The cocktail lounge I may very well have dreamed up

So, maybe you don’t have movie-star good looks. Maybe you don’t drive a luxury car or live in a fashionable part of town. You can still feel like a VIP. All it takes is reservations at Bar Smyth in Dallas, Texas.

Don’t look for a neon sign or sidewalk seating. The entry for Bar Smyth is completely unmarked—part of its mystique. Announce yourself using the small keypad next to a nondescript door and you’ll be buzzed inside.

Old Fashioned cocktailA dim hallway leads you to a narrow, warmly-furnished space that may have you checking the calendar to be sure you haven’t stepped back to a Prohibition-era speakeasy, or a Cold War-era covert rendezvous.

Menus? This place is too cool for menus

Your bartender visits your table with some questions, then disappears to concoct a beverage to appeal to your personal flavor profile. The results are surprising and exquisite.

My visit included two excellent cocktails. The first, shown here, was an Old Fashioned, crafted for me with grapefruit bitters, and tequila instead of bourbon. The second, a perfectly balanced Sazarac. (Hats off to Robert the bartender for choosing America’s oldest-known cocktail for me. I love a good Sazarac.)

Most of the others in our party preferred slightly sweeter drinks. Our bartender called on a variety of fruits, herbs and flowers to delight each of them in turn.

Bar Smyth sounds like fiction, right? For me, it sounded like my fiction—specifically Club Clandestine, in Going Native. Here’s how it breaks down:

Real vs. fictional VIP cocktail lounges

Club Clandestine (from my novel, Going Native)Bar Smyth (located on Travis Street in Dallas, TX)
Hard-to-spot entryUnmarked entry
Bouncer asks for passwordSecure, locked entrance
Dim stairs lead down to clubDim hallway leads to club
Speakeasy/Cold War spy vibeSpeakeasy/Cold War spy vibe
Unforgettable night of covert, erotic games in the arms of a sexy heroOutstanding cocktails in intimate setting, guaranteed to make you feel special

All told, a remarkable evening. And I confess I’m glad to have friends who can assure me it really happened. Otherwise, I might wonder if, like Club Clandestine, I’d created Bar Smyth out of my own secret imaginings.

Shall I meet you there?

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