People & Places

  • Scenes: Edie Brickell

    Still Delivering

    Edie Brickell is still shooting at the stars She was just 14 years old when the very first issues of the Dallas Observer showed up in the lobby of her favorite movie theater. Back then, Edie Brickell was still a couple of years away from enrolling at the Booker T. Washington School for Performing and Visual Arts, where she had… More >>
  • Best Supply of Sugar Daddies

    Medici - CLOSED

    Medici is, as every uptown scenester knows, just exclusive enough to be called exclusive, but not exclusive enough that a pretty big rack or a pretty big wallet won't get you in. We know because, well, we've been there, and we are not classy broads, despite what you may have been led to believe. This didn't seem to matter to… More >>
  • Best Jazz Club

    New Amsterdam Coffeehaus

    Some jazz clubs in Dallas offer live music on the weekends; most of the better ones serve it up every night. But New Amsterdam, a coffee house in Exposition Park, beats the competition even though it hosts live jazz only on Mondays. Still, there's more than a quality-to-quantity ratio involved in this one. To us, jazz isn't about pristine tablecloths,… More >>
  • Best Beer Selection

    The Old Monk

    We're about to make a disclosure that has nearly cost us a few friendships. When it comes to beer, we love a good bottle of Grolsch. We truly enjoy Stella Artois from the tap. Occasionally, we'll go with some breed of Chimay. We heart Boddingtons. Cheers to Harp and Fat Tire. Dear, sweet Pyramid Apricot. Good ol' Guinness. Give us… More >>
  • Best Weekday Round Table

    Lakewood Landing

    The Landing looks like a rec room from the 1970s; think of the basement in That '70s Show or any scene from Freaks and Geeks where people drank, got high or made out. There are a few tables, a handful of booths, one couch, a pool table, Golden Tee, a jukebox and a long bar in a narrow space. On… More >>
  • Best Place to Choose Your Future Canine

    White Rock Lake Dog Park

    On a good day at the dog park, you'll meet dozens of dogs of various breeds and, sometimes, dozens of breeds in one dog. Not a dog owner? White Rock Lake Dog Park is a great place to "window shop" for your next pal; you can see how spectacularly tall (and drooly) a great Dane is or how mind-numbingly adorable… More >>
  • Best Organic Garden

    Texas Discovery Gardens

    At Fair Park in the building and area where the botanical society used to be, Texas Discovery Gardens is a year-round medley of all-organic garden themes, including a butterfly habitat (especially worth seeing during the State Fair), wildlife pond, scent garden, shade garden and heirloom garden. The Dallas Arboretum is more fancy-schmancy, of course, but unlike the Arboretum, the Discovery… More >>
  • Best Place to Have a Chic Wedding

    Seventeen Seventeen Restaurant

    When you're getting married, the most important thing is to impress people, right? Screw that whole love and commitment thing. This event is really about blowing the pants off everyone so they'll be talking about it long after you've paid off the credit card bills. Required elements include a full bar, romantic mood lighting, a stone balcony (perfect for a… More >>
  • Best Place to Solidify Your Hatred of Children

    Sam Moon Trading Company

    You just want an inexpensive faux hairpiece. That's all. Not so much to ask. Your girlfriend wants a fake Louis Vuitton wallet. Easy. Or so you thought. The logical destination is, of course, the Sam Moon Trading Company off LBJ Freeway and...hey, the new location even has one big-assed parking lot. Unfortunately, that means more room for minivans, which means… More >>
  • Best Place to Be Hip in Tarrant County

    Caves Lounge

    You're decked out in your chucks, with your low-slung ass-huggers and wife beater, and your eyeliner is absolutely perfect. You really, really need to listen to some Clap Your Hands Say Yeah or Johnny Cash and you crave a Hefeweizen, but for Pete's sake, you're in Tarrant-freaking-County. It's a scary feeling. What's a hipster to do? Haul ass down to… More >>
  • Best Place to Solidify Your Hatred of Teenagers

