We’re entering the raise-your-glass season when family, friends and colleagues deliver pithy toasts to mark the beginning of the new year. And while “cheers!” and champagnes and sparkling wines are great for any holiday occasion, many of us like to venture off the beaten path with well-thought-out prose and inventive libations. Pinot noir, zinfandel, and gewürztraminer go great with the richness of holiday bites. And don’t forget cocktails. Inventive sips include rye whiskey formulations with ginger and cider, holiday spiced mimosas, cranberry mules, and wintery spritzes with rosemary, club soda and gin. Consult your favorite mixologist.
Fortunately, Collin County has a broad range of outposts for your holiday glass-dinging. From winery tasting rooms to patios with roaring fires to classic cocktail lounges that will happily smoke your old fashioned, we’ve corralled some of the finest holiday tipple pit stops in the county of Collin. Cheers!
205 W. Louisiana St., Suite 102, McKinney | (469) 631-0707
A parlor it is. This classic lounge in historic downtown McKinney instantly seeps into and arouses your soul. Its walls and soffits above the backbar showcase a gallery of early 20th-century images: a circa-1920s flapper girl kisses the edge of a champagne glass next to an image of Shirley Temple in mid-dance with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Famed wisecracker Dorothy Parker would fit right into this art deco habitat with Edison-bulb lighting, cushy seating, and a backbar clad in copper ceiling tiles. We clashed glasses; a blood orange mimosa and a scintillating bloody Mary with rye vodka and a rambunctious layer of spice. CT mixologists concoct centuries-old craft cocktails with contemporary ingredients for a twist on classic celebrations.
2701 Custer Parkway, Suite 700, Richardson
In addition to indoor comfort, The Fifth is a great outdoor escapade for any season on account of its swelter-relieving fans and misters, as well as a stone fireplace accented with heaters for the shivery months. It’s a cozy, lively libation encampment in the heart of Canyon Creek, featuring craft cocktails and a curated wine list that offers ample opportunities for clinking. Indulging in The Fifth’s fresh and from-scratch culinary and sipping offerings, we opted for the garden gimlet, a stunning sup of Still Austin American Gin, basil, cucumber, and lime juice. We bellied it up with the chef’s deviled eggs — fecund joy.
7301 Windrose Ave., Suite C200, Plano | (469) 910-8112
This swanky (yes, there’s a dress code, so deck out) Asian-inspired restaurant and lounge dishes classic Pan-Asian cuisine and serves it in light and airy environs with mid-century modern decor laced with warm wood accents. Located on the second floor of its Legacy West outpost, Kai is equipped with three sexy bars and a pair of stunning outdoor patios overlooking the exotic rides and circulating bustle below. Boasting the largest robata grill in Dallas-Fort Worth, Kai features an exhibition kitchen and lots of intimate nooks and crannies for every style of “Salut!” imaginable. We clinked with Cobra Kai: a stir of Patron silver, watermelon, agave, lemon and Thai chile served in a fully hooded snake vessel — a surge of venom.
103 E. Virginia St., McKinney | (972) 547-9463
Lone Star Wine Cellars is an engaging family-operated winery and tasting room where Texas toasts in style with the Lone Star State’s finest wines. Tucked in the Old Ritz Theatre in the hub of the Historic Downtown McKinney Cultural District, Lone Star also showcases wines from California, Argentina, France, Italy, New Zealand and Portugal. Visitors can indulge in wine-tasting flights while noshing on bacon-wrapped dates, pulled pork sliders or vittles plucked from charcuterie boards. Lone Star’s roots reach back to 1996 when Ron and Deanna Ross acquired a 340-acre ranch along the Red River within the Texoma American Viticultural Area. Over the ensuing years, they transformed their ranch into a hidden wine-growing gem, producing vintages under the Ranch Wines moniker — unexpected dazzle.
