Restaurants have made a lot of alterations since COVID-19 changed the experience of dining out. Bars, which are required to be closed by the state of Texas, have also had creative ways to sell drinks.
Converting to a to-go model isn’t easy, especially in the realm of alcoholic beverages. For example, mixed drinks have to be sold with the alcohol and mixers packaged separately, meaning the customer does the mixing at home. Seems easy, but mixing at home might not taste the same as when the bartender does it.
Many area residents have tried the array of to-go alcoholic beverages available from local restaurants and bars and know which ones have done the best job at adapting.
When asked in neighborhood Facebook pages which places they recommend ordering alcohol to-go, many answered Lei Low, 6412 N. Main. The tiki bar has stayed true to its theme while offering to-go drinks.
“The Mai Tai kit is delicious and comes with paper umbrellas, mint and tiki-themed stirrers to garnish your drinks,” Oak Forest resident Kala Dunn said.
Another Oak Forest resident, Sloane Pardue, said that being able to still get the umbrellas, tiki sticks and mint in Lei Low’s kit was exciting. It helps still give a semblance of the full experience of visiting the bar.
“Lei Low has done a fantastic job of packaging their cocktails to-go,” Garden Oaks resident Jeremy Joseph said. “They also did a great job of social distancing in their small space before the order to close bars once again.”
Rainbow Lodge, 2011 Ella Blvd., also has been a favorite for alcohol among residents.
“Rainbow lodge did the best job adjusting by offering a wine tasting to-go,” Melissa Wigren said. “Food and wine with tasting notes—the best.”
Christine Kiesewetter also has enjoyed Rainbow Lodge’s wine-tasting kits, as well as its Hibiscus Margarita to-go.
Different kits from the lodge include a Martini kit, an Old Fashioned kit, a Manhattan kit, Border Paloma kit and a Mimosa kit.
Sarah Godwin was impressed with Harold’s Restaurant, Bar & Rooftop Terrace, 350 W. 19th St.
“(Harold’s) did awesome with their mixed drinks,” Godwin said. “They made it fun and easy to mix it at home. Bloody Mary mixer was my favorite with the fresh veggies and everything.”
For margaritas to-go, some residents recommended Tony’s Mexican Restaurant, 2222 Ella Blvd.; Tia Maria’s, 4618 Dacoma St.; and Alma Latina, 2203 N. Shepherd Dr.
“We love Alma Latina’s blood orange margaritas so it’s wonderful to order several cups, leave in the freezer and drink when we want to,” Ruby Baldwin said.
Wynnette Salinas mentioned that indulging on Tia Maria’s 32-ounce Sangria Margarita will make you sleep like a baby.
Breweries that have kept residents’ attention include New Magnolia Brewing Co., 1616 Bevis St.; Eureka Heights Brew Co., 941 W. 18th St., and Great Heights Brewing, 938 Wakefield Dr.
“Great Heights and Eureka Heights have utilized Instagram to advertise what they’re brewing, which has made it super easy to swing by and pick up what we want,” Lindsay Thomas said.
Other places recommended for alcohol to-go are Superica, 1801 N. Shepherd Dr.; Millie’s Kitchen & Cocktails, 3542 Oak Forest Dr.; Alice Blue, 350 W. 19th St.; Spaghetti Western, 1951 W. T.C. Jester Blvd.; Wakefield Crowbar, 954 Wakefield Dr.; Plonk! Beer & Wine Bistro, 1214 W. 43 St.; Cedar Creek Bar & Grill, 1034 W. 20th St.; Johnny’s Gold Brick, 2518 Yale St.; and Eight Row Flint, 1039 Yale St.