Best Dive Bar 2018 | Grapevine Bar | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Lauren Drewes Daniels

In the heart of Oak Lawn lives this unassuming dive, the aesthetics of which one would expect to find more on Harry Hines Boulevard. It's got a killer pool table and a deck that's great for catching incoming thunderstorms. Its most notable virtue, though, lies in the rare distinction of being a place where it's totally fine to just be alone and not feel judged. You're fine, everyone's fine. One recent night shortly after her passing its entire playlist was vintage Aretha. Fitting, for we too are natural people.

courtesy Asia O'Hara
Asia O'Hara

Dallas already knew Grand Prairie native Asia O'Hara was a great drag queen before she competed on "Rupaul's Drag Race" Season 10. But when all of America got to see how talented she was, we didn't need any more convincing. Winner of Miss Gay America 2016, O'Hara won two main challenges on "Rupaul's Drag Race," and after her time on the show, she released her first single, "Queen for Tonight," where she raps, "Welcome to my island, sky-dripping diamonds." It's a bop, and O'Hara is queen for tonight and queen of the year.

After a long night of killing brain cells at your favorite bar, telling the Uber to drop you off at Cafe Brazil is your best bet to gain your bearings before the sun assaults your sensitive eyes. Take advantage of their wide selection of coffees while you wait for your double vision to calm down enough to read the menu. Once the words stop moving, you'll find the prices won't put extra stress on your bank account. With so many locations available around the area, you can rest assured that no matter where you started the night, you can end it at Cafe Brazil.

Albert Ybarra

Do you like to do karaoke but fear people will hate you if your voice sucks? Do you prefer a live band instead of singing to cheesy backing tracks? Then Punk Rock Karaoke DFW at Three Links is your best solution. You're backed by the Mumbles, a local band that knows a few hundred punk rock, new wave and post-punk songs. You don't have to think you're the next Whitney Houston. You only have to believe in yourself and sell it. Think of it as joining a band for a song before drama tears the band apart.

Mikel Galicia

The arcade wars have been heating up in Dallas, and the player has reaped the rewards. Pinball is one sector that's noticeably improved, and The Cidercade in Dallas' Design District has the best collection in the city. The folks at Cidercade's parent brewer Bishop Cider have stepped up their pinball game by dedicating a large portion of their game offerings to this arcade staple. They've set out two long rows of pinball machines, from games of yesteryear like Bride of Pinbot to modern releases such as Houdini: Master of Mystery. Cidercade does an awesome job of keeping them running smoothly, and guests can play all of them with no quarters required.

If you're a struggling Southern playwright, a recently jilted lover or someone who really needs a drink, few beverages can help better than bourbon. If you're in the mood for something more complex than a straight glass of liquid psychiatry, Bourbon and Banter is your best bet. This Statler Hotel speakeasy has the look of a classic bar and feels high-class without being snooty or one of those places that refers to certain clients as "riffraff." You can order your favorite drink or try one of the 11 signature cocktails made from their large selection of bourbon and other spirits and get a bite to eat if you've had one too many.

Matt Nager

There are plenty of great venues to see punk rock, but Double Wide has something special these days. Whether it's the small stage or the specialty drinks, the longtime venue outside of Deep Ellum brings in plenty of great national punk bands as well as locals.

Whether it's your birthday, your bachelorette party or you just want to have a hella good time on Saturday night, The Rose Room hosts the biggest and best drag shows in Dallas. When you go there, you'll be sure to see some of the best drag queens from around the country putting on their best shows to the music of Lady Gaga, Britney Spears or anyone else fabulous. Be sure to bring some dollar bills, or some 20-dollar bills to tip generously for the wonderful queens.

Whether you've never stepped foot on a dance floor or are looking to perfect your Lindy Hop, Sons of Hermann Hall's swing night is a great excuse to get out and get shaking. Every Wednesday night, join a group of newcomers and highly experienced dancers alike for a lesson in swing dancing followed by the opportunity to show off your moves to live music in a fast-paced setting. The historic building, located on the edge of Deep Ellum before Expo Park, is one of the oldest wooden buildings in Dallas. Downstairs, you'll find a cozy bar ready to provide you any liquid courage you may need. Upstairs is the ballroom complete with a stage and benches if you tucker yourself out too quickly. Dress in your best poodle skirts and dance shoes, or keep it simple — the many instructors on hand just want you to be comfortable.

Trees is best known for its metal and hard rock bills, but the venue is also home to a lot of great hip-hop shows. It seems any genre can sound good in Trees, and that's not a slight. The thick bounce of hip-hop beats translates from the front to the back. Locals and up-and-comers have performed here, and it's welcoming to the future.

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