We stopped in here around 8:00 on a Saturday evening, after a first round of cocktails at Yamashiro. The Dresden gets crowded on weekends, so your best bet is to arrive early. We managed to beat the crowds and get a booth right next to the stage, where Marty and Elayne, also made famous in Swingers, would be performing at 9:00.
The Dresden is a nice classic-style bar. The decor and ambiance are low-key and it has a mellow vibe, making it a good place to just chill out. The drinks and service, on the other hand, leave a bit to be desired. Our first warning of this was the lame “Two drink minimum” signs sitting on all the tables. Nothing makes you feel welcome like this sort of score-keeping.
Our second service-related incident came when I tried to order a French 75 for Nathan. Our server gave me an incredulous look and said “I’ve been tending bar for 18 years and I’ve never heard of that” (I didn’t ask why, with 18 years of bartending experience, she was just waiting tables). This can be forgiven though — it’s an old drink, but not a terribly common one, so it was her attitude and rank-pulling that put me off more than the fact that she wasn’t familiar with the drink. After she took our alternate orders, she came back and admitted that, yes, the bartender can make us a French 75 but they don’t have any “seltzer” so they’ll make it with Sprite instead. Ouch. I don’t understand how a bar could possibly not have club soda (ie, “seltzer”), but the important thing is that a French 75 gets its effervescence from Champagne, not carbonated water. So in retrospect, we were much better off with our alternate drink choices.
That incident aside, the Dresden is a pretty nice place providing you can avoid the crowds. I haven’t had service problems here before, and the Manhattan I ended up ordering was pretty decent. Marty and Elayne appear here six nights a week, Monday through Saturday, so be sure to check them out.