No doubt no one’s happier that Parliament is finally ready to launch than Eddie “Lucky” Campbell, the man who’s spent a good portion of his life dreaming about opening his own bar. Now, with the help of business partner Andrew Brimecome, the Man With The Fedora has finally achieved that goal in Four Lounge’s former space in Uptown’s State and Allen neighborhood.
Here’s eight things you should know about the place, which officially opens tonight.
1. The menu is gorgeous. In fact, it may be the most beautiful – if crazy ambitious – drink menu I’ve ever held in my cocktail-craving little hands. Within its heavy-duty exterior rest more than 100 libations separated into a dozen or so categories, each colorfully illustrated, pleasantly organized and sprinkled with historical tidbits. “London Roads” is where you’ll find the gin, for example; in “Forbidden,” the absinthe. And somewhere toward the back is a page dedicated to pie-in-the-sky libations (with prices to match); one even comes with a gift certificate for a hat.
2. The menu won’t go live until next week. Until then, Parliament will be featuring its happy-hour menu — including one of Campbell’s favorites, the Ramos Gin Fizz.
3. The bar is a bit of a looker too. You wouldn’t be crazy if you felt somehow reminded of another place in Campbell’s past: From its chandeliered elegance to its wallpaper to its dark woody interior, it boldly recalls the Chesterfield, the cocktail haven that shone all too briefly in downtown Dallas, then fizzled when Campbell and then-partner Ed Bailey parted ways in late 2012. But it’s the half-decagon of a bar that’s the star here, a luxurious theater in the (half)-round that puts the drink makers on display.
4. There’s no kitchen, but you can order food. And then, like magic, or at least like your Uncle Morrie pulling a quarter from behind your ear, it comes from State & Allen Kitchen + Bar just down the street.
5. Those doorknobs are swans. And they come with a backstory. Seems Campbell and Brimecome were out shopping for door handles for their venture-in-progress, and Campbell came across the fowl knobs. There then followed some back-and-forth involving The Queen of England and potential bird consumption, and – well, suffice it to say it’s worth having Campbell himself spin the tale.
6. The wallpaper is another story. A tale of coincidence and fate. Might want to ask about that one too.
7. The barstools tell their own story. Nestled around the comfortable half-circle bar that dominates the room, each bears a titular nameplate dedicated to Dallas cocktail-scene luminaries and others who have found their way into Campbell’s good graces, including Jason Kosmas (“The Pioneer”) and Michael Martensen (“The Professor”). I am humbled to be among them.
8. The bar is strong enough to stand on. But don’t, unless you’re Campbell himself. The gravelly-voiced bar veteran is a natural entertainer, and every now and then he likes to climb on stuff to deliver his pronouncements from on high. At Monday’s soft opening for industry friends that preceded this week’s official launch, he did just that, thanking almost everyone who helped breathe life into his dream, including the man with whom he’s shared a friendly rivalry for five years. “Nobody has taught me more about this cocktail game than Michael Martensen,” he said.
And with Martensen’s Proof + Pantry also officially opening tonight, Dallas’ craft cocktail scene is much the better for it.