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People & Places

  • Best Beer Joint

    Ship's Lounge

    No ferns, no frills, no food (unless you count chips and peanuts) and no TV sports at this 50-year-old establishment, which is what a real, honest-to-goodness beer joint is supposed to be. Open from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 2 a.m. Sunday, Ship's offers $2 domestic beer and can serve from a couple of… More >>
  • Best Tejano Club

    Tejano West

    You'd think, judging by the fact that pretty much every car south of Mockingbird Lane sports at least one sticker on its bumper/windshield advertising the driver's Tejano radio station of choice, this city runs on the upbeat of a conjunto soundtrack. You're probably right. The Arbitron ratings might not reflect that yet--maybe they would if Arbitron actually reported in all… More >>
  • Best Dance Club

    Lizard Lounge

    Lizard Lounge is the closest thing Dallas has to Studio 54, and depending on how uptight you are, that's either a good or bad thing. OK, so it's not that close to Studio 54, but it does have everything you want in a dance club: good music (provided by, among others, Edgeclub host DJ Merritt), good-looking men and women (clad… More >>
  • Best Lesbian (and Gay) Bar

    Sue Ellen's

    Call us naïve, but we were shocked to learn the predominantly female audience at Melissa Etheridge's recent Fort Worth concert booed when she pulled a fan onstage to share a tequila shot...because she chose a man. Being of the male persuasion ourselves, we've always felt welcome at most of the area's lesbian clubs. We've heard tales that gay places like… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Arrested on a Saturday Night

    The corner of Greenville and La Vista

    Some nights end badly. Some nights end with a public humiliation by the jackboot of the state in front of the teeming crowd of your peers, the assorted boozers and ecstasy-addled clubbers of Lower Greenville. After midnight you can witness the local cheese rousting belligerents on this corner, usually stuffing them into the white paddy wagon. The best part's the… More >>
  • Best Alternative Club

    Trees

    The best alternative club this year is not the same one as last year, even though both are named Trees. Since that time, Trees has undergone a significant makeover, classing up the joint (oooh, a velvet curtain!) while making it more fan-friendly in the process. Meaning: You no longer have to crane your neck around the air conditioner if you… More >>
  • Best Rock Bar

    The Cavern - CLOSED

    Not surprising that The Cavern is the best rock hangout in town, given that it's named after one of rock and roll's landmarks, the Liverpool bar where John, Paul, George and Ringo played before anyone cared who they were. But the name is almost irrelevant (at least its origin is), and so is the Fab Four décor; this isn't a… More >>
  • Best Sunday-night Crowd

    The Cavern (upstairs lounge) - CLOSED

    Ricki Derek doesn't look much like Sinatra, but he sounds kinda like him and, goodness, does he bring out a quirky crowd. Under his surreal crooning the bar becomes a haven for those who would rather be disemboweled by butter knives than go to the Beagle next door. There is no stereotype for the kind of person who enjoys Sinatra… More >>
  • Best Jazz Club

    Sambuca

    At most of the jazz clubs in town, with the exception of maybe the Balcony Club, the music there is nothing more than wallpaper, something to ignore, something that you won't remember five feet outside the door. At Sambuca, however, they never let you forget that the music is the reason you're there, and if you ignore it, it's not… More >>
  • Best Honky-tonk

    Sons of Hermann Hall

    Built in 1911, Sons continues to be the one legit honky-tonk island in a sea of bland imitators. It's one of the few venues that still books Texas and roots-country acts, and even though the Gypsy Tea Room offers many of the same performers (the Derailers, Tish Hinojosa, etc.), there is no match for Sons' atmosphere. From the long bar… More >>
  • Best Blues Club

    Hole in the Wall - CLOSED

    Blues music might not have been born in Dallas, but we definitely helped raise it. It's kind of hard to remember that time now, an era when Blind Lemon was a man (Blind Lemon Jefferson, the prince of country blues) and not a crappy bar. Leadbelly and Aaron "T-Bone" Walker lived here, played here, and if you don't know those… More >>
  • Best Place to Take a Tourist

