[Photos: Jacob Barnhart and Merritt Martin/EDFW]
Last week, before The Mason Bar opened its doors and offered gumbo and cocktails, commuters, neighbors and people who had long been following the restaurant's lifecycle had already started vying for a spot at the bar. As both executive chef/partner David Anthony Temple and marketing manager India Bounds described, hopefuls wouldd mosey up to the doors and give a tug. It's probable some checked twice -- the second time a bit stronger -- just to make sure the latch was really secure.
After all, with all the talk behind he of the Underground Dinners and new chef de cuisine Cable Smith, there's much to anticipate. Plus, it's an absolutely stunning room so close to the highway but so far from traffic, so close to the Arts District but so far from the packed rooms, so close to McKinney and Cedar Springs but neither.
The Mason Bar features incredible arched, leaded windows with streaming light, plus art, gig posters, photos and just stuff from general manager Brandt Wood's personal collection. Fixtures are industrial but smooth and finished, not overtly masculine. Padded booths balance wooden bar chairs and white table cloths temper warm, wood cocktail-level six-tops. At times, the architecture and the rock-meets-vintage decor can seem like strange bedfellows, but the "this is us," the honesty that comes from it all overrides doubts and reinforces a comfortable vibe.
It's not pictured above, but aside from the photo of Wood's grandparents peering out over the bar, our personal favorite element is definitely a father-daughter portrait. If you don't know who it is, we're not spelling it out for you -- but we'd proudly hang it on our wall, and will return to the Mason to view it again. And, of course, to try the full menu, which debuts tonight. The bar is officially open (4:30 p.m.); the kitchen in one hour (5:30 p.m.).
The Mason Bar is closed Mondays.