The word “swanky” hasn’t been in my vocabulary long, and since it has been, I haven’t used it often. But really, there’s no other word that comes to mind when looking at the experience at Smyth.
That’s not to say anything bad about this place that’s decked in wood paneling and has a small room devoted to shag carpeting for flooring.
While this is a place worth taking a date or group of friends for a Friday night, it’s not a place like the Old Monk, where you casually stop in for a drink after work. In fact, there’s not much that’s casual about Smyth.
First, we made a reservation – calling or visiting OpenTable: Dallas Restaurants is not a common move for us when going out for a couple of cocktails, but in a way, that just made it more special.
Once we parked somewhat close to Travis Street, we walked over to the dark doorway that had a small, white paper taped to the glass door: “Please buzz the call box,” was written in curly font next to three arrows pointing to a doorbell-like button.
All my husband said was, “Reservation for Danser,” and they let us in, telling us to go through the door – which led to more darkness through a hallway.
A savvy-looking man (admittedly, looking very trendy) guided us to our seats. We passed tables in the main room, which I can’t call a dining room because only beverages are served, and entered the smaller room. We lucked out with the space with the shag carpeting and comfortable chairs. What topped it off was a small, folded card on the miniature table between us that read, “Reserved, Michael Danser.”
Not soon after getting a couple of highball glasses of water, we were greeted by a man – who turned out to be one of the four or so bartenders – dressed in a rubber apron. He won’t offer a cocktail menu, but he’ll ask you one thing.
“What do you like?” he asked.
Don’t bother saying you’d like a Moscow mule; they want specifics. I said I loved ginger, basil and vodka. After plenty of time, our drinks came, and mine was a ginger, mint and gin concoction. Sure, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but it was close enough to please and off just enough to give me something different.
The second drink was sweeter with muddled fruit – a sweetness that I would have liked to have known about beforehand. The Old-Fashioned-like drink (with rye bourbon and Applejack) was a solid choice, too. It’s a safe bet that anything you sip from here is a well-crafted cocktail.
Smyth isn’t far off from Cedars Social, its sister establishment, in that regard. But this experience is over-the-top – in a good way, yes, but not in a way you would want every week (which you definitely would want at Cedars Social).
So, give it a shot. Just make sure to make a reservation and be prepared to pay a less-than-modest bill.