    Highland Park Christmas lights tour

    We know Christmas is a long way off, but cut out this tip and save it for later. Christmas is a time for visits from family, and what better way to get them out of the house, ahem, we mean show them that the TV show Dallas was actually a documentary, by taking them on a drive-by tour through Highland… More >>
  • Best Shortcut

    Coit Road exit on Central, bypassing LBJ interchange

    OK. So you're going north on Central Expressway and you need to get onto LBJ. Thanks to the not-so-long-ago completion of 75, the traffic flows pretty well until you get within about a mile of the LBJ interchange. Then bam! You're stuck in stop-and-go traffic, your vision blocked by the enormous back end of a Ford Expedition or some other… More >>
  • Best Place to See Pets Run Wild

    Off-Leash Dog Park at Mockingbird Point

    The city set aside some park land at the northeast corner of the lake. Muenster Milling Co. (pet food) kicked in $25,000 to start a private fund-raising effort. And Texas Rangers broadcaster Eric Nadel did the cheerleading. But the basic act here is the dogs. They run, they play, they slurp, they jump. Amazing! This new dog park, the city's… More >>
  • Best Yard Sales

    Any house owned by a Yahoo! "millionaire"

    You're working at Broadcast.com doing tech support, making pretty good money, and then the company goes public. All those stock options you've been accruing are now worth a fortune. And then the company is sold to Yahoo!, and the stock is worth even more. On paper, you are now very, very rich. You are Michael J. Fox at the end… More >>
  • Best Place to See Pets You Can Eat

    Animal Barns at the State Fair of Texas

    While all those silly brats in the city waste time tying ribbons on their cats and teaching their dogs not to beg at the table, country kids raise great big shiny pets you can have for dinner. If you make it to the State Fair of Texas (September 28-October 21), be sure to spend some time strolling the animal barns,… More >>
  • Best Way For the City to Make an Easy Buck

    Ticketing yard sales

    Scenario: You've cleaned out your closets and your garage, and in an attempt to sell your junk instead of leaving it at the curb, you hold a yard sale. To advertise said sale, you innocently nail a sign to the telephone pole on the corner. Maybe another sign on another street corner, too. A little while later, a white truck… More >>
  • Best Outdoors Experience

    Cedar Hill State Park

    Except for the distant whine of cars on Interstate 20, filtered through parched hills of mesquite, you'd easily forget you were anywhere near Dallas. Cedar Hill State Park, on the shores of Joe Pool Lake, offers the closest-to-unspoiled scenery you'll find in Dallas County, as well as attractive campsites and picnic areas. Lots of people come here to swim in… More >>
  • Best Windshield Obstruction

    The TollTag

    When it first came out, it seemed an unnecessary extravagance, something to keep rich North Dallas commuters from having to dig into their pockets, fiddle with their spare change and slow down. But with rush hour more than just a sequel, with the TollTag enabling you to live life in the fast lane by racing through the toll booth at… More >>
  • Best Place to Continue Your Education

    SMU-continuing education

    You all know what SMU stands for, don't you? Southern Money University. Well, even if you weren't one of the fortunate sons whose daddies footed the bill so you could attend this Park Cities institute of higher learning as a full-time student, there's still a place for you on campus. SMU offers you lazy proles out there a chance to… More >>
  • Best Place to Learn Real X-Files Stuff

    The Eclectic Viewpoint

    This is the kind of info Fox and Scully live for. Back in 1992 a fascinating and quizzical Dallas lady named Cheyenne Turner established the Eclectic Viewpoint lecture series that is going full steam ahead despite the fact she passed away in '98. Under her direction, lecturing experts in all manner of paranormal, psychic and spiritual fields have come to… More >>
  • Best Tour Destination for Local Bands

    Amsterdam

    When Centro-matic and Slobberbone perform at Gypsy Tea Room or Curtain Club in Dallas, or Dan's Bar or Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios in Denton, they play to decent crowds, sometimes packed houses, but getting into one of their shows is usually not that big of a deal. When they travel to Austin or Houston, they might have a good show… More >>
  • Best Way to Snoop

