Best Happy Hour 2018 | Happiest Hour | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Lauren Drewes Daniels
The rooftop at Happiest Hour

The name says it all. Located in the heart of downtