Network Bar interior

Network Bar interior

Marc Ramirez/Barmoire.com

Updated 9:30 a.m. Oct. 23 to include details about visitor policy:

Kristin Kelly, Network Bar's publicist, says the bar's debut this week will be a soft opening for members only.  The establishment hopes to launch tours and "open house" events for non-members in November with designated times for walk-ins to visit and learn more about the bar's amenities.

Original story below:


The idea behind Dallas' Network Bar is simple. It's a craft-cocktail bar where you network. The members-only concept from Phil Romano and Stuart Fitts, aimed at career-minded professionals, opens Monday at Trinity Groves.

Granted, there are networking happy hours you could attend for free, so why would you shell out $500 to $1,000 to become a member of Network Bar?

Here are five possible reasons.

Network Bar: A meeting spot for purposeful professionals and headhunters alike.

Network Bar: A meeting spot for purposeful professionals and headhunters alike.

Marc Ramirez/Barmoire.com

1. Because of the networking, of course.

Yes, you could do your networking in a place meant for drinking. But here, you can do your drinking in a place meant for networking. According to its website, Network Bar "takes networking and social interaction to another level."

Members have to be recommended by other members and have their applications approved by a committee; those sought are described as "eager, ever curious, always-on-the-hunt individuals (who) thrive on new ideas and problem solving.... They must have a purpose." In other words, not your garden-variety professionals!

Career fields might range from real estate and banking to sales, law and entrepreneurship. Membership is $500 for those 30 and younger. If you're older than that, it's $1,000. As of Friday, membership was up to 217, said the establishment's Stayci Runnels.

Not a member? You can still get in as a member's guest or, like at a gym, tour the place under the watchful eye of a membership team representative.

All network and no play make Jack a dull boy.

All network and no play make Jack a dull boy.

Marc Ramirez/Barmoire.com

2. Because there's an app for that.

Yes, this club comes with its own mobile app. Once inside the club, members can then peer into the app to see who else is checked in - and then reach out to make connections and exchange digital business cards. Networking!

3. Because of the atmosphere and membership benefits.

A mobile app allows members to see who else has checked in at the bar.

A mobile app allows members to see who else has checked in at the bar.

Marc Ramirez/Barmoire.com

Check out those handsome leather chairs. Those brawny barstools, that stylish wood paneling and dim lighting. The elegance is strong in this one.. Cool photographs of wild animals, in soft sepia and stately black and white, gaze at you from the walls, along with a big bison head. Is this not a place you want to freely roam? 

In addition to the expansive old-lodge-y setting, there's a private meeting room. Otherwise, classy red drapes can be drawn to make public seating clusters more secluded. And the website promises activities such as wine tastings, a lecture/workshop series and fireside chats.

James Slater's Mystic Shrine is a coterie of pisco, blackberry liqueur, lemon, vanilla and egg white.

James Slater's Mystic Shrine is a coterie of pisco, blackberry liqueur, lemon, vanilla and egg white.

Devin McCullough/Network Bar - Devin McCullough

4. Because of the cocktails.

The bar's drink menu features original cocktails from James Slater, described on the website as "one of the best mixologists in the world." Lofty praise, indeed, but I can guarantee Slater is no slouch, having previously helmed bars at Knife, Spoon, Oak, Quill and most recently, Idle Rye. (He also created two of my favorite cocktails of 2014.) "This place is different than any place I've ever worked," Slater says; his drink menu will feature 15 cocktails priced from $13-$15, including a frozen rose cocktail and half-dozen barrel-aged ones.

"I'm putting my heart and soul into it," he says.

You may also catch a glimpse of a curious vessel resembling a small silver chalice. What is that, you might (rightfully) wonder? At more than $100, the answer may be the most lavish cocktail in all of Texas, an off-menu, super-premium potion featuring a high-end tequila and a dusting of gold flakes.

Network Bar's barrel-aged cocktail program, ready-made for handy sips.

Network Bar's barrel-aged cocktail program, ready-made for handy sips.

Devin McCullough/Network Bar - Devin McCullough

5. Because of the brain food.

"The Network Bar is committed to nourishing your network as well as your brain," the website says. That means food and drinks that the club declares will boost your memory, focus and productivity - think green smoothies, lean proteins and cold-pressed juices. And then think some more.

But really, Network Bar is about rubbing shoulders in a setting designed for that purpose. "You can come in here and talk ideas, make connections, whatever," says general manager Josh Laudan. "It's like LinkedIn, but with cocktails. It's a very unique concept as far as this industry goes."

You'll need more than your resume to score this drink at Network Bar.

You'll need more than your resume to score this drink at Network Bar.

Devin McCullough/Network Bar - Devin McCullough
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