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People & Places

  • Best comeback for a venue

    Hard Rock Café

    At this time last year, Hard Rock Café was little more than a calcified rock-and-roll museum with a stage that was just for show (or actually, not for shows). Now, thanks to a new general manager and an alliance with The Merge (93.3-FM), Hard Rock is offering shows several nights a week. Good show--finally. … More >>
  • Best neighborhood

    Little Forest Hills

    A secret, a jewel, a hidden paradise: Around Lakeland and Ferguson Road in East Dallas, downhill from the grand manses of Forest Hills, Little Forest Hills is a quirky, delightful architectural mélange that looks as if it were spun of Berkeley, Seaside, Charlevoix, and an all-cousin East Texas trailer park. Built long ago as summer cottages for city dwellers, the… More >>
  • Best place to read a newspaper

    Coffee Haus

    There are few distractions at this small, cozy coffee shop in Arlington. With more than 30 coffee flavors to choose from, this is the place to relax and read about the world's myriad tragedies. The coffee stand also includes sandwiches, salads, and cakes. And there's a computer nearby for Web surfing. Coffee is ground and brewed there and then. … More >>
  • Best place to walk on water

    Leonhardt Lagoon

    You don't have to be You Know Who to walk on water in Fair Park. Two large, plant-inspired sculptures arch, curve, and twist over the still lagoon, creating stairs and walkways for getting a closer look at turtles, water bugs, and the occasional fast food container lurking below the surface. A low tide, shoes with good traction, and a healthy… More >>
  • Best place to beat the heat

    Hurricane Harbor

    Get real. Unless you're 12-going-on-13, the only place that promises around-the-clock cool is a seat that faces the window unit. But for those who insist on getting out into the summer sun without baking, Arlington's newest water park is hard to beat. Think a day at the beach with a little Disneyland thrown in--or as one comedian put it, you… More >>
  • Best jazz club

    Sambuca

    No other jazz joint touches Sambuca in terms of atmosphere (which is pretty much what a jazz club is all about) and talent (which is everything else). It's dark, moody, and subtly lit, as if a fire were flickering somewhere underneath the floor; stepping into Sambuca is like walking into an underground jazz club in Paris in the 1940s, we… More >>
  • Best rock bar

    The Rock,

    We've given The Rock grief for years, but like it or not, it's as rock-and-roll as a bar can get without slipping into a pair of leather pants and a conch belt. (Find any video by The Cult, and you'll see what we're talking about.) The joint, dubbed by its owners "the rock 'n' roll palace of downtown Dallas," actually… More >>
  • Best place to kick it with bikers

    The Blue Goose

    Chain-drive twin cams and fitments, fin area and piston cooling jets, crankcases, straight crank pins, bearing areas, reshaped combustion chambers, reworked exhaust, and intake ports and valves that optimize emissions efficiency and power output, single-fire ignition systems, glossy paint, and fast as hell. Pretty maids, all in a row. If these are a few of your favorite things, take a… More >>
  • Best urban street-side patio dining

    Thai Soon

    Sitting on Thai Soon's patio, it's hard to believe that the traffic on Greenville is just a few feet away. It's really quiet. Well, it's more quiet than you'd expect when you're close enough to read the odometers on slow-moving cars. A lattice covered in vines and plants surrounds the patio, shading it from the sun. Flowers and other stretching… More >>
  • Best Place to Jog

    White Rock Lake

    When we arrived in town two decades ago, way back when Reunion had rowdies and there were more Von Erichs alive than dead, a lifelong resident told us that the only naturally beautiful thing in Dallas was White Rock Lake. We had two reactions to this statement: 1. Does this mean that Bambi Woods--who played the lead cheerleader in Debbie… More >>
  • Best honky tonk

    Country 2000

    Big hats, big belt buckles, big hair, and boots galore. A whole lot of dancing goes on at this multilevel home of progressive country music (hint: nonalcoholic beer is available, and none of it is flavored with Merle or Loretta's tears). Although the bar stays busy, the main order of business is to boot and scoot, then dance some more,… More >>
  • Best Bowling Alley

