Best Concert 2016 | Kraftwerk at The Bomb Factory | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

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?

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.

A day drink is meant to be relished al fresco in the sunshine, and there's no better place to do that than Truck Yard. The spacious Lower Greenville spot is almost entirely outdoors and has ample seating for large and small groups, including dogs. There's also a much-needed partially covered patio when the beating sun is too intense for skin that's been bathed in fluorescent lights all week long. An assortment of food trucks on the perimeter of the yard and an indoor grill are the perfect weapons in a day drinker's arsenal; no one wants to be around someone who's "hangry" after a day of drinking. Truck Yard gets extra novelty points for their treehouse from which revelers can grab a beer and keep a bird's eye view on the goings-on below.

Sports bars are a dime a dozen in DFW, and it can be hard for one to stand out, which makes Frankie's every bit more impressive. The décor is what a modern speakeasy would look like if you affixed large flat-screen TV's to every vertical surface. Frankie's recently celebrated its first anniversary, and it's not hard to see why it has been a success: The food is delicious and the portions are generous enough to last an entire fight night, while prices are surprisingly affordable for a Main Street location. It's a challenge to find a seat without a clear line of sight to several screens and the service is timely and pleasant. Head down stairs and you'll find a more intimate area with another full-service bar and fewer TVs. The space used to be a bank and rumor has it that there is a vault hidden somewhere below. How many other sports bars can say they have buried treasure?

Readers' Pick:

Henderson Tap House

Every movie is better with alcohol. It makes Michael Bay's plots more plausible and it can even make Adam Sandler funny for a couple of hours. OK, minutes. There's no better place to pregame a film than the Vetted Well at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar. The bar has a tasty selection of specialty drinks and every premiere promises a movie-related concoction. The fare is nice enough to merit its own visit and the theater is located just far enough from downtown to provide a scenic view from the second floor patios. Karaoke rooms are also available to rent if you need to warm up before one of the sing-along specials. Don't worry if you don't finish your beverage before show time, just close out your tab and take it with you. Halfway through a Sandler flick is no time to sober up, so you may as well order another round from your seat during the show.

Musician and local it-dude Charley Crockett has an undeniably retro, country-blues look that perfectly complements his music. The singer and Stetson model lives a life that plays out like the lyrics to Johnny Cash's "I've Been Everywhere." On his Instagram, you'll find a black-and-white Crockett in a field in California, or a brooding Crockett in the French Quarter, or anywhere in the South, looking like the Marlboro Man. Some of the area's best photographers have managed to capture his every smoldering expression, as well as documenting Crockett's era, though we're not sure which it is. The glimpses into his performances are rich in details, such as vintage marquees and endless snaps with musicians like his friend Leon Bridges. If you're not following him around every show like the rest of us, at least follow him on Instagram. Crockett plays DFW often, though, so you could just go swoon in person.

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