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People & Places

  • SCENES: Ante Up

    There is a place in Dallas called Redmans—or The Redmans or Redmans Lodge or a host of other monikers—that is legendary amongst poker players. It is not terribly hard to find, should you know its general location, which we would not presume to give away here lest Dallas police read this. No, once a year’s quite enough for poker players,… More >>
  • Best Dance Club

    Cowboys Red River

    Kids these days. Always listening to that goldurned rap music. Drinking their mojitos and wearing them dee-signer jeans. Getting "crunk." Back in our day, there weren't no "crunk." There was two-steppin' and Wranglers and ice-cold Lone Star. That's why we like Cowboys Red River. You could call an over-decorated, under-air-conditioned room filled with 20-somethings rubbing together butt-to-crotch a dance club.… More >>
  • Best Place to Hear Poorly Played Riffs

    Guitar Center

    Though we generally prefer eBay or craigslist when it comes to purchasing our axes, we do venture to Guitar Center on Central from time to time for the little things--strings, tuners, cables, etc. Without fail we always see: A) at least one complete emo band loitering in the parking lot, B) at least one past or present member of [DARYL]… More >>
  • Best Place to Scoot Your Boots

    The Round-Up Saloon

    For more than a quarter-century The Round-Up Saloon has been one of Dallas' premier purveyors of country and western music, dancing and good times for good folks. Although classified as a gay bar, this popular watering hole welcomes those of all genders and persuasions, and any given night will give testimony that all types are present and all feel welcome.… More >>
  • Best Place to Hear Mariachis

    El Ranchito

    Every night we dine at this Oak Cliff institution we're treated to the best atmosphere of any Mexican joint in Dallas, complete with a roster of the city's finest mariachis. The fervent strumming of guitars, voices raised in perfect harmony, the sound of twin trumpets ringing off the tile--it's the next best thing to San Antonio, only you don't have… More >>
  • Best Night Out of the City

    Denton Town Square

    Tired of Deep Ellum and Lower Greenville? Sick of getting hit up for change, paying eight bucks to park and constantly watching for muggers? Then head up Interstate 35 a piece and enjoy a night on the Denton town square, where the parking's free and the streets are considerably safer. For starters, we'd suggest a slice or two of delicious… More >>
  • Best Place to Flag Down a Cop

    Lakewood Texaco

    If you're driving on Lower Greenville and notice you're being tailed, head for the corner of Skillman and Live Oak streets, where you'll find the Lakewood Texaco, favored on-duty pit stop of the East Dallas cops. Owners Issa and Lena Boeuri have firmly entrenched their station in the hearts of the local community, in the process creating a virtual Shangri-la… More >>
  • Best Tramp-Stamp Collecting

    Jake's Old Fashioned Hamburgers, Uptown

    One of the few good things about working near Uptown is the people-watching, and restaurant employees are no exception. Judging by the waitstaff, the interview process at the Uptown Jake's must include a visit to Tigger's tattoos--we haven't seen this many dolphins, rainbows and butterflies since we caught that IMAX movie with the Sting soundtrack. If you'd like to see… More >>
  • Best Music Venue for Mom

    The Granada Theater

    Some moms may go for Kenny G., but ours is way cooler than that, a veteran of more kick-ass concerts than you youngsters can even dream of. Unfortunately, Mom just can't party like she used to. Luckily for her there's the Granada Theater, booked solid with mom-friendly acts and shows that end by midnight. It's also non-smoking, which, let's be… More >>
  • Best Way to Run a Railroad

    Trinity Railway Express

    As you pass over the traffic on Dallas' clogged freeways, lower your paper for a second and just look at them down there, sitting in their cars, spasmodically inching along as you zoom past overhead. Then thank us for telling you to take the Trinity Railway Express from Dallas to Fort Worth's gleaming T&P station. The ever-growing popularity of this… More >>
  • Best Pickup Line

    The line at Eatzi's salad bar

    Dallas is famous for its abundance of surgically enhanced beauty, and most Uptown lunch spots offer plenty of reassurance that the reputation is well-deserved. But among narcissists there are also purists, those willing to spend their lunch hour at the gym in pursuit of the perfect body. So where do those die-hards line up for healthy takeout after their workout?… More >>
  • Best Point of View

