This week we're spotlighting some of the best front of house professionals around town. Read on to learn why Eater Austin editor and former Dallas dweller Andrea Grimes adores Phil Coward of Club Dada and Gabe Sanchez of Black Swan Saloon:
I'd like to give a shout-out to two amazing Deep Ellum bartenders and all around phenomenal front-of-house guys, Phil Coward at Club Dada and Gabe Sanchez of the Black Swan Saloon for helping make mine and my husband's wedding day absolutely amazing.
My now-husband Patrick and I found out three weeks before our wedding that our planned venue would be unsuitable for use on the day-of, so we had to scramble to get a new place to party with 80 of our closest friends and family members. Deep Ellum was the obvious choice: we lived there, we fell in love with each other there and we also fell in love with Dallas there. So we phoned everyone in our respective neighborhood rolodexes and luckily Phil Coward and the Club Dada folks came through in a pinch, shifting their schedule around in a matter of hours so that we could rent out the entire club for the entirety of a Saturday night with almost no notice. From then on, if there was anything we needed, Phil made sure we could get it, from all-day access to decorate the venue to making sure someone was around when vendors needed to drop off or pick up items. He even got his lovely wife to help sling drinks on our wedding day, and they created a special Mai Tai cocktail to honor our tiki theme.
Here's where the amazing Deep Ellum fusion happened: Gabe Sanchez of the Black Swan Saloon (the back patio of which played host to basically every stage of my relationship with Patrick) created a customized unity cocktail that he actually served to us during our wedding ceremony at Club Dada. One of my most vivid memories of the ceremony is Gabe whispering, as he handed it over to us: "Watch the whipped cream, it's REAL boozy." Gabe also provided gallons of his signature Bloody Mary mix for our Bloody Mary bar at the reception.
Phil and Gabe make me so fucking proud of Dallas and of Deep Ellum. They know what it means to create neighborhood bars where people feel safe and welcome and part of something larger than themselves. Whenever I'm back home, I know I can depend on Phil to sit down for a shit-shooting session with a can of cheap beer and get a sweet "Hey, mama!' welcome from Gabe as soon as I swing open the door to the Swan.
— Andrea Grimes
[Photo credit: Andrea Grimes]