Barnski here with your second edition of Watering Hole Wednesday! Yes, I realize its Friday, and sorry to leave you hanging with bated breath since my last update. In addition to be extremely busy in our professional lives, Danielle and I also had the pleasure of hosting my Mom and cousin for a recent visit to Dallas. I think I sold my cousin on the merits of the Nodding Donkey in my last write-up, since we made a bee line to the Donks for several drinks this past Saturday when he was in town. After numerous draft beers and Donkey Punches (the name of the house drink in case you missed my last post) we engaged in an epic battle of giant Jenga. The stakes were high as the loser had to address the entire bar at the top of their lungs and profess their love for Jenga…fortunately I won, sparing myself of the embarrassment. As you can see from the picture below, we had a pretty impressive stack going. We even garnered a small crowd that gave me the nickname “soft hands” due to my surgeon like block placing skills. I won on a potentially controversial block placement that was okayed by the impartial judge of the bouncer, but my cousin gave me a very good run for the money and could have easily prevailed.
While hosting my Mom and my cousin, we elected to take them to a staple of the Dallas skyline for a drink – Reunion Tower. For those of you who are watching the remake of Dallas on TNT right now (JR is such a Gentleman with a capital G btw), you are likely familiar with Reunion Tower as it is heavily featured in the iconic opening sequence of the show.
First a little history courtesy of Wikipedia. Reunion Tower was completed in 1978 as part of an urban redevelopment project that also renovated the historic Union Station. When it first opened, the tower included radio station KOAX-FM, now KRLD-FM 105.3 FM, once owned by Westinghouse Broadcasting (“Live twenty-four hours a day from five-hundred feet above the city.”). The tower closed for major renovations in 2007 and now plays host to a great restaurant and bar called Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck.
On to the review. We went to Reunion tower on Saturday afternoon hoping to enjoy an early beverage and take in some of the panoramic sites of the skyline and surrounding areas from the bar/restaurant at the top. Unfortunately we arrived too early as the bar/restaurant at the top doesn’t open until 5:30. No problem, we hung out at the bar in the Hyatt hotel (which is attached) until it opened. 5:30 rolls around and we bound up to the gate of the tower only to be told that we couldn’t get in because my cousin and I were wearing shorts (it was a blazing 100 degrees after all), which apparently doesn’t comply with the bar/restaurant’s business casual dress code. After some finagling that included informing the host of my definition of business casual, letting him know that he was shooting down an active duty serviceman in the U.S Army (my cousin), and a small bribe, I was able to get us all in.
I promised structure around these reviews, so let my dive into my categories from here.
- Location: Just outside of the more vibrant parts of downtown, Reunion Town is a destination that takes an effort to get to. As I mentioned it is attached to the Hyatt, but parking is somewhat inconvenient with the choice of expensive valet or a pay parking lot that isn’t really that close. Once you’re up there though, the views are astonishing. Danielle and I definitely plan to make this a go-to spot to bring our out of town guests. As you can tell from the picture I snapped on my phone, the sweeping views of the skyline are quite impressive. I’m sure they are event better at night, but unfortunately we couldn’t stay to witness sunset.
- General Vibe: As you can probably from my anecdote about the dress code limitation, the bar/restaurant at the top strives to achieve a classier vibe. Generally, I’d say they hit the mark, but err on the side of perhaps trying a little too hard. Once again, I can easily forgive that given that the views easily compensate for that shortcoming.
- Differentiators: Did I mention the views? In case that’s not enough, oh yeah, the whole restaurant rotates, so we were able to get a panoramic tour of Dallas without leaving our seat. It is impressive to see how flat and green certain parts of Dallas are once you rotate away from the venerable skyscrapers that consume downtown.
- Beer Selection Depth: Pretty shallow here, but then again this is more a restaurant first and bar second. Of course Shiner is on the menu.
- The Signature Drink of the House: There really isn’t one per se, however Danielle ordered a Pear martini, which I stole a sip of. She raved about it, and I was certainly a fan as well.
- Price Point: This place is definitely on the pricier side. If memory serves, I think cocktails were around $12 to $15 each, and beers ranged from around $7 to $10.
- Overall Rating on a Scale of One to Ten: I’m going with an 8 here given the cool factor of the views and overall structure, but am docking points for price, a snooty dress code policy, and lack of beer depth.
Until next time, cheers! Barnski