    Top of the Dome Lounge

    It's one of those things you take for granted if you live here, sort of like the Statue of Liberty in New York or the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. The rotating bar at the top of Reunion Tower may seem like pure tourist fodder, but once you're up in The Dome, sipping one of their formidable margaritas and watching… More >>
  • Best WiFi if You Can Get It

    Murray Street Coffee

    This coffee shop in Deep Ellum makes the most of a tiny space by going upward. In the small, loft-like space, the ascending stairs split two ways, into a living room area complete with funky furniture and a conference area with a long communal table for the more professional of midday online slackers. But seating can be competitive--either that or… More >>
  • Best Schizophrenic Video Show

    Zoo: The Visual Menagerie The Cavern

    It's not often a Genesis music video will be followed by some campy obscure movie clip and then lead into the Aphex Twins. Joseph Howington transcends the DJ label by taking all the rules of mixing and throwing them out the window. Perfecting his set at the Fallout Lounge last year, he fits perfectly into the Cavern's mélange of not-your-typical… More >>
  • Best Place That Is a Drag

    The Rose Room Theater and Lounge

    The Rose Room is simply fantastic. With more than ample space for patrons, whether sitting at a row of tables, standing at the bar or flanking the stage, this place gets it right for high-quality drag shows. It's also drag queen heaven with a huge stage and even a dressing room. According to cast regular Cassie Nova, the previous accommodations… More >>
  • Best Place to Send Raptors

    Rogers Wildlife Center

    The first time we walked into Rogers Wildlife, Kathy Rogers was slicing up frozen baby mice. Their oozing red guts made us pause for a moment, forgetting why we were there. Then she showed us what the mice were for--barn owls that someone had rescued from a deer blind, barely downy and obviously helpless. Rogers seemed surprised that we wanted… More >>
  • Best Place to Shoot Off

    Bullet Trap Inc.

    Maybe the first date is not the time to try to impress a woman with tales of your extensive gun collection (unless you're in East Texas, in which case it may win you a lot of points). Of course, you could just skip the small talk and take your date right to the Bullet Trap, where she'll whisper sweet nothings… More >>
  • Best Place to Endure a Communal Hangover

    Gachet Coffee Lounge

    Some people wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on weekend mornings, ready to start their day with a jog 'round the lake or a trip to Whole Foods for some 40-grain, organic, free-range granola. Other people have to peel themselves off a drool-covered pillow and throw back three or four ibuprofen with a quart of steaming Colombian brew before anybody gets… More >>
  • Best Place to Get (Nearly) Naked

    Massage Envy

    Sometimes, you just want to take off all your clothes and have someone rub lotion all over your body--in the middle of a workday. Before Massage Envy came along, the only way of fulfilling this basic human need was to deal with some unsavory characters over on Northwest Highway. But now, every respectable achy back with $39 can call upon… More >>
  • Best Small Place for Big Laughs

    Backdoor Comedy Club

    Nothing incites more painful cringing than watching someone really go out on a limb, make four times the required effort and fail miserably. This is simultaneously one of the best and worst things about live stand-up comedy, depending on your propensity for schadenfreude. Comics and comedy venues alike are prone to the sad fate of trying too hard to cater… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Horizontal

    Grassy shores of White Rock Lake

    No, not that kind of horizontal, you perv. We mean the kind of horizontal involving a picnic blanket, a sack lunch and a lazy afternoon nap in the sun. Grab your honey and stake out a spot on the east shore of White Rock Lake with a prime downtown view. Bring the dog for a little Frisbee, or just ask… More >>
  • Best Movie With a View

    B-Reel at the Belmont

    You don't exactly head to Ye Olde Cineplex for the eye candy, do you? Sure, the popcorn vendor kid isn't bad-looking, except for that weird lip piercing, but all in all, there's just not much to look at. Not so at the Belmont Hotel's "B-Reel at the Belmont" movie night out by the pool. The Oak Cliff hotel's got a… More >>
  • Best Lonely Hearts Haven