    Dallas County Appraisal District Web site

    Want to know how much your boss paid for that new house she bought last year or whether the money the government says your house is worth jibes with the value of your neighbor's house? Well, thanks to modern technology, you can get a pretty good idea without leaving the comfort of your home or office. Just get onto the… More >>
  • Best Zoo

    Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

    For the chance to rub noses with a zebra (literally) and gaze into the vacant eyes of an ostrich, we choose Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose. It's not exactly a zoo. Few of the animals are in cages, and you drive safarilike to each zone of the 1,500-acre wildlife park, slowing down for elands and aoudads. Even the… More >>
  • Best Place to Commune with Nature

    Dallas Arboretum

    The Dallas Arboretum may sound like an obvious and uninventive choice, but the 66 acres offer a variety of different ways to experience nature in a quick tour and without actually roughing it. There's a bamboo forest, mulched trails through trees and wild vines and flowers, a path lined with animal sculptures, the Camp Estate's aromatic herb garden, shaded gazebos… More >>
  • Best Place for a Romantic Rendezvous

    Japanese Gardens

    Yes, Fort Worth is a long way to go for an afternoon together, but the scenery at the Japanese Gardens is worth the trip. Gentle paths wind through a simply arrayed blend of trees, shrubs, and stones. There are soothing ponds, in which brightly colored koi dart to and fro. There are also rock and meditation gardens, which strip visitors… More >>
  • Best Outing with the Kids

    The Dallas World Aquarium

    The Dallas World Aquarium (not to be confused with the Dallas Zoo's crappy aquarium) is one of the few places that is kid-friendly, air-conditioned and has something to offer beyond a mall or movie theater. The aquarium has exotic plants, animals and aquatic life. Kids will get a particularly big kick out of the colony of South American black-footed penguins… More >>
  • Best Live Music Venue

    Gypsy Tea Room

    A few months ago, Gypsy Tea Room booked a gig by frat favorites Guster in its ballroom and a smaller, quieter show by singer-songwriter Richard Buckner in its smaller, quieter tea room on the same night. While the two stages were, at the time, separated by a hallway, a curtain and quite a bit of square footage, Guster's more raucous… More >>
  • Best Place to Beat the Heat

    Joe Pool Lake/Cedar Hill State Park

    Unless you're one of those who huddle at home in front of the air conditioner with Oprah at full blast, the truth is there's really no beating the Texas heat. So, you just find a way to enjoy it. No better place to do so than Joe Pool Lake in southern Dallas County. In addition to boating and water skiing,… More >>
  • Best Trip Back in Time

    Dr Pepper Bottling Co.

    Who in these parts isn't loyally addicted to the Texas-born drink that was invented in a Waco drugstore? If you're as devoted to the soda's sweet taste as you think, you need to make the pilgrimage down Interstate 20 to visit the oldest Dr Pepper bottling plant in the world. Not only has the Dublin Bottling Co. been in business… More >>
  • Best Place to Go for a Day Trip

    The Authentic Bonnie and Clyde Festival

    Put the closest weekend to May 23 on your calendar if you're one of those who can't get enough of the Bonnie and Clyde legend. Just across the state line in Gibsland, Louisiana (about a three-hour drive from Dallas), the festival annually features discussions by Barrow Gang historians, a re-enactment of the 1934 ambush that ended the love birds' crime… More >>
  • Best Night to Be in Deep Ellum

    Thursday

    Technically, and speaking in a grander scheme of things, the best night to be in Deep Ellum is when every single one of those annoying roof decks catches fire, when those hovering meat markets that serve as an unfortunate nexus of silicone, tanning beds, bleached blondes, leather pants, green apple martinis and Young MC fill the sky with the acrid… More >>
  • Best Movie-lover's Nostalgia Trip

