Best Place to Catch Free Live Music 2016 | The Foundry Bar | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

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.

KXT is sponsored by the listeners, so you can avoid subjecting yourself to any more advertising than what's already informing your decisions. The station hand-picks a playlist made up of a variety of classics and the best local music, throwing in your guilty pleasure '90s songs, too. It's like going to a friend's house who listens to really good music and knows to follow up an obscure Bob Dylan track with Leon Bridges. On KXT, you can escape the same tired Rolling Stones tracks like "Satisfaction," which play on classic rock stations, but will hear instead that one other version of "Let It Bleed." In addition, there's The Paul Slavens Show on Sunday evenings, and he'll play whatever is requested on his blog, even if that is a cover of "I'm a Little Teapot" in French. The station is constantly sponsoring great local shows and putting on their own live music series, like Summer Cut and KXT Sun Sets (formerly Barefoot at the Belmont), kindly giving you a chance to see the bands they've made you obsess about.

Readers' Pick:

106.1 KISS FM

Mike Brooks

January's release show for Jacob Metcalf's Fjord was just as ambitious as the album itself, which was his first as a solo artist. For starters, he had singer Kaela Sinclair open for him, shortly before she joined M83 and went on to play around the world. But the topper were the 20 musicians who filled the Kessler's stage that night, having more players than the venue's stage has ever hosted. The singer was in the company of a five-piece band, three alto singers and a 14-piece orchestra, which included violinists, unheard-of Asian instruments and a World War II-era reed organ. Metcalf's grandiose orchestra proved a tasteful accompaniment to his otherwise simple style, and they delivered melodic magic. As he played the entire album, the stage lit up with band members wearing string lights under a chandelier of colorful shredded paper. Metcalf not only had the best album release show, but easily one of the best shows Dallas hosted this year, period.

When the owners of Club Dada decided to turn the space formerly used as the venue's green room into a rustic little combination record store and bar called Off the Record, they miscalculated its potential popularity. In retrospect, they should've used up more of Dada's space, perhaps all of it. The space seemed plenty back when it was a mellow gathering spot for people who like to browse records while buzzed, but when they started putting on DJ nights like Blue, the Misfit's, it became the smallest dance club in America. Don't worry, there is still plenty of room on the sidewalk to wait at the door for a good 30 minutes, quietly judging the passersby and missing the days when Deep Ellum and Addison didn't have one and the same patronage. At this point, the bar may as well set up tents outside for the refugees seeking shelter inside. But once you're in, it's worth the wait. Off the Record is a cozy, friendly place to literally rub elbows with your fellow drunks.

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