Perched atop Leela’s Raw Bar, ABV is almost the yin to the wine bar's yang. On the street, you're faced with the option to walk straight into a bright and beautiful space with marble tables and white subway-tiled walls with decor "inspired by Napa Valley," or a black, signless door to its right. You feel a little like Alice deciding between returning to the party or following the White Rabbit down the dark hole.
Once you choose your path to the second floor, you're greeted with a very different scene. A bar stretches across most of the wall opposite the entrance with plush seating on the left and bar stools behind you. Everything (we repeat: everything) is black with brass accents. There's bizarre art on every wall and a somewhat grand chandelier upping the space's haute factor.
"I want this place to be a cool, friendly cocktail spot for everyone — from regulars we see every day to service industry and even Dallas visitors," manager Christian Carrizales says.
ABV will soon welcome a DJ on weekends but wants to remain a lounge free of bottle service — and thank God for that. Since it hopes to be open until midnight during the week and 2 a.m. on weekends, we appreciate that it's attempting to keep Lowest Greenville a bottle-free zone.
The cocktail menu offers 10 signature cocktails named with rap references, straightforward descriptions or even an employee's girlfriend. We're looking forward to a full rollout of the bar menu and hope to see a more extensive back bar (we visited during the soft opening), but we can't say we hated the small picture of Biggy Smalls at the bottom of the menu requesting that we "please drink responsibly." You've got it, Biggy.
Expect inventive, Prohibition-style cocktail options and slightly unique takes on classics — think a strawberry negroni or a banana fizz — executed well and ranging from $12-$16. If you're looking for wine, you're out of luck, but there is a bevy of beer options, from a salty plum gose (sour beer) to a red rice ale.
The concept is brought to us by Sameer Patel and Patrick Bruce, the same minds that gave us the whiskey heaven across the street, Feed Company, and Leela's downstairs. You may have heard that the duo offered perks for funding via NextSeed, and we'd like to meet one of the investors who gave them $5,000 in exchange for free wine for life.
The team at ABV Establishment is planning its official opening for the middle of this month, and it can't come soon enough. We're encouraged by the opening of Gung Ho and the resurgence of other LG watering holes — such as team favorite Blind Butcher — and eateries, but without more options, the area won't see the success it deserves.
ABV Establishment, 1914 Greenville Ave. (Lowest Greenville)