    Majestic Theater

    Forty miles east of Dallas, the neon lights outside the old Majestic Theater will go on (nightly except Wednesday), owner Karl Lybrand III will fire up the popcorn machine, then take his place in the ticket booth. The 300 seats inside won't be filled, but there will be anywhere from 15 to 50 faithful patrons forking over $2 for a… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Angie Harmon a Drink

    The Green Room

    If you hang around at The Green Room long enough, there's a good chance you'll see Angie Harmon at some point. Especially now: It's football season, and her husband, Jason Sehorn, is off attempting to play cornerback for the New York Giants, so Harmon, the former Law & Order star, has plenty of free time. And since this is her… More >>
  • Best Nighttime Walk

    The Owl Hike at Dallas Nature Center

    It's true that Dallas is a concrete jungle, ruled by Rhino-like SUVs that are just waiting to mow down any pedestrian within steering distance, but there is one place a pedestrian can go to get away from it all. The Owl Hike at the Dallas Nature Center gives city folk a rare chance to hear the hoots and hollers of… More >>
  • Best Bar to Remember Greatness

    Lakewood Landing

    A Dallas institution passed this year, but that's no reason to avoid partaking at this venerable East Dallas institution. In fact, you should go to pay your tribute to its longtime, beehived waitress queen, Lucille Mathews. For more than 30 years, Lucille brought drinks and more than a few smiles to regulars and first-timers alike, treating most patrons with more… More >>
  • Best Scenic Drive

    Southern Dallas County

    The folks who live down that way would just as soon you didn't know about it, but this is as close to the picturesque Texas Hill Country as you're going to get. You can use Joe Pool Lake as a gateway, then drive into Cedar Hill, where you'll want to visit a real old-timey town square. Take the back roads… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Tattooed

    Skin & Bones

    Still the best, if not the only great place in Dallas to turn yourself into a leaping lizard. A combined total of 65 years' tattooing experience makes the staff here one of the most consistent in town, with high marks in both technical skill and artistic flair. You can spend 50 bucks getting a black star tattooed on your butt… More >>
  • Best Urban Hiking Trail

    Windmill Hill Nature Preserve

    Though just a few blocks south of Interstate 67, it's called "A Quiet Place" for good reason. Wind along its foot trails, viewing the well-preserved flowers and fauna of the region, and soon you're lost in another world. This is no quick-step hiking place. Unless you're looking for a leisurely walk and literally prepared to stop and smell the flowers,… More >>
  • Best Bar for Kicking Back

    The Meridian Room

    This beautifully restored hangout is one of the best places to buy mixed drinks, or as their ads say, "classic cocktails," in Dallas. Unlike the party-hardy scene in Deep Ellum and Lower Greenville, the Meridian Room is a great place for real camaraderie, not drunken blowouts. The Exposition Park neighborhood near Fair Park is still a fringe-y area best known… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Wet

    Oak Point Center

    For the price, this can't be beat. A mere $3 will get you into the Plano city water park, and children six and under are admitted free. This park with slides, fountain-filled train rides, dumping buckets and a zero-depth entry ramp meets all the standards set by its more expensive private cousins. An indoor pool is also available at the… More >>
  • Best Movie Pitch Worth the Wait

    Angelika Film Center & Café

    We can see the screenwriter (or producer, or director) making his pitch to the studio exec: "It's a movie theater, see, where we show nothing but art-house movies. Indies, the kids call 'em. Yeah, yeah, I know. It's a...whaddya call it?...a niche audience. Perfect. Narrowcasting, can ya dig? We'll give 'em L.I.E. and Bully and lots of other movies with… More >>
  • Best Playground

    Andrew Brown Community Park East

    The town of Coppell doesn't exactly come to mind when thinking about the Disneyland of outdoor play spaces. But nestled within the 148 acres of Andrew Brown Community Park East is a veritable imagination plantation that can soothe the hyperactive souls of children of all ages. At Kid Kountry, they can board a pirate ship or climb up a castle… More >>
  • Best Place for a Kid's Party