    The Ladies Room at Café San Miguel - CLOSED

    Many a single gal in Texas between the ages of 15 and 50 might find comfort for the lovelorn heart in spot-on Mexican food with the girls. And copious amounts of sangria. Of course, nursing loneliness with alcohol and delicious tacos Pacifico is fine, but how 'bout some preventive measures? Say, for instance, a trip to Café San Miguel's ladies… More >>
  • Best Adventure Club

    Sunday Nights at Thomas & Leggitt Tavern

    Sunday nights aren't for Desperate Housewives and a reasonable bedtime. Granted, you probably think the good music ends when Josh Venable signs off from the Adventure Club on KDGE at 9 p.m. Not so. There are pints and Brit pop to be had with Mr. Adventure himself downtown at the Stone Street walkway-accessible Thomas & Leggitt Tavern from 10 p.m.… More >>
  • Best Two-Wheel Rivalry

    The Blue Goose vs. The Dubliner, Sundays

    Cruise down Lower Greenville any given Sunday and you'll hear the distinctive brrruub-brrruub-brrrrrrrruub of big bad motorcycles. And they're all headed one place: The Blue Goose. For hours, the bikes--choppers, hogs, you name it--are lined up outside the Tex-Mex restaurant as their riders carouse over tacos, enchiladas and festive libations. But these often leather-clad folk aren't the only two-wheelers looking… More >>
  • Best Dog Park

    Bark Park Central

    All the time, we hear "White Rock Lake Dog Park this" and "White Rock Lake Dog Park that," but we never hear much about Bark Park Central. And we should. The off-leash dog park, which sits just under Central Expressway at the edge of Deep Ellum, is open 5 a.m. to midnight Tuesdays through Sundays and has lush, well-maintained grass… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Fiesta

    The Patio at Matt's Rancho Martinez

    A friend once said, "Well, you know it's a good patio if my mother will sit there." She went on to discuss the cool temperatures, ease of seating and the lively but not too intrusive atmosphere required to appease her high-maintenance madre. We had one in mind, but she had already begun to confirm, "She'll really only sit on the… More >>
  • Best Place to Troll for Tail

    Lee Harvey's

    There are many bars you can go to around town if you're looking to hook up. Of course, the blaring music, exorbitant drink prices and plethora of douchebags in striped button-down shirts may make it a challenging task, but it can be done. Enter a revolution in the bar scene: a cool, cheap dive known for great music, a diverse… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Hot East Dallas Soccer Moms

    Whole Foods Market on Lower Greenville

    You'll spot her dressed in expensive workout clothes as she comes in search of yogurt-covered pecans, free-range chicken and organic strawberries. She looks a little harried and more than a little forlorn. Her husband is working late while her kids are easily placated with a frozen pizza from Minyard's. She's not here for anyone but herself, looking for fresh produce… More >>
  • Best Happy Hour

    The Old Monk

    This selection is perhaps unduly influenced by the unfortunate fact that we're reporters. Attorneys might prefer Ghost Bar; doctors drown their sorrows at Primo's. Laborers at insurance firms likely choose to forget about life for a while at any chain restaurant offering some variation of the Bloomin' Onion. We prefer the Old Monk, which is an affable and engaging setting… More >>
  • Best Beer Joint

    The Ginger Man

    The Ginger Man offers 77,343 different beers on draft. At least that's what it looks like when you're saddled up at the bar staring at the glorious line of taps offering visions of a beer-soaked paradise. Offering every type of beer imaginable, including those flavored with apricots and coffee, the Ginger Man is to discerning drinkers what the Apple Store… More >>
  • Best Honky-Tonk

    Adair's

    There are joints that bill bigger acts (Billy Bob's), and there are joints where ladies ride mechanical bulls (Gilley's), but nothing says honky-tonk like Adair's Saloon in Deep Ellum. It's where you go if you want to hear no-frills, stripped-to-the-bone country. It's a rough and tumblin' kind of place, a shitty little dive with a small stage, small tables and… More >>
  • Best Place to Pet a Donkey

