively crowd on the weekends, but make sure to visit on weeknights to get to know the personable bar staff. 2701 Main St., Ste. 180/190, 214.741.1744
Codie “Big Smoove” Binion: Tiny Victories; Shoals Sound & Service
Rounding out the team at the newest Oak Cliff hangout, Tiny Victories, Binion is quick to poke fun, serve up a classic or an original creation and make you feel right at home. The Pittsburgh transplant brings something a little different to our Southern bars, and we kind of like it. One of the city's newest bars, Tiny Victories gives locals and visitors alike the chance to relax with a drink in hand. Visit during happy hour for a laid-back vibe, or stop in on a weekend after exploring the Bishop Arts District. 604 N. Tyler St., 972.685.7055
If you're in Deep Ellum, you may also find Binion at Shoals Sound & Service, a retro-inspired cocktail lounge. 2614 Elm St., Ste. 110, 469.677.0167
Ravinder “Ravi” Singh: Uchiba
Ravinder “Ravi” Singh defined the Tiki trend when he pioneered one of the first Tiki bar programs at a mainstream Dallas bar. With quite a few awards on his shelf, the bartender doesn’t let them distract him from delivering an exquisite experience each time you’re at his bar. The sister concept of Uchi, a high-end (and highly delicious) sushi spot, Uchibā allows guests to sip on cocktails that bring an Asian flair to well-known and approachable drink options. 2817 Maple Ave., 214.855.5454
Ben Rogers: Proper; The Usual (Fort Worth)
One of Fort Worth’s heavy hitters, Rogers answers the call wherever he’s needed. Catch him at one of Cowtown’s popular haunts on the special nights he’s behind the stick. Give him an idea of what you like, and he’ll lead you to a cocktail that you never even knew existed. Located in the Magnolia neighborhood, Proper is one of the most creative cocktail bars in Fort Worth and has a decidedly laid-back feel. Venture in and chat with the bar staff—they’ll make you something new or your tried-and-true favorite. Proper: 409 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, 817.984.1133; The Usual: 1408 W. Magnolia, 817.810.0114
Jesse Powell: Parliament
Everyone should know this bolo-wearing bartender. His creativity continues to surprise even the regulars who haunt his bar daily. Beyond incredible cocktails, he’s one of the more personable bartenders you’ll encounter in Uptown. And you can tell he has a background in fashion—just take a look at his custom hats.
Parliament is a hot spot for young professionals and Uptown residents. Its cocktail menu is one of Dallas' most extensive, and the bartenders will serve you a $4 Ramos Gin Fizz during happy hour or any time it rains. 2418 Allen St., 469.804.4321