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 to string bikinis and splash around after boozing it up a bit. Yep, check your moral standards at the door.
KXAS-Channel 5 will be unwatchable till they kick off Mike Snyder and Jane McGarry, who together make half an interesting person; KDFW-Channel 4's got Shaun Rabb's hat collection; and WFAA-Channel 8's gone off the air (whatnooonot really?hunh, coulda sworn). Which leaves KTVT-Channel 11 as the last, best hope for anyone interested in getting their news from TV. Fact is, there are some folks at the CBS affiliate doing good work--Sarah Dodd, for one--but best of all are former Channel 8 investigative ace Robert Riggs and ex-Morning Newser-turned-TV-producer Todd Bensman, together known as "The Investigators," like they're a superhero crime-fighting duo or something. Their work on the FBI investigation at City Hall has been superb. If they're not providing much context, something the Morning News didn't do till late August, at least they're giving us riveting television as they gnaw on some delicious hunks of this chewed-over tale. We'll never be able to look at state Representative Terri Hodge ever again without recalling the look on her face when asked August 25 who pays the rent at her Southwest Housing apartment.

Readers' Pick
Good Day KDFW-Channel 4
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 park your butt on a plastic chair on Ozona's patio. And if you are a beer snob, maybe it's time to go slummin', because we love Ozona and we think you should, too. Ozona has personality and a homey feel that some might call...domestic.
Finally, the answer to Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity and the other yakky neo-cons who've held sway way to the right on the airwaves for so long. Air America Radio colors its talk blue--state, that is--carrying the national broadcasts of The Jerry Springer Radio Show (8 a.m.-11 a.m.), The Al Franken Show (11 a.m.-2 p.m.), Randi Rhodes (2 p.m.-6 p.m.) and other hours hosted by lippy liberals such as Janeane Garofalo and Bobby Kennedy Jr. Late-nighter Mike Malloy makes it a practice regularly to blast "the Bush crime family," probably guaranteeing him a lifetime of IRS audits. Early a.m. Morning Sedition features a segment called "Rapture Watch." Franken's is the show for the edgiest interviews, like his recent set-to with author Ed Klein over an unauthorized Hillary Clinton bio. You could practically hear Klein slithering away from the mike as Franken called him on error after error.
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 women he did not know--just sat down with them, ordered food, got them laughing and went home with, yes, two of them. Stuff like that happens every weekend. It's got to. Eating at Café Brazil between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. is like coming late to a party where only the offspring of Colin Farrell are left. Sure, the drunks here get annoying--they scream, they laugh, food flies out of their mouths. But this is the best place to people-watch in Dallas, hands down.

Readers' Pick
Café Brazil Multiple locations
On Friday night, drivers looking for a hot radio station don't normally flip to the AM dial--certainly nowhere near oldies station 770 KAAM. But you'd be smart to delay the trunk-rattling tracks on Fridays to make some time for Europe Today, the strangest radio program heard on any of Dallas' crowded airwaves. Sure, the all-European song selection is hit-or-miss, unless you're a raging fan of overtures, waltzes and '80s Italian pop songs, but it's Hermann Bockelmann's outlandish presence that makes the show worth a listen. His thick German accent is unmistakable, and whether he's softly pleading with listeners ("I lahhf you, oh, goot-ness, you are a fantahhstic ahh-dee-enz"), making fun of his own show's advertisers or throwing loud, manic tirades about news stories, he proves himself to be a most bizarre and captivating on-air personality. Our favorite moment came when he talked about a man who robbed graves and cut corpses open for experiments. After yelling for a few minutes, the host shifted gears and quietly asked, "What in this crazy world can save us now?" He paused for effect. "Polka!"

Readers' Pick
Kidd Kraddick KISS 106.1 FM
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 inside of the glass. And the shamrock drawn in the foam with a fine stream from the tap should reach the bottom of the glass intact. Now, we didn't time our man Darren at the Tipperary Inn. Nor did we take the temperature of the beer. But darned if those rings and that shamrock didn't show up every time--well, the first five or so. After that it's a little bit hazy.
The best morning radio shows make you feel better about waking up, and nothing works like a heaping serving of good old-fashioned soul. On Soul 73 KKDA, it's served up by local legend Bobby Patterson, the man responsible for stone-cold soul classics like "She Don't Have to See You (To See Through You)" and "Quiet! Do Not Disturb." On record, he was Dallas' answer to Otis Redding, but on the radio he's more James Brown, rhyming and screaming like the Godfather himself. He keeps the between-songs banter to a minimum, however, preferring to let the music work its sweet magic on his listeners. The playlist is heavy on the old stuff, from Ray Charles to Wilson Pickett, which is just fine with us. Often, Bobby will break in to sing along or to add a "you heard tha boy!," creating the kind of heaven-sent radio gold that can only be found in the a.m. on the AM.

Readers' Pick
Kidd Kraddick KISS 106.1 FM
OK, so he's a little nasal. And he can be condescending and abrupt with callers. But Glenn Mitchell has something no other local talk show host can match: He is interesting, not for his antics, but for his information. When you flick on KERA over lunch, you never know what Mitchell will be talking about. It could be Iraq, it could be the Wright Amendment, or it could be a session of "Everything you always wanted to know" about why a quarter is called "two bits" (because old Spanish pesos used to be broken into eight pieces, or "pieces of eight"). His guests range from Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle to former CIA Director James Woolsey to gay humorist David Sedaris, and Mitchell usually manages to draw them out without grilling them. In short, Mitchell holds your attention without having to be the center of it.

Readers' Pick
The Russ Martin Show KLLI 105.3 FM
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 repairs and expansions to the sound system. As a result, Yocom has quickly made this a must-visit spot for rock lovers in town. Upstairs DJs Chris Penn (Good Records, The Polyphonic Spree), Josh Venable (102.1 The Edge's The Adventure Club) and DJ G (Hailey's '80s night) give music fans a reason to rock out during the middle of the week. But it's the downstairs area that is turning The Cavern into a must-visit weekend destination with local guitar champs like Record Hop, The Tah-Dahs and John LaMonica. If the Dallas music scene is born anew in 2006, here's hoping it's The Cavern's fault.

Readers' Pick
(TIE) Double Wide 3510 Commerce St. 214-887-6510 Gypsy Tea Room 2548 Elm St. 214-744-9779

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