    Frisco Horse Park

    Twenty years ago, old-timers will tell you, Frisco was dirt roads and corn fields. Now it's rapidly becoming like the rest of Dallas. There remains one patch of dirt amidst all this urban sprawl where one can pet a donkey, ride a horse or simply smell the aroma of fresh manure. It's the Frisco Horse Park. It's right off Highway… More >>
  • Best Camping

    Cedar Hill State Park

    If you like the outdoors, you should probably move to a place where they don't allow every river to get all sullied up with beer cans and Funyons bags. But if you can't move, there are a number of woodsy options that are surprisingly close. Perhaps the best place to go camping is Cedar Hill State Park. This "urban nature… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Your Farm On

    Heritage Farmstead Museum

    Who knew that vast herds of tongue-wagging, snot-nosed, dust-covered cattle once passed through the Big D on their way to Kansas, where they would be carved into rump roasts and rib eyes? Well, most everybody, but it's easy to forget, because other than the Dallas Cowboys and Western Warehouse, you'd never guess Dallas was once a cow town. Thank the… More >>
  • Best Latin Club

    Escapade 2009

    The parking lot is big enough for a Six Flags. The cavernous dance hall feels like a gutted Wal-Mart. This is a club so big and so popular that it's easy to get lost here. If you love to dance but feel stupid doing it, this is the perfect place to go. No one will notice. It's tough to single… More >>
  • Best Intimate Evening

    Intimate Evening Concert Series at Bend Studio - CLOSED

    Be sure to wear clean socks if you're planning to attend the Intimate Evening Concert Series at Bend Studio. The place is a yoga studio by day, and you'll be asked to remove your shoes at the door. That's intimate, for sure, but being that close to the feet of 80-plus strangers is worth it. Shows at Bend are small,… More >>
  • Best Jazz Club

    Brooklyn

    Admittedly, Monday nights at Amsterdam Bar are where jazz hounds can find the best bop/fusion performances in town, but a single weekly night does not a jazz club make. In that respect, Brooklyn already deserved the nod for best jazz club at their old Bishop Arts location; regulars such as Martha Burks and guests such as Montrose added a certifiable… More >>
  • Best Blues Club

    Deep Ellum Blues

    We wish this was a category with fierce competition, thanks to a Dallas scene loaded with a rich tapestry of blues hands who've lived through thunder and fire, surviving to tell their tales in raspy, hard-nosed song. But this isn't Mississippi, so we'll settle for at least one club getting it right, and the booking and atmosphere at Deep Ellum… More >>
  • Best Alternative Club

    R.L. Griffin's Blues Palace No. 2 - CLOSED

    If you come to R.L.'s expecting a hard shot of the blues, blame the namesake, R.L. Griffin Jr., for your moment of disappointment. Minutes later, you'll blame him and his incredible house band for a damn good time, anyway. Despite the house's name, there aren't any blues tunes at this Palace; rather, it's a haven for Motown-era soul covers, open… More >>
  • Best Booking
    in a Shoebox

    The Cavern - CLOSED

    Spune Productions has done the impossible, turning a small club on the meat-market strip of Lower Greenville into a truly viable music venue. In fact, Spune's booking prowess has landed countless crowd-drawing indie-rock acts from Man Man to Devendra Banhart...which has become a problem. The tiny room has only enough space for a few dozen patrons, and the stage is… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Unwired

    Crystal Meth Anonymous

    With crystal meth addiction reaching epidemic numbers, it's good news to learn that Dallas has its own support system to deal with the crisis. The mission of Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA) is to offer help to those for whom crystal meth has become a serious problem. It offers regular meetings, support and fellowship and creates a safe environment in which… More >>
  • Best Watering Hole With a Water Hole

    BackYard Beach Bar - CLOSED

    Tucked away in an anonymous nook near White Rock Lake is one of the best-kept secrets in the local saloon society. There are many reasons to recommend this casual and comfy club, but the real hook is located outside. Two pools! One is for swimming (and water volleyball) while the other features a sliding board and side ledges for lounging.… More >>
  • Best Chance to Catch a Rising Star

