The craft cocktail scene isn’t limited to flashy, big-city destinations. Comfortable, upscale bars abound in the Lone Star State’s smaller towns, beckoning small groups with refined tastes for meet ups – not to mention planners interested in taking note of cocktail trends for future soirees. Here are a few notables around the state.
The Buffalo Nickel by Cibolo Creek, Midland
Cozy and well-appointed with a downtown location, the warmth of exposed brick is only boosted by top shelf booze and the fine smell of tobacco from the tavern’s humidor room. Bring the cigar aficionados (and the live music lovers on select nights – no cover unless posted) for a relaxing meet up over libations in this fine, woman-owned establishment (Texans themselves, these entrepreneurs left larger hometowns to bring the same level of sophistication to Midland and its surrounds).
The Cork & Pig, Odessa
Okay, it’s not precisely local or indie, but if you can’t make it over to Midland, this Odessa outpost is a solid choice for cocktails that also offers up American fare for mop up. What’s more – its expansive space could serve as a location for a larger soiree, if necessary.
Craft Cocktail Lounge, Amarillo
This one just opened its doors at the close of 2020, luring locals in with a chic look and a fun menu. Case in point: The Armadillo, featuring Hot Stoli vodka, lime juice, strawberry puree and agave nectar rimmed with sweet heat and a jalapeno garnish. Now, that’s Texas! Light bites available as well.
The Lantern Tavern, Lubbock
They’re keeping the light on for cocktails at this local favorite, which highlights an impressive array of craft offerings, from the classics (hello, Negroni!) to creative twists (the Oaxaca Old Fashioned employs mezcal in place of bourbon) to the cold-weather, sweet lover’s fantasy – the Downhill, a traditional whipped cream-topped cocoa infused with Génépy.
It’s been a year-plus of near lockdown and limited leg-stretching, and its likely that your membership is getting itchy – itchy for face-to-face networking, itchy for a change of scenery, itchy – if we’re honest – to see another degree of movement toward renewed normalcy. Ready to test the waters? Even with a small group? There are deals to be had and exciting new places to visit without straying too far from the Lone Star State.
Get Out of State
The gorgeous Hotel Adeline in Scottsdale (golf outing, anyone?) is flying a new flag. Now a member of Marriott’s Tribute Portfolio, the hotel – which enjoyed a massive $12 million overhaul in 2018 – has myriad indoor/outdoor spaces for meetings and offers exclusive rates for small-scale parties and corporate gatherings. A post-pandemic party ‘round the fire pits sounds like something you might want to look into.
Phoenix rises higher with the opening of the new AC Hotel Phoenix Downtown in February with a posh location overlooking Arizona Center (itself newly made over to the tune of $25 million in 2019). It is an artful property, which takes advantage of the clime with an indoor-outdoor lobby lounge and bar. Towering at 13 stories and with 199 rooms, the AC has 5,000 square feet of meeting space plus two media salons and a board room (also indoor-outdoor).
Take a gamble on a ramble at the Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel, which at press time was gearing up for an April 1 reopening. Executives touted an almost entirely vaccinated staff as a new perk, proclaiming its smoke-free property “… a safe business environment.” Of course, you’ll want to have a little pleasure to go along with that, but there’s still more than 12,000 square feet of flexible meeting space clear of the casino floor.
Omni Hotels & Resorts has opened the Omni Oklahoma City Hotel, a 17-story, 605-guestroom convention center hotel with a central location in Oklahoma City. What’s in store for Texans looking to roam? How about 76,000 square feet of flexible meeting, event and pre-function space – not to mention a Mokara Spa (post-pandemic pampering!) and a rooftop pool along with seven food and beverage venues.
Photo Credit: iStock.com/KatieSik