    AMF Richardson Lanes

    There's nothing wrong with some of the bigger alleys, like Don Carter's West or Showplace Lanes in Garland, but we think AMF Richardson offers the best of both worlds. We grew up next-door to a small bowling alley in Okie-homa, and we like an alley to be fewer than 50 lanes, which AMF is. But we also like some of… More >>
  • Best bar name

    The now-defunct Beer Goggles in Deep Ellum

    You've got to hand it to the frat-boy entrepreneurs behind the bar that, for a few months at least, occupied the space that once housed the Orbit Room. Rarely, if ever, has a drinking establishment cut so quickly to the chase. With such a can't-miss name, we can't believe Beer Goggles, you know, missed. They should have just named it… More >>
  • Best piano bar

    After Dark

    This little bar tucked away in a strip mall is a real charmer. Its atmosphere is more like a dim, elegant, quietly chatty bar in New York than anything else you'd find in Dallas, and we mean that in a nice way. Owners Bradley Johnson and Andy Krumm opened this establishment on April 7 of this year, and already it's… More >>
  • Best place to throw a bridal shower

    S&S Tea Room

    We don't know about you, but we're tired of seeing groups of women stagger out of bars with the girl in the center wearing a sweater full of condoms. Isn't there a more tasteful way to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of a friend than making her feel like a hooker? The groom gets his fill of those at his party.… More >>
  • Best name for an auto dealer

    Topless Motors

    It's one of those signs you think you've misread, but no, it really says Topless Motors. Then you think, "How clever, they must specialize in convertibles." No, they pretty much just sell junky old cars at rock-bottom prices. This is just 100 percent pure Madison Avenue-style marketing at its low-rent best: got you, caught you and reeled you in like… More >>
  • Best scenic drive

    Van Zandt County

    It takes a while to get out to Van Zandt County, located about 50 miles east of Dallas, but it's no wonder you find so many people who have or want a country place there. Parts of it roll like the prairies and are filled with just enough pines and oaks to provide scenery and greenery. The locals say the… More >>
  • Best place to go on a day trip (tie)

    Fossil Rim Wildlife Center & Mt. Carmel Center

    Just 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth off Interstate 20, Fossil Rim offers the opportunity to drive through and visit with hundreds of rare and endangered animals from around the world that roam free on 1,500 acres of unspoiled countryside. It's open rain or shine, from 9 a.m. until two hours before sunset every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. After… More >>
  • Best place for a piñata party

    Under the gnarly live oak trees at Tietze Park, on Skillman Streets in East Dallas, bounded by Llano and Vanderbilt streets

    Bent low by generations of scampering feet and hands, the trees at Tietze seem specially designed for piñatas and blindfolds, but get there early. Tietze is a popular spot, and you could find yourself up against a wedding picnic or a wake. … More >>
  • Best place to race illegally

    Intersections of Parker and Independence, Coit and Park, Plano

    Riceboys, beware. Your suped-up Geo Metro SiR or Toyota Corolla VTEC isn't going to cut it here. You'll find hordes of Honda Preludes, Acura Integras, and supercharged Ford Mustangs speeding up and down these streets looking for a race. Rev your engine, and you're ready. The mufflers are big, the exhausts are loud, and the cars ride low. Go quickly,… More >>
  • Best blues club

    Blue Cat Blues

    Owner Doug Henry has a reputation among some musicians for not always following through with his promises and doing business at the expense of others. While that may be true, Henry's club has a reputation for being the best place in town to see and hear the blues, a place steeped in tradition but not overwhelmed by it. Since moving… More >>
  • Best Tejano club

    Tejano West

    Look, we won't pretend to know much about this category. We grew up with polka music, which is pretty close to the conjunto that makes up the play list at most Tejano clubs, including Tejano West. Still, we're oh-so-very Anglo and somewhat out of our depth here. Meaning: We don't, as a rule, hang out at Tejano clubs, so we… More >>
  • Best place to feel at one with Deep Ellum

    Boyd Gallery

    In a city where everything old either becomes new again or gets canonized, Deep Ellum's historical value is shown only in glimpses--the name of Clearview Complex's Blind Lemon bar, the crumbling buildings, and constant street construction. The Boyd Gallery, however, has embraced its accidental history while showcasing the creative works of commercial artists. Once called the Boyd Hotel (and before… More >>
  • Best family outing on a summer weekday

