Best Hidden Secret in Highland Park 2007 | The Pump House | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Now so long ago, we took a day trip to Highland Park—packed the passport and a sack lunch and everything! And we took the youngster down to Daddy's former fave make-out spot: that bridge over Turtle Creek—you know the one—where every local boy's gone since the dawn of time to show off his sensitive side. On the other side of the bridge, across the creek from the trillion-dollar homes on Lakeside decked out like it's Christmas even in June, are those concrete teddy bears, cuddly, dangerous fuckers upon which we've seen one tyke chip a toof. On the street above the concrete cubbies you'll find Willow Wood Street, which makes a circle and also dumps out on Preston Road; it's like the secret route to the Batcave, hard to find. On Willow Wood's the bunker-like entrance to Deedie and Rusty Rose's $8-mil fortress, which, two years back, got a nifty add-on: the architecturally feted Pump House. It used to be the Turtle Creek Pump House and serves as "a place for the arts, a space for intellectual discussion, a temporary apartment, a playground," in the words of MESA Design Group. Them's the architects responsible for the hidden hideaway—the same peeps who did NorthPark Center and Southlake Town Square. Not bad.
OK, Off Price Shoes isn't really a store for drag queens, but because they specialize in fabulous feminine footwear in sizes 9 to 12, you just might think it is. All standard women's shoe sizes are represented, but for those guys and gals heavy of hoof, the dizzying display of plus-sized pumps is positively perfect. Wander through racks of flats, wedges, sandals, slides, boots, dye-ables and heavenly high heels. Whether you're a dude in a dress completing your Halloween drag act or merely a miss in search of stylish shoes, the large inventory at Off Price Shoes is destined to delight. And the best part? Except for boots, which run about $14.99, all shoes here are $6.99 to $9.99. Pump paradise!
The Round-Up embodies two things that are hallmarks of Dallas: gay guys and cowboys. This place was gay cowboy before gay Ang Lee got his grubby little hands on the subculture. With its seven rooms, each devoted to a different type of C&W, and each corner offering a different type of cowpoke—be he gay, straight, male or female, the Round Up stirs up a mixture of Billy Bob's and Brokeback Mountain.

Best Hot Co-Eds Swallowing Creamy Whiteness


If the frozen treats at Tasti-D-Lite weren't so damned tasty—and, supposedly, better for you than regular ice cream—we'd feel even dirtier enjoying them. Imported from the Northeast, where Tasti-D-Lite's special blend of frozen yogurt attracts customers even on the coldest of winter days, the Dallas franchise of Tasti-D-Lite, located near the SMU campus, is the perfect setting for soft-core visions of soft-serve. Tanned, leggy co-eds stream in and out of Tasti-D, carrying delicious dripping cones of vanilla cream in hand, softly licking each sweet bite with the tips of their delicate tongues. There are actually 100 other flavors on rotation, like graham cracker and banana and Snickers, but there's really nothing more soothing than watching a psych major suck on a sprinkle-laden dollop of 'nilla.
Jazz gets better and better in Dallas all the time, with a number of new clubs springing up and Brooklyn Café on South Lamar Street holding down the fort. But there's still nothing quite like Tuesday nights at Gezellig. The club always puts a good trio onstage on Tuesdays, but half the fun is from other Dallas musicians who just drop in to jam. Gezellig does jazz about half the time and other pre-1970s music—old-school R&B, funk, soul—the rest of the time.It's a small club with a nice, tight feel.
With its exposed brick walls, copper-topped bar and tasteful tables, Brooklyn is exactly what a jazz club should be (except it's not smoky; smoking is only allowed on the patio). This is the kind of spot to which you amble without even knowing who's on the bill. You just walk in, order your glass of wine or your Dewar's and soak up jazz of all kinds—psychedelic, guitar-based jazz (Montrose); silky vocals (Martha Burkes, KarenJ); brass-intensive (Freddie Jones Jazz Group); and everything in between. There's also a full menu, wi-fi and even a game night, so you can get your chess on while you take in the tunes.
OK, this category is about as competitive as a Shreveport spelling bee, but we do have to give our stumbling young GM a fair amount of props for claiming the former Dodgers great off the scrap heap. Given up for dead after missing nearly two seasons with an assortment of career-threatening injuries, Eric Gagne reclaimed his spot as one of baseball's best relievers in a great comeback season for the Texas Rangers. With the up and down pitching of Kevin Millwood and streaky hitting of Michael Young, Gagne was the team's most reliable player for a good chunk of the year. For a team with rail-thin confidence, Gagne's ability to close out close games was a huge boon to the team's psyche; there were many games where a blown save could have sent the Rangers reeling to a truly ignominious season—instead of a plain old disappointing one.
Considering all the people who have been thrown out of this joint for cussin' or violating the dress code, they ought to call it Tight Ship's Lounge, 'cause they certainly run one. But dammit if they don't have a magnificent jukebox full of country and R&B classics, with names like Marty Robbins, Lightnin' Hopkins, Bobby "Blue" Bland and the Drifters whizzing past as you search for that perfect slice of heartbreak or romance. You might also notice a complete lack of Jimmy Buffet, Justin Timberlake and Interpol, which is fine and dandy with us. And if you just can't decide between Jimmy Reed and Jim Reeves, take solace in the fact that this juke still plays four songs for a dollar. (The bar's also quiet enough that you can actually hear what's playing.) So put on something besides a wife-beater, watch your mouth and show some respect for the old school, kids.
Owned in part by the surviving members of Pantera, with an airy interior whose dimensions rival that of the main cave at Carlsbad Caverns, and providing patrons with free drinks on Monday nights, the Clubhouse is a place where dirty dreams come true in the least seedy way possible. It's, as they say, a classy joint, boasting an enormous stage with just enough lighting and plenty of poles. There's also the comfy VIP section, which is a large upstairs balcony with a view of, well, everything, plus—and this is our favorite part—all the cocktail waitresses are dressed as schoolgirls. Oh yeah, and there's valet parking too, but the valets just wear regular clothes.
Dear Ask a Mexican, What is the best Latin club in Dallas? I'd really like to get my salsa on.—Gringa Skin, Latina Heart Dear Gringa, Ay, Gabacha! What makes you think you can pigeonhole what "Latin" means now days? If we were to vote, we could choose that place Blue, downtown, because the block-long line to get in has always been full of Latinos ready to get their groove on, although the place plays hip-hop. But since it plays hip-hop and not Selena, or salsa, or merengue, we'll toss it out in the basura. Plus, we think it's closed. We don't really know, as we don't hang out there after dark—downtown is dangerous at night, que no? The point is, classifying something as "Latin" is more dificil than, say, blues or hip-hop. But, if we were to go with the usual gabacho perspective, we'd choose Escapade 2009. It's giant—muy grande—with many subdivided areas and Latin genres to choose from: reggaeton, traditional, Latin pop, y muchas mas. Come to think of it, it's all things Latin music, under one roof. ¿Comprende?

Best Of Dallas®

Best Of