Aspiring bartenders learn the ropes of mixing, stirring, and shaking under the tutelage of ABC’s experienced instructors. Thirty-two hours of comprehensive training schools bartenders-to-be with extensive instruction and hands-on practice in alcohol alchemy, teaching students to blend liquors and mixers into sippable sensations. Pupils step behind a professional-grade bar as adult beverage experts dole out advice on proper mixing techniques, basic recipes, and attracting generous tips with industrial magnets. The curriculum also covers business basics such as money handling, customer service, and job-interview techniques. Graduates enjoy a lifetime of free refresher courses, job-placement assistance, and access to a Cheers dimension that currently, due to spatial fluctuations, contains only Cliff Clavin.
Some people like a cold beer or a mixed drink with dinner, but the regulars at Rack Daddy's prefer their dinner with a side of smooth baize. They send pool balls careening across tables' upholstered surfaces, facing off in games of pool and billiards. Xena Pizza, located next door, supplies Seattle-style slices layered with toppings such as Canadian bacon and spicy Italian sausage. Patrons can stay until 2:00 a.m., at which time all of the cue balls turn into pumpkins.
Nestled among the wooden corrals and brick façades of the historic Fort Worth Stockyards district, Cowtown Winery pairs meats and cheeses with red, white, semisweet, and dessert wines handcrafted by an in-house vintner. Amid shelves stocked with emerald rows of bottles, the winery’s tasting bar hosts daily samplings of four premium wines such as the tart Silver Spur red and a pinot grigio with subtle aromas of apple, pear, and aged stetson hat. Handmade gifts crafted by Texan artists portray an array of southwestern motifs, and live acoustic music on the weekends helps to inspire first-time winemakers as they consult with vintners to design custom labels and concoct up to 29 bottles of their own signature wine.
The six-headed hydra of spontaneous comedy known as Four Day Weekend has been wreaking havoc on North Texas doldrums since 1997. Critically adored by the metroplex’s most prominent presses, the group squelches laughter droughts with their weekend bouts of unscripted hilarity. The professional troupe of cut-ups, many with film and Second City Conservatory of Chicago credentials, happily share the tricks of the trade in their four-level training center. Emphasizing “truth in comedy,” the curriculum covers fundamentals such as characterization and long-form improv, giving students the tools they need to extract their inner hilarity or survive an hour in a prop closet with Greg Proops.
More than 325 bottles of international wine fill Zambrano Wine Cellar’s shelves and its climate-controlled wine cellar, arranged by chef, wine enthusiast, and owner Cef Zambrano. When not hobnobbing with celebrities such as Harrison Ford, Nolan Ryan, and Katie Couric, Zambrano coordinates a menu of bistro fare to harmonize with his library of wine selections, which received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2009. Zambrano presents updated takes on Mediterranean favorites, crafting small plates of escargot broiled in garlic butter and shallots, as well as four types of bruschetta topped with tomato, chicken, duck, or fillet tips. Diners can dive into shared nibbles with custom plates of international meats and cheeses or pizzas topped margherita-style or with signature spanish ham.
Zambrano’s prized glass wine cellar sits behind a smooth stone bar, inlaid with variegated amethyst that glows as it catches the light better than an outfielder with a magnifying glass. While perched at its high-backed leather banquettes, diners can sip from the 50-plus list of wines by the glass while gazing at a flat-screen TV in the corner or admiring the custom art on the dining room’s exposed-brick walls. In the front of the dining room, gauzy orange curtains frame sheets of sunlight that illuminate simple wooden tables, each adorned with a single flower that provides color and an amuse-bouche for hungrier guests. A sidewalk patio offers al fresco dining and bustling sights of Sundance Square.