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Tina's Continental Brings Mid-Century Lounge Vibes to Deep Ellum

Tina's Continental is Deep Ellum cocktail bar that exudes a classy yet low-key style that we can't help but adore.

September 21, 2023

Let's get the bad stuff out of the way. Tina's Continental in Deep Ellum is a little hard to find. You may be familiar with the Continental Gin building, built in 1888 and once the largest manufacturer of cotton processing equipment in the United States. If you don't know its history, you surely have seen the water tower perched on the roof; it's a prominent part of the Deep Ellum skyline. That tower should be your guide star to the entrance to Tina's Continental (and the equally hidden Tatsu next door).

Tina's is the latest effort from Dallas-based UNCO Hospitality, which is responsible for popular spots such as Hero, HG Sply Co. and Leela's Pizza and Wine. Unlike its sister establishments, Tina's Continental is a classic cocktail bar at heart, which means the menu is beverages only, with no food to be had.

That's not completely accurate. Take your seat at the bar or one of the half-dozen tables, and a complimentary bowl of bar mix quickly appears. Grab a handful, and you'll find they disappear quickly into your mouth as if by second nature. In the usual mix of peanuts and Chex cereal, we also found almonds, dried mangos and jalapeños, all collaborating in a sweet, spicy and salty symphony. Our bartender told us the entire concoction is sprinkled with the poultry rub from Hero and HG Sply. The result is a snack so addictively good that we're shocked it's not federally regulated.

The vibe of Tina's is straight-up mid-century class, so it should come as no surprise that martinis and their descendants make up half the menu. Tina's martini selections are part menu, part educational experience, and you can tweak each component of the classic to your liking. There are seven gins and five vodkas to start with, then eight levels of flavor preference, from extra dry (no vermouth) to extra filthy (equal parts spirit and olive brine). You can have your martini stirred ("this is the law") or shaken ("laws are meant to be broken"), then select olives, citrus or onions for your garnish.

Feel free to check our math, but with 448 possible combinations, surely you can order one just as you prefer. Our personal pick — Grey Goose, dirty, with olives, stirred because shaking bruises the liquor — was perfectly prepared and the ideal relaxing sipper after a long work day. At $17, the price feels in line with other craft cocktail bars.

Tina's offers other cocktail variations, and prices feel equally fair. We ordered an espresso martini ($13.79) with espresso-infused vodka, Mr. Black, Frangelico and cream. The cost includes a light show as our bartender toasted cinnamon with a blow torch as she garnished our drink.

The rest of the menu at Tina's Continental touches on classic drinks, wine and bottled beer. Old-school favorites like Grasshoppers and Palomas are part of the signature cocktails list, and half a dozen wines are available by either the glass or the bottle. A small selection of frozen drinks has unique takes on classics like a frozen Manhattan, Old Fashioned, martini or Negroni.

All of this cocktail goodness is presented in a cozy and intimate space that oozes Don Draper levels of charm. There are half a dozen seats at the bar, and small tables and banquettes offer additional seating, all upholstered in buttery soft leather the color of butternut squash that pops against the navy walls. The lights are dimmed, and the music set at the perfect level for you to hear a classic track but not intrude on your conversation.

With a location just on the eastern edge of Deep Ellum, Tina's Continental closes at a relatively early 11 p.m. and shies away from the vibrancy of the rest of the neighborhood. That seems to be by design, making Tina's an ideal spot for a cocktail before dinner or a place you could slide into after a meal for a quiet nightcap. It adds up to a classy yet low-key feel that we can't help but adore. And, there's plenty of free parking after 5 p.m.

Tina's Continental, 3309 Elm St., No.113. Tuesday – Saturday, 4–11 p.m.


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