6655 Winning Drive, Frisco | (469) 731-0955
Named for the most powerful male deer of the herd, The Monarch Stag in the Star District is an elegantly posh urban speakeasy plopped into the suburban environs of Frisco. After checking in at the entrance, you’re escorted through a portal sealed off from the outer world by a massive door. The backbar reaches the top of its vaulted ceiling and is accessed by a ladder. It seduces with an elegantly cozy vibe that unleashes elevated cocktails, the finest and rarest Scotch whiskeys and bourbons, live music and a cigar bar encased in glass. Guests will catch whiffs of holiday-ish fumes on account of The Monarch Stag Old Fashioned, a toast-worthy concoction of bourbon, orange bourbon bitters and Luxardo cherry infused with smoke tableside.
1230 Homestead Court, Celina | (469) 481-2353
The Nook CKMC, or cocktail kitchen and market café, is an eclectically engaging culinary outpost in Celina. This little destination blazes spirited trails with house-made cordials and mixology crafts featuring fresh ingredients — from creative specialty cocktails to classic sips. It aligns with a contemporary twist on a comfort food menu in an atmosphere laced with cushy lounge and cozy seating ensembles, and live music every Thursday night. We knocked glasses of Italian Spritz, a blend of Italicus bergamot liqueur and orange flower water, animated with bubbles.
3701 Dallas Parkway, Plano | (469) 620-8463
This isn’t your grandfather’s wine bar. Or even your father’s. Sixty Vines is an energetic, cavernous space with endless community tables and an expansive bar dashed with modern, industrial touches. It’s meant to simulate a convivial dining experience at a large table at a vineyard stocked with lots of wine and shared foods — perfect for pack toasting. The phenomenal selection of wines — with origins ranging from Germany and Italy to Oregon, California and Texas — are dispensed from a long array of taps behind the bar — 60 of them. Guests can personalize their toasts with 2.5-, 5-, or 8-ounce pours, which means you can potentially clink with fermentations from around the globe without tipping over.
615 Main St., Suite 100, Frisco | (469) 200-5476
301 N. Custer Road, Suite 180, McKinney | (214) 592-8841
It’s dark, cozy and casual — the perfect spot for unpretentious salutes to friends and occasions. Uncork’d pours a variety of wines, craft beers and specialty cocktails that will warm the heart cockles of any jaded holiday grumbler or moper. Savor the barrel-esque wood-finished dining room with plush curvaceous seating. A wood-framed bulletin board displays wines by the glass, on tap and by the bottle from France, California, Oregon, New Zealand and Italy — all at reasonable prices. Or sip your tipple at the handsome granite bar with backbar illuminated in blue hues. This neighborhood spot is the ideal place to skol! your way through November to January.
5872 TX-121, Suite 104, Plano | (972) 905-3664
This lapping shore escapade from famed Dallas chef Brian Luscher (Routh Street Brewery and The Grape) is billed as a tropical tiki-infested, tide-embracing California Baja getaway along a fountain-burbling lagoon in Plano’s Granite Park. Suburban Yacht Club’s chef-driven boardwalk fare includes ceviche, tostadas, streetside tacos, and Baja beer-battered fish. It’s all cast in a totally tubular ambiance with lighting shifting in hue from pink to blue, TVs showcasing heavy waves and surfing, booths resembling seats on a boat, and a spacious bar encased in bamboo. Nip on the Basic Beach, a mixologist indulgence with Grey Goose watermelon basil vodka, Italicus liqueur, and lime served on an inflatable flamingo, which turns your toast clink into an ersatz wading bird chafe.
218 E. Louisiana St., Suite 300, McKinney | (214) 548-4075
Urban Grill and Wine Bar is a snug metro-suburban outpost featuring an abbreviated signature cocktail menu and curated boutique wine list tethered to a menu ripe for sip-pairing. Nosh on herbed matchstick fries, surf and turf (rib eye and king crab), pot roast, flatbreads or artisan cheese boards. Marry these flavors with vintages from Crémant d’Alsace, Oregon, Sonoma, Napa Valley and Washington. We sipped a 2019 Heritage Pinot Noir from Browne Family Vineyards in the Willamette Valley, a fruit-forward nip with floral aromatics. The engagingly simple dining room is complimented by an inviting horseshoe bar and a streetside patio that adds Spartan luster to any clash of crystal.