Best Place To Bump into Lady Gaga without a Ticket

Round-Up Saloon

Round-Up Saloon

Sure the joint opened in the summer of 1980, but the Round-Up Saloon on Cedar Springs is one of the only places in town that could peg a "Lady Gaga is a regular" sign on the bar. Gaga has a habit of dropping by for impromptu performances on the gay bar's legendary boot-scootin' dance floor, and back in March of last year the performer showed up while in town for her Monster Ball Tour at American Airlines Center. Gaga preformed her hit "Born this Way" to a packed bar. The pop star also made an appearance at Round-Up back in 2010 and in 2008. Since her shows don't come cheap and almost always sell out, a Little Monster's chances of catching her at Round-Up are pretty good.

Best Place to Get Up Close and Personal with a Drag Queen

Randy's Club Cherries

Randy's Club Cherries

The first thing you notice when stepping into the tiny club off Maple Avenue is an intimate stage with a luminous backdrop, shimmering in the glow of several multicolored spotlights. The stage, surrounded by a few small tables, hosts regular performances by some of the city's top drag performers and national acts alike. From Dominique O'Hara Skyy to Kandy Cayne and Whitney Paige, at Randy's you're guaranteed an intimate performance, and maybe even a kiss on the cheek (just don't forget to bring some single dollar bills). And after the heated performance, you may even feel the urge to step into the VIP section and cool off in the enormous open shower that's in there.

The Old Monk

This distinction isn't given based on the television-to-patron ratio. If that were the case, The Old Monk would surely lose out in this super scientific selection process. No, this is based on a handful of criteria that enrich the sports-watching experience: Patio, food, booze and, yeah, televisions. The Old Monk has one of the best patios on Henderson, which is a generally accepted fact and of the utmost importance during basketball season. You can choose from an admirable selection of microbrewed draft and bottled beers and order some pretty tasty mussels while watching the game.

Sue Ellen's

On the first Friday of every other month, drag king "community" Mustache Envy takes over the Vixen Lounge at Sue Ellen's bar on Cedar Springs. The performance is a hybrid of a drag show and variety show and includes local drag kings, musicians and burlesque dancers. The high-energy and engaging event is a perfect way to blow off steam after a long workweek, especially since cover is cheap ($3 before 10 p.m., $6 after) and drinks are cheaper (happy hour runs until 8 p.m., and there are $4.25 wells and bottles of beer after that).

Bar Belmont

This is, without qualification, the best place to drink in Dallas. Sure, they can whip up a competent cocktail, and they have a selection of infused booze that's pretty interesting. But it's the vibe that keeps us coming back. Seated on a rise at the intersection of Fort Worth Street and Sylvan Avenue, nestled within the immaculately white, mod Belmont Hotel complex, Bar Belmont offers an incomparable view of the Dallas skyline. And there's nothing more relaxing than strolling down stone paths, inlaid with ceramic shards, while sipping on a drink and admiring the desert flora. If you work up an appetite, the kitchen across the way at Smoke will send over anything from sliders to sweetbreads.

Sandaga 813

Jazz fans in Dallas are grown folks. They have a certain refined taste in art and music that can't be found in many local music clubs. Also, they go to bed at a reasonable time on weeknights. Sandaga 813 understands this, which is why the eclectic space in Exposition Park has the feel of a low-lit urban art gallery. And when you get there at 8 p.m. on a Tuesday, you can expect Shelley Carrol and his impressive band have already had their first downbeat. Careful, though. The music and the atmosphere are so good that you're likely to stay up way past your bedtime.

The Foundry

It's one thing when a bar has a nice patio, but Oak Cliff's The Foundry has a massive patio. The sprawling yard is enclosed on one side by several boxcars filled with comfortable chairs and tables. On one end is the coolest-looking stage in Dallas (constructed of more than 600 wood pallets), and next to it is a building that houses the bar. Even that feels like it's outdoors thanks to massive garage doors that remain open during business hours. And if patrons get hungry, Chicken Scratch is on one end of the campus. It's a kid-friendly, pet-friendly bar with plenty of space for everyone.

Strangeways

It's hard not to feel as though you're walking into a Manchester pub when you step foot into the East Dallas bar Strangeways. The exposed concrete walls and wooden rafters lend to the industrial British atmosphere, but what really sets the mood is the music that breathes life into the gritty space. An impressive mix of The Smiths, New Order, Joy Division, The Jam and others blast from the speakers located above the beer taps. The drinks are strong at Strangeways, but few things are more intoxicating than when a good bar plays good music.

Liquid Zoo

Liquid Zoo owner Nell Scarborough can hardly hold a conversation without humming along to whatever power ballad is playing in her East Dallas bar. She's not the only one. The room is filled with Richard Marx fans, who, according to the genuine looks on their faces as they sing along, "will be right here waiting for you." The thing is, the music coupled with Liquid Zoo's atmosphere actually makes sense. In fact, if you hang out there long enough, you might find yourself on stage doing karaoke to Michael Bolton's version of "When A Man Loves A Woman."

Paschall Bar

Denton's University of North Texas campus releases thousands of graduates into the real world each year. It's expected that they'll take their education and move away to another, bigger city. Such is not the case in Denton, where many graduates have been hanging around the town like an adult son crashing at his parents' house for a few years too many. Midlake, the enterprising band composed of UNT graduates, has created Paschall Bar for the older, more discerning Denton resident. The bartenders — often traveling musicians between tours — are trained mixologists. As such, Paschall Bar serves up the best cocktails on that side of the county line.

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