Bars & Clubs

  • Best Bar Trend

    Black Swan Saloon's Pickle Shots

    After opening with something of a whimper in the old Thin Room space amidst a flurry of other Deep Ellum bar openings back in early 2010, the Black Swan Saloon has since established itself as a go-to spot for patrons of all sorts — an especially impressive feat considering that the watering hole doesn't even so much as boast a… More >>
  • Best Wine Bar

    Vino 100

    Having a well-edited selection of reasonably priced wines is quite the challenge for a wine bar, but that's exactly what Vino 100 has achieved. With more than a hundred wines priced $25 or less, the wine bar makes the perfect spot for a weekend gathering with friends or a late business meeting with a finicky wine connoisseur. If you can't… More >>
  • Best Proof Oak Cliff Doesn't Go To Bed At 10

    Tradewinds Social Club

    It's great that the cool shops and restaurants in the Bishop Arts District and the area around the Kessler Theater are drawing people to the neighborhood. Unfortunately, almost all of them close by 10 or 11 p.m., leaving little to do for night owls (like the people who work at those restaurants and shops) and giving the appearance that North… More >>
  • Best Gig for Hungry Musicians

    All Good Cafe

    Musicians, trust us on this. If you or your band can pull off a set that's even the least bit rootsy, folky or country, you owe yourself at least one show at the AllGood Cafe. Owner Mike Snider is a long-time supporter of Texas music, as the awesome collection of signed gig posters bedecking the place can attest, and he… More >>
  • Best Sound System

    Trees

    You old-timers need to quit it with your Trees-was-better-back-in-the-day horse manure. Just stop it. Right now. Yes, Radiohead played there once upon a time. Sure, Nirvana too. Others as well, we're told. News flash: Radiohead is not going to be playing a 600-capacity venue again any time soon. The next Radiohead? Just maybe, if we're lucky. But here's the thing:… More >>
  • Best Jam Session

    The Prophet Bar

    The term "jam session" usually elicits a groan from most live-music fanatics. But the one that takes place every Wednesday night at The Prophet Bar is like nothing you'll see in town. Hosted by Grammy-winning R&B singer Shaun Martin, the night of improvisational neo-soul and R&B sees the Prophet Bar crowded with people each week — sometimes well after the… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Patio

    Belmont Hotel

    Truthfully, patio-dwelling in Dallas is only comfortable for a few weeks out of the year. The rest of the time, you're either sweating it out or freezing. But the patio at Bar Belmont, located at North Oak Cliff's The Belmont Hotel, is pleasant all year round. Half of it is covered and the other half is open to the elements,… More >>
  • Best Bar

    The Cedars Social

    The Cedars Social crowd is a hard one to define. It's a melting pot of sorts, consisting of young artist types, aging hipsters, trendy Uptowners and folks from the neighborhood, which is huge considering that the nearest adjacent building is South Side on Lamar. The commonality of all the patrons is the desire for well-made, refreshing beverages, which The Cedars… More >>
  • Best Happy Hour

    The Grapevine Bar

    Yes, it's right across the street from the Dallas Observer office. But that it's within walking (OK, sprinting sometimes, after editorial staff meetings in which both infrastructure and the Trinity River project are discussed) distance accounts for only, oh, 60 percent or so of why it's our favorite happy hour. There's the newly added bar food, which even our food… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar

    Ten Sports Grill

    Athletes go to Nick & Sam's when they're hungry. They flitter over to Dragonfly at Hotel ZaZa when they want to get their drink on. But when rich and famous athletes want to hunker down and watch sports over a cold beer in a hot spot, they congregate at Ten. At the corner of Main and Field, the downtown sports… More >>
  • Best Security Team

    Granada Theater

    The team keeping things in line and the crowds in check at the Granada Theater? They're no rent-a-cops. And that's the idea, the reason why they're called "serenity" guards, not "security" guards. A little cheesy? Sure, but so is the "Love Yourself" sign above the stage. Oh, well. That's just how it is over at the Granada, a spirit that… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar

    The Round Up Saloon

    Cute cowboys? Check. Friendly bartenders? Check. Cheap drinks? Check. Good music? Check. Uninhibited straight girls plus Jell-O shots? Check and check. With a list like this, it isn't hard to see why The Round Up Saloon is one of the most beloved and well-known bars not only in the gayborhood, but in all of Dallas. From karaoke to pool tables,… More >>
  • Best Burgeoning Booze Chain

    Double Wide/Single Wide

    For almost eight years now, The Double Wide has charmed drinkers and music fans alike down on the edge of Deep Ellum with its unique blend of trailer park décor and rock 'n' roll chic. The cheap drinks haven't exactly hurt the place when it comes to drawing a crowd, either. And now Lower Greenville residents don't have to make… More >>
  • Best Alternative Bar

    Lizard Lounge

    If you thought that the era of techno and electronic music died in the late '90s, you clearly haven't been to Lizard Lounge, which continues to host the world's top DJs. Rumbling bass, bright laser lights and twirling glow sticks all contribute to the sort of sensory overload welcomed by its patrons, who pack the massive space on weekends, making… More >>
  • Best Dance Club

