Canned Mackerel and Pub Ale Served Soon at Eight Bells Alehouse

A new coat of paint and a vintage church pew mark the front of soon-to-open Eight Bells Alehouse.
A new coat of paint and a vintage church pew mark the front of soon-to-open Eight Bells Alehouse.
Scott Reitz

Ten Bells co-owner Meri Dahlke just released new details about her upcoming pub and things just got weird in the most delicious way. Dahlke dished on the upcoming menu, which is unlike any other offering in Dallas. Her kitchen will intimately embrace European dining sensibilities.

Before we talk plates, though, let’s cover operations. The new Eight Bells Alehouse is expected to open in early to mid-September, but take that prediction with the seriousness you might take a forecast for cooler weather next week. Dahlke and I spoke over whining saw blades and percussive hammers. Workers are installing kitchen equipment right now, and the bar staff is still planning out the tap system. A few nitrogen driven taps will feed the bars European beer list. Dahlke says she might even offer Old Speckled Hen on tap, but she’s still working out the details.

The backyard is taking shape more quickly. Windows and a gate have been cut in the fence that encloses the space. Customers will be able to park out back and walk into the bar without walking around the block first. Updated seating should be cozy, and soon bands will set up and play.

If you’re familiar with the Amsterdam bar that previously inhabited the space, know that the two previous restrooms have been relocated further from the bar, which will now be flanked with a modest kitchen, where Eight Bells will take a massive departure from the elevated pub grub that marked its predecessor Ten Bells in Oak Cliff and every other bar menu around Dallas.

“Fish and chips is not happening,” said Dahlke, pointing out that the kitchen at Eight Bells won’t have a deep fryer. “We’ll have soups and stuff, when it’s not 105 degrees out,” she added, before describing a menu that focuses more on cold plates and appetizers. Picture an artichoke salad with olive oil and a lemon garlic dressing, and a plate of lightly pickled button mushrooms.

But the most interesting offering to come out of this kitchen requires no stove, or even refrigeration. Canned seafood is all the rage in London these days with at least one restaurant devoted to the art. Eight Bells won’t go as far as London’s Tincan, a restaurant devoted exclusively to canned fish, but the new pub will have a well-rounded offering. Scallops in paprika sauce, mussels in paprika sauce, mackerel in olive oil — if you thought canned fish was limited to tuna and sardines, you should be excited for this coming menu.


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