    Webb Chapel Cinemark/IMAX

    Any PG-13 movie on a Friday night opening at the Webb Chapel Cinemark/IMAX: Watch with horror as hundreds upon hundreds of scantily clad prosti-tots pile out of SUVs and congeal into hormone-charged nodes. Tremble with hatred as they throw popcorn, M&Ms and female sanitary products across the theater during the film. Seethe with anger as your emphatic shushing is answered… More >>
  • Best Crotchety Old Dude Hang-Out

    Nick's Café

    In the past, Nick's has been the recipient of the prestigious "best breakfast" and "best potato salad" awards from the Dallas Observer. But whatever gastronomical satisfaction may be derived from a heaping plate of home cookin' pales in comparison with the sheer enjoyment that is eating in the company of amiable senior Dallasites. Perched on the blue vinyl seats, they… More >>
  • Best Place for a Gothic Lunch Break

    Greenwood Cemetery

    Convenient to both Uptown and downtown workers, Greenwood Cemetery, founded in 1874, is the kind of place we could imagine spending many a quiet, leisurely lunch hour. It's not morbid, at least not to Romantics like us, who love crouching to decipher the weather-worn poetry on 100-year-old headstones, like the one for a 5-year-old who died in 1902 that reads:… More >>
  • Best Place to Drink the Most Disgusting Drink Ever

    Absinthe Lounge

    Like most good college students, we had a raucous four months studying abroad in Europe where we discovered nude beaches, smoking indoors and the "green fairy," absinthe. So when we heard about the Absinthe Lounge over on Lamar Street, we were skeptical. Since the real stuff is illegal in the States, the folks there have to brew up a watered-down… More >>
  • Best Carpet

    The Cuckoo's Nest

    The Cuckoo's Nest has a lot going for it, including a plethora of pool tables, cheap drinks and sympathetic bartenders. But what really sets this upper Greenville dive apart is the floor décor: rough, rug burn-inducing hotel-grade carpet emblazoned with what may or may not have once been a floral design. Become a part of history yourself by buying a… More >>
  • Best Night Club Attached to a Convenience Store

    The Slip Inn

    It took us four passes with the windows rolled up and the doors locked before we built up the courage to pull into the Slip Inn parking lot, but boy, are we glad we did. Once inside, the whiskey was cheap, the hipsters were minimal, and the dancing was a free-for-all. All cares were forgotten until we stumbled back out… More >>
  • Best Place to Down Tequila Shots

    Agave Azul Cocina y Tequileria

    When you sink to the level of tequila shots, you generally think college bar or Tex-Mex dive. Too bad. Agave Azul is indistinct enough, sitting on one corner of a lonely shopping strip, and they serve Tex-Mex fare, but the place is designed for more sophisticated hard-core alcoholics. They separate the bar side from the dining room with a wall… More >>
  • Best Navel-Gazing

    DFW Blogs

    Ah, the constant uphill battle of being a blogger: You know you're brilliant, witty and well-informed, but how do you spread the news to potential readers just dying to know what you had for breakfast? Fear not, for the folks at DFW Blogs understand your plight and are doing their damnedest to help distribute your self-obsession to the rest of… More >>
  • Best Place to Actually See a Radio DJ

    Sunday Nights at City Tavern with Josh Venable

    Radio jocks have a certain air of mystery about them. Because they are rarely seen, their voices carry the weight of their identity. Sure, they do publicity appearances and host the occasional music festival, but for the most part their applause is directed toward a faceplate of plastic and LCD panels in listeners' cars. Of all local DJs, Josh Venable,… More >>
  • Best Backstage Area

    Granada Theater

    For a venue, short of staying financially afloat, there's nothing more important than treating the talent hospitably. It's not hard, really. Give a band a nice place to sit, give them a few drink tickets, or even better, put some iced-down beverages in their backstage area. That's really all you gotta do. If you can offer food, that's even better.… More >>
  • Best Hooch and Pooch

    Dog Day Afternoons at Lee Harvey's

    Correct us if we're wrong, but we find Sunday to be the official hair-of-the-dog day. Friday and Saturday nights have wreaked havoc on the body, and now a little quality time must be spent recuperating. Lee Harvey's opens at 1 p.m. Excellent. Now we need discounted therapy. Two-dollar Bloody Marys and mimosas. Beautiful. This whole scenario would be perfect, but… More >>
  • Best Example of a Real World Wash-Up

