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A plate of ribs next to a neat pour and bottle of Highland Park whisky. Highland Park

Where to Find Unexpected Flavors in Dallas-Fort Worth

16 bars and restaurants serving up adventurous dishes and creative cocktails.

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Texans have never been afraid of bold flavors, and lately, the Dallas-Fort Worth bar and restaurant scene has been a hot spot for new and creative pairings.

Yes, steak is usually a great match for, well, most spirits, but explore beyond the beaten path, and you’ll find more unexpected ways to enjoy your favorite beverage. Take Highland Park whisky: the medium-bodied Scotch whisky lends itself beautifully to food pairings, from aromatic curries and wasabi-spiked sushi to smoked meats and fried chicken. With complex yet wildly harmonious notes of dried fruits, honey, oranges, and a hint of smokiness, it’s as versatile at the dinner table as on a bar stool.

So move over, meat and potatoes — we’re here for more offbeat pairings. (We’ll still go for the steaks, though. We are Texans, after all.)

Read on to discover 16 DFW destinations for innovative flavors.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here and the state’s progress on combating COVID-19 is here. Dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers, please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Yardbird Table & Bar

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Yardbird may be a Miami transplant, but it’s already on its way to becoming a Dallas institution. The lively atmosphere and exceptional Southern flavors draw crowds at lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. You can’t go wrong with the multi-tiered charcuterie board — piled high with Texas wagyu jalapeño cheddar sausage and pimento cheese — or the St. Louis ribs with hickory-smoked barbecue sauce. Complement the bold flavors with a complex Scotch like Highland Park 12 Year Old. 

A table with a charcuterie tower and a bottle of Highland Park whisky. Highland Park

Parliament

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This moody cocktail hangout is known for its inventive mixology, and its new menu boasts a staggering array of options. Start with the Sensible Heart, featuring Highland Park 12, lapsang souchong (a smoky Chinese black tea), lemon, cinnamon, and plum jam, then ask for a menu to order from a neighboring restaurant delivered directly to your barstool.

A glass of Highland Park whisky neat next to a cocktail garnished with a rosemary spring. Highland Park

Fearing's Restaurant

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This Dallas culinary establishment is known for bold flavors from an equally bold chef — and while it does many (many) things right, you don’t even have to get past the bread basket to find something exceptional. The smoked butter is a revelation, and we promise it’s only made better with a taste of a bold whisky. If you really must order more (which we fully support), go for the barbeque Gulf oysters “Rockefearing” with applewood-smoked bacon and jumbo lump crab followed by the wagyu tenderloin.

Boulevardier

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Tucked in a cute corner of the Bishop Arts District, this French bistro cooks up some of our favorite dishes in Dallas, like grilled baby octopus with Spanish chorizo and black truffle-mushroom risotto. But don’t forget the dishes that aren’t cooked, either: The raw oyster bar is gorgeously displayed; order up a dozen or so and cut the salinity with a dram of Scotch.

A plate of bone marrow and french fries next to a glass of Highland Park whisky. Highland Park

Jettison

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This dark and intimate bar’s cocktails are as unexpected as the space itself. Attached to Houndstooth Coffee, Jettison serves up “Japan meets Texas” cocktails that surprise and delight. See what they can do with your favorite spirit or order from the always intriguing menu, which makes impressive use of ingredients like habanero shrub, black sesame paste, and Earl Grey Tea-smoked maple syrup.

A glass of Highland Park whisky and a cocktail in a coupe glass. Highland Park

Holy Grail Pub

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Beer might be most people’s first choice at a pub, but for those who prefer whisky, know that Scotch just hits different at Holy Grail. A meal is inevitable while bellying up to Plano’s pubbiest pub, thanks to the award-winning menu. The meatloaf here is a classic, featuring smoky ketchup and gravy, and goes nicely with a spot of Highland Park 12 Year Old.

