Kellie Reynolds

We knew Rapscallion on Lowest Greenville made exceptional cocktails after trying the Kern N' Oil, its take on the classic Corn N' Oil. The original is made with blackstrap rum, Falernum (a syrup used in tiki drinks) and a squeeze of lime; Rapscallion's version includes a grilled lime wheel and bitters, making it surprisingly earthy. Huh. That's interesting. Then we tried another drink. Also good. What kind of magic was barman Eddie Eakin, who came over from Boulevardier, working exactly? And we kept going back, making our way down the cocktail menu and then back up it, eating hot fried chicken and quickly turning into Rapscallion devotees. But we may love the place most for its little-known tiki night. On Tuesdays the bartenders wiggle into Hawaiian shirts, pass out a special tropical drinks list and whip up brain-freezing concoctions like the Nuclear Banana Daiquiri (rum, banana liqueur, Falernum, lime juice and a punch of Yellow Chartreuse). The carefully made drinks are topped with colorful umbrellas and plastic monkey toys and served with an irreverence that's hard to come by in this town. See you there.

Independent Bar & Kitchen

With an emphasis on European bar eats, new Deep Ellum eatery Independent Bar & Kitchen serves up filling fare like Scotch eggs, bangers and mash and shepherd's pie. The cocktails are solid, brunch is a hit and the full English breakfast is an artery-clogging plate of U.K. pride.

Meso Maya

Sounds weird, tastes great. Chef Nico went all-in with this rich yet refreshing margarita made with muddled avocado, pineapple and lime juices and triple sec. With the first sip, the heavens open up and the birds sing (in Spanish, obviously). With the second sip, you'll decide that no other margarita will be ever good enough for you. (Oh, you'll drink them, but you'll be thinking of this avocado margarita.)

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For craft cocktail fans, Parliament is the spot for happy hour. This cocktail den tucked away in State Thomas is brought to us by Dallas' drink king, Eddie "Lucky" Campbell. From 5 to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, they offer expertly mixed drinks for peanuts — even their famous Ramos Gin Fizz. Even better, this happy hour will make you want to make it rain (literally) because they offer all these deals anytime it rains, too.

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Best Bar for Loners Who Want to Drink in Peace

The People's Last Stand

The People's Last Stand
The People's Last Stand

Some nights you want to go out and have a beer, but you don't want to socialize. And you're not looking to meet someone new and jump their bones, either. Head for The People's Last Stand, which has ample room to spread out, corner couches and armchairs, expertly made cocktails and a choice craft beer selection. Plus, People's is not a sketchy dive bar, and it welcomes all comers. Bring a book and drink a cocktail, or enjoy the first-rate Mockingbird Station people-watching. In case you need further enticement, there's macaroni and cheese.

Some fine-dining restaurants go for broke with enormous wine lists, dozens of pages long. Others stay hyper-focused on one region or a small selection of favorites. Gemma maintains a happy balance between the two extremes. Indeed, balance is the hallmark here: Gemma stocks both familiar and obscure varietals, both classic French regions and more adventurous locales, both $40 bargain bottles and splurgetastic special-occasion wines. Everything pairs harmoniously with the kitchen's cuisine. The bargain wines are often remarkable discoveries, and it doesn't hurt that the ownership cares as passionately about wine as they do about food.

Bodega Wine Bar
Lauren Drewes Daniels

This cozy, fireplace-bedecked wine bar invites patrons to settle in and unwind over a glass or few of wine. The thoughtfully curated by-the-glass list offers something for everyone, the wine flights are a great way to experience a particular varietal or region, and bottles are fairly priced. If you find something you like, take $10 off the list price and take it home with you, or come to the wine fair on the last Saturday of the month for an even bigger discount. Owners Amier and Kelsey Taherzadeh bring passion to their business, and you can always trust their recommendations.

Since their opening in 2013, Community Beer Co. has managed to stand out in a city where breweries seem to open each month. Community's success comes not just from a lineup of beers which has something for everyone, from a golden lager and raspberry witbier to their coffee porters and crowd-favorite Mosaic IPA. Even Community's 2-year-old funnel cake ale has become a state fair staple, inspiring other breweries to make state fair exclusives. Beyond the beer, Community also offers one of the best places in Dallas to do some weekend day drinking at their brewery in the Design District.

Readers' Pick:

Deep Ellum Brewing Co.

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