    Dan Renzi, Real World Miami

    Not too long ago at the Library Bar at the Melrose Hotel, there was a Real World sighting. Unfortunately it wasn't badass Veronica (we can all pretend to hate her, but you know she rocked the Inferno II). Instead, it was Dan Renzi. Since we like to consider ourselves friendly and easygoing people, we made the first move. It was… More >>
  • Best Planespotting (Tie)

    Founder's Plaza, Bachman Lake Park

    One important yet overlooked facet of the Wright Amendment debate is the "Wayne's World effect." Eliminating the Wright Amendment's limits on Southwest Airlines flights from Love Field would be an important change for that small subset of humanity that gets its kicks watching jets land from up close. The best spot to do that is Founder's Plaza, a small park… More >>
  • Best Patio

    The Ginger Man

    A night out in Uptown might convince an alien visitor that human cloning is a thriving industry in Dallas. Deviation from the unrelentingly fratty aesthetic is rare, and opportunities for real conversation are virtually nonexistent. The Ginger Man, however, offers an alternative even as it remains an Uptown mainstay, thanks to its spacious back patio. While the valiant young software… More >>
  • Best Place to Sit on a Patio and Not Be Seen

    Daniele Osteria

    Why do people crowd onto streetside patios in Dallas? Do we love the acrid smell of exhaust, the damp spray of misters turning well-gelled hair into sticky slime or the possibility that someone whipping by at 40 mph will recognize us and droop in envy? None of that's possible at Daniele Osteria, the comfortable Italian spot tucked underneath the Bank… More >>
  • Best Bartender

    Adam Salazar

    Ever just sit back and watch Adam Salazar work? We have, largely because we were propped up against the bar. This guy serves a good drink, no matter the cocktail. He knows alcohol and all the intricacies of running a bar. Remembers names and faces, too. No other bartender can claim his following, which includes people of various age groups… More >>
  • Best Bartender Competition

    Iron Bartender at Down Bar and Lounge

    Inspired by The Food Network's Iron Chef, Iron Bartender presents its drink slingers with quite a challenge: They draw two liquors out of a hat and then have five minutes to turn those ingredients into a kick-ass cocktail. The performance is then rated by a panel of judges, who are a group of highly trained and highly discerning individuals--and we're… More >>
  • Best Crowd-Pleaser

    Matthew Giese

    Way back when people considering themselves ahead of the hipness curve crowded into Samba Room, Matthew Giese worked behind the bar. Already he had developed a keen understanding of popular habits and the Dallas scene. That's when we first labeled him the "poet laureate of Dallas nightlife," a title he has yet to relinquish. He worked several top clubs following… More >>
  • Best New Patio


    It's on a rooftop. It has palm trees. The pretty people gather on weekends. The Sunday afternoon parties featuring the 12-Inch Pimps are already legendary. Some of the city's best bartenders sling drinks at the small outdoor bar, including Adam Salazar. Oh, did we mention they have a pool? It's difficult not to like a place where women strip down… More >>
  • Best Buzz for Your Buck

    Wednesdays at Ozona Grill & Bar

    Finally, a drink special we can get on board with: On Wednesdays at Ozona Grill & Bar, domestic drafts are $1 all day. That's one dollar. All day. Are you listening? Beer snobs, obviously, need not apply. But if domestic brews don't rankle your nose hairs (how else to explain your snout's permanent uplift?), then bring a few bucks and… More >>
  • Best After-Hours Hangout

    Café Brazil

    At 2:30 in the morning, this is not a restaurant. This is a freak show. All of the drunks, from all over town, come here, to this Café Brazil on the border of SMU's campus for two things: They are hungry, and they are horny. Last time we were there, a guy next to us sat with a group of… More >>
  • Best Guinness Pour

    The Tipperary Inn

    You've got to hand it to the Irish: They spend so much time thinking about Guinness that they have rules. It should take exactly 119.5 seconds to draw a pint. The head must protrude above the rim but never spill over. The pint should be served at precisely 42.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Each sip must leave a tidal ring on the… More >>
  • Best Rock Bar

    The Cavern

    Most of our Best Of awards take the previous year into consideration when picking a winner, but in the case of Lower Greenville's The Cavern, we think the year ahead is optimistic enough to earn this nod. After all, Lance Yocom has revitalized the cozy music venue by overtaking the booking as part of his Spune Productions company and organizing… More >>
  • Best Jukebox

    The Grapevine

    No more flipping through page after jukebox page, looking for that one song by George Jones or Run DMC or the Strokes. The Grapevine has more than 200,000 titles on its jukebox, all of them available for download from the Internet at a touch of a button. Using the keyboard on the monitor's screen, you can search by artist, album… More >>
  • Best Rooftop Theater

    Gachet Coffee Lounge

    The movies roll on Monday nights, the least trafficked of any on Greenville Avenue. They're shown on a projection screen on the deck, two stories above the street entrance to Gachet, a coffee house with a Europhile complex that, coincidentally, serves the best espresso in town. Some of the movies are iconic (North by Northwest), some are cult faves (Napoleon… More >>
  • Best Honky Tonk


    For some folks, country music concerts are best with a huge hardwood floor that caters to line dancing, and really, that's fine and dandy. If people want to meet en masse, stand in formation and promenade to generic country music, have at it. But it's nice to have a casual, down-home alternative that understands what country music is really all… More >>
  • Best Latin Club

    Escapade 2009

    So there was this hot chick standing by herself at a watering hole in Dallas a while back, and we, thanks to liquid courage, decided to chat her up. At first, she reacted meekly to our drunk flirting, but after the formalities, the tall blonde cut to the chase. "This scene blows. My friends and I are going to Escapade--you… More >>
  • Best Blues Club

    Deep Ellum Blues

    To think, Deep Ellum Blues has only been around a year and a half and has already positioned itself as the foremost source of blues in Dallas. What's even more amazing, though, is how subtle the new venue was in dominating the scene. There haven't been any super-huge festivals or expensive redesigns at the Deep Ellum club (unless you count… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar (Sort of)

    The Grapevine

    Sometimes you wanna go where everyone knows your name, and sometimes you just want to fade into the corner with your friends Jack, Jim and Jose. At The Grapevine, you can do either. Conversation is easy to find, but so is the enjoyment of sitting alone listening to everything from Marvin Gaye to ABBA to The Killers. OK, so The… More >>
  • Best Dance Club

    Lizard Lounge

    Really, if you get drunk enough, you can get your groove on at most any nightlife spot in Dallas. That said, we'd much rather you take your drunk ass out of Taco Cabana (no, the salsa bar isn't a good place to strike up the Macarena) and shake your tailfeathers all the way to the Lizard Lounge, where dancing isn't… More >>
  • Best Alternative Club


    If you're a social misfit in Dallas, minc opens its arms to you, baby. The Exposition Park hotspot, which has been mislabeled a gay club for a while, has recently broadened its booking horizons to remind men and women, gay and straight, black and white and tall and short that all nightlife possibilities are up for grabs at one convenient… More >>
  • Best Live Music Venue

    Gypsy Tea Room

    With such great booking, the Gypsy Tea Room doesn't really need to pander to the local scene. The Deep Ellum mainstay's larger ballroom is the perfect mid-level venue for touring acts such as Ryan Adams, The Roots and Robert Plant, who want to sell a thousand tickets and still consider their concerts "intimate," while the smaller "tea room" gives up-and-coming… More >>
  • Best Arcade for Grown-ups

    Bar of Soap

    Most people assume the only place a person can grab a beer in Dallas while playing an arcade game (read: not Golden Tee or one of those touch-screen mini-machines) is Dave & Buster's, but Exposition Park's Bar of Soap gives drinking gamers a shot at some fine cabinets without forcing them to wear khaki shorts. Racing, shooting, pinball, Pac-Man and… More >>
  • Best Open Mike

    Open Mike Mondays at Fallout Lounge - CLOSED

    Most open mike nights are painful affairs. You bring your guitar and your songs, and everyone else brings their best Dave Matthews impersonations. Not at the Fallout, where the open mike draws everyone from talented unknowns with great record collections to established local talents. Local scenester Tania Rivas founded Open Mike Mondays in April 2004 but has since handed over… More >>
  • Best Place to Scope Mullets

    The State Fair of Texas

    Business in the front, party in the back seems to be a popular theme at our favorite annual event, which boasts almost as many mullets as it does turkey legs. A good place to start your hunt is the automobile building, but just about anywhere else in Fair Park is excellent mullet habitat as well. They'll be damn near everywhere--at… More >>
  • Best Place to Panhandle

    North Hampton Road and Interstate 30

    Technically, it's illegal to panhandle at intersections in Dallas. But, if you must, there's no better place than the corner of North Hampton and I-30. Here you'll find traffic lights to ensure a captive audience, several cheap tacos stands nearby for begging fuel and a scenic vista the homeowners at White Rock Lake could envy. Your hillside retreat will afford… More >>
  • Best Excuse to Drink Sake

    Sushi Sapporo

    Sushi, sake, karaoke and drag queens. One may seem not like the others--that is, unless you've been to Sushi Sapporo on karaoke night, which is hosted (previously on Fridays, now on Saturdays from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.) by a drag queen with a Cher impersonation as fierce as her wardrobe. That's just one of the reasons this shindig's hype… More >>
  • Best Place to See Urban Cowboys

    Two-Step Lessons at Double Wide

    Most people at the Double Wide were too young when Urban Cowboy was released in 1980 to remember the two-step craze that got city slickers putting on big hats, tight jeans and snakeskin boots to be like John Travolta and Debra Winger. These urban cowboys are more likely to be wearing flip- flops, Vans or Chuck Taylors, and that's all… More >>
  • Best Backyard Bar

    Lee Harvey's

    Lee Harvey's feels like home. Maybe not your home, but that great party house you used to hang at. The bar actually is an old house, divided into small spaces crammed with barstools, booths, vintage arcade games and a DJ table, forcing you outside to the spacious yard--the prime real estate. There are long wooden picnic tables and benches, fire… More >>
  • Best Place to Watch Hippies Dance

    The Across the Street Bar Psychedelic Drum Jam - CLOSED

    Granted, we've only observed this Wednesday night spectacle from the safe confines of the Barley House patio, but it sure looks like fun if you're into that sort of thing. Based on the data we've accumulated, it seems the drummers gather in a circle, allowing the hippies to congregate in the middle and perform their traditional loose-limbed mating dance--a combination… More >>
  • Best Way to Still Swing

    Dallas Swing Dance Society

    There were no people more happy to see the swing dance fad die than the Dallas Swing Dance Society. First, they had to endure all the Swingers-lovin' hipsters snagging all the cool threads in their lust for lounge, and then they couldn't turn on the tube without seeing their beloved dance steps used to sell khaki pants at The Gap.… More >>
  • Best Meet Market

    Half Price Books

    Library? Too quiet. Bar? Too loud. Restaurant? Too expensive, plus not everyone wants to eat the same thing. If you've got picky people who need to meet, Half Price Books has tables and chairs and a couch in the café. It's free; it's quiet, but not too quiet; people can eat and drink or not feel guilty if they don't.… More >>
  • Best Reason to Call in Sick on Friday

    Skaraoke at the Meridian Room

    Can you tell the difference between a voice scratchy and raw from a nasty case of bronchitis on the verge of pneumonia from one harmed by four hours spent in a smoky bar and performing a scream-filled rendition of Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It"? Nope. And neither can your boss. See, Skaraoke--hosted every Thursday night from 11 p.m.… More >>
  • Best Bird's-Eye View of Dallas

    Roof of South Side on Lamar Lofts

    After a late-night cup of java at Standards and Pours on the bottom level of this artists' community, venture your way to the main lobby, find the elevator and ride all the way to the top. The roof caters to the residents of this renovated Sears building with sitting areas, a pool and jogging track. People even live up there!… More >>
  • Best Costume Party

    The Lollipop Shoppe

    It's not every weekend you can paint your self gold and do "The Swim" on a go-go girl platform. But it is every eighth weekend. The Lollipop Shoppe is an every-other-month themed party usually held at the Avenue Arts Venue in Expo Park. Music (provided by resident DJs Panda Flower and Tiger Bee, guest DJs and live bands) and decorations… More >>
  • Best Bar for Blind Dates

    The Cavern Upstairs

    Maybe your friends or coworkers have set you up with somebody, or perhaps you're venturing into the world of online dating. Either way you have a potentially bad date. Arrange your meet-up at The Cavern's upstairs lounge; it has several factors that work for you. First, it's a bar. There's alcohol. Enough said. Second, it's less crowded upstairs, and seeing… More >>
  • Best Place to Be a Voyeur

    Reikyu Sushi & Bar

    It just happens. We're sitting at Reikyu, in a seat that faces out onto Mockingbird Station, and we spy someone in an apartment with the blinds open, probably also enjoying the view. And before we know it, we're watching some guy pace around his stylishly minimal apartment while talking on a cordless phone. It's more addictive than TV at a… More >>
  • Best Place to Wait for a Movie Date

    Trinity Hall

    You like to be in the theater before the lights dim for the previews. Your companion doesn't mind missing the first few minutes of the movie. That leaves you waiting--hoping--for 10, 15, 20 minutes. Don't stand in the Angelika's lobby, tapping your foot and checking your watch every 30 seconds. Go next door to Trinity Hall; it's OK, you can… More >>
  • Best Mobile Meet Market

    White Rock Lake

    We've always seen exercise as something done in hopes that eventually--one day far, far in the future--we might actually get hit on again. But, for some people, the payoff is much more immediate. It happens while they're exercising. That's right: Some people get hit on even when they're sweaty, pony-tailed, makeupless and Spandexed. On Saturday mornings at White Rock Lake,… More >>
  • Best Concrete Roller Coaster

    The High Five

    The High Five entanglement provides enough roller-coaster thrills to challenge Six Flags. Test your acrophobia on the connector from LBJ westbound to Central southbound; there's a cheap thrill to looking down as you become airborne. Just keep an eye on the road: The last thing anyone wants, especially the traffic behind you, is to be stuck in a fender-bender in… More >>
  • Best Liquid Assets

    Standards and Pours Coffee and Stocks

    Does anybody remember Grinders Coffee on Lower Greenville years ago? (Erykah Badu probably does; she used to work there.) The homey neighborhood feeling it had is echoed in Standards and Pours on the south side of downtown in the South Side Lofts building. But if you're the white-collar financial type, this could be your second office. The coffee is good,… More >>
  • Best Micro Lake

    City Lake Park

    This is the kind of park you see in old movies with all the right touches. The lake itself is surrounded by nice green landscaping, picnic tables and a walking trail, and there's even a bridge spanning the water. It's a small jewel nestled near the downtown area, what is normally referred to as Old Mesquite. Walk the less than… More >>
  • Best Place to Git Giddy-Up Wit It

    Klassic Kountry Saturday Nights

    Before heading to Mesquite's version of the Opry, you need one of two things: either a love of country music, or an open mind to it, because the people at Rodeo City Music Hall love them some country and are gonna make darn sure you have a good time. Everything you might expect will probably be there, too. Cowboy… More >>
  • Best Night For An Easy Hookup

    Sunday night at Nikita

    We've seen and heard just about everything on Sunday nights at Nikita. Randy drunks try to catch the eyes of other randy drunks. They beg for phone numbers when their dates rush off to the unisex bathroom. Inside the john, guys brazenly attempt to lure party girls into stalls. One woman simply walked up to us and slurred, "I'm trying… More >>
  • Best Margarita

    Frankie's Margarita, Monica's Aca y Alla

    Once in awhile some curmudgeon laments the evolutionary process that reduces once manly cocktails to whimpering, effeminate things with barely a drizzle of liquor. Hemingway and other tough guys slurped piña coladas that were alcoholic beasts, not frozen desserts. Stolid British gents downed dry, puckering gin martinis, not clean, unthreatening glasses of vodka, to fortify themselves for a day abusing… More >>
  • Best Happy Hour (for Three Days)

