Funky, textured wallpaper, dim, sexy lighting, cozy booths where you should spill a few secrets: Dallas’ new neighborhood lounge, the Clifton Club, looks like the bar you wish you had in your home.
It opens in early May 2022 on Fitzhugh Avenue.
Owner Greg Katz, who operates the popular nearby Beverley’s, designed the Clifton Club to look like a hotel lobby bar. But it has more personality than most hotel bars. Perhaps that’s the essence of the Zippers gay club that was here before Katz did it again. Or maybe it’s Katz himself, who put a lot of thought into creating a bar that feels effortless.
“It’s a place where you can come and be who you are,” he says.
Maybe people walking the nearby Katy trail will stop for a drink. And likely, neighbors from Park Cities and Uptown will visit, looking for a regular spot for a nightcap. Most certainly, customers who are waiting for a table at Bev’s, or who have just finished dining there, will walk there without having to move their car.
Notably, the new Clifton Club has a bank of rounded windows above the banquettes in the main room, which let in some light and give it a glamorous flair. (Read: Construction crews had to drill large holes in the wall because the front bar didn’t seem like it wanted anyone to see inside.) The geometric cinderblock walls at the entrance and on the patio, painted orange, provide a splash of color.
We called it one of the most exciting new bars to open in Dallas-Fort Worth in 2022, and after seeing the inside, it’s worth a visit.
For anyone who likes to sit at the bar, the Clifton Club offers 14 superb seats, pumped up to the bartenders.
Beyond these, the best seats in the house are next to the bar, in an unnamed crescent-shaped room that seats eight to ten people. For now, places will be free – first come, first served.
But we can imagine that in a few weeks, Dallas locals celebrating a business deal or couples stealing a night off from their kids will be asking if their group can sit there, sequestered from the main dining room but still within sight of the pleasure.
How should we call it?
Clifton Club is named after the town where Katz grew up near Cape Town, South Africa. This little room is on the edge of the action, much like those good seats at the opera house, off to the side, where you can sit on your perch and enjoy it all. Call this little room The Cliff, maybe.
Bites and snacks
There’s a trio of olives, nuts, and pickled vegetables sitting alongside a swirl of whipped ricotta topped with pistachio dukka.
Katz’s goal was to serve salty, crunchy, and spicy dishes. “What we thought about the most was: what do you want to eat when you have a cocktail? ” he says.
In this way, Clifton Club is a bar first, a restaurant second. Those who come hungry can certainly eat an entire dinner. But they’re still snacks to share—taken from what you serve at your own bar. Among the dozen or more snacks are steak tartare toast, crudités with garlic yogurt dip, mini smashburgers and crispy potatoes with smoked trout roe.
But first, cocktails
Katz was managing partner and general manager of Victor Tangos, one of Dallas’ top cocktail bars. Clifton Club isn’t a Victor Tangos replacement, but it’s a cocktail bar with serious food, so it’s easy to see a resemblance.
“Victor has grown,” Katz says, looking back on the bar’s 10 years of operation from 2008 to the end of 2017. watermelon, agave and lime, with black lava salt – and snacking on chicken liver and pâté de foie gras.
Clif Club cocktails are both modern and classic. There are riffs on an aperol spritz and a gin fizz. There is also a classic cosmopolitan. This may be for adults who have recently watched the sex and the city reboot and look to drink some memories.
Next door at Bev’s is an off-menu shot called a Zapper, which is basically a sip of an espresso martini. At the Clifton Club there will be the Zipper, a drink that will feel right at home in the old Zippers.
You don’t need to know what’s in it. Just get one.
The Clifton Club is located at 3333 N. Fitzhugh Ave., Dallas. It opens in early May 2022.