Choose Wisely and Drink Freely at SWIG

Come for the booze, stay for the booze at Henderson Avenue's latest.

The salads are great across the board, with fresh, crisp greens and vegetables. My favorite is the namesake, again, which might seem more familiar if referred to as what it is: a Cobb salad. Chopped egg and bacon and a cautious application of rich blue cheese dressing somehow seem healthy, a nice antidote to the heavy versions served at steakhouses and diners.

If these and other snacks, including pork buns and sliders, aren't enough to entice your visit, the staff and the drinking should be. The Kennys owned the Old Monk and the Idle Rich before shifting to the Capitol Pub and now SWIG. They've used their history to cull a smart and spunky staff.

Suzanne waits tables when she's not on stage playing guitar, and she'll gladly show you her killer salsa moves (it's all in the hips). Another waitress rolled with the tentative punches of my indecisive ordering and talked me into drinking bourbon for breakfast. (SWIG offers a passable brunch.) A staff like this is hard to find when opening a new restaurant, and SWIG's roster of available call-ups have made for an easy transition.

Focus on SWIG's cocktails, like this Gin Thyme Fizz.
Sara Kerens
Focus on SWIG's cocktails, like this Gin Thyme Fizz.

Location Info



1921 N. Henderson Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: East Dallas & Lakewood


Jimmy’s Meatballs $8
Battered Mushrooms $5
House-made Fries $4
SWIG Salad $8
SWIG Burger $12
Meatball Sandwich $9
Charred Tomato
Flat Bread $9

The Kennys did well to keep Scott Melton, too. He was the bar manager back when SWIG was Park, and remained at the space to run all things booze. If Suzanne dreamed up my Sunday afternoon buzz, Melton made it a reality, plying my brain with Bulleit bourbon ramped up with sweet apricot liquor. The cocktail is smooth and drinkable if you're a whiskey person but packs a serious punch. Drink more than one and Sunday afternoon will become Sunday evening in a hurry.

Melton has also assembled one of Dallas' better beer lists, filled with drafts and bottles from across the country, Europe, Argentina and Mexico. You can order a Maredsous Brun Ale or a brew from Rahr while your friend empties Bud bottles, if that's his thing.

In the evenings you'll find Melton tucked away in the very back of the restaurant, in a room dubbed the Gin Mill. The space is too large and open to feel like an illicit, Prohibition-era cocktail den, which is what they were going for, but it's still a great bar, decked out in reds and blacks and awash in the sounds of Radiohead and Vampire Weekend and the like, supplied by the iTunes playlists set up by the staff.

The food offered here is a subset of the menu offered in the dining room, and it happens to cull some of the restaurant's better dishes. In fact, ordering at the Gin Mill's bar turns out to be a safe way to navigate SWIG's somewhat rudderless menu. Mostly, though, it's a place to have a drink — not to sip or swill, but swig, a name that may not roll off the tongue, but describes the best use of your time both in the back and up front.

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