    The Dallas Arboretum

    Ever have absolutely nothing to do, and your children are bored to no end, and you can't stomach the thought of standing in line to eat cardboard-tasting pizza and look at another flying plastic ball? Pack the family in the car, clean out the moldy picnic basket and pack it full of finger foods and an old blanket and head… More >>
  • Best beer joint

    The Ginger Man

    Centrally located just north of downtown, this place looks like it stepped right out of "Hansel and Gretel." The Ginger Man has 70 beers on tap and more than 80 in bottles. And these aren't simply St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Golden's finest. Beers are available from every country imaginable, and then some that haven't been discovered yet. With that many… More >>
  • Best way to get to the zoo

    DART Rail, (214) 979-1111

    The kids love it. Pick up the train at the main stop downtown or at Park Lane. You get to go through a tunnel if you opt for the latter. You'll be providing your children with a truly urban experience if you choose this route, a feat not easily accomplished in suburbanized Dallas.… More >>
  • Best place to go on monday nights

    The Cavern - CLOSED

    Back when Eleven Hundred Springs was kicking off the week from its stage, Adair's was the place to go on Monday nights. Now that honor goes to The Cavern and DJ Karl, the guy with the rock-and-roll mullet and a kick-ass collection of old punk rock and new wave. The drinks are cheap, the music's great, and every once in… More >>
  • Best place to drink icy cold beer during the day

    Ship's Lounge

    When you really don't want anyone to know you're wasting a couple of hours in the middle of the afternoon not doing anything even remotely likely to enhance your career, this is the place to do it--or so we're told. We're always hard at work creating the sort of free journalism you deserve. Dark and frumpy with nary a chatty… More >>
  • Best revolving sign

    Raven's Prescription Pharmacy

    You can't help but think about that "Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore'" thing when you see the huge black raven spinning atop his pole on the corner. He seems to be watching with an air of disdain and contempt for all earthbound creatures. Guess no one ever told him he was just a sign.… More >>
  • Best place to forget you're in Oak Cliff

    Kessler Park

    You can usually identify a denizen of North Dallas when he or she asks, sotto voce, "You live in Oak Cliff? Aren't you scared to live there?" Kessler Park, garden oasis from the big, bad streets of Oak Cliff, can surprise even a Dallas native. Beautifully kept $300,000 homes nestle along hilly, tree-lined streets. You can even put your SUV… More >>
  • Best rainy-day activity with the kids

    Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World

    A giant aquarium, a pretend shooting range, boats to climb on, tents to test, giant stuffed catfish pillows, hot dogs, fishing equipment no one even knew existed, a driving and putting range--what more do you need to keep the kids intrigued for a few hours, short of a Pokémon? Hell, if you're really lucky you might just catch an elk-calling… More >>
  • Best outing with the kids

    Dallas Museum of Art

    When most parents head downtown with the tykes in tow for a cultural or educational experience, they plan to visit somewhere obvious like The Science Place, but we think the DMA offers a great alternative. For starters, the price is right: free. But then on weekends in the afternoon, the Junior League of Dallas women (who transplant a little bit… More >>
  • Best morning stroll

    White Rock Lake from the spillway at Garland Road and White Rock Drive or from the old boat house at West Lawther Drive near Williamson and White Rock roads

    Even at its feeblest point, before the recent dredging, White Rock never lost its status as the premier walking and running site in the inner city. Now that the lake has been re-plumbed and is getting all spruced up around the verges, it's an especially upbeat place to start the day with a stroll. And with the addition of bicycle… More >>
  • Best place to watch amateur inline hockey

    Slapshots Inline Arena

    Follow the stench of sweaty hockey equipment and unshowered men to this Richardson sports spot. Brace yourself as you open the double glass doors to this testosterone palace. Divisions range from mini-mite to more than 30. Imagine, father and son can play hockey together. Youngster says, "Daddy, my bag is too heavy." Father says, "Be a man. Carry your own… More >>
  • Best alternative club

    Trees

    Trees should be dead now. That's what everyone believed would happen a few years ago, after some longtime employees defected to the Curtain Club. But it seems as if the joke's on all of them, as Trees is stronger than ever, having recently celebrated 10 years in business. After all this time, Trees is still the best place to see… More >>
  • Best bar for smokers

