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Jillian Clark

Director of Beverage

“There’s a level of craft that goes into cocktails, but I also believe in being able to whip up something in the moment that hits all the senses.”   

Employment History: Harwood Hospitality, Dallas; Red Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas; Brand Ambassador, Las Vegas; Wynn Las Vegas; Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas 

Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA 

Education: Bachelor of Arts, Communication & Marketing, University of Nevada-Las Vegas  

Languages spoken: English 

 There is change in the air as well as in the cocktail glass on the drinking scene in Dallas, and Jillian Clark is delighted to be ushering it in. “I’m putting my special touch on everything, building drink menus, giving support, and leading the teams at our bars with every type of beverage,” she says of her role as Director of Beverage at The Las Colinas Resort, Dallas, where her priority is creating experiences that can be enjoyed by every guest. “There’s a level of craft that goes into cocktails, but I also believe in being able to whip up something in the moment that hits all the senses.” 

Chances are whatever Clark aims at the senses at the Resort’s food and beverage outlets – including LAW, OUTLAW Taproom, and the seasonal poolside restaurant, Agave Bar and Grill – will be as fresh as the season that produced it and have palate-tickling embellishments as well. “Garnishes really finish the drink. Not only do they enhance the flavor and scent; they’re a big ‘wow’ factor for the guest,” she explains, noting her preference for topping off drinks with herbs from the organic herb and produce garden adjacent to the restaurant such basil, mint, and rosemary, and fresh fruits, especially citrus. She also likes to use bits of candy and edible orchids, often frozen in ice balls for an ornamental touch. “There are tons of embellishments that allow to really take cocktails over the top.”  

Whatever the final level of individual offerings, Clark is adamant about creating well-balanced cocktail menus so that every guest can find something they like. Training the Resort’s servers and bartenders is essential to that mission, the better for her to ensure that guests won’t be surprised or disappointed by their choice. “The team has to know how to make a requested cocktail, but they also have to know what makes each spirit so delicious,” she says. “If you can educate a guest, you might get them to try something new.”  

The cocktail menus Clark oversees are created through collaboration with the Resort’s Food and Beverage Director and Executive Chef, the latter of whom is “passionate about mixology,” she says. “You know, there’s food in liquor, too.” Meanwhile, the talent on the floor also has a hand in the creative process, offering feedback and insights on what is hot and not. “They may not want to go into management, but our servers are very involved. They’re the ones talking to the guests, after all, and staying on top of trends.” 

Clark also relies on the expertise of vendors to secure the quality of products her mixologists demand. And what quality might that be? “Always the best!” She has never had any trouble tracking down top shelf libations thanks to relationships she has nurtured with sources all over the country. “I’m from Vegas. I’ve gotten to know a lot of people in the industry.” 

Clark got her start at age 16 as a lifeguard at a hotel pool in her hometown, where she’d watch servers from her elevated seat and couldn’t help noticing how much they were enjoying themselves.  

She later moved on, first to the Hard Rock Café, which had “constant pool parties. It was the place to be,” and then, after starting to serve cocktails at 21, to the opening team of an outlet at a hotspot luxury hotel. Soon enough, she got into management and rose quickly through regular promotions to assistant food and beverage director of the entire property.   

Finally arriving in Dallas in 2019, Clark managed first one club, and then another, before deciding to switch gears. Not out of hospitality, of course, just toward hotel and resort properties that offered a bit more structure. The Resort was a quick sell, she remembers. “I really wanted to be a part of the exciting things planned for the property.”  

When not doing just that, Clark likes to slow down and enjoy her new city and state, which, she says, “is like it’s own country.”