Where to Drink Now
Cold temperatures call for hot cocktails, and these cool bars happily deliver piping cups of good cheer. From hot buttered rum and spiked hot cocoa to warm whiskey cider and Irish coffee, the steamy sippers are sure to provide comfort and joy this winter.
Coffee shop by day and cocktail bar by night, Ampersand combines the best of both beverages into one sleek space. Brand new on bustling Bledsoe Street amid other be-seen spots like Trophy Ranch, Coyote Ugly, The Local, and Landmark, the concept opens at 7 am for craft coffee drinks and serves libations after dark until 2 am. Hot concoctions include the cleverly named Hennything is Possible — marshmallow-topped hot chocolate spiked with Hennessy VS cognac and Godiva milk chocolate liqueur — and the Cup of the Irish, made with the bar’s own cold brew coffee, Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey, whipped cream, and sugar cubes. Don’t be alarmed by the quaint coffee house vibe upon arrival. Ampersand’s alter-ego hip bar is located behind what looks like wall in sneaky, speakeasy fashion.
With a bar that features floor-to-ceiling windows facing Sundance Square Plaza, Bird Café is a popular stop for cocktails before or after dinner. Year-round favorites from the “nectar for the birds” menu include the vodka Bird Mule made with ginger beer, served in a traditional copper cup, and the lavender gin Fitzgerald. But right now patrons can find warmth in the House Cider Rules, made with apple and spice-infused Jack Daniels rye whiskey and maple syrup. Sip it upstairs by the bar and restaurant’s outdoor, upper-level fire pit, which is surrounded by cushy seating for just a lucky few.
Spring-like weather in December be damned. America Gardens, located near West Seventh Street, is determined to put patrons in the holiday spirit with its outdoor winter wonderland of live oak trees wrapped with candy cane colored-lights, s’mores kits, cozy blankets, and more than 30 heaters and fire pits. Then there are the hot cocktails, which run the gamut from spiked hot chocolate and hot buttered rum to Irish coffee and a hot toddy made with herbal tea and lemon. There is plenty of room for snuggling on the 10,000-square-foot patio, or keep warm playing games like giant Jenga, cornhole, ping pong, and air hockey.
The Basement Lounge
Worth a drive down Camp Bowie Boulevard, The Basement Lounge is still somewhat of a secret. The underground bar is located behind Oscar’s Pub in The Village at Camp Bowie. The vibe is chic yet comfortable with a granite bar, modern décor, and lounge seating with cozy pillows. The cocktails are just a pretty as the atmosphere. Try the Hot & Bothered to warm up this winter. The steamy concoction is made of spiced rum, mulling spiced syrup, and a reduction of dark beer topped with house-made toffee whipped cream and fresh grated nutmeg. The not-too-sweet treat is perfect for sipping by the bar’s stone fireplace.
The Lazy Moose
With taxidermy-adorned walls, dark leather seating, acoustic music, and lodge-worthy fireplace, The Lazy Moose begs for sipping something warm. The West Magnolia Avenue bar is a collaboration between Lili’s Bistro owner Vance Martin and David Shaw of Shaw’s Patio Bar & Grill. Handcrafted libations include the maple bacon TX Whiskey cider and charred, pecan-infused “Moose Drool” old fashioned. But right now imbibers can enjoy a hot cinnamon apple cider, made with Crown Royal Apple and a splash of feisty Fireball cinnamon whiskey. The hot and spicy concoction will warm your senses inside and out.