    Lakewood Landing

    Poor smokers. Banned from most airline flights. Shunted off to tiny corners of restaurants, left hacking and wheezing on the streets outside office buildings. Soon, they'll qualify for oppressed-minority status. If you're among the downtrodden, you will want to congregate with your own at this favorite Dallas watering hole and perhaps plan a revolution to take back your rightful, wheezing… More >>
  • Best place to meet computer geeks

    Main Street Internet

    Main Street's cybercafé is just like college computer labs. That is, if you went to school someplace where high-speed Internet-equipped computers were nestled in a coffeehouse among plump, over-stuffed couches, classical wall murals, and other urban loft-style amenities. Also, you don't need to sneak in the hooch inside a Thermos. There's a full bar, and live music is performed on… More >>
  • Best place for a kid's party

    Dallas Puppet Theater

    They are seated. They are entertained. They are, for the most part, quiet. Afterward, they slurp juice and eat cake. Then someone else cleans up the mess. What more could you ask for with a roomful of tykes? … More >>
  • Best place to (pseudo) rave

    One - CLOSED

    From 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. on weekends, DJs from across the world spin here, and the music jams. The clothing ranges from your average all-black club gear to poseurs wearing overly glossy print shirts to young chicks sucking pacifiers. While a true rave is in a warehouse or out in the desert somewhere and you only know about it… More >>
  • Best place to save the world during the spin cycle

    Bar of Soap - CLOSED

    Doing the laundry is a tedious bore, but why watch the dryer toss around the unmentionables when Pac-Man, pinball, air hockey, golf, and a variety of other quarter-snarfing games lurk just steps away? The bar in the front room is stocked with all the necessities--plenty of quarters, laundry detergent, and dryer sheets, a smorgasbord of booze, and beer both bottled… More >>
  • Best billiards

    Cuckoo's Nest

    You can have your Dave & Busters, your fine felt tops, your designer cues. Some of us like to play pool, not billiards, and you can only do that at a dive, a place where you might actually get your pink-boy butt whupped if you act a fool. We like a place that is committed to pool, not offering tables… More >>
  • Best live music venue

    Gypsy Tea Room

    When it comes to putting on a show, the Gypsy Tea Room is the Big Kahuna. It has all of the intangibles: The bar is out of the way, yet close enough so you don't miss anything; the sound is usually perfect; and you can see the stage clearly from just about anywhere in the place, except maybe the bathroom.… More >>
  • Best tragic place to invite more tragedy

    Dealey Plaza

    You see it all the time in Dealey Plaza: human squirrels tempting fate by standing on the white spray-painted X where John F. Kennedy was shot by anywhere from one to 30 gunmen. Never mind that you are standing in the middle of Elm Street, in a town whose citizens disregard all pretense of Texas courtesy while behind the wheel… More >>
  • Best place to read poetry

    Restland Funeral Home

    The World is Too Much With Us. Wordsworth could have had lovely Dallas in mind when he penned his famous early 19th-century poem. Ever get sick of living amid more cement than grass? While you're still alive, spend some time at Restland Funeral Home. There are 350 lush acres to roam, and the graves are inconspicuous enough, making it a… More >>
  • Best playground

    Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children

    It's true you can't just waltz, a passel of pikers in tow, onto this specially designed park at the Dallas hospital for children with severe orthopedic problems. But if you call ahead and make a reservation, this place can provide all ages of childish folk hours of safe and athletic fun. The play area's surface is covered with a soft,… More >>
  • Best evening stroll

    Swiss Avenue

    Swiss Avenue is poised at the center of a whole bunch of socio-economic bubbling and brewing, rich and poor living pretty much cheek-by-jowl, separated only by the alleys and the cars they drive. The magic of Swiss in the evening is that nobody drives a car: Everybody walks, or, more properly, promenades. Especially on summer evenings when the temperature drops--as… More >>
  • Best place to watch softball games