    The Grapevine

    We're still not sure we heard John the Bartender right; after all, it was our first time in the legendary haunt, the Observer's new next-door neighbor and Best Friend Forever, and we were a bit overwhelmed by the awesomely funky vibe of the place. But we coulda sworn he said something about how all drinks are two bucks on Sunday,… More >>
  • Best Use of Passion Fruit

    Leann Berry, Ciudad

    We started to credit Leann Berry with best use of pomegranate for her unique "pom pom" cocktail. Then we tried her latest creation, the pantheistic "nectar of the gods." It resembles a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice, a perfect way to start the day, until the musky tartness of passion fruit and dry kick of tequila clutches your throat. A… More >>
  • Best Place to Drop the "Millionaire" Fiction

    Snookie's Bar & Grill

    So you caved in to peer pressure, begged some credit and bought one of those overpriced condos popping up all around Oak Lawn and Uptown. Friday and Saturday nights you press the limits of your Visa account ordering overpriced cocktails at Medici. Gotta spend Tuesday nights on Primo's sparse patio, like everybody else, and cram into Nikita on Sunday, which… More >>
  • Best Comeback Story


    Several evenings last summer we popped up to Medici and found a real-life reenactment of those cartoon moments when the main character freezes and everything falls silent. Crickets chirping, that sort of thing. After the usual grand opening frenzy abated, the party people slinked away from Phil Romano's upscale lounge. Yet somehow Romano's hard-working fix-it man, Joe Palladino, managed… More >>
  • Best Playground


    Dallas has an abundance of public parks, but some of them are poorly kept, and others, such as Kiest Park, are sprawling and green but offer too many places where danger could lurk. Best to go to the near suburbs, where parks departments don't have as much acreage to tend to and cops are all over the place. Head to… More >>
  • Best Place for a Kid's Party

    Celebration Station

    It's loud. It's crass. It's overrun with grubby kids begging for more tokens. But every visit gets compliments from the most demanding customer of all--the kids themselves. On the food chain of kids' entertainment venues, it's a notch above Chuck E. Cheese but located in Mesquite, the epicenter of blue-collar Dallas County. So what do the kids see in it?… More >>
  • Best Outing With the Kids

    Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

    All along U.S. Highway 67, passing through two-bit towns, auction arenas and a grain elevator decorated in Holstein spots, the anticipation builds. You'll hear plenty of "Are we there yet?" on the 90-minute journey to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, a safari park in Glen Rose, but the payoff is always there. Once you purchase admission and your optional feed bag,… More >>
  • Best Cheap Aquarium

    The Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park

    Sure, the Dallas World Aquarium is world-class, but for $15.95, we want one of the fish we saw grilled and blackened. The Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park, on the other hand, charges $3 for admission, and while it's not as modern as the DWA, it does boast several recently added exhibits, including the "Amazon Flooded Forest" and the "Seahorse Rodeo."… More >>
  • Best Drive Through the Past

    State Highway 180 between Dallas and Fort Worth

    Having a time machine would be awesome, but for those of us without Doc Brown's DeLorean, State Highway 180 is the next best thing. It's one of the original U.S. highways, was once called Highway 80 and was known as "The Broadway of America." Start your journey on the old Business 80-Fort Worth Avenue. Just past the Trinity River, the… More >>
  • Best Place to Spot Urban Wildlife

    White Rock Lake Park

    Everyone loves a drive in the country or a trip to the State Park, but with gas prices rising, not all of us city slickers can afford to drive so far to get our fill of nature. Luckily, Dallas is home to White Rock Lake Park, a recent recipient of the Lone Star Land Steward award from Texas Parks and… More >>
  • Best Place to Swim

    Chisholm Aquatics Center

    Because it only costs five bucks. Yeah, you could go to Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags, but you'd pay $30 to get in. Then there are the lines, the overpriced concession stands, the fear that you'll lose your kid in this maze of slides and water and chubby people in swim trunks. And after all, the kids just want to… More >>
  • Best Place for a Romantic Rendezvous

