SHARE
This is why bartenders and mixologists deserve our respect — or, at the very least, a fat tip at the end of the night. Photo by Rosa Summers
Atlas, 314 S Main St, Ste 100, FW. 682-286-4862. Noon-2am Sat-Sun, 4pm-2am Mon, Wed-Fri.

 

“Oh, fuck. That’s good!”

It’s quite a portent when anything elicits as immediate and emphatic a response as my friend’s cocktail from Atlas did.

TTF_FWWeekly_display_ad_March_300x250

The bar’s newest location in North Texas is right next door to the champagne and sparkling wine lounge The Coupe off South Main Street — and, I gotta say, the SoMa District has really taken shape, even in the few years it’s been since I worked in the area.

A couple of whip-smart women from my previous job sat across from me at a small, round marble-top table in what seemed the very center of the parlor. Atlas’ tinted glass blocked out any rays of sunshine that may have dared peek through the clouds on this overcast afternoon. Though at the height of happy hour, a pencil-thick lamp with a tiny conical hat worked alone to illuminate our menus. Especially paired with the dark, moody decor and the warm glow of dim lighting, the place skewed one’s sense of time. Little did I know, six hours later, I would still be darkening the doorsteps of several other district establishments.

At its busiest, nearly every nook of Atlas was filled. This was only a problem because a young waitress decked in black seemed to be the singular person working that evening, her long blonde locks swishing as she flitted between groups.

Atlas feels more like a private library in a stately English manor than it does a bar. Or perhaps I’ve watched too much Downton Abbey. A crimson velvet settee wraps around the center posts, splitting the space and allowing for seating on both sides. The violet-hued patterned wallpaper and wood paneling are adorned with a large taxidermy antelope and a series of portraits featuring a woman styled in ornate attire — a striking red veil and gold halo crown in one, all florals in another. The Art Deco tiles covering the ceiling, round-top built-in shelves behind the taps, and even a globe on a stand combined with a few modern touches contribute to the overall dark academia aesthetic.

Of the dozens of elixirs with inspiration and origins from around the world — hence, Atlas — the crew explored no further than the first page to make their initial selections. The menu was dense with names of obscure liqueurs, and, I confess, I stopped reading the ingredients after a while and attempted to trust my gut.

The first round nearly knocked us out. If I had to guess, it was the sheer amount of spirits mixed in each. My Pompeian Martini featured two types of gin, two more of vermouth, hopped grapefruit bitters, and an Aberfeldy 12-year scotch whisky rinse. I didn’t love the strong bitter aftertaste, but boy, did it redden my cheeks.

The concoction that evoked such acclaim, the Guadalajara, combined Altos Blanco tequila, a Dutch bitter liqueur, pineapple, lime, agave, and Peychaud’s bitters. Despite the presence of bitters, well, let’s just say I wish I had ordered it instead. The zesty drink tasted fresh and herbaceous.

Enter: the crowd-pleaser. The Nomad with vodka, coconut milk, lime juice, simple syrup, lavender bitters, and brut Champagne is why bartenders and mixologists deserve our respect — or, at the very least, a fat tip at the end of the night. I could never recreate the magic of this drink myself. It left my palate feeling wonderfully tingly from the touch of carbonation cut by the silky coconut milk and sweet floral and citrus flavors.

To counteract the frankly ridiculous toll our first drinks took, we chowed down on two appetizers. The hummus plate disappointed with its flaccid cucumbers, soggy pita, and runny, unsalted chickpea dip. The French onion dip, both creamy and well-seasoned with the added crunch of perfectly crisp kettle chips, we all but inhaled.

Maybe I was in the mood for vegetables, because my next drink, Pepperberry Smash, contained, of all things, red bell peppers. The tumbler of Herradura Blanco tequila, Ancho Reyes chile liqueur, raspberry, and lime was topped with a skewered jalapeño slice, which I gingerly removed. The tang of the lime and sweetness of the raspberry balanced the bite of the peppers.

Having traveled the world from the comfort of our seats, the group decided to stretch our legs and bar hop. By midnight, we had stamped our passports with scrumptious bubbles at The Coupe, smoky mezcal at Bar Bagazo (within Nickel City), and an exotic delight at Tarantula Tiki Lounge. Can I blame “jet lag” for how I felt the next day?

As I write this, a German language club is thoroughly enjoying the local coffee shop’s vast outdoor patio. One member translated “afternoon,” and a trio began singing Starland Vocal Band’s “Afternoon Delight,” complete with rising and falling “oo”s and the ensuing giggles.

It’s the simple joys that remind me that, when you’re with good people, you can have a world-class experience no matter where you are. So, bon voyage on your next adventure! And, if it happens to be to Atlas, pace yourself.

 

Atlas
Pompeiian Martini $14.78
The Nomad $12.93
Guadalajara $13.86
Pepperberry Smash $13.86
Hummus $11.09
French Onion Dip $10.16
Atlas feels more like a private library in a stately English manor than it does a bar.
Photo by Christina Berger
Especially paired with the dark, moody decor and the warm glow of dim lighting, Atlas skewed one’s sense of time.
Photo by Christina Berger
The group all but inhaled the creamy French onion dip and perfectly crisp kettle chips.
Photo by Christina Berger
In the Pepperberry Smash, the tang of the lime and sweetness of the raspberry balanced the bite of the peppers.
Photo by Christina Berger

LEAVE A REPLY