Let's just say it, since everyone seems to be on the same page, here: 2016 has been a bitch of a year. With too many celebrity deaths to count, an election that yielded more Facebook fights than an anti-vaxxer video, the premature closing of fantastic bars we already miss (RIP Vicini, On the Lamb and Knuckle Sandwich) and an 80-degree Christmas, who knows what the remaining days of this cursed year may bring? (And don't even get us started about 2016 taking Remedy away from us.) If, like us, you decide to drink your way into 2017, do it at one of the bars that we think made the biggest impact this year.
2803 Main St. (Deep Ellum)
Deep Ellum's newest restaurant and bar, Stirr, boasts both an impressive menu and group of bartenders at the stick. While the cocktail list offers haute options, the bartenders have a knowledge of the classics and the ability to execute them beautifully. While there are two bars separated by three flights of stairs, stick with the downstairs bar if you're looking for a more customized experience.
1878 Sylvan Ave., Suite E150 (Sylvan Thirty)
Jettison, the unassuming mezcal- and sherry-heavy bar in Sylvan Thirty, gives visitors the opportunity to try something new from their innovative menu that pairs unexpected bedfellows for some truly distinctive cocktails. Since the bar is an offshoot of Houndstooth Coffee, expect superb caffeinated offerings.
2101 Cedar Springs Road (Uptown)
Many have written off Tipsy Alchemist's drinks as pure theatrics, but what they're doing behind their bar truly is next level. Yes, the presentation is over-the-top thanks to their extensive use of dry ice, smoke and even pneumatic tubes, but the drinks themselves are well made with thoughtful ingredients — though, admittedly, the tricks make it one of the most Instagrammable spots in the city.
The Lounge Here
9028 Garland Road (Lakewood)
While this Little Forest Hills spot had a rocky start, it seems Here has gotten its feet under itself and is giving the Lakewood area a well deserved spot for a couple haute cocktails. Their offerings — in food, drink and vibe — were carefully curated.
Flora Street Cafe
2330 Flora St. (Arts District)
While the dishes sometimes leave a bit to be desired, the cocktail menu at Flora Street Cafe leaves us bewildered and enchanted — and then completely distracted by the flouncing jellyfish-like thing that pops out of the ceiling at odd intervals. The cocktails employ unexpected ingredients like smoked corn and marigold-infused Salers to create unique offerings like the elotes cocktail (tequila, smoked corn, charred poblanos and red fresnos with lemongrass-kaffir-cardamom syrup).
2721 Main St. (Deep Ellum)
Masquerading by day as a coffee shop, this Deep Ellum sleeper may not whip up cocktails as innovative as their neighbor, High & Tight, but they've created a space that welcomes the musically inclined with a cold old fashioned to sip while listening to live music.
1555 Elm St. (Downtown)
The bar at Grayson Social, downtown's recent addition offering Southern eats and "tall drinks," has given Dallas a new spot to seek out cocktails with decidedly peculiar elements. Employing ingredients like charcoal, jasmine flower water and myrrh, their cocktail list is sure to keep us guessing into the new year.
4123 Cedar Springs Road (Cedar Springs)
Transformed from a previous concept by the NL Group, the space, cuisine and the bar (thanks to bar director Trevor Landry) have a whole new vibe at Cedar Grove. The cocktail offerings, like the neighborhood, are playful and unique with options from shrubs to adult snow cones and large format punches, all made with a haute element here or there.