When The Cedars Social's head barman Michael Martensen quietly opened the doors to Bar 828 in Oak Cliff, a charity-benefiting pop-up bar in Oak Cliff, it was only a matter of minutes until the place was packed. Martensen brought in the area's top bartenders to mix drinks. It was so popular that only a few months later he did the same thing in Deep Ellum, where Hid In popped up in Cane Roso's extra room. It was like a bartender's playground, where mixologists were able to get a little more adventurous than they would in their home bars.

Union Bear

It's not the biggest as far as brewpubs go, or at least doesn't have the brewing capacity of a Humperdink's, Gordon Biersch or BJ's. In fact, it only brews one beer at a time to complement its array of other fine ales and lagers. But brewing a new offering every week, this self-proclaimed "nanobrewery" makes up for its small output with creativity, offering amateur brewers the chance to collaborate on experimental batches. And even if one of them turns out to be a dud, there are always the dozens of other brews to choose from. Wine selection and food ain't half bad, either.

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

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 vivadallasburlesque.com and at our paper's own NSFW slideshows. Enjoy.

Best Place to Get a Crash Course in Tinctures

The Black Swan

Black Swan Saloon

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.

It'll Do Club

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.

Boilermaker, Grandpa's Glory
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

Strangeways

Strangeways

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.

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