A dimly lit bar with retro fixtures that hearken back to the 1960s would be, not surprisingly, the best place to forget the daily struggles of 2016. Tucked in a strip center in Lakewood that's just far enough removed from the madness of Lower Greenville, Cosmo's is off the beaten path, which makes it less likely that you'll run into your boss or an ex that you're trying to avoid. (They'll probably be next door at the Landing.) Cosmo's serves up an array of strong signature martinis and pizzas that are half-off on Sundays. It's easy to lose yourself in the mesmerizing flames of the indoor fireplace or outdoor fire pit, especially in those cold weather months. All the more reason Cosmo's is the best place to hide away from the world.

Good Luck Karaoke, a creation of Oliver Peck, Josh Hammertimez and George Quartz, got its start six years ago at Double Wide, but for the last two and a half years it's made its home at Twilite Lounge on Thursday nights. The hosts pick a theme and stay in character the entire night, miming backup guitar for each singer with Guitar Hero props. During a recent night they had a "wig party" and Peck looked like he stepped right out of Wayne's World with a platinum mullet and black plastic framed glasses. Karaoke jams as tried and true as Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" to newer hits like Sia's "Elastic Heart" help keep things interesting. An amiable crowd two-steps to country ballads and applauds graciously for each singer, making this perhaps the most interactive karaoke night in Dallas as well.

Readers' Pick:

Double Wide

It's not about the singing, OK? A good karaoke spot, like a good karaoke singer, needs only to have the right spirit to be a success. And Family Karaoke has spirit to spare. The large space means multiple rooms, with decent sound muffling to go as loud as you'd like. The rooms are comfortable, with cozy couches and solid speakers. It has a full stocked bar and food options that range from the typical bar food (chicken wings, mozzarella sticks) to delicious Japanese options (miso udon.) The location seems sketchy but adds to the allure of the place and welcome diversity of the patrons.

Trees

With a three-sided bar on the ground level and a wrap-around upper viewing deck with a full bar that gives concertgoers a bird's-eye view of the stage, Trees is definitely the best bar to catch a rock show. The super tall stage elevates bands to rock god status, and the floor slopes gradually to the front, meaning there isn't a bad vantage point in the house. Rock legend Kurt Cobain famously got in a scuffle here in the early '90s during his show with Nirvana, and even as recently as March of this year, fights broke out on stage with the Orwells and security during Spillover Fest. This club doesn't just look cool and sling cold drinks, it has the rough-and-tumble pedigree that makes it the best.

Readers' Pick:

Trees

The Factory

If historical significance alone were enough to rank local concerts, Kraftwerk's September visit to The Bomb Factory would easily be No. 1. The German quartet may not be a household name, but with songs like "Autobahn," "Trans-Europe Express" and "Tour de France," they've have had an impossibly huge influence on the past four decades of music, from rock 'n' roll to hip-hop to electronic dance music. They may or may not have ever even played here before this year: Bootlegs exist of a show supposedly recorded in Dallas in 1975, but there are strong indications that it was recorded elsewhere and little outside evidence to suggest the show even happened. But none of that is necessary to understand why Kraftwerk's stop in Deep Ellum was so remarkable. It was a show that played by an entirely different set of rules from other concerts, from the breathtaking use of 3-D imagery to the ingenious deployment of robots that took the place of the band members at one point. Kraftwerk's music still feels ahead of its time, but even as they revisited their past work they pushed it into the future, redefining what the concert format itself is capable of.

RBC is known for hosting shows with diverse lineups and showcasing up-and-coming artists, so it's no surprise that it's also the best place to discover new music. The much-talked-about Outward Bound Mixtape Sessions on Mondays have been a showcase for the experimental music scene in Dallas for two and half years. The weekly event is the brainchild of Stefan González, who configured something of an open mic (with performers vetted ahead of time), so no one gets on stage who didn't earn a spot. Outward Bound features mostly Dallas acts, but performers from around the nation and far-flung regions like Japan, France and Lebanon have graced the stage. It's been the incubator for genres like harsh noise, industrial, dance music, acoustic singer-songwriters and avant-garde jazz groups, so prepare for a grab-bag of acts, some of whom might become the next big thing.

A party needs several basic things to be successful: people, food, drinks and music. Double Wide has all of them in abundance. Two indoor bar areas connected by an outdoor patio put the "double" in Double Wide. With custom hand-crafted cocktails that claim to "hit harder than dad," like the Yoo-hoo Yeehaw and Hurritang, revelers can indulge their trashier sides. One of the indoor spaces has a stage that's hosted Dallas darlings like Sudie, Francine Thirteen, Moth Face and Ursa Minor during a recent all-female lineup. Two, count 'em two, spacious outdoor patios with decommissioned toilets for seats and picnic tables are popular congregating areas for a smoke or for people to set up shop during some of the festivals hosted here. And food trucks roll up just in the nick of time as if sent by some trailer park bat signal. Really, what more could one ask for to throw a kickass party?

The Foundry

No matter what brings people to the Foundry — whether it's the delicious crispy chicken and sautéed collard greens from the on-site restaurant, Chicken Scratch; the drink specials of $3 for any one of their premium drafts during select hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays; the friendly bartenders; or the enormous outdoor space — the Foundry gets our vote for the best place to catch free live music. A large stage anchors the outdoor yard, which has plenty of seating no matter how large the group. Some of Dallas' best musicians have played that stage for free. And there will inevitably be someone performing every Friday and Saturday night, so whether you're hanging out at the inside bar, playing pool or throwing down some wings at Chicken Scratch, you'll be within earshot of some incredible music on the house.

Yes, we know it's in Fort Worth, but some things are worth the drive. Located down the street from Fort Worth's Arts District, Ye Old Bull & Bush is about as close as you can get to a pub in the English countryside without a passport. It's dimly lit and you'll smell like an ashtray afterward, but the Guinness is poured correctly and the faces are friendly. Cozy and well-worn, it's a neighborhood favorite and regulars start to file in after five. Most customers have been coming for years and don't mind the lack of bar stools or the water that seeps under the doors when it rains. There's a healthy selection of bottled beers and 15 taps hang from the wall. Happy hour is a great opportunity to try a new beer but don't expect umbrellas in your drink or cushy seats. No-frills amenities include a single TV, a couple of dartboards and a jukebox. Between the Guinness and the good friends, what more do you need?

There are a number of great places to play Pokémon Go in Dallas, but while different locations have their perks, Addison Circle Park is a clear favorite. Crowds range from a couple dozen in the mornings to several hundred on weekends, and not even rain deters large groups of Pokémon trainers from descending on the park. Shady seating is abundant and parking is free; Pokémon are diverse and other players are friendly. The 10-acre public park is well lit and crowds stay late, while a neighboring police station offers a sense of security. Running low on Pokéballs? Take a lap around the park and stock up on everything you need at the Pokéstops that litter the area. Daring players can try and take over one of the nearby gyms. Neighborhood bars, restaurants and cafés offer refreshment and a reprieve to weary trainers trying to catch them all — as long as the servers don't crash, anyway.

Best Of Dallas®

Best Of