When Eddie “Lucky” Campbell brags about one of his bartenders at Parliament, you listen. “Brad Bowden is a genius at balancing complicated flavors,” the pioneering bar owner says. “He looks at building a cocktail like an architect would; it’s almost mathematical.” Bowden himself claims to be a walking encyclopedia when it comes to spirits and classic drinks. He also confesses that his background in science influences his cocktails; Bowden majored in neuropsychology at University of North Texas. “I actually used some of the knowledge I picked up in organic chemistry when we were experimenting with caviar pearls at the bar,” Bowden says. “The idea was to turn certain liqueurs into edible garnishes for use in a drink. We were trying to figure out which sugars bonded best with sodium alginate and…” Bowden launches into a tangled soliloquy about chemical bonding that makes our heads swim. But that’s textbook Bowden. He’s delightful in person, but one comes away with the idea that the man is part machine, his head all-full of cogs and wheels. If this is true, then his programming obviously mandates that he become one of the best bartenders in the city. Hey, we’re not the only one’s who think so. If you don’t believe us, check out the pages of Esquire, Eater Dallas and Dallas Morning News where his drinks have all been featured.
Gotta ask you, what’s it like having Eddie “Lucky” Campbell as a boss?
Actually, I love it. I have lot of respect for Lucky’s work ethic. The man lives and breathes this place. Everything we do with him at Parliament is deliberate and well thought out. For instance, we’re about to move into our spring menu and it’s been three months in the making. He’s also great at getting us the supplies and equipment we need, whether it be for producing tinctures as aromatics or gels to any kind of gastro stuff we might require behind the bar.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be was a paleontologist. Other kids were watching Barney on television and I was the one looking through a dinosaur atlas.
Who would play you in a movie of your life?
Knowing my luck it would be Seth Rogan. People have been telling me for years that I look and sound like him.
What’s your worst bartending habit?
Sometimes if I’m making drinks in the service well, it’s almost like I have blinders on. I’m just focused. You can come up and try to talk to me and it’s almost like you’re invisible.
What spirit are you into at the moment?
I’m really into rum. There are so many rum-producing nations in the world, each with its own rules and standards for producing the spirit, and each style of production definitely leaves an imprint on the product.
What’s the strangest thing about the job?
How freakishly clean we have to keep everything. A lot of people don’t always see how often we clean everything. If we’re not making drinks, we’re cleaning. It’s easy for things to fall in to disrepair so we have to say on top of it. Parliament is cleaner than my house.
For previous bartenders of the month, click here
For more info: Parliament is located at 2418 Allen Street, Dallas, Texas, 75204; (469) 804-4321.