Thank god for El Niño. Every now and again it shows up like Superman to save us from Lex Luthor's evil summer heat death-ray, and thanks to it we've had a pretty mild one so far. We're still in Texas, though, so peak heat or not it's of the utmost importance to take advantage of one of our greatest luxuries: patio stages. You can catch some of the best acts in the nation as well as the best of our local artists, all with a cold beer under the stars. Here are the 10 best patios for live music in Dallas.
10. LSA Burger Co.
While the sign might be a blight on the classical looks of the downtown Denton square, there’s no denying that adding an endless stream of live music via the bar’s rooftop stage is actually beneficial to the small-town charm of Denton. The stage becomes doubly excellent when the bar hands over control of the stage to whomever is booking the festival that's taking place any given week. There’s a cover act or two up there, but in the end Denton’s homegrown talent wins out.
113 W. Hickory St., Denton, lsaburger.com
9. The Labb
The massive patio at Denton’s No. 1 sports bar is often home to the best of the area’s local talent, with the occasional touring act coming through to push things to another level. While it might not be the first place you’d think of for live music, you’re making a mistake by sleeping on the custom-built stage, cheap drinks and eccentric booking. You should get out more, and this is the place to do it.
218 W. Oak St., Denton, thelabbdenton.com
There is quite literally something going on at Sundown at Granada every night. DJs, bands, movies, dating games, drunken shenanigans — everything is happening at this Greenville Avenue spot, and that’s just the way the crew at the Granada likes it. Pro tip: When your show at the Granada gets out, head directly to Sundown; they do a hell of a job programming acts to correspond with whomever you just saw play. Who knows, you might just discover your next favorite band.
3520 Greenville Ave., Dallas, sundowndfw.com
Harvest House burst onto the Denton scene back in March, during the return of 35 Denton, and quickly made a name for itself as one of the most exciting aspects of the festival. The patio brings to mind Dallas’ The Foundry, with a heavy dose of Austin’s The Mohawk thrown in, and it’s quickly become the spot to catch a band and a beer in Denton. Much like Denton’s thriving downtown, there’s really nowhere to go but up for Harvest House.
331 E. Hickory St., Denton, dentonharvesthouse.com
6. Lee Harvey's
A friend of mine recently recounted a story where she was with some friends catching a band perform on the outdoor stage and a rather confused older lady walked up to her to ask if she was at a :clutch your pearls: ”GAY BAR.” To which my friend responded, “No, it’s just a bar.” That sums up Lee Harvey’s perfectly: It’s just a bar, with just a stage, with just some of the best live music in town.
1807 Gould St., Dallas, leeharveys.com
I know man, Fort Worth seems so far. But you are missing out if you haven’t checked out this Panther City jewel. Fort Worth is its own animal that’s hard to describe, and honestly pretty bewildering to most. Shipping & Receiving is a unique spot for a very unique city — they're a perfect fit for each other. Oh, and Of Montreal is going to be there in September. You’re on notice, everywhere else in DFW.
201 S. Calhoun St., Fort Worth, facebook.com/thebaronthenearsouthside
Like, your dad is gonna love this place. Now that may seem unfair, but it’s true. Your dad is really going to love the laid-back atmosphere that’s apart from the hustle and bustle of the usual music scene, as well as the top-notch booking that’s brought in to play this quaint stage. If it’s good enough to host the Sorta reunion, it’s good enough for most. Sometimes it’s just nice to catch a show in a relaxed setting, and Vagabond is the place to do it.
3619 Greenville Ave., Dallas, vagabonddallas.com
Denton’s best venue is home to its best patio, where not only are political moves planned and festivals booked, but there’s occasionally one hell of a show, especially when home favorites Hares on the Mountain take over the stage and it becomes their personal mad house. A shocking number of large acts have graced the stage over the years and the patio has become the place to spot a celebrity running around Denton. Sinbad, Michael Cera receiving a piggyback ride and new local Jason Lee have all been spotted on that patio, and that’s barely the beginning of who’s been there.
103 N. Industrial St., Denton, danssilverleaf.com
2. The Foundry
If you can outlast the screaming hellions running around Chicken Scratch, forever tormenting their parents who keep thinking, “God why did we get so drunk that night,” then you’re in for a treat. The Foundry has taken to hosting some damn fine shows on Friday and Saturday nights. Now, local bookers Parade of Flesh handle the talent coming in, but it’s not like they did so bad on their own. This is, after all, the first place that Sturgill Simpson played in Dallas.
2303 Pittman St., Dallas, cs-tf.com
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Oh, I don't know, man, maybe the patio that just hosted a free Old 97's show deserves the top spot on a list of the best patios to catch a show? I mean, that might just be me, but few patios on this list have the pull to bring in such a high-profile performance from such a beloved group. Makes you wonder how they’re going to top this in the future, but knowing how the bar operates, the sky’s the limit.
2640 Elm St., Dallas, thetwilitelounge.com