By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Majestic Theatre: A restored theater dating back to the '20s, the Majestic offers everything from fringe theater to mainstream touring acts, from spoken word and comedy to rock bands. 1925 Elm St, 214-880-0137.
The Meridian Room: This Expo Park staple has the look of an old speakeasy with lots of polished wood, low lighting, a long mirror-backed bar and a row of booths against the exposed brick. Despite the laid-back attitude, the service is fast and accurate. Oh, and the mood music is good, too. 3611 Parry Ave, 214-826-8383.
Mick's Bar: This shotgun bar has a stylish midcentury look, a DJ on the wheels nightly (if you feel like dancing) and a swinging bar area (if you don't). Rule of thumb: Come early to grab one of the booths. 2827 Greenville Ave, 214-827-0039.
Moose and Vinny's: If you remember the scene in Ghost World where Steve Buscemi's blues fetishist endures an aural assault from Blues Hammer in a strip-mall club, you kind of already know what it's like to walk into this sports-bar chain that attempts to draw in local blues purists. Karaoke, too, so that's a plus. 9220 Skillman St #115, 214-342-BEER.
Muddy Waters: Dallas music up-close and personal, Muddy Waters is home to many a blues act (hence the name), such as Homer Henderson's One Man Band, but don't let that deter you if blues ain't your bag. The bar also hosts some of Dallas' best pop, rock and acoustic acts. 1518 Greenville Ave, 214-823-1518.
New Amsterdam Coffeehaus: This comfy coffeehouse/bar is the perfect stop after a leisurely stroll through Fair Park. A great beer selection and jovial bartenders make for a nice neighborhood pub, conducive to intimate conversation and smooth jazz. 831 Exposition, 214-824-5301.
Nokia Live: We don't mean to play favorites, but this is probably the best place in the D-FW extended family to see a big-name touring act. Everything is top-freaking-notch; parking is a snap, the seats are perfectly positioned and comfortable as a recliner, and the staff is nicer than most grandparents. The concessions are reasonable, too. And, oh yeah, the lineup of bands is good and only getting better. More, please. 1001 NextStage Drive, Grand Prairie, 214-373-8000.
Old Crow: The last time we were here, our obnoxious, very drunk friend almost got thrown through a plate-glass window. It's one of the many reasons we love this spare, simple Lower Greenville bar. And the hotties. Plenty of hotties. 1911 Greenville Ave, 214-828-2769.
Ozona Grill & Bar: Lunchtime destination, college hangout, whatever. Ozona is a comfortable, laid-back joint that offers everything from weekend brunch to comedy troupe performances. 4615 Greenville Ave, 214-265-9105.
Palm Beach Club: Beats, rhymes and life rule at what's becoming a Deep Ellum institution; you won't find a busier club on the weekends, with more people waiting to get in than some places get all week--and it's been that way for a while now. If you want hip-hop and reggae--and you do, even if you don't think so--look no further. 2816 Main St, 214-742-IRIE.
Pete's Dueling Piano Bar: The name pretty much says it all. If you're looking for a good-time, sing-along crowd, Pete's is the place. Especially if bawdy, off-color humor is your thing. And it should be. 4980 Belt Line Road, Suite 200, 972-726-PETE.
Poor David's Pub: Born March 15, 1977, and still going strong, Poor David's is a Texas legend. Texas musicians such as Jerry Jeff Walker and the original Dixie Chicks have made this Lower Greenville spot a favorite. 1924 Greenville Ave, 214-821-9891.
Popolo's: Trivia: This Italian restaurant is where piano princess Norah Jones got her start. Soak in the atmosphere so you can lie and say you saw her there. 707 Preston Royal Shopping Center, 214-692-5497.
Pour House: A solid neighborhood bar, with a side patio for those nights the room gets too crowded. Problem is, if you're outside, you can't drop coin in its stellar jukebox, play Golden Tee or watch Mavs games on the big screen. 1919 Skillman St, 214-824-1170.
Red Blood Club: Tucked into a blink-and-miss location on Commerce Street, this small-fry spot is home to the creative musicians in the, um, Dallas Creative Music Alliance, as well as a long list of DJs and a 64-count Crayola box of local acts, from punk to country to metal and all the spaces in between. Sorta hard to find, but worth the effort. 2617 Commerce St, 214-653-1641.
Reign Entertainment Complex: Playing to the frat boys and sorority gals surrounding Denton's University of North Texas campus, the REC tries to be all things to all people, with live acts on Fridays and DJs on Thursdays and Saturdays. With its ample dance floor, the latter works better than the former. Of course, the well-stocked bar evens the playing field considerably. Still kind of feels like a sports bar, though. 1131 Fort Worth Drive, Denton, 940-858-0050.
Reunion Arena: What AAC-lovers call "small," we call "intimate"; what they call "antiquated," we call "venerable." In other words, still the best arena in town when you want to see-them-feel-them-touch-them, not just hear them, whether it's Bob Dylan or U2 or...Barney. Also: the new home to the Arena Football League, which indicates the venue's new status as white-trash hang. 777 Sports St, 214-800-3000.