BEST CHRISTMAS MUSIC SHOW 2013 | Robert Wilonsky's Christmas Eve Holiday Music Spectacular | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

With some FM stations starting up with the Christmas music around, oh, mid-September, you’d think by Christmas Eve we would be well past the point of exhaustion with little drummer boys, silver bells and silent nights. And we are. Nonetheless, we tune in every year when former Observerer and current Dallas Morning News blogger Robert Wilonsky brings his massive collection of Christmas music to the airwaves. Of course, no former music editor — and certainly not one who’s as obsessive a collector as Wilonsky — is going to play the tired old carols. You’ll hear interesting originals and offbeat covers from a wide variety of genres from funk to punk. You might hear Centro-matic’s “Christmas ’83” or Freddie King’s “I Hear Jinglebells,” or call in to request a chestnut of your own. Wilonsky has just what you need to soundtrack your last-minute gift-wrapping after one too many eggnogs.

Lauren Drewes Daniels

A Sunday afternoon at The Grapevine is like a celebration of population density. It's a shoulder-to-shoulder mob, every member of which is either swaddled in post-brunch bliss or has just woken up and is making a breakfast of Velvet Hammer or Everclear bellinis. While drinking in general is skill that needs constant honing, day drinking is something more. It's an art. A craft even. And bars built to encourage day drinking are workshops where practitioners can perfect their craft. On any given night Grapevine pulls in a crowd that's big and always diverse, covering a mélange of sexualities and a healthy mix of ages. It's part of what makes the place so appealing, that it communicates a sense of weirdness and welcoming at the same time. And that's what draws the crowd every Sunday. That and the chance to suck down bellinis while soaking in vitamin D.

Imagine all of the best moments from your younger days and that's like two hours at the patio of Oak Street Draft House in "Little D." Even if you know no one, you can usually snag a cable-spool tabletop under a shaded tree at the back of the gravel lot and it won't be long before someone's dog comes to lick the frost that has formed on your glass of beer, or a friendly face asks you for an extra seat. Large picnic tables and pingpong tournaments are only two of the reasons to show up; the people, countless draft beers and new outdoor bar are even more.

Her beauty would probably be enough to keep her working steadily as an actress, but SMU theater grad Martha Harms brings an interesting, not-always-pretty edge to every role she's played in Dallas theaters over the past five years. She's done six shows at Kitchen Dog, and lots more for Undermain and Echo Theatre. Last fall she thrilled critics and audiences with her daffy Marie Antoinette in the new rock musical On the Eve at Magnolia Lounge, a part she'll reprise when Theatre Three revives the show, with cast intact, in 2014. When she's not onstage, Harms is working in industrial films and doing voice-overs for radio, TV and Japanese anime. She was the voice of Maya in the video game Borderlands 2. Dream roles? Says Harms, "Hedda Gabler and Nora in A Doll's House. We never do Ibsen here!"

"This is why you should move to Oak Cliff," is a familiar phrase at Tradewinds. Busy on some nights, dead on others, there's always a person to converse with, including the outgoing staff of bartenders who sometimes hand out free shots on slow nights. A tiny patio around back is where you'll hear the best stories. Set up camp here for a few hours and you'll hear the Oak Cliff regulars' stories of everything from war to strife to women, and you might even tell a couple of your own.

You will never again have to complain that there's nothing to do in Dallas on Friday night. There's always one option: karaoke at Dallasite. Trust. This is a magical thing. There's no stage, no professional speakers, no pomp, just teeth-clenching bad "singing" and good times. It wouldn't be out of place in this dark, aromatic watering hole to find line dances to the backdrop of "Thriller" tributes and sub-par rap renditions. It's all welcome at Dallasite. There's just one rule: no judging.

Lauren Drewes Daniels

Huddled in the back around a dark corner by the restrooms in Lakewood Landing's caught-out-of-time bar lies a lone pool table. Really, it's a pool table cave. A single wooden shelf lines the perimeter of the walls and hosts an array of long-forgotten beer and cocktail glasses, and an old couch to fall onto when you miss that easy corner-pocket shot. Sitting nearby is a jukebox blasting everything from obscure local music to hip-hop to old Motown hits. The pool cave is one of Dallas' best places to blow off steam.

He's familiar to DFW dance fans as the founder of the Track Meet DJ collective, but Rodrigo Diaz, aka Ynfynyt Scroll, stands on his own. His new residency alongside Lil' Texas at Beauty Bar features a seamless mix of rowdy hits and obscurities. Diaz seeks new music tirelessly and omnivorously, playing everything from brand new Southern hip-hop to reggaeton to whatever he finds poking around the foreign corners of Soundcloud.

As country music just keeps betting harder and harder on boring and shiny and stuff that really isn't even country at all, DJ Mike Crow digs his heels even deeper into the red dirt of Texas' country heroes. He created the Honky Tonk Texas show, now hosted by Mark "Hawkeye" Louis on KSCS-FM 96.3. And now Crow's settled in at 92.1 Hank FM, where he hosts Crowman's Honky Tonk Texas Highway for four hours every weekday morning. Live from the Stockyards in Fort Worth, Crow plays The Highwaymen and all who follow in their shit-kicking bootprints.

The choppers parked out front and the death metal roaring in back may be intimidating, but even non-biker non-metalheads get a warm welcome from the bartenders and regulars at Reno's. The drinks are cheap and come in plastic disposable cups that won't send glass shards flying if things get too rowdy. The bands that play are as heavy as they come, ranging from hardcore to grindcore to death metal to thrash. And it was the perfect setting for a biker to pull out a tooth during the Dallas Observer Music Awards showcase last year — where else but Reno's?

Best Of Dallas®

Best Of