    Heart of Texas Speech Tournament

    Every October a collection of stellar teenage talent gathers under one roof to compete in the prestigious Heart of Texas tournament. This competition has a long and august history, making it an especially desired contest for young thespians. This invitational event has lured competitors from many regions of the country, sometimes from as far away as Florida and New Mexico.… More >>
  • Best Divas and Domino's

    Phases - CLOSED

    Nestled in a low-profile strip center near Maple Avenue, this modest cabaret fairly bursts with the hottest local talent. Fancy-schmancy it isn't, but cozy and comfy it is, and the friendly staff and patrons make everyone feel wanted and welcome. Although smoking is permitted, a state-of-the-art ventilation system keeps the air breathable for non-smokers, and the music is never too… More >>
  • Best Bar

    The Inwood Lounge

    The Youth Division around here would probably say this honor goes to Bar Belmont or the Lakewood Landing; kids, they like it hip and/or nasty and swear there's little difference anyway. But we're gonna have to agree with Esquire on this: In May, the magazine wrote of the Inwood Lounge that it "smells like gin, smoke, and warmed-up celluloid" and… More >>
  • Best Place to People-Watch

    Ghostbar W Hotel - CLOSED

    Actually, this category was going to be called "Best Line in Which to Wait While Staring at Douchebags You Can't Believe You Want to Pay 20 Bucks to Hang Out With But Can't Think of Anything Better to Do Than Wait in Line With Douchebags." But it was just too long. Our editor made us change it to something more… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Kids' Retreat in 110-Degree Weather

    Lake Highlands North Recreation Center

    Two words: spray park. One more word: free. Really, of all the city-owned-and-operated rec centers, this is probably the nicest joint in the inventory, with a kinda-sorta-not-really sprawling water park for the kiddies, unusually refreshing summertime breezes for the folks and a DART train running nearby to entertain the whole family when it gets a little too waterlogged. And there's… More >>
  • Best Place for Wet Veggie Tales

    Hawaiian Falls

    You're saying to yourself, "Various locations? How's that possible since I haven't even heard of the place?" Well, really, there are three of these water parks scattered throughout the area: in The Colony, Garland and near Executive Airport (known to the rest of us as Red Bird Airport). So there. Guess you don't have kids; shame. Then you would never… More >>
  • Best Place in Dallas

    Tending, (Blue) by James Turrell in the Nasher Sculpture Center

    How often do you get to sit in a work of art? How often do you get to escape into a room that feels absolutely, totally, unconditionally cut off from the world around you, to the point where you feel kind of lost after a while? If your answer is "never," then clearly you have not trekked to the northern… More >>
  • Best View

    "Prayer Mountain" at Mountain Creek Community Church

    It's a peculiar place, not too far off Interstate 20 in Southwest Dallas, and few Dallasites even know it exists. You drive up the steep driveway, to the top of a hill that used to be the highest point in Dallas County (how it lost that status isn't quite clear; haven't seen any volcanoes or glaciers around here recently). You… More >>
  • Best Tourist Attraction

    Dallas World Aquarium

    You need stats? We got stats: 85,000 gallons of "saltwater with marine life from around the world." A 22,000-gallon tunnel that allows you "to experience a panoramic view of reef life." Three webcams placed in with the manatees, otters and exotic birds. The eight-story Mundo Maya "immersion exhibit that takes visitors from the waters of the Yucatan's Gulf coast to… More >>
  • Best History in the Making

    Zounds-Sounds Music Instruction

    When you're a kid who just wants to rock, there is absolutely nothing worse than a guitar (or whatever instrument) instructor who wants to make you learn their favorite songs. In fact, we'd probably be crazy-skilled on the piano if we hadn't had to learn "Big Swiss Horn" and "Heart and Soul" instead of songs that truly inspired us. That… More >>
  • Best Bar Food