A plate of meatloaf with ketchup, fried onions, and green vegetables. Holy Grail Pub

Rare Books Bar

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Bibliophiles and whisky connoisseurs will be hard-pressed to find a better destination for a night out than Rare Books Bar. The Frisco speakeasy carries a head-spinning array of rare whiskies from around the world — including Highland Park 17 Year Ice Edition, which offers notes of fresh pineapple, ripe mango, and ginger root along with the familiar warmth of peat smoke — for patrons to savor neat or in an Old Fashioned (rightly the bar’s specialty). Come for dinner and enjoy your drinks alongside an order of seared salmon with asparagus risotto or braised short rib gnocchi, and let the live jazz set the mood for the evening. First, though, you’ll have to get in: Step into the phone booth located at the entrance and dial up the librarian — the passcode is always a classic literary title, so brush up on your Austen and Dickens.

A cocktail and a plate of salmon on a table. Highland Park

Haywire - Plano

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This Plano establishment is all Texas. The servers wear cowboy boots, there are longhorns on the wall, and the Texas meat and cheese board comes piled with wild game sausages, smoked meats, local cheeses, and honey. Enjoy the veritable smorgasbord with the equally smoky-sweet Highland Park 12 Year Old.

Cigars International Superstore

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Don’t let the name fool you: this cigar shop boasts a full-service bar, outdoor seating (complete with fire pits), and plenty of television screens to watch the game. In fact, even calling this Grandscape destination a “shop” may be underselling the experience — after all, it spans more than 6,000 square feet and offers more than 1,200 cigar options.

Winewood Grill

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While known for its wine, Winewood knows how to work with other potent pours. If the decadent smoked-gouda mac n’ cheese and barbecue pork ribs don’t stop you before dessert, order a second dram of Highland Park and a slice of the Three Layer Chocolate Cake. The rich chocolate is an ideal accompaniment to Scotch’s sweet heather-honey and aromatic peat smoke notes.

Calabrese Southlake

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Is there an acceptable way to pair Italian food with Scotch? Certo! Olives are a surprisingly terrific complement. The salinity of the olives cuts the depth of the Scotch, making each bite and sip a new adventure. Order Calabrese’s tentazione dell’osteria for a rich spread of aged cheeses, Italian salumi, olive tapenade, and walnut crostini.

Bob's Steak & Chop House

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Bob’s has always made a beautiful steak, but don’t let the classic keep you from exploring the rest of the menu. Bring a group and sample an array of appetizers: bacon-wrapped shrimp stuffed with mozzarella and jalepeño peppers, lamb chops with frizzled onions, and a wedge salad with bleu cheese dressing. Then, when your prime filet mignon arrives, enjoy it with a side of grilled shrimp and a glass of Scotch.

Nickel City

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We have three words for you: fried cheese curds. These deep-fried pockets of heaven were made for pairing (and sharing), and a sip of single malt Scotch cuts the heaviness of the fried cheese beautifully. Come during the holidays for the Sippin’ Santa pop-up and order a festive cocktail featuring Highland Park 12 Year Old, or stop by the bar on Whisky Wednesdays for one-off mixed drinks.

Thompson’s Bookstore

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We’re big fans of speakeasies, and Thompson’s, a Fort Worth bar on the ground floor of a historic building, has the ultimate Prohibition-style entryway — through a bookshelf. Thompson’s prides itself on literary-inspired cocktails, so stop in for What Drams May Come, an autumnal mix​​ of Highland Park 12 Year Old Whisky, dry sherry, allspice dram liqueur, and Drambuie garnished with a star anise pod. Plus, come Wednesdays for specials highlighting the bar’s selection of whiskies.

If dancing, pizza, and craft cocktails sounds like your ideal kind of night, follow the neon lights down to this Fort Worth spot. Ask the bartender for a High Fiver — a house creation featuring Highland Park 12 Year Old and aromatic, autumnal flavors like baking spices and chestnuts — and a Saucey Lines pizza with chipotle ancho sauce and balsamic glaze.

Patrons order drinks at a bar under strobe lights. Curfew

B&B Butchers & Restaurant - Fort Worth

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Like any butcher shop, it’s best to ask what’s best that day. B&B offers limited-availability cellar cuts from American 55-day dry-aged prime cuts to Kobe beef and A5 Japanese wagyu rib-eyes. For dessert, as simple as it might sound, order the mixed berries with crème anglaise. You’ll need something lighter after a huge piece of beef, and rich, tart berries do wonders.

