Best Brewery 2012 | Deep Ellum Brewing Co. | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

The first of four new breweries to open in the past year, Deep Ellum Brewing Co. is the biggest and offers the widest selection. Helmed by John Reardon and the capable and creative brewmaster Drew Huerter, DEBC rolls out a new style every few weeks. They're almost always good to great, and all have some creative spin on an established style. The India Pale Ale is an outstanding example of the style, Darkest Hour is a wonderfully complex rye imperial stout and Farmhouse Wit manages to capture the best of two different styles. The many other offerings are excellent too, and you probably won't have to wait long for yet another to emerge.

Best Bar for Wallowing in Your Heartbreaking Loss

Lee Harvey's

One of the most cathartic sounds in Dallas is a crunch. It's the sound of gravel under your shoe upon that first step into Lee Harvey's expansive patio, where rickety wood benches rest around old candles and wood-burning ovens smoke away your troubles. There's no better place in Dallas to undo that tight tie and flip off the blazer after a crushing loss, whether it be a campaign or something else, and flop down with an ice-cold Miller High Life. Go at night for maximum dim wallowing.

"Joyful" is the only word to describe Dallas Eagle on a busy Saturday night, as the jock-strapped bartenders spin bottles next to a packed dance-floor. Meanwhile, leather-clad patrons gather underneath trees strung with Christmas lights out on the spacious back patio to engage in heavy flirting or maybe some light bondage. The Eagle's been a well-loved institution for more than 15 years now, giving the city's leathermen and -women a place to call their own. These days, they'll usually welcome an outsider with a fair amount of good humor, provided that you at least attempt to adhere to the dress code (if leather's not your thing, at least scare up a black tee, some tight jeans and a pair of cowboy boots). Try not to gape like a yokel at any flogging or spanking taking place, and tip your mostly naked bartender, please.

On Friday, April 6, Viva Dallas, alongside "SINsation," the aerial acrobatics of Alley Oops and Fleur de Tease, performed a burlesque version of Alice in Wonderland. Imagine: "Alice" in a throat-clearingly-perfect split a few feet above the stage. Wild stuff from the burlesque troupe that puts on the most exciting themed burlesque in Dallas. Other themes this year have included Cirque du Soleil, Cinco de Mayo and a tribute to Dick Clark at the Lakewood Theater. You can follow their performances at and at our paper's own NSFW slideshows. Enjoy.

Best Place to Get a Crash Course in Tinctures

The Black Swan

Aaren Prody

If you've ever seen Black Swan's Gabe Sanchez make a drink, you know he takes his profession of tending bar seriously. He focuses on drink-making like a chemist. You will sit and watch him drop a tincture from New Orelans in your drink, and he will tell you what its health benefits are. Or, perhaps you will watch him sear a peach with some sort of futuristic laser and then skillfully balance it over your whiskey drink. Regardless, there's going to be some alchemy. And then you will be drunk. Science is golden.

Patrick Williams

The former Tejano bar near the corner of Peak and Elm streets was just waiting for the right person. That person was Brooke Humphries, owner of Barcadia, Beauty Bar and the newly opened Mudsmith coffee shop. As a veteran of the Dallas club/DJ/house music scene, she's turned It'll Do into an East Dallas dance club where bottle service and status don't apply. Hopefully, her flag-planting will get some other businesses to follow suit in East Ellum.

Doyle Rader
Boilermaker, Grandpa's Glory

As Mojo Nixon sang, "Elvis is everywhere," and that is especially true of the Single Wide, Double Wide's little sister on Greenville. From the bust of Mr. Presley behind the bar, to the Elvis pinball machine on the back wall, you need only one guess as to who their patron saint is.

Best Place to Hear an Obscure '80s Synth Band While Drinking Craft Beer


Isn't that what we all really want? A place to hear a Grauzone song while drinking PranQster out of a goblet? This dive is what East Dallas needs more of, a reappropriated space (it looks like it might have been an auto body shop at one point) that has a dizzying beer selection, provides a moping place away from Deep Ellum or Uptown and plays the Smiths at least three times a night.

So you're all grown up. You're a few years out of college and climbing the professional ladder. Maybe you even have a wife. Still, from time to time you can't help but yearn for the days of popped collars and keg stands and stumbling to class on no sleep and reeking of cheap whiskey. That's where the Katy Trail Ice House comes in. Sure, it gets points for its enormous shaded patio and beer glasses the size of a donkey's head, but it's the atmosphere that makes it unique. Nowhere else in Dallas captures the fuck-the-world casualness of a Friday night in college: just getting together with some bros, kicking back some donkey-head-sized brewskis and welcoming the weekend by punishing your liver. Keg stands, alas, are discouraged.

Deep Ellum's newest drinkery has a backlit bar outlined with beautiful cutouts of the bar's namesake bird, a row of shiny red stools and an exceptionally beautiful waitstaff. The tunes range from old blues to the sugariest Top 40, but the crowd is always friendly and there's never a shortage of places to sit: at the bar, on the velvet couches upstairs or outside on the back patio, where you can toss beanbags and make a few new friends. Despite its glam vibe and the fancy cocktails on offer, the small size of the place makes it feel like a friendly neighborhood spot. But we don't think anybody would bat an eye if you got the urge to wear your favorite corset there while sipping a sidecar. And that is always a very good thing.

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