Best Of :: People & Places
There are several elements to a good bar. A good bar must have an outdoor sitting area to enjoy the six days of nice weather we have each year. (Check.) Inside, the bar must be dark, for ambience and illicit hookups. (Check.) The waitstaff must be friendly but not fake, knowledgeable but not pushy. (Check.) The beer selection must be ample. (Check.) The clientele must have a median age above 29 but have enough pieces of 21-year-old male and female eye candy to make the view pleasant. (Check.) It must have good food. (Oh, sweet heaven, is that ever a check. The calamari, the fish and chips, the mussels, the cheese board...) And it must have a pub-like, worn-in feel. (Check.) That is the Old Monk. That's why it rules.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You have to be on some sort of list to get into the place, which seems like nothing more than an appeal to snobbery in the extreme. Yet the list is not based on the patrons' net worth, on the cars they lease or on more ephemeral measures--such as "cool." Any resourceful person can maneuver his way into the exclusive club by working connections, placing a few calls, befriending the right bartender. By limiting entry to those who really wish to hang out there, Sense ensures a vibe unique to Dallas nightlife. People on the inside mingle and talk and flirt without regard to real-world status. The setting is pleasant, with low-slung leather seating and a pulse that facilitates rather than dominates conversation. As a result, young and old, gold diggers and suburbanites, trend-followers and common folk rub shoulders and even (gasp!) communicate as equals. A good bar makes you feel comfortable, and Sense is just a good bar.
Everything about La Duni is magnificent, from the tasteful décor to the incredible pork-loin-filled "slow-roasted lomo." But the attributes of La Duni are made more apparent after you've had several of their signature drinks, especially our fave, the margarinha. It's a combination margarita-mojito, made with Sauza Silver tequila, hand-crushed limes, sugar, Cointreau and crushed ice. And, yes, it's as refreshing as it sounds. Is your mouth feeling dry yet? Is it? Seriously, is it?
Sound like a dorkfest? Fine, then call us dorks. Pete's is a surprisingly rollicking time: Four top-notch key-strokers attack two baby grands, taking requests and playing favorite tunes by request. Sure, it ain't the Cliburns, but it's a good time and something unique to do on a Friday night in Dallas. Nothing wrong with that.
With more than 60 acres of incredibly landscaped park to choose from, the Dallas Arboretum can provide a great backdrop to a portrait for anything. The Arboretum has fountains and sculptures, and something is always blooming, so you can wander around until you find a good spot. Even in the heat of the summer, the Arboretum seems like a cool and calming place. Maybe they're growing poppies.
Sidle up to the bar and order a Lone Star longneck. Then another. Then one for the pretty young thing next to you. Then a round for the people you just met. Fall off your barstool on your way to the restroom. Get lost coming back. Stand in front of the band while it rides herd over a sweet set of C&W, the kind your daddy told you about. Grab another longneck, which is sweating a little bit less than you are at this point. Ask that pretty young thing to dance. Fall down again and come up laughing. Keep doing this until you're out of money and out the door. Come back and do it again next week. That's what Adair's is like. And thank the Lord.
In most large cities, the downtown area is a grid of one-way streets. Easy to understand, easy to negotiate. In Dallas, while the streets curve more than their counterparts on the East Coast, the same concept holds true. So why is it that in cities like New York and Boston you almost never see someone going the wrong way on a one-way street but here in Big D it happens almost daily? Good question, though we have no answer. We offer only proof. If you work downtown, we suggest spending your lunch hour camped out on any corner with a one-way street. Wait there for a while. It won't be long before you see some confused, oblivious driver pointing his or her Honda Civic the wrong way. Then you can watch, amused, as other motorists honk and point in vain while the fool in the Honda looks wildly for street signs but continues to drive the wrong way anyway. Ugh. In New York, they don't ticket you for those types of stupid indiscretions; they beat you and leave you for dead.