Dallas has no shortage of unique bars. Even on a single stroll through the Deep Ellum neighborhood, you can find local beers at a brewpub and brewery, a speakeasy also deemed one of the country's best cocktail lounges, a barber shop that is also a bar, and a "counterculture" music venue, to name a few.
But the city is still missing something, at least according to Nick Backlund, whose new spot Hide is expected to open in January.
Hide will be what Backlund calls a "cocktail lab" that makes drinks with tools such as a centrifuge, dehydrator and carbonator. The former baseball player and first-time bar owner was inspired to bring the concept to Dallas after visiting Booker and Dax in New York City, which employed similar techniques under the direction of Dave Arnold, director of culinary technology at the French Culinary Institute at the International Culinary Center in New York, and founder of the Museum of Food and Drink. Arnold is also an inventor and author. (Booker and Dax closed in October.)
But don't confuse this approach with molecular gastronomy, Backlund says. There won't be cocktails encased in spheres, "none of that smoke and mirrors stuff." It's more focused around technology.
Using devices like a centrifuge "really allows us to play with a lot of different flavor profiles you might be able to get away with, like different fruits that might be too bitter ... and make a much cleaner drink in the end," Backlund says.
To make the Tally Man cocktail, bartenders blend rum and bananas in a high-speed blender before extracting the fruit solids using a centrifuge, which Backlund says gives the drink more viscosity and a creamy mouthfeel. It's served simply over an ice cube. (He tasked Scott Jenkins, Hide's beverage director and principal bartender, with developing the menu, which took about a year.)
How is this different from a common infusion?
"I'm actually blending fruit into the booze and extracting flavor molecules out of the fruit," he says, "not just putting the flesh in there and taking flavor out that way."
Here an example from Dave Arnold, formerly of Booker and Dax:
According to Backlund, Hide will also serve elevated bar food and shareable plates. Drinks will range $10-$16 each.
The bar and restaurant is part of a reported $7.9 million development in Deep Ellum by Westdale Real Estate Investment and Management, which is building a stretch of retail businesses on Elm Street as well as a public space that connects them to Main Street.
Hide will have a minimalist vibe with muted colors and a hydroponic herb garden for plants that will be made into and garnish cocktails. Because the space neighbors the public courtyard that connects Elm and Main streets, it will have an outdoor seating area as well.
Hide is expected to open Jan. 27 at 2816 Elm St. in Dallas. Hours of operation will be Sunday through Wednesday 5 p.m. to midnight, and Thursday through Saturday 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.