    The Old Monk

    A night out at the bar. You've been knockin' back a Stella or 10 with your gang, maybe playing a little game of "Who Would You Rather?" (Ugh, Barbara Walters.) You're starting to get a little hungry. But you're smart, and you didn't drive to the bar, which means no trip to Jack in the Box for some grease pocket… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar

    Sue Ellen's

    This longtime staple and only bar geared toward the ladies on the Cedar Springs strip ranks right up there with old faves JR's and Station 4. What sets this apart from the others is its friendly, welcoming style to anyone who walks through the door. Gay or straight, a good time is hard to miss with DJs spinning radio-friendly tunes… More >>
  • Best Jukebox

    The Lakewood Landing

    Smoky dive kinda mood? You need Etta James. Worn-in C&W? George Jones and Willie Nelson. Burger and board games? Maybe some Pretenders or even Iggy Pop (hey, it's motivating). Barstool hook-up, football halftime or de-stressing happy hour. The sweet, sweet golden juke at the Landing has any mood covered. Hell, in our opinion, any machine with "Stop the Wedding," "He… More >>
  • Best Coffeehouse

    Standard & Pours Coffee

    Go ahead, you buttoned-down, 9-to-5, bourgeois automatons, buy your coffee from The Man at Starbucks. Dig it: We free-spirited alternative types will use our java dollars to stick it to the man at Standard & Pours, a cool, locally owned shop in the basement at Southside on Lamar lofts. There, we can dream of a proletarian nirvana whilst perusing the… More >>
  • Best Live Music Venue (Tie)

    Sons of Hermann Hall and Dan's Silverleaf

    The best music venues not only host shows but transform them, elevating a band or an artist to the top of their game with great sound and atmosphere. Sons of Hermann Hall and its kindred spirit in little D, Dan's Silverleaf, are two such venues. Both cater to roots-loving audiences, with frequent shows by country and folk luminaries such as… More >>
  • Best Wild Game

    Poker Night at The Lodge

    If you're skeptical of all the hype surrounding professional poker these days, you're not alone. Watching other people play cards on television is about as exciting as watching them balance their checkbooks. Indeed, the whole concept of the poker face is to be as boring as humanly possible. But actually playing the game is a different story. When you're desperate… More >>
  • Best Place to Pick Up a Doctor

    Elbow Room

    Temporally and geographically, Dallas is not so close to the 1849 California mining rush, it being 2006 and Texas and all. But if it's gold-digging that needs doing, Dallas is definitely the "can do" city. Weekends see hundreds of poor, helpless, Gucci-unadorned boob jobs bobbing about Medici, Sense and the whole of Addison looking for a thick-wallet-wielding beau. But the… More >>
  • Best Reason to Still Go to Deep Ellum

    Darkside Lounge

    Deep Ellum: You stopped going because of the bar fights. And the teeny-bopper dance clubs. And the shady parking. But you started going again because of the Darkside Lounge. Wait, you haven't been to the Darkside Lounge? Guess that means you haven't been out to some of the best local shows, drinking some of the cheapest local brews and hanging… More >>
  • Best Arcade

    GameWorks - CLOSED

    It's not that the Dallas area is arcade-starved; you can find Golden Tee games and nostalgic cabinets at plenty of bars and restaurants. But if you want to make a day of it--immerse yourself in a digital candy land--every "amusement" destination in the region falls short, except for GameWorks. The national chain delivers local arcade salvation in the form of… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Bar

    Monkey Bar - CLOSED

    When the XPO Lounge closed in 2004, loyalists scoffed at plans for the bar's future: "It's becoming a [insert obscenity of choice] tiki bar?!" The loyalists (and former staff) found new watering holes, leaving the bar behind for what they assumed would become a schmaltzy, preppy destination, but things didn't turn out so badly. In fact, the new ownership's stress… More >>
  • Best Rock Bar

    Club Dada

    At the end of 2005, Club Dada was down for the count, knocked out by bumbling ownership and deemed another tombstone in the dwindling reputation of Deep Ellum. So how come it's winning this award and hosting big-name gigs (such as June's New Bohemians reunion) not even 12 months later? Because the new ownership--including members of Beatles cover band Hard… More >>

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