City Tavern
Beth Rankin

As Downtown Dallas creeps closer and closer to regaining its status as a top entertainment destination among the city's many, many options, the neighborhood is facing some roadblocks. There are just too many carbon-copy ultra lounge establishments that have popped up on Main Street in recent years; we have a hard time keeping track of them all. Thank God, then, for City Tavern, a downtown bar and restaurant that is the polar opposite of the lush venues that surround it. There are no frills at this place, called "the Tavern" by its regulars. And it's working in the bar's favor, too: Whereas the security at the clubs surrounding the City Tavern carefully calculate how many people to allow in from the glitzy lines gathered outside their spots, so as to keep up a demand for entry, the Tavern needs no such tricks. Its patrons walk in and out with nonchalance, and, when gathered out front for a cigarette or simply to gawk at the lemmings in line for the competition, its sidewalk crowds often end up being bigger.

Kona Grill
Kona Grill
Station 4

You can't. You won't. And you don't...stop dancing at Station 4 just because it's 2 a.m. and the rest of the world is sulking its way home when their favorite lame bar shuts down. Open until 4 a.m. to facilitate maximum ass-shakage, this place is a pulsating hub of gay, straight and everything-in-between fun, pulsing through dancers' veins alongside that shot of something fluorescent taken after making an ass of oneself to that Ke$ha song. Station 4 is flashing lights on a suspended ceiling-chandelier, stretchy shirts and tiny shorts. Station 4 is no excuse not to sweat through your neon thong—and that goes for guys and girls. Station 4 is 24,000 square feet and no room not to have a good time.

Need proof that the aliens are coming to get us all in 2012? Consider this: The best bar in Dallas (Deep Ellum's La Grange) is also the best place to get a snow cone. La Grange owner Stephanie Schumaker's icy-beverage side-project, 32 Degrees, doesn't demand that you order the thing with a shot of rum, but you sure as hell can if you want to. Human evolution is clearly peaking. Schumaker traveled all the way to Hawaii to find the pinnacle of shaved ice technology, with her machine churning out baby-soft ice into petaled-plastic cone-holders that prevent the dreaded snow-cone drip. Able to order their icy refreshments in the comfort of a cowboy-themed "swanky-tonk," Dallasites no longer must hoof out to the 'burbs to stand in line in the searing sun for a cone out of a seasonal trailer.

If it's, say, late on a weekend night and you're stumbling out of an Uptown bar and into Monday Omoregbee's cab with your friends, odds are good the first question one of you will ask is whether or not this is the "Cash Cab." There are, after all, the party lights, the disco ball, the CDs stuck to the wall. It is not the "Cash Cab." It is a tricked-out white minivan with six microphones and a few songbooks—and unless you're headed deep into the suburbs, you've only got time for a song or two. Decline to sing, and Monday just has to plug in "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and your cold songless heart will melt in 10 city blocks. Still refuse the mic, and Omoregbee, in his finest lounge singer attire, will take the mic in one hand and the steering wheel in the other for a Lionel Richie tune. In Omoregbee's cab—especially after closing on a Saturday night—it's "Easy Like Sunday Morning" all the way home.

Meddlesome Moth

The traditional four ingredients for beer are malted barley, hops, yeast and water. At the Meddlesome Moth, you can get beers from around the world highlighting three of those ingredients: rich malty British ales or German bocks, intensely hoppy West Coast brews, complex yeasty Belgian ales and more. The only thing you won't find is a watery American macrobrew; even with easily more than 100 beer varieties to choose from, the Moth doesn't trifle with Miller Lite or its ilk. The food menu has thoughtful beer pairing suggestions, and the selection changes frequently, with cask-conditioned brews and other rare kegs tapped weekly. The beer can be expensive, but keep in mind that most of them are on the strong side, so you won't need as many. Still, you can stick to a budget during happy hour, when some 15 varieties are priced at $4 each, with one or two priced at $3.

Eno's Pizza Tavern

When Eno's upstairs tavern opened up back in March, it became a favored destination for Oak Cliff's movers and shakers in a few short weeks, combining the pizza joint's already robust craft beer selection with big windows, a great view of downtown and a gorgeous, all-wood décor. There's not a TV to be found in here, so it's a nice place to meet friends or get to know your date with no Rangers-, Stars-, Mavs- or Cowboys-related distractions. And since Eno's full menu is available upstairs, the long wait for tables that once greeted hungry patrons is now largely a thing of the past. Parking is scarce on the weekends, though, so be prepared to walk a block or two. Or better yet, do the Oak Cliff thing and ride over on your bike—there's a nice rack on the side for parking, and it's one of the few places in Dallas where walking in with your helmet won't earn you funny looks from the locals.

READERS' PICK BEST OUTDOOR PATIO OR DECK

Lee Harvey's

Lee Harvey's
Lee Harvey's

What's your best friend like? Does she constantly bombard you with new and wacky gimmicks in a desperate attempt to hold your attention? No way. Your best friend got that title because he or she is consistently awesome. Dallas' best bar should be just like that, and La Grange, at less than a year old, has mastered reliable excellence faster than most watering holes that have been around for 10 times as long. Thirst-quenchers at the small-town themed "swanky-tonk" range from signature cocktails to a rotating selection of low-rent beers on draft. The jukebox harbors a minimum of pap, and the bar food (rock shrimp quesadillas!) is hand-crafted heaven on the cheap. The woodsy patio's a great place to hide—alone or with a partner—while the aurally inclined will appreciate owners Stephanie and Rob Schumaker booking Dallas' finest indie and country bands. Yee-homegrown-haw.

Adair's Saloon

There are loads of generic honky-tonks all over the metroplex. They have giant dance floors where the Wrangler-wearing masses spend their weekends dancing to country bands that don't venture far from top 40 playlists. Adair's Saloon has virtually nothing in common with these places. Consider it the CBGB of honky-tonks. A small, well-worn dance floor stretches from one overly decorated wall to another. Local country acts The King Bucks and Boys Name Sue regularly whip line-dancing regulars into a frenzy with their take on old country standards and hilarious originals. But if you don't feel much like dancing, Adair's Saloon has one of the best burgers in town and plenty of cold Lone Star beer to help wash it down.

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