For more than 14 years, the drink alchemists of JC Bartending have handled drink-slinging duties for private events, using skills that they pass on to amateurs during the school's hands-on classes. With more than 100 certified professional mixologists on staff, no drink recipe is out of bounds as each glassful and dazzles students or sippers during bartending classes. Beneath rows of colorful bottles at a working bar, trainers splash together the basic staples of typical watering holes as well as more complex cocktails. The fully functional bar prepares students fully to prep drinks, wield a soda gun, and pick bubbles out of soda for finicky billionaires. To augment the educational services, the school also provides job-placement services, bartending phone apps, and information on certifications.
Behind the brownstone façade of Cheesecake Amor Cafe & Wine Bar—a cozy eatery reminiscent of a quaint café—owners Gayle and Jeff Haynes pair signature gourmet cheesecakes and fine wines with a full menu of elegant Italian-American dishes. The warm café invites diners to curl up on a leather couch beside a flickering fire or slide their knees under polished black tables garnished by a selection of fine cheeses, pizzas, and entrees coupled with suggestions from a list of more than 60 wines. Gayle pours her passion for baking into an assortment of housemade cheesecake slices in 30 flavors, from classic New York style to liqueur and candy flavors.
Served beside tiny pasta dumplings, the golden-fried Jäger Schnitzel looks even more massive than usual. Rumor has it that the mushroom-topped schnitzel is one of largest in Texas, so it should come as no surprise that it's the most popular dish at Bavarian Grill, an eatery that twice won GermanDeli.com’s designation as the Best German restaurant in America. Such recognition yields lofty expectations, which Bavarian Grill meets with ease thanks to multiple menus brimming with authentic south German cuisine. Guests will find the Jäger Schnitzel on the dinner menu, but 18 other types of schnitzels show up for Schnitzel Fest, a seasonal celebration held once each year. Oktoberfest, on the other hand, seems to be celebrated year round, fueled by a hefty list of German beers. Add in live accordion players and a plate of bratwurst-and-salmon-stuffed mushroom caps, and it’d be easy to imagine yourself transported to Germany, especially if your visit happens to coincide with National Wear Lederhosen Day.
Past flickering lanterns and an outdoor patio, heavy wooden rafters and a crackling fireplace give Churchill’s British Restaurant & Pub a downright Dickensian feel. From behind the wooden bar, bartenders sling an impressive collection of drinks, including 13 specialty cocktails, nine beers on tap, and 20 kinds of scotch. Complementing the suds and sips are classic British pub offerings such as bangers and mash and shepherd’s pie, alongside American eats, including meatloaf and chicken tenders that have declared their independence from the rest of the bird. Underneath hanging beer steins and a massive Union Jack, guests can lounge on leather sofas or pleasantly worn wooden chairs as soccer matches flicker on TV screens. When there’s not a match on, pub-goers can play darts or pool in the game room, listen to live rock and bagpipe music, or play trivia on Wednesday nights.
Twisted Pelican’s hearty American fare encourages families and friends to congregate around succulent burgers, sandwiches, and specialty entrees within a festive nosh haven peppered with flat-screen TVs. For game-day gatherings, the restaurant fuels fans with a pre-assembled spread, which kicks off with piquant scoops of salsa that adorn crunchy chips or double as body paint. Slices of cheese, hawaiian, or barbecue-chicken pizza transport fresh toppings to taste repositories, and a platter of 20 wings coats hands and lucky foam fingers in buffalo sauce, lemon pepper, or teriyaki glaze. Feasters who forego the game-day celebrations can graze Twisted Pelican’s diverse menu, where meaty platters such as filet mignon ($16.95) and chicken-fried steak ($10.95) wait to high-step across taste-bud goal lines.
The staff at The Dive Bar & Grill work hard to cultivate a versatile, laid-back atmosphere, accommodating large parties of revelers and small, relaxed groups of friends. With a friendly, unrushed attitude, servers present the eatery’s duo of flexible menus—one for the bar and another for the restaurant. At the bar, diners pair beer and wine with chorizo-seasoned potato croquettes, seafood-stuffed quesadillas, and strawberry-studded salads served in portions designed for sharing with friends and gregarious diners at the next table. Meanwhile, The Dive Bar & Grill’s restaurant menu plays to a variety of tastes with a crispy pan-fried beet slider, glazed and grilled cuts of mahi mahi, and seafood pasta perfumed with precious saffron.