Walking into Coupes, which recently opened in the The Shops of Highland Park, is like walking into a mid-century daydream loaded with pinks and blue. But the real driver behind the vibe of this champagne bar is the music. It’s a hand-selected playlist, right now made up of some 300 songs, crafted by Hale, featuring French pop and the subgenre yé-yé, glam rock, and Muscle Shoals R&B and soul. It’s as integral to the DNA of the place as what’s on the menu, which is all too rare at most bars and restaurants where a pre-fab playlist is what patrons are most likely to hear.
Co-owners and champagne enthusiasts Eric Chiappinelli and Amanda Hale decided to get into the champagne bar game after reading on Eater Chicago that one of their favorites, Pops, was being sold. “We started thinking, “Gee, if we had known, maybe we would have tried to buy it,” Chiappinelli says. The duo ultimately decided they did want to own their own champagne bar, but not in Chicago — and the hunt to find the perfect space in Dallas, where they already resided, began. After looking fruitlessly in the Design District for two years, they ended up with a large space near some of Dallas’s best restaurants, Sachet and Al Biernat’s among them. They ended up in Oak Lawn.
Walking into the space isn’t unlike walking into a Tiffany’s — thanks in part to the wealthy of pastel blue that’s just a shade off from Tiffany blue, but also because there’s so much sparkle. The twinkle comes from the gold-brushed accessories, the pink quartz bar, and the mid-century light fixtures. “We were designing ... for people who like champagne, and what would be a perfect ambiance for them,” Chiappinelli says. “It does have a little softer touch to it. And if you notice, there are next to no right angles. Everything is soft and flowing.” The design was done by Autumn Cooper Interiors and Coevál Studios.
A little more pointed is the music selection, which isn’t a subscription service of the variety patrons hear in almost all establishments. “My father was a violinist and I grew up in a very musical house,” Hale says. “So I’m always attuned to the music playing in the background in bars and restaurants and often disappointed, unfortunately, by just how generic some of the selections have become.”
Though there are a lot of cosmopolitan French references in the decor, the music, and on the menu, there’s a touch of Texas in the mix also. All of the wines are from Texas or France, including a sparkling varietal from William Chris vineyards in Hye, Texas. Champagne lovers will find a mix of Grandes Marques bottles from well-known vintners, including the owner’s favorites, Perrier-Jouët and Taittinger, as well as still wines and cocktails. Plus, there will be a menu of elegant small bites including the house signature small plate gruyere gougères (cheese puffs), fried chicken Provençal, and a foie gras parfait.
Coupes is open now at 4234 Oak Lawn Ave. and service is available on Tuesday to Saturday from 4 p.m., with a flexible closing time.
Correction: January 5, 2023, 8:46 a.m.: This article was updated to reflect that both Autumn Cooper Interiors and Coevál Studios were involved in the design of Coupes.