    Softball World

    One-stop shopping for the softball nut with slow-pitch league games and tournaments-men's, women's, and co-ed--never ending. They're closed just two weeks out of the year, during the Christmas and New Year season, much to the chagrin of the die-hards. There are four lighted fields, a full-service concession stand that no heart doctor would go near, ample seating, and a pro… More >>
  • Best Irish bar

    The Dubliner

    This is the anti-meat market bar on Greenville Avenue. The black-and-tans are excellent, as are the deli sandwiches. What else can we say? Do you want dumb jokes about Blarney Stones and Lucky Charms? Forget it, we're not into that kind of exploitation. This is a great casual watering hole where you can concentrate on what Irish pubs are all… More >>
  • Best dance club

    Lizard Lounge

    Red Jacket has made strides in the past few months, bringing in quality DJs and electronics artists (Carl Cox and BT, among others), but Lizard Lounge is still, by far, the best dance club Dallas has to offer, a simmering pit of break-beats and--at times--bare chests. It's seedy, sure, but in a way that's not out of line with what… More >>
  • Best gay bar

    The Crew's Inn

    This is a tough category because Dallas establishments that cater to gay men tend to niche-market their clientele. If your taste runs toward pretty boys, then bars that cater to the roughneck crowd won't do for you. On the other hand, if you prefer a real man's man, then guys wearing too much mousse and too much cologne won't hold… More >>
  • Best place to commune with nature

    White Rock Lake

    It was a long, hot summer. Those clever souls who wanted to save on air conditioning either: A) drove to the coast, B) found a nice body of water where they could kick it, or C) stripped down to their boxers in one of our many public buildings. (OK, we wanted to do that, but didn't have the nerve.) If… More >>
  • Best place to annoy pedestrians in Deep Ellum

    The valet stand at the Green Room

    This category could also be called the best place to get hit with Foley's Red Apple Sale-style elbow throws and NHL checks by people trying either to get to or escape from Trees. Other Deep Ellum restaurants have valet stands, yet there's nary a snarl in sidewalk traffic. But the Green Room's valet stand turns the walkway into the pedestrian… More >>
  • Best Place to Roller Skate

    White Rock Skate

    Walk into White Rock Skate on a Sunday afternoon, and you're back in late middle school, circa 1982. The owner is frantically running about, wearing tight designer pants, making sure his teenage workers are smiling properly. The place is disco-esque, and the roller games--limbo, boy-girl races, the freakin' hokey-pokey--still go on. Most of the kids now bring their own in-line… More >>
  • Best lesbian bar

    Buddies II

    This bar gets the nod via popular word of mouth from many women in our fair town. Unlike other queer emporiums, Buddies plays a larger variety of music. It also has a bigger selection of patron types, from the butch to the femme to those marvelous individual combinations that mark most of the rest of humanity. Its biggest sell, as… More >>
  • Best frat scene

    The Beagle

    Acre upon acre of khaki and plaid, plus a regular Greek alphabet soup: Is this heaven or hell? The answer probably depends on the size of Daddy's bank account and your fondness for stupid drinking games. If you're a Greek freak, The Beagle is the place for you on a weekend night. As an added bonus, they play '80s music,… More >>
  • Best way to curb your anger

    Target Master Indoor Shooting Center and Gun Store

    If happiness is a warm gun, then this place is Nirvana--or Charlton Heston's wet dream. It has 18 pistol and six rifle lanes and a 24,000-square-foot store to fulfill all your self-defense needs. (If you live in Kosovo.) These fine folks give private instruction so you can become a marksman, plus they sell a full line of camouflage clothing for… More >>
  • Best place for downtown yuppies to take their kids

    America's Ice Garden Ice Rink

    Among the thriving herd of young professionals moving downtown or nearby, it's inevitable that there eventually would be children among them. (Even the best birth control is, after all, less than perfect.) This leaves an obvious vacuum regarding what to do with the kids on a weekend afternoon. Driving out of downtown to entertain them seems to defeat the purpose… More >>
  • Best place for a romantic rendezvous

    Hotel St. Germain

    The sex better be incredible, because the price tag on this place will be. The 11 suites at Hotel St. Germain, located across from the Crescent, range from $290 to $650 a night. It's our very own version of New Orleans in Uptown. While some of the rooms might be mistaken for bordello chic, each suite is decorated with turn-of-the-century… More >>

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