24 Hours of Drinking in Dallas

A swing around the clock in some of our favorite places to drink.

14930 Midway Road, Addison; londoneraddison.com

11:42 a.m.

Dish

"The drag queens are drunk again," one bartender whispers to the other. There's a tandem eye-roll before they pivot, refilling our mimosas with a grandly choreographed dip of dueling cava bottles.

Which is precisely why I'm here: I love a sloppy hot mess of seam-ripped sequins, hard-flung expletives and tattered updos, a place where a wasted drag queen can stagger through a hungover herd in a broken size 14 heel like a wounded bar gazelle, then lift a piece of fried chicken off your plate and gulp it down while your back's turned. She might also manage to swap out your real jewelry for her Harry Hines knock-offs, grift your purse and insult your entire table — all payback for you rudely and inattentively shooting a text off to some dude you banged last night, and in the middle of her solo no less. Next thing you know: bam! She's acquired your cell phone and is using it to call that dude you just texted. She'll tell him you've got pussy rot, then ask logistical questions about your performance in bed with the phone on speaker. Her makeup remains flawless.

"I look like Tammy Faye Bakker two weeks pre-burial," says Jenni P, the emcee who just materialized from a magical kitchen/greenroom star gate, her wig melting to the side like a separated, coagulated Benedict. "Whoo! I'm sweating butter."

She's holding it together, operating on glamour-host jungle rules, possessed by a foul-mouthed stream of consciousness and throwing more shade than a redwood forest. Don't panic: She's staying hydrated, mostly by lifting mimosas from customers' tables.

"I fell over there and hit my ass so hard my asshole pulled a tile up," she whines, thumbing toward the bar and then breaking into a musical number. Jenni P's special guest queens emerge, forming a triad of the most fabulously extraterrestrial girl group to ever do shots while pantomiming audio clips from Mommy Dearest.

The performance goes on much longer than predicted, probably because we're all lubed up. The bartenders gave up tallying this room's intake hours ago, succumbing to the sequin and waffle anarchy, free-pouring Champagne anywhere they see a glass. By the set's end, we've somehow switched tables and made friends with a party of 12; several members of our new tribe are wearing clothes and accessories that once belonged to the ternt-out divas. My morning makeup has atrophied in the sweaty commotion and now resembles war paint. God I hope that's syrup in my hair.

Before we can get our bearings, they vanish. The doors open, light pours in and we're left to re-assimilate with the real world, which suddenly blows. It's hot and bright and absolutely nobody is channeling Joan Crawford. Our glamour Champagne divining rods have gone limp, and we're like every other confused post-brunch, touched-by-a-drag-angel soul, wandering Cedar Springs in search of the karaoke cab. Come back to us, you evening-wear-clad totem spirit animals! We are lost without sassy guidance and half-applied eyelashes.

Hey, wasn't I wearing a necklace?--Jamie Laughlin

The Drag Brunch at Dish, 4123 Cedar Springs Road; dish-dallas.com

1:45 p.m.

The Zodiac Room

I'm at the bar of the famed Zodiac Room, embarking on an anthropological study of ladies (and men) who lunch, those rare birds who soar the bejeweled skies of the midday downtown drinking culture. This storied restaurant on the sixth floor of Neiman-Marcus, which was guided to culinary greatness by Helen Corbitt in the 1960s, has always served an upper tier of Dallas society. Don't be fooled by my presence: The well-heeled clientele is still here. And now they have a "skinny" drink menu to help the guilt go down.

I'm two Weightless Mojitos in myself. I overhear a conversation among three ladies sipping white wine at the other end of the bar. One woman, with well-toned arms and magic highlights that look good in any lighting, is venting about a dress that was delivered to her house in the wrong size. She's visibly upset. The friends nod and sip sympathetically, then they all toss their heads back and laugh, plumage reflecting off the Zodiac's mirrored bar, producing the distinct call of the Diamond-ringed Moneyfalcon, indigenous to Dallas.

After a glass of Prosecco, the lunch crowd starts to thin, and things get a little blurry. There in the corner is what looks like a flock of White-collared Whiskeybills, enjoying hour two or three of lunch, or maybe four if they started early, and having Very Important Business Conversations. At a nearby table sit four Southern Gossiphawks, dressed in colorful scarves and crisp collared shirts, the height of each one's hair fighting for dominance as they pick at plates of greens. Conversations can go on forever here. It's easy to lose track of time, to be whisked away to another era. To wonder what these walls have seen.

It's 3 p.m. now, and the Zodiac is closing. I take the elevator down to the first floor but accidentally get off too early. I try on a fur coat and a hat and realize I am drunker than I thought. Also, I look deranged. There is something exciting about navigating the labyrinth of Neiman-Marcus, this grand ship of old-Dallas commerce, but it's even more exciting doing so day-drunk.

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10 comments
Ashleigh
Ashleigh

Where I live its safer to order alcohol and get it delivered!! London is a scary place at night! I have used the same company for years http://www.booze-up.com never let me down!

wendy
wendy

In the UK there are a lot of places that sell alcohol 24 hours a day. Just take a look at 24 Hour Alcohol for example. I don't think that many people really drink alcohol early in the morning but it's nice to have the option. We are all adults after all!

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

You have to get up early in the morning to drink all day.

Steve
Steve

Drinking between 2AM and 4PM is gross.  People who use the word "daydrinking" are fucking scum.

JustSaying
JustSaying

Actually, that rave shit happens at the Fare Room which is an all nude BYOB strip club next door to Cabaret Royale. I have always wondered how they handle the switch. Do a bunch of bouncers come in at 2am and round up the horny old drunks like the Polish Jews in Schindler's List? Or do they allow them to stay while the place gets filled up with scantily clad 18 year old girls on molly? And just how can you tell the difference between an old drunk having a heart attack/seizure and an old drunk dancing to that music? I guess no blowpops or glowsticks means you leave in an ambulance.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@JustSaying This is a very important correction, and also filled my head with various unwanted early-morning images. Thanks, Kenny Powers. 


JustSaying
JustSaying

@Anna_Merlan Well you are the one that wrote the original piece that filled my head with troubling images, dearest Anna. Now I really want to know how they get the strip club patrons out and the EDM kids in or if they all just hang out together. I want to know if it looks like a law and order SVU when the black light hits the floor, walls, and chairs. I want to know what it looks like when an old guy in Bermuda shorts and black socks dances to dubstep. So. many. questions.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@JustSaying Didn't see anybody that looked like a strip club patron still hanging out, so they must have some sort of incredibly orderly procedure in which the old dudes are herded out before the girls in dayglo everything are ushered in. Just seamless. 

The walls, chairs and floors looked no worse than in any other strip club. Better than some. I sat in a an armchair at the Clubhouse one time that was just incredibly crusty all over the arms. THE ARMS. How does that -- never mind. 

 
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