Bear Creek Spirits & Wine breathes life into stale shindigs with a bountiful selection of snacks, mixers, glassware, and celebratory cigars. Cocktails can be deliciously blended using muddlers, shakers, and strainers with nonalcoholic mixers by Mr & Mrs T, including the classic bloody-mary mix ($5.99 for 64 oz. bottle), the tangy margarita mix ($4.49 for 1 L.), and the thick accents of a white russian. Chips and snacks ($0.99+) savor the flavor of any party table and can also become a strategic moat when placed around a wall of coolers. Liquid takes a distinct shape when bordered by exotic glassware, including the stocky Lolita Birthday shot glass ($12), the full-bodied BFF wine glass ($25), and the top-heavy Beach Diva martini glass ($25). Care for your bottles with aerators and foil cutters, or use cork cages to keep your souvenir stoppers from flying away. Smugly infiltrating the store with sweet aromas, an army of cigars including Cohibo Toro ($16.99), Ashton Churchill ($10.99), and Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story ($7.99), file into the in-store humidor and brag about whose leaves are the most desired.
The chefs at La Buena Vida Vineyards orchestrate symphonies of cheeses, vegetables, and spreads to create four varieties of thematic appetizer boards. Munch on complimentary crackers and tuck grapes into cheeks before nibbling on the tuscan board's genoa salami, manchego cheese, and spinach-parmesan dip. Or, opt for the veggie board, which offers an edible constellation of grilled artichoke hearts, cheese-stuffed red peppers, and a mozzarella that has been marinated in a spice blend whose recipe is heavily guarded, much like the final resting place of George Washington's axe. The strong flavors of olives compliment the subtle flavors of the mediterranean board's all-natural hummus, which steadies palates in preparation for soft, creamy Boursin cheese.
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.
During A Piece of Work’s interactive classes, amateur artists receive the supplies they’ll need before relaxing at an easel with a bottle of wine. Background music fills the air and eclectic paintings splash color across the walls in the studio. A local artist demonstrates how to paint a copy of a masterpiece while the class of students follows along, unleashing their creativity and filling canvases with elegant reproductions of works such as impressionist paintings by Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh. Kids' camps introduce young artists to the famous works of their forebears and impart crucial techniques, while paint-your-pet nights help students re-identify with man’s best friend.
The culinary ideology behind MAX's Wine Dive lies in a simple slogan: "Why the hell not?" With the gourmand irreverence to unite fried chicken with champagne, chili dogs with an Australian shiraz, and grilled cheese with a French sauvignon blanc, Executive Chef Patrick Russell's menu of eclectic dishes has earned MAX's Dallas location several OpenTable Diner Choice awards, including Hot Spot and Notable Wine List.
Though the cuisine evokes the flavors of a rustic diner, the ingredients are all gourmet—chefs spangle dishes with fresh seasonal produce, piquant cheeses, and unique sauces such as chipotle aioli and housemade crème fraiche. Meanwhile, an extensive inventory of world wines pours regularly, sending selections to tables by the glass even when the menu lists a varietal as bottle-only, thanks to the restaurant's two-glass commitment policy. Friday through Sunday, brunch bravely blends chicken fried steak and waffles, and the signature MAX 'n cheese puts a twist on an original in a more critic-friendly manner than editing a high-speed chase into Casablanca. Housing a private event space, MAX's Wine Dive can accommodate large groups of nearly 60 people.
In Italy, l’aperitivo is time for socializing with friends over drinks and light snacks. Aperitivos Coffee & Wine Bar supplies this exact respite amid old-country surrounds of dark woods, brick, and stucco walls. Here, baristas add splashes of flavoring, such as sugar-free hazelnut, to Segafredo Coffee, or use it to craft caffeinated favorites like chai lattes. Bartenders, meanwhile, pour reds and white from an extensive list with selections that span everywhere from Argentina to Washington State.
All beverages complement upscale bistro fare, including six-ounce marinated steaks finished with blue cheese butter or flatbread pizzas topped with roasted chicken and a creamy garlic-and-onion sauce. On most weekends, feasts unfold as local musicians grace the Aperitivos stage with soothing tunes.