    The Water Garden at Fountain Place

    It's like our own Central Park. By day, tourists snap pictures of the place, with its spigots of water in the center of the garden rising from the concrete, maybe 12 rows in all, mini-geysers that reach 10 feet into the air before falling back to earth and then rising again, but this time its rows ascending in different formations,… More >>
  • Best Scenic Drive

    Westbound Interstate 20 at Mountain Creek Parkway

    The timing here is key, and the approach must be delicate. If done correctly, however, the westbound I-20 split at Mountain Creek Parkway can, for a brief instant, make you feel as if you are thundering down a rolling mountain pass in your very own road-trip movie. Hit the road after dark, pop in some twangy rock and roll music… More >>
  • Best Urban Escape

    Levee Trail

    As first steps go, the Trinity Levee Trail opened earlier this year is pretty modest. Even now it's still mostly an idea, a few signs with arrows added to pre-existing access roads. Yet a walk, jog or ride on the 6.2-mile gravel loop is a testament to the area's enormous potential. On the stretches of the trail at the foot… More >>
  • Best Cabaret

    Bill's Hideaway

    "This isn't a gay bar or a straight bar," says longtime manager Henry Arter. "It's a neighborhood bar." Although the place is certainly gay-friendly and, for that matter, straight-friendly and neighborhood-friendly, Arter may be selling it short. More than anything else, Bill's is music-friendly. Along with Bill Munoz, owner for 23 years, and Buddy Shanahan, music director and house pianist… More >>
  • Best Place to Run Into Mr. Dallas


    If this city has a posh pied piper, it's Dallas Morning News columnist Mr. Dallas, the man who scores an invite to every spot with a velvet rope and a "list." Not to say he should be anyone's idol (he's just a nightlife writer, for God's sake), but he does have a certain air of mystery, with his cartoon mug… More >>
  • Best Gay Outing


    This eclectic colorful café could quite possibly turn the straightest person into a Scream'n Queen, which is also a name of one of their drinks. Their creative menu can make it fun even to order, and you get your meal delivered to your table in a metallic lunch box; nothing says lunch like Hello Kitty. Order a Creamy Twink (yes,… More >>
  • Best Festival


    It's too late this year to travel to West, about 80 miles south of Dallas off Interstate 35, for the annual Westfest celebration of the town's Czech heritage, so we suggest you check out the State Fair of Texas now and make plans for Westfest next year. Why? It's simple: tons of kolaches, those delicious pastries filled with meats or… More >>
  • Best Billiards

    CJ's Billiards

    Forty tables of pool and the guy who owns the place, C.J. Wiley, is an ESPN billiards world champion. We're not saying Wiley will give you a lesson, but it's still cool to shoot stick in a place of such renowned talent. Wiley has a wall of accomplishments in the back, and if you're interested, some cues from his line… More >>
  • Best Bowling Alley

    Big Town Bowlanes

    Not only are fake Rolexes available for purchase, you can bring your own cooler of beer to Big Town Bowlanes. The night we went, the couple next to us drank 40s. One guy brought his flask in. Management did not interfere. Management understands that bowling is only half the experience of a night at the lanes. This brings us to… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy an Athlete a Drink

    Ten Sports Grill - CLOSED

    Owned by former Mavericks conditioning coach Chad Lewis and Steve Nash runnin' buddy Mark Oman, Ten is sure to be hoppin' with hoopsters. The joint has all the upscale amenities you'd expect from a bar taking up prime residence adjacent to the swanky Hotel Adolphus at Main and Field. The menu matriculates far above the standard fries and nachos, there… More >>
  • Best Place to Work Out

    Richland College Fitness Center

    So it's not your fancy 24-Hour Fitness or Bally's, but the fitness center at Richland College is quite the bargain. For 20 bucks a month, you have access to free weights, Cybex machines and a glute-load of cardio arsenal. And if the time is right, the outdoor pool is worth the plunge. You don't even have to be a student...sort… More >>

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