Best House Band 2016 | The Texas Gentlemen | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

House bands: the anonymous heroes behind your favorite pop songs. From Stax to Motown to Muscle Shoals, session players have kept it tight in the pocket for decades and defined the sounds of studios, cities and even whole genres. Staying in the background is the point, though, which is why Modern Electric Sound Recorders' resident group picked the most unremarkable name they could think of: Texas Gentlemen. But this rotating cast of players and ringers is anything but unremarkable and by no means relegated to the studio. They pick up gigs around town, hold down a residency at the Belmont, and are liable to get joined onstage by old friend Leon Bridges whenever he's in town. But even Bridges can't compete with one of their latest gigs, backing up country legend Kris Kristofferson at the Newport Folk Festival, which Rolling Stone singled out as one of the highlights of the whole fest.

Courtesy Gas Monkey

Nothing screams metal like fast cars, a television motorhead and, well, good ol' fashion metal. Located in the former Firewater Bar and Grill in northwest Dallas, Gas Monkey is the brainchild of Richard Rawlings of Fast N' Loud fame. On the TV show, Rawlings and his friend Aaron Kaufman found forgotten classics cars and restored them to life. Rawlings and Kaufman recreated this magic with Gas Monkey, offering not only a bar and grill offering drinks and food that ignite the senses like an old car but also kickass music usually reserved for late-night drives with the top down. Besides hosting Metal Mondays for local and tourist metalheads, some of the biggest names in metal also dominate the stage at Gas Monkey Live. Some of the upcoming metal acts include Cannibal Corpse, Slayer and the godfather of metal guitar, Ace Frehley.

Readers' Pick:

Gas Monkey Bar N' Grill

Courtesy of Dallas Comedy Club

Located in the heart of Deep Ellum, Dallas Comedy House offers not only comedy shows by some of the best talent in the Dallas and Fort Worth area at affordable prices but also comedy classes in improv, sketch and stand-up comedy. It also offers corporate workshops, shows and private events. Dallas Comedy House founder Amanda Austin with the help of her younger brother Kyle created more than just a comedy house but a family. "I was very skeptical, even as her brother who was someone with her from the very beginning, but she is a bulldog," he says. "She was able to do it. She essentially took the leap of faith, and we've been riding her coattails ever since."

Readers' Pick:

Addison Improv

Doyle Rader
Boilermaker, Grandpa's Glory

When you're almost done with the night and can't take any more excitement, a perfectly dim dive bar like Single Wide is probably the place to go. It's essentially your home away from home, if you live with your tacky aunt and uncle who haven't redecorated in 30 years. But this shotgun bar is about more than just the tacky décor. The good thing about Single Wide is that it seems to have hired the same cast of artsy regulars who just refuse to explore other bars, making it a great place to make friends, yet a terrible one to avoid your ex. You might not need the sweetness of the Yoohoo Yeehaw late at night (you'll still drink it), but the chip dip will be just the thing, and by that time all the nearby valet parking will be cleared out, so you can survey the land from the patio free of the pesky nouveau Lower Greenville clientele. Also, it's cheap, just like you are. We know, because if you're anything like their sample patron, you're a server or artist, and probably both.

Courtesy Dallas Arboretum

Well. Maybe we didn't know what we had. We knew the Dallas Arboretum was gorgeous, offered spectacular seasonal shows and included a special wonderland for kids. But we have to admit, we might not have ranked it with the gardens of the Palace of Versailles, the Chicago Botanic Garden or the Claude Monet Foundation gardens in Giverny, France. But, yeah, it ranks right up there, at least according to an article in the July 2016 Architectural Digest called "15 Breathtaking Botanical Gardens to Visit This Season." As in, in the world! Wow. Knock us over with a fern frond.

Best Of Dallas®

Best Of