By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Brickhaus Cafe: Just off Denton's historic town square, it's a restaurant with a small "stage" in the back by the bathrooms across from couches, arm chairs, book shelves and chairs and tables for its weekly open mikes. It's also a regular tour stop for Wally Pleasant. 219 W Oak St, Denton, 940-566-6690.
Carsons Live: Live music and drink specials. What more can you ask for? 17727 Dallas Pkwy, 972-931-9111.
The Cavern: Upstairs, the best jukebox ever presides over the cozy booths and cocktails. Downstairs, shows are packed, loud and fun--just like its namesake and original venue for the Fab Four. 1914 Greenville Ave, 214-828-1914.
Club B: An upscale multicultural dancehall that's just the place for those looking to get dressed up and get down and boogie. Caribbean and Latin music a specialty, with some progressive dance and '70s funk thrown in for good measure. 15203 Knoll Trail, 972-490-3284.
Club Clearview: Four clubs to suit your musical tastes in one Deep Ellum location. Inside, there's dance, retro and live rock, and outdoors there's a roof-deck with an amazing view of the skyline. Check out art showings, the occasional karaoke night and finger paintings by local and national bands. 2806 Elm St, 214-939-0077.
Club Dada: Along with a cozy atmosphere, bizarre artwork and three stages, Dada has plenty of tables, both inside and on the patio, for just chatting over cocktails or taking in some tunes. Cover bands and an open-mike night are a mainstay. 2720 Elm St, 214-744-DADA.
Cool River Cafe: The finest aged cheese in North Dallas can be found packed in this bar-restaurant every night, either giggling into their apple martinis or adjusting themselves in their Hickey-Freeman gabardine trousers, depending on their gender. 1045 Hidden Ridge, Irving, 972-871-8881.
Cowboys Red River: Mostly a Western warehouse that brings in young country studs (such as Chris Cagle) and offers dance classes to teach you how to move to 'em. 10310 W Technology Blvd, 214-352-1796.
Curtain Club: Sit outside and people watch, or find a smattering of local acts inside. Curtain gives baby bands their first shot, and the granddaddies of Texas music get a nice stage to come home to. An interesting detail, the walls are covered with local artist Cabe Booth's portraiture of headlining artists. 2800 Main St, 214-742-6207.
Dan's Silverleaf: Dan's Bar: The Sequel has the homey familiarity of the original, plus its rugged wood and woven-blanket atmosphere. Tricky to locate between the square and assorted warehouses, Dan's still hosts the best of Denton's rootsier bands, such as Slobberbone and Centro-matic. 108 N Industrial St, Denton, 940-320-2000.
Deep Ellum Live: As big and spare as the tire in the trunk of an Escalade, this no-frills room consistently brings in national acts on their way up--and sometimes, down--the ladder. Warning to hangers-on: Guest lists don't always materialize here. 2727 Canton St, 214-526-8077.
Dick's Last Resort: The service is bad. The grub is good. And that's the point. You need a tough skin and a big stomach for a night at Dick's, so prepare yourself. On the plus side, you can peg the rude waiters with napkin balls and not get kicked out. 1701 N Market, 214-747-0001.
The Door: One for the kids: The Door offers a tobacco- and alcohol-free environment for all ages to see their favorite local and Christian bands. The club includes two stages and an attached coffeehouse for the beatniks, plus signposts pointing toward heaven, hell and the rest rooms. 3202 Elm at Trunk Ave, 214-742-DOOR.
The Door Fort Worth: The sister club to the Deep Ellum original offers local kids, teens and adults a chance to see Christian rock groups other than in their church or a coffeehouse. (Non-Christian bands do play here as well.) A single large room with a stage in front, a non-alcoholic bar in back and that's about it. 2625 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth, 817-624-OPEN.
Eisenberg's Skate Park: Located in historic downtown Plano, Eisenberg's offers something for kids of all ages. There are bike and skate ramps, a skate shop, an arcade and the occasional rock show. Just blocks from the DART rail station. 930 E 15th St, Plano, 972-509-7725.
The Elbow Room: Sitting on the outskirts of Deep Ellum, this is the place to unwind from the hustle and bustle of the arts district. A cozy little nook, as the name suggests, it also offers free shuffleboard, darts, cheap pool and a classic-rock-heavy jukebox. 3010 Gaston Ave, 214-828-9488.
Elm St. Bar: With its cheap liquor and cheaper thrills, this is a pretty good place to disappear after a show. Or during: We once left the Galaxy between bands and never made it back, sucked into a few games of pool and a few more adult beverages. One of the few constants on a troubled block of Deep Ellum real estate that might as well be situated on top of a sinkhole. 2812 Elm St, 214-653-1668.
Escapade 2001: Our Hollywood Heights neighborhood is virtually deserted on weekend nights, because most of Dallas' surging Latino population is at this hangar-sized hangout, getting their ranchera and cumbia on. Only open Friday through Sunday, they still make more money than every other club in the area. 10707 Finnell St, 214-654-0545.