©2021 Highland Distillers Limited. Highland Park Scotch Whisky. Imported by Edrington Americas, New York, NY. “H” Device ® 

A glass of Highland Park whisky on a table next to a plate of cheese toasts. Highland Park
This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

Yardbird Table & Bar

A table with a charcuterie tower and a bottle of Highland Park whisky. Highland Park

Yardbird may be a Miami transplant, but it’s already on its way to becoming a Dallas institution. The lively atmosphere and exceptional Southern flavors draw crowds at lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. You can’t go wrong with the multi-tiered charcuterie board — piled high with Texas wagyu jalapeño cheddar sausage and pimento cheese — or the St. Louis ribs with hickory-smoked barbecue sauce. Complement the bold flavors with a complex Scotch like Highland Park 12 Year Old. 

A table with a charcuterie tower and a bottle of Highland Park whisky. Highland Park

Parliament

A glass of Highland Park whisky neat next to a cocktail garnished with a rosemary spring. Highland Park

This moody cocktail hangout is known for its inventive mixology, and its new menu boasts a staggering array of options. Start with the Sensible Heart, featuring Highland Park 12, lapsang souchong (a smoky Chinese black tea), lemon, cinnamon, and plum jam, then ask for a menu to order from a neighboring restaurant delivered directly to your barstool.

A glass of Highland Park whisky neat next to a cocktail garnished with a rosemary spring. Highland Park

Fearing's Restaurant

This Dallas culinary establishment is known for bold flavors from an equally bold chef — and while it does many (many) things right, you don’t even have to get past the bread basket to find something exceptional. The smoked butter is a revelation, and we promise it’s only made better with a taste of a bold whisky. If you really must order more (which we fully support), go for the barbeque Gulf oysters “Rockefearing” with applewood-smoked bacon and jumbo lump crab followed by the wagyu tenderloin.

Boulevardier

A plate of bone marrow and french fries next to a glass of Highland Park whisky. Highland Park

Tucked in a cute corner of the Bishop Arts District, this French bistro cooks up some of our favorite dishes in Dallas, like grilled baby octopus with Spanish chorizo and black truffle-mushroom risotto. But don’t forget the dishes that aren’t cooked, either: The raw oyster bar is gorgeously displayed; order up a dozen or so and cut the salinity with a dram of Scotch.

A plate of bone marrow and french fries next to a glass of Highland Park whisky. Highland Park

Jettison

A glass of Highland Park whisky and a cocktail in a coupe glass. Highland Park

This dark and intimate bar’s cocktails are as unexpected as the space itself. Attached to Houndstooth Coffee, Jettison serves up “Japan meets Texas” cocktails that surprise and delight. See what they can do with your favorite spirit or order from the always intriguing menu, which makes impressive use of ingredients like habanero shrub, black sesame paste, and Earl Grey Tea-smoked maple syrup.

A glass of Highland Park whisky and a cocktail in a coupe glass. Highland Park

Holy Grail Pub

A plate of meatloaf with ketchup, fried onions, and green vegetables. Holy Grail Pub

Beer might be most people’s first choice at a pub, but for those who prefer whisky, know that Scotch just hits different at Holy Grail. A meal is inevitable while bellying up to Plano’s pubbiest pub, thanks to the award-winning menu. The meatloaf here is a classic, featuring smoky ketchup and gravy, and goes nicely with a spot of Highland Park 12 Year Old.

A plate of meatloaf with ketchup, fried onions, and green vegetables. Holy Grail Pub

Rare Books Bar

A cocktail and a plate of salmon on a table. Highland Park

Bibliophiles and whisky connoisseurs will be hard-pressed to find a better destination for a night out than Rare Books Bar. The Frisco speakeasy carries a head-spinning array of rare whiskies from around the world — including Highland Park 17 Year Ice Edition, which offers notes of fresh pineapple, ripe mango, and ginger root along with the familiar warmth of peat smoke — for patrons to savor neat or in an Old Fashioned (rightly the bar’s specialty). Come for dinner and enjoy your drinks alongside an order of seared salmon with asparagus risotto or braised short rib gnocchi, and let the live jazz set the mood for the evening. First, though, you’ll have to get in: Step into the phone booth located at the entrance and dial up the librarian — the passcode is always a classic literary title, so brush up on your Austen and Dickens.

