The first thing I noticed about Soda Bar, the lounge on the roof of NYLO Dallas South Side hotel, was the incredible southern view of the Dallas skyline. The second thing I noticed was that I couldn’t take five steps without stumbling into the snap of someone’s iPhone camera.
My companions and I had just darted from the elevators when we spotted a recently abandoned table near the rooftop railing. Before we even ordered drinks, we spotted something else: an endless parade of diverse partygoers, all seeking to immortalize their night at SODA via camera phone. One after another, ladies in their sharpest clubbing attire, nervous couples on first dates, tourists in sandals, downtown business types—all of them taking turns to pose for photos with the glowing cityscape behind them. We couldn’t—click—get through a sentence—click—without being distracted—click—by their flashing cameras—click. It seemed that the only people not taking photos were the two standing directly beside our table. Their sleepy, inebriated conversation soon led to an awkward make-out session that abruptly ended when he made an unwanted grab for her chest. Two tables down, a mid-30s man in linen pants smoked a cigar. To my left, a gorgeous woman in mile-high heels sat alone, sipping a yellow cocktail from an elegant fluted glass.
Intrigued by her pretty drink, I decided to check out the cocktail selection. I walked over and leaned on the glowing neon-blue bar top. Here, I met Robert, an exceedingly polite bartender with long, black hair.
“Make me the best cocktail you’ve got,” I told him. He went to work on what he called a “special” Ransom Mule.
“It’s made with Ransom gin, which is aged, just like tequila,” Robert explained as he spun bottles and swished mixtures with dramatic flair. “Basically, it’s a Moscow mule with a twist—and I’ll even add a few extra things to spice it up.”
Other specialty cocktails included drinks with names like Razz Bubble and Salty Kiss. My bearded friend ordered bourbon; my blond friend ordered a Hendrick’s martini but grumbled that it was “too olivey.” Thanks to Robert, I had no complaints. My Ransom Mule put me in such good spirits that I took a walk past the—click—camera flashes—click—to visit the pool area.
If you follow the glow of the neon bar, you’ll walk through a modest dance floor (complete with a DJ spinning in the corner) and outside to a sparkling infinity pool. On the deck, there’s a fire pit and covered cabana full of plush seating. On that night, it was occupied by party girls whispering secrets over their third and fourth cocktails. A heavyset man with long, gray hair reclined in a nearby lounge chair.
I saw an attractive couple leaning back as the guy attempted to snap a photo of the two together—click. Since “selfie”-style shots are often horrible, I stepped in and offered to retake it.
“No need,” the brunette said, showing me the picture. “He nailed it.”
She was right. Perfect lighting, perfect framing. Plus, pretty people make pretty pictures, no matter the angle. (The beautiful cityscape backdrop certainly didn’t hurt either.) I asked their opinion of the bar.
“It’s a great view and a great mix of people,” she said. “The kind of place that could be in San Francisco.” Also, the DJ was a friend of theirs, so I breezed across the dance floor and told him that I appreciated his recently played remix of Madonna’s “Holiday.” Then, still feeling the happy buzz of my drink, I headed back out to my friends.
It was time to go, but there was one last thing to do. My bearded friend adjusted his fedora and extracted his iPhone from a pocket. Then he put his arm around me—and I found myself posing with the dazzling skyline. Maybe it was a combination of the drinks and the clear night and all the smiling faces. But it felt like a moment worth documenting: click.
For more information about SODA Bar, visit our online bar guide.