It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when frantic last-minute shopping and the onslaught of holiday gatherings can combine for a bit of chaos. Find respite from it all by bellying up to the bar at these establishments well-suited for daytime imbibing. Bonus: they’re all located in high-profile shopping destinations — convenient for some "me time" while knocking out final purchases for everyone else. Have a few days off over the next two weeks? Consider these places for long, leisurely lunches, too.
Blue Goose Cantina
The longtime Dallas-based Tex-Mex concept (which originated on Lower Greenville Avenue in 1984) just opened in the former Breadwinners space in University Park Village. Surrounded by stores popular for last-minute gifting like Anthropologie and Bath & Body Works, the casual cantina offers a refreshing hiatus in the form of several margaritas. Belly-up to the blue-lit bar and choose from more than dozen selections, like the frozen Diablo swirled with red sangria (there’s a limit of two per person — so be careful), or the Aye Papi Mango garnished with a spicy candy straw. Open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, the Blue Goose boasts dirt cheap drink specials daily that wallets are sure to welcome.
The WestBend anchor for feel-good food and drink provides for picturesque views of the Trinity River thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows providing lots of natural light. The locale is also just a few quick steps from several high-end shops and gifting go-to’s, like Tyler’s and Woodhouse Day Spa. It’s easy to sit and stay a while when drinks are well-made with healthy ingredients like kombucha and beets. Try the HG Moscow mule made with ginger kombucha, the Double Under with beet-infused tequila, and Strawberry Smash spiked with pink peppercorn-tinged gin.
Sundance Square is glittering with holiday cheer from all angles, and this margarita mainstay sits in the middle of it all. Relax in a cushioned booth or cozy chair with Mi Cocina’s signature Mambo Taxi — that’s the potent frozen margarita with sangria swirl. For imbibers needing a bigger breather from the holiday mayhem, go for the Dilemma, which combines layers of Mambo Taxi with mango and strawberry frozen margaritas. Note that dinnertime crowds are huge right now thanks to Santa’s presence in the Sundance Square Plaza. But day drinking is easy to do during leisurely lunch hours, which start daily at 10:30 am. The Chapel Hill, Alliance, and Southlake locations open at 11 am daily.
TruFire Kitchen & Bar
If you're venturing to Southlake Town Square to check off final Christmas list wishes, plan to visit this globally inspired restaurant and bar that combines Italian and Mediterranean dishes with a lively atmosphere. Shareable dishes like flatbreads and cheeseboards pair well with the lengthy cocktail menu. Drinks with Texas flair include the ginger and TX Whiskey-spiked Texas Pear, and the Cilantro Lime Drop with cucumber vodka. Sip on lavender lemonade made with organic vodka, or the Tru-75 made with gin muddled with blueberries and lemon, then topped with sparkling wine. TruFire opens daily at 11 am and Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 am.
Twigs American Kitchen
A brand refresh last month included a name change (formerly Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar) and an updated menu featuring more local ingredients. Situated in the heart of the tony Shops at Clearfork, the sleek space provides the perfect pit stop during that last-minute marathon shopping during lunch, dinner, or weekend brunch. Grab a comfy booth or a bar stool and sip on the seasonal Santa Claus-Mopolitan — made with fresh-muddled limes and cranberry juice, shaken with Tito’s vodka, and garnished with a “snowy” shaved coconut rim. Happy hour is daily from 3 to 6 pm and late-night starting at 9 pm, when shoppers can find relief in cocktail specials and small plates, like grilled prawn street tacos and the signature fries with gorgonzola fondue.