Best Radio Talk Show 2009 | Think | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

Krys Boyd's the perfect interviewer: informed but not intrusive, objective with just a hint of opinionated. At a time when most talk radio shouts dumb-ass at you, she's the rational, calm, thoughtful voice of reason; she wants her guests to teach her something, not agree like a fast-food flunky. And she's just as likely to welcome a jazzer as she is an author as she is a foodie—hers is a wide-ranging menu from which we gladly pick and choose. And if we forget, well, there's always the podcast.

Matt Nager

Sure, there's the live music room across the patio. That helps. But the Double Wide wins points because you don't have to hit the music room—or pay that room's separate cover charge—to enjoy a night of fine music and good friends. Regularly playing host to a couple of the region's finest niche DJs—DJ Slim, whose soul music selection is authentic enough to transport you to another era, and DJ Burlap, whose country tunes offer up a perfect soundtrack to the bar's white trash décor—the bar's recently added another fine offering for its crowd of local musicians and active fans. It hosts a rotating cast of local musicians and advocates as its Tuesday night DJs, ensuring that its insider crowd shows and enjoys a night among friends.

This rooftop patio is hands-down among the best in town. You can sit at the bar under the stars or grab a table at which to enjoy shots of tequila or margaritas accompanied by fajitas, nachos or fish tacos. The tequila selection is vast, from Cuervo on the bottom end to El Tesoro Paradiso and Don Julio in the mid-range and Patron Gran Platinum and Herradura Seleccion Suprema on the top shelf. There are dozens of cocktails to choose from, from the ginger martini to the cactus cosmo and a variety of mojitos. If what you're after is a margarita, the bar offers a wide variety. Whether you order the signature agave margarita made with Margaritaville Silver and Cointreau, the Don made with Don Julio or the Cazuela, made with Izze grapefruit soda, fresh oranges and Cazadores Reposado Tequila served in a clay bowl, you'll get a killer drink made from scratch with fresh-squeezed lime.

Colleges and universities always use the campus scenery to entice prospective students, but if you're looking into a Dallas County Community College, it's understandable if scenery falls far below practicality and affordability on your list of priorities. After all, El Centro and Eastfield are not much to look at. The Urban Wildlife Sanctuary at Mountain View College, however, is actually something to behold. A wooded, hilly area bisected by a creek softly gurgling along limestone banks, the northern boundary of Mountain View is one of the prettiest hidden gems in Dallas, perfect for a little early morning birding or a post-exam stroll.

Not many drives in Dallas can compare with the surreal scene that is Mountain Creek Parkway. Take the exit off Southbound Loop 12 and you'll come upon the desolate lakeshore that borders the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery—you might see the occasional van full of misguided fishermen parked under the giant power lines overhead, but there's also plenty of empty space in case you've got a body in the trunk or something. Keep driving and you'll come across Dallas Baptist University, a brightly lit congregation of buildings that resembles that giant FLDS temple outside Eldorado, Texas—you know, the one that was all over Dr. Phil last year. Then, take a left and you'll find the Potter's House and the under-construction utopia of Capella Park. Or take a right and cross Dallas' only toll bridge into Grand Prairie. Either way, it will be interesting...and creepy.

This spot, located only eight minutes from downtown, used to be an illegal dump. The construction debris and rotting garbage caught fire and burned for a month in 1997. But millions of dollars and many years later, the city has turned the 120-acre site into a home for hundreds of bird species and critters. Spend a Saturday morning exploring the two and a half miles of trails through three different ecosystems—forest, grassland and wetland. Look out from a perch over a bend of the Trinity River. Or just relax and explore the site's $14 million green building with insulation made from recycled blue jeans. The building has been deemed the city's official gateway to the great Trinity River Forest, which at 6,000 acres is the largest urban hardwood forest in the United States. See how much you've learned already?

Best Spot to Meet the Fledgling Community in Downtown

City Tavern

Beth Rankin

City Tavern is the Cheers of downtown. Everybody knows your name. That's because most patrons are downtown residents, especially on any given weekday. As the downtown population has grown from 200 to 6,000 residents in the last 15 years, the Tavern has been transformed by demand into the downtown community center. In May, a group of downtown residents threw their favorite barfly, a decades-long resident of the Manor building, a fund-raiser to help pay for her life-saving surgery. The next week she was back on her favored bar stool sipping a white Zinfandel. The heyday of the historic building housing the two-story bar was some 50 years ago, but the bar keeps that old-timey feel, with its high-backed booths, grainy mirrors and hardwood floors.

Don't book a hotel or buy airfare. Why waste money? Come spring, Dallas becomes another place entirely. For more than a week, you can escape, in your own city, into chilly theaters with tickets and badges as your boarding passes to a fantasy land, a nightmare, a place for romance, a realistic place in someone else's life—you call the shots. Thanks to Leiner Temerlin (founder, chairman emeritus) and Michael Cain (CEO, artistic director), for three years we Dallas film fanatics got to know the AFI Dallas International Film Festival and the joy of navigating a massive film schedule (attempting from one to seven screenings in a day), meeting high-profile celebrities (and likewise geeking out on character actors) and asking filmmakers direct questions about their creative process. It's been exhausting and exhilarating. Henceforth, Dallas will celebrate film with the Dallas International Film Festival as AFI Dallas is no longer, but this is exciting. As Cain told the Dallas Observer after the news broke in June, "This allows us to reinvest in Dallas...Each year we brought fewer and fewer people from out of state to work the festival, and we programmed 95 percent of the festival on our own. AFI gave us an amazing base of knowledge to lift ourselves up, [but] we're confident we can continue on our own."

So, you've finally given in. Maybe the peer pressure finally got to you. Or maybe you've resolved your issues with Mother and are looking to devote a patch of skin to honor her (or maybe you have really big mommy issues, so you're ready to have a death's head inked into your flesh). Now comes the hard part: finding an artist who can best translate your complicated emotional state into a long-lasting statement. Oliver Peck and his fellow inkers at Deep Ellum's Elm Street Tattoo are guaranteed to have just the image for you, whether your feelings for Mom are of the traditional red-heart variety or something darker. (Peck's winged hand-grenade design would work perfectly for us, but that's between us and our therapist.) From simpler ankle and forearm designs to elaborate shirt-sleeve and torso murals, Elm Street's artists will turn your skin into a window into what lies beneath. It's cheaper than therapy. Trust us.

Big things are happening this season for Uptown Players, the gay-centric company known for edgy musicals, body-baring dramas and drag comedies. For two shows in 2010—the drama Equus and the raucous musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels—Uptown will take over the stage at the Kalita Humphreys Theater on Turtle Creek. This is an important step in the evolution of Uptown, which now boasts more than 12,000 patrons per season. Founders Jeff Rane and Craig Lynch have improved Uptown Players year after year, hiring better directors, designers and actors. The move to the main stage at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed theater will make new demands on the troupe, but will also introduce Dallas' most ambitious company of artists to a wider audience.

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