Prefab fun continues to build out at the 3700M complex, the new Vatican of vacuous delights in Uptown. Public School 214, an upscale pub that pushes its schooldays gimmick hard - napkins that look like lined notebook paper, fries in cut-out brown paper lunch bags - delivers its share. Not unlike Eureka, which anchors the east face of 3700M, this addition to the west side majors in craft beers with minors in wine and cocktails.
It's a measure of how ubiquitous craft cocktailing has become that the bar shelves at PS 214 are stocked with the same pricey, once-obscure spirits previously reserved to more earnest drinking establishments: three varieties of Hudson whiskey, three of High West, Aperol, Amaro Averna, Fernet-Branca. Even the well bourbon is pedigreed - the very acceptable Buffalo Trace.
In another sign of the times, a bare handful of vodkas are shoved high and to the side, where the rye used to be.
But just because hip booze is available doesn't necessarily mean it gets righteous treatment. The $10 Lavender Vanilla is just odd, like drinking a melted scented candle, the Four Roses Single Barrel bourbon barely detectable. Xicaru Mezcal makes more of an impression in the Yellow Smoke ($9).
Public School 214, 3700 McKinney Ave. at Cityplace West Boulevard, Dallas. 214-599-6234. psontap.com.
Photo gallery: PS 214
The liquid arts: Cutty Sark Prohibition
It's all there in black and white. Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition scotch cuts a striking figure in its stark packaging. The back label wraps the whiskey in historical context, honoring a notorious smuggler of the 1920s. The spirit inside the opaque black bottle is distinctive. Aged in new charred American white oak barrels, it's less peaty, more malty than most blended scotch.
This won't convert a host of Chivas Regal or Johnnie Walker Black fans, but local bartenders are reaching for it as a new favorite for cocktail-making.
Trevor Landry puts Prohibition Edition to work at the Front Room Tavern in the King of Prohibition, $13. Customers "enjoy the lighter, more approachable scotch flavor mixed with flavors of charred barrel, cardamom, ginger and orange zest," says Landry, beverage director of the NL Group. Eddie "Lucky" Campbell at Parliament calls it "one of the most balanced blended scotches we've ever experienced" and recommends it in cocktails featuring honey, citrus and spices.
The whiskey retails for about $30.