Best Place to Meet Single People 2016 | Mutts Canine Cantina | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

Sometimes Tinder and OKCupid just don't suffice. Sometimes it's nice to meet a mate in the flesh before committing to drinks with them on a Saturday night. It takes effort, but it's worth it when you can finally fulfill that pesky "In a Relationship" status on Facebook. Meeting single people in Dallas is easy, so long as you go to Mutts Canine Cantina, the combination dog park, bar and restaurant in Uptown. Going to a bar alone and drinking can be hard and come off as creepy. Going to a dog park with only your dog and drinking can be cool and inviting. Simply head to Mutts with a dog — your dog, a stray dog, any dog — order a beer and watch the potential spouses come rolling in. Dogs are great icebreakers because they sniff your potential mate's butt before you ever have to.

Dammit, we're still thinking of that Kelly Clarkson performance of "Piece By Piece" on the final season of American Idol. A pregnant and beautiful Clarkson returned to the stage that made the Burleson native a household name and America's first-ever American Idol to perform a song about her struggling relationship with her father. About three-fourths of the way through, however, Clarkson began choking up while singing the lyrics. If that wasn't enough to get America teary-eyed, the camera then panned to judge Keith Urban completely weeping as he watched the performance. Judges Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. and host Ryan Seacrest were misty-eyed as well, proving Clarkson's voice can evoke great emotions. Damn it, Clarkson. Stop it. (Except don't.)

We watched him grow as a guyliner-wearing musician singing Phantom of the Opera to a guyliner-wearing musician singing Blue October. Jennifer Lopez called him cute during his American Idol audition, and your grandmother thought he was weird. We're talking about Dalton Rapattoni, of course, and he made the best use of reality TV this year. Whether he was covering a song like "Hopelessly Devoted to You" or mixing up a classic *NSYNC song like "It's Gonna Be Me," the Sunnyvale native was wooing America enough to finish third during the last season of the singing competition show. And it wasn't just that. He extended the reality TV fame long enough to receive a homecoming parade in Sunnyvale and a chance to work on his album with Blue October's Matt Noveskey. His 15 minutes of fame may never end.

Is it even a contest for best country bar in Dallas when a place like Adair's exists? Your dad went to Adair's before Deep Ellum was cool and now, when you inevitably go there, you are forced to see his phone number written on the wall. It's the best country bar because there are good burgers and good music and some bar games in the back and that's everything you need to be considered the best of anything. But it really is the music that makes this place stand out. Every night, you can be treated to free live music from a variety of musicians singing covers of Hank Williams Jr. and the Rolling Stones. It's a real-life honky tonk just a hop, skip and a two-step from downtown Dallas.

Readers' Pick:

Billy Bob's Texas

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.

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