    The Purple Cow

    You know how you know a place is a favorite for kids? When it's a 30-minute ride to get there, and the munchkin goes insane with glee when you mention the possibility you could go there for lunch. The Purple Cow gets just such a reaction. This restaurant, styled after a 1950s soda fountain, is a favorite for parties because… More >>
  • Best Live Entertainment for Kids

    The observation park at DFW Airport

    On those rare occasions when a north wind blows, we know to pack up the kid and his toy airplane collection and race to DFW Airport's observation area, where he'll see jumbo jets--747s, A340s, 767s, L-1011s and DC-10s and the many smaller varieties--practically landing on top of him, and he'll watch the results of those tiny, precarious adjustments the pilot… More >>
  • Boys Will Be Girls

    Richard Curtin, entertainment director, Caven Enterprises

    When Richard Curtin talks about overseeing the activities of "the girls and the boys," don't mistake him for a kindergarten teacher. As entertainment director for Caven Enterprises, Dallas' largest owner of lesbian and gay bars and clubs, it's Curtin's responsibility to coax, pester, nudge and generally troubleshoot for "the girls"--the drag artists--and "the boys"--the male dancers--as well as the sometimes… More >>
  • Out on a Limb

    Pierre Bradshaw, bird rehabilitator with On the Wing Again

    Pierre Bradshaw's life is for the birds. Literally. Bradshaw and his wife, Anne, operate On the Wing Again, a sort of halfway house dedicated to wild bird rehab. And this is no small matter. Bradshaw says he took in some 3,000 birds last year--everything from songbirds and ducks to soaring birds of prey--for treatment, care and release back into the… More >>
  • Human Nature's Peculiar Side

    Beverly Henley, owner, director and RA specialist, Forest Lawn Funeral Home

    "I put the fun in funeral home!" declares Beverly Henley, one of the few funeral directors and embalmers in Texas who also owns her own business. Lest anyone take offense, Forest Lawn's silver-haired impresario insists she encourages all her employees to have a sense of humor. It balances out the rigors of their profession, as well as Henley's second calling… More >>
  • He Pee Freely

    Bryan Higgins, test technician, Lone Star Park

    Sports talk-show hosts have long debated whether horses know when they win a race. Do they, in other words, experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat? It is an interesting question but one we'll likely never have a definitive answer to because the horses won't talk. One thing about winning racehorses we do know: Shortly after they've run… More >>
  • Slammer Mess

    Captain Ray Daberko, chef to Dallas County inmates

    Cooking is grueling. Just ask any professional chef. It's tedious work getting recipes right, nudging flavors into balance and grooming entrČes into optimum presentability--especially when this work has to be done for a couple of hundred diners. But if this is tedious, what do you say about Dallas County Sheriff's Department Captain Ray Daberko's daily grind, which entails overseeing the… More >>
  • He's Got the Hook

    Carl Savering, actor and repo man

    By purely stereotypical standards, Carl Savering looks like a repo man: shaved head, burly stature, belt buckle, work boots. That's his day job (or late-night job, depending on the assignment). But he's also co-founder and artistic director of Theatre Quorum, one of Dallas' small but ambitious and accomplished theater troupes. You might imagine successful stage actors automatically possess a willowy,… More >>
  • "Keep It In Your Pants"

    David Cohen, matrimonial investigator

    Comedian Chris Rock once made a statement that private investigator David Cohen says he has considered framing on his desk: "Men are as loyal as their options." Cohen founded his own private investigation firm, Investigative Resources of Texas, in 1994 after assisting collection agencies in their pursuit of big debts and in worldwide efforts to locate military deserters. He has abundant… More >>
  • Best Job Done of a Job No One Wants

    Maria Frenkel, crime-scene cleanup

    For years Maria Frenkel couldn't talk about why she launched her own business. Her reasons for doing it were too personal, and if asked she would simply say, "I wanted to be able to help people." Only recently has she felt comfortable explaining why she started Crime Scene Clean-Up Services of Texas. In the spring of 1996, Frenkel, then 37 years… More >>

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