A cocktail and a plate of salmon on a table. Highland Park

Haywire - Plano

This Plano establishment is all Texas. The servers wear cowboy boots, there are longhorns on the wall, and the Texas meat and cheese board comes piled with wild game sausages, smoked meats, local cheeses, and honey. Enjoy the veritable smorgasbord with the equally smoky-sweet Highland Park 12 Year Old.

Cigars International Superstore

Don’t let the name fool you: this cigar shop boasts a full-service bar, outdoor seating (complete with fire pits), and plenty of television screens to watch the game. In fact, even calling this Grandscape destination a “shop” may be underselling the experience — after all, it spans more than 6,000 square feet and offers more than 1,200 cigar options.

Winewood Grill

While known for its wine, Winewood knows how to work with other potent pours. If the decadent smoked-gouda mac n’ cheese and barbecue pork ribs don’t stop you before dessert, order a second dram of Highland Park and a slice of the Three Layer Chocolate Cake. The rich chocolate is an ideal accompaniment to Scotch’s sweet heather-honey and aromatic peat smoke notes.

Calabrese Southlake

Is there an acceptable way to pair Italian food with Scotch? Certo! Olives are a surprisingly terrific complement. The salinity of the olives cuts the depth of the Scotch, making each bite and sip a new adventure. Order Calabrese’s tentazione dell’osteria for a rich spread of aged cheeses, Italian salumi, olive tapenade, and walnut crostini.

Bob's Steak & Chop House

Bob’s has always made a beautiful steak, but don’t let the classic keep you from exploring the rest of the menu. Bring a group and sample an array of appetizers: bacon-wrapped shrimp stuffed with mozzarella and jalepeño peppers, lamb chops with frizzled onions, and a wedge salad with bleu cheese dressing. Then, when your prime filet mignon arrives, enjoy it with a side of grilled shrimp and a glass of Scotch.

Nickel City

We have three words for you: fried cheese curds. These deep-fried pockets of heaven were made for pairing (and sharing), and a sip of single malt Scotch cuts the heaviness of the fried cheese beautifully. Come during the holidays for the Sippin’ Santa pop-up and order a festive cocktail featuring Highland Park 12 Year Old, or stop by the bar on Whisky Wednesdays for one-off mixed drinks.

Thompson’s Bookstore

We’re big fans of speakeasies, and Thompson’s, a Fort Worth bar on the ground floor of a historic building, has the ultimate Prohibition-style entryway — through a bookshelf. Thompson’s prides itself on literary-inspired cocktails, so stop in for What Drams May Come, an autumnal mix​​ of Highland Park 12 Year Old Whisky, dry sherry, allspice dram liqueur, and Drambuie garnished with a star anise pod. Plus, come Wednesdays for specials highlighting the bar’s selection of whiskies.

Curfew

Patrons order drinks at a bar under strobe lights. Curfew

If dancing, pizza, and craft cocktails sounds like your ideal kind of night, follow the neon lights down to this Fort Worth spot. Ask the bartender for a High Fiver — a house creation featuring Highland Park 12 Year Old and aromatic, autumnal flavors like baking spices and chestnuts — and a Saucey Lines pizza with chipotle ancho sauce and balsamic glaze.

Patrons order drinks at a bar under strobe lights. Curfew

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B&B Butchers & Restaurant - Fort Worth

A glass of Highland Park whisky on a table next to a plate of cheese toasts. Highland Park

Like any butcher shop, it’s best to ask what’s best that day. B&B offers limited-availability cellar cuts from American 55-day dry-aged prime cuts to Kobe beef and A5 Japanese wagyu rib-eyes. For dessert, as simple as it might sound, order the mixed berries with crème anglaise. You’ll need something lighter after a huge piece of beef, and rich, tart berries do wonders.

©2021 Highland Distillers Limited. Highland Park Scotch Whisky. Imported by Edrington Americas, New York, NY. “H” Device ® 

A glass of Highland Park whisky on a table next to a plate of cheese toasts. Highland Park