Drink This: The Quarter Bar
So far (and I just realized this in preparation for writing this), I have experienced one Christmas Eve, one New Year’s Eve, two Mardi Gras, at least three birthdays, one 4th of July and one Going Away party at The Quarter Bar. As of yet, I’ve not checked off Halloween or St. Patrick’s Day, but if I were to combine all my non-event excursions to that northern part of McKinney Ave in Uptown, I think it would be worth at least one Memorial Day. And it’s weird to catalog and realize that I’ve spent so many important evenings there because it’s not a bar that I’ve ever considered “top of the list.”
I don’t mean to denigrate The Quarter Bar. It is, consistently, underrated and it’s likely because of its steadfastness. While other bars in Uptown — the variety of which tend to come and then go — look to pull you in with outward projections of a good time, The Quarter’s red awnings and ivy-covered walls shroud the place in a bit of mystery. If it weren’t for the neon sign, it would be a spot easy to miss. Simply put, The Quarter Bar is almost too chaste for its namesake neighborhood.
But head inside and you are swallowed whole by a labyrinthian interior of brick walls, low lighting and the intense desire to see what’s around that corner or up those stairs. For all of its stylistic commitment to the Big Easy, replete with Mardi Gras paraphernalia and Abita sign, The Quarter Bar reminds me most of a Dublin pub called The Bleeding Horse in Upper Camden that took most of my money and time one summer.
Like a Cajun relative to the best Irish pubs, The Quarter Bar is full of nooks, crannies and side-rooms to accommodate a raucous group or the lone couple. What it adds is a roof-top patio that would satisfy any Dallasite worth their weight in springtime margaritas.
Maybe it’s that familiarity that is why I’ve never kept The Quarter at the top of my list. Like The Bleeding Horse, The Quarter Bar is never where you start a night, but it is always where you end up when the first bar inevitably fails to live up to its own hype.
It’s why I’ve found myself at the turn on so many holidays and birthdays: You know what you’ll be getting when you step inside, but once in, it’s up to you to decide which nook or couch is yours that night. There is that variability that means that the nights at The Quarter never blend together like they might at a more straightforward “home” bar. There’s magic in a place like that.