If you thought combining a wide array of drink options, fun bar decor, and an inviting pool was a recipe for late-night entertainment success, you'd be right. But those draws only scratch the surface of what the new West 7th area addition The Whiskey Garden offers.

On a recent Friday night visit, the spacious bar was bustling with revelers, but I managed to snag a booth without too much trouble. Every wall is designed with a wide array of creative textures and chic decor. Near the main bar area, several bourbon barrel tops protrude just below open rafters along one side. Polished cinder blocks were another popular building material, along with minimalist chandelier lighting.

Whiskey Garden offers three unique drinking environments. Next to the main entrance and bar is an inviting open air pool space with partitioned VIP lounge sections that offer bottle service. Beyond that is "Shot 30," a separate bar that offers specialty shots and arcade games along with private showers and lockers individually named after popular shooters like Fireball. Why the lockers? Well, because of the pool, of course.

Being new to the whole pool/bar concept, I asked my friendly waitress an obvious question.

Do customers actually take the plunge in there?


As it turns out, yes. The pool is a popular draw, but not everyone plans ahead with the swimwear. Luckily, Whiskey Garden sells towels for $6 to anyone who is feeling frisky enough to jump in. When I walked by the well-lit pool several patrons appeared content to dip their feet in the warm water. Apparently, Sunday Funday, the garden's weekly brunch-time event, is when most people wade in.

Looking over the drink menu, the "Whiskey Tales" section caught my eye. The four drink options are crafted with whiskey in mind. I ordered the TX Whiskey Smash, a mix of TX blended whiskey, fresh mint and fresh lemon juice. The cocktail wasn't overly syrupy or heavy. Each well-balanced sip started with a minty, citrusy flavor and ended with a warm, woody finish. The Whiskey Garden also offers an extensive craft beer, cocktail, and wine menu plus something called "shots on tap." This was another new concept to me, but they have top-shelf liquor chilled and ready to serve from taps you normally see draft beer serve out of.

As you can tell, The Whiskey Garden is taking the idea of a concept bar to the next level, but none of the fun toys would matter without quality service, drink selections, and an inviting atmosphere. And in that area Whiskey Garden hit the mark too.