The elfin Chad McClendon, a contemporary of the more celebrated Mansion on Turtle Creekbartending alumni, Rocco Milano and Michael Martensen, is making his mark at another venerable hotel watering hole. He’s bar manager of the Libraryat the Melrose.
For the new year, he’s revamped the cocktail list and edited the wines by the glass, presenting 27 priced from $9 to $28. He’s blown the dust off the bar shelves by featuring craft spirits more common to mixology bars than hotel lounges. He also introduced fresh juices and house-made syrups.
“We were stuck in 1978,” McClendon says of his efforts to update the Library, adding that business travelers, especially those used to Warwicks around the country, expect more from a hotel bar than
just a few years ago. The cocktail movement has raised the game. “Even 20-somethings are more engaged,” he says. “These kids ask, ‘Can you make a proper Old-Fashioned?’”
The answer here is certainly. McClendon arrived in November from four years at the downtown destination Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck. Before that, he shook and poured at the Mansion bar and the Four Seasons in Irving.
He pulled one creation from his time at the Puck restaurant and renamed it ’Til Morning. Delicate but complex, it combines Woodford Reserve bourbon, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, egg white, maple syrup and lemon juice, all tinged with a Laphroaig scotch rinse.
The Warwick International is an advanced-placement sour that brings together Yamazaki single malt with Cointreau, fresh ginger, honey syrup and lemon juice. McClendon likes using Japanese whiskey as a base where scotch might be signaled. “It’s softer, more rounded.”
Cosmo lovers — and their name is still legion — will go for A Walk Down Melrose Lane: Tito’s vodka, cranberry and lime juices and simple syrup, with St. Germain elderflower liqueur subbing for orange.
The cocktails are $16.
The Library, Warwick Melrose Hotel, 3015 Oak Lawn Ave. at Cedar Springs, Dallas. 214-224-3152. landmarkrestodallas.com.