    Rio Room

    In early 2011, Rio Room, located on Travis Street, opened its doors to explosive fanfare. DJ sets for the night were performed by DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown (Erykah Badu's alter ego) and Chromeo, which drew a good mix of hipsters and socialites. The space, while not huge, gets packed quickly and regularly thanks to a revolving door of celebrity… More >>
  • Best Dive Bar

    The Windmill Lounge

    Every man needs a home bar. Every man needs that place he can slouch into, order a Shiner or a Maker's on the rocks and retreat into its dimly lit recesses to hide from Dallas' summer hellscape. The Windmill Lounge is that place. Once you park in the gravel lot behind the building and pass through the red door, you… More >>
  • Best Rock Bar

    The Boiler Room

    In 2011, a Deep Ellum bar that was destined to be the best rock bar in Dallas reopened under the ownership of one of Dallas' biggest rock stars. Drowning Pool bassist Stevie Benton opened The Boiler Room for business the same day he got the keys to the front door back in June, and it's been teeming with Deep Ellum's… More >>
  • Best Bartender

    Gabe Sanchez, Black Swan Saloon

    "Mixologist" has always seemed such a pretentious term. Bartender wasn't good enough? Did a bunch of drink-slingers attend a doctoral program in mixology at Johns Hopkins? Pfft. At least we used to think that way until we met Gabe Sanchez, owner of Black Swan Saloon and winner of two other "bests" in this issue — for introducing pickle shots to… More >>
  • Best Honky Tonk

    Billy Bob's Texas

    This award has become synonymous with Adair's – the broken-in dance floor, the burger, the flair cluttering every possible space on the wall. It's local; it's loved; it's fantastic. We'd never argue otherwise. But since we've told you about Adair's every year for, like, forever, this year we decided to change up the equation and cast the honky-tonk net far… More >>
  • Best Place to Unleash Your Inner Rock Star

    MAC Karaoke

    You do it in the shower, but nobody is watching. You do it in your car when you should be paying attention to your driving. At MAC Karaoke you get to do it in front of the captive audience of your buddies while being serviced by some friendly Koreans. Get your mind out of the gutter. We're talking about unleashing… More >>
  • Best Karaoke

    GOOD LUCK Karaoke

    Thursday nights carry a temptation like no other: From 10 or 11 p.m. (it's loose; go with it) to 2 a.m. GOOD LUCK Karaoke commences with fucking up the Double Wide proper via themed karaoke parties ranging from the bizarre to the downright genteel. Hosts Josh Hammertimez and Oliver Pecker (whose real names have been partially changed to prot ...… More >>
  • Best Lady Gaga Moment

    Round-Up Saloon

    On March 14, a club full of gay men thundered with excitement after a long night's wait. It wasn't because the bartender replaced the kegs of cosmos. Lady Gaga had arrived. The night before her Monster Ball Tour hit the American Airlines Center with the Scissor Sisters, Twitter's rumor mill was spinning. She was there. She was at the jam-packed… More >>
  • Best Improvised Fun

    Dallas Comedy House Improv Classes

    There's no bonding experience quite like self-imposed humiliation — or mutual success. Dallas Comedy House's improv classes offer the perfect way for laugh-loving folk to meet, make friends and figure out paths to punch lines that don't always involve dick jokes. Students enjoy weekly classes to build skills and show them off in a public showcase at the end of… More >>
  • Best DIY Venue

    The Canton Co-Op/Deep Ellum - CLOSED

    Dallas, you finally have that place. That one place you keep hearing about, haven't fully grasped what it is and need to be there. It's a place that shimmers at night and sleeps by day. Here's the kicker for this music and art find on 2703 Canton St.: It's the most unpretentious, genuine venue in Dallas. Proprietors Leticia Gallegos (who… More >>
  • Best Bar to Get a Manicure

    Beauty Bar

    Most happy hours consist of a few cheap beer specials and dollar-off wells, but the Beauty Bar specializes in our kind of happy hour: manicures and martinis. During their workday happy hour, the low, low price of $10 lets you end a stressful day with a new coat of nail polish and James Bond's chosen libation. Don't expect the spa… More >>
  • Best Strip Club

    Cabaret Royale

    There's no shortage of titillating men's clubs in the city, and we've done enough research to know that it's no easy decision choosing a favorite. But one of the defining qualities of a great men's club is its ability to cater not just to men but also the ladies. Plus it has to have a wide variety of women to… More >>
  • Best Overheard Conversations

    Lakewood Landing

    Over the course of one night spent bouncing between the indoor tables and the patio of the Lakewood Landing, we overheard the following conversations: a girl weighing the pros and cons of various birth control (she knew that shit like she'd auditioned for the latest Ortho-Vaginale commercial), a guy lamenting how messy his roommate's "bike room" was (We're jealous. Who… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Place To Watch An Indoor Show

    Club Dada's patio

    Sitting out here on a warm (or sweltering hot) summer evening and watching a good band fill up Dada's spacious front room with music is pretty damn nice. It's also comforting to be able to chain-smoke nervously while you wait to go on and bomb at karaoke with a live band behind you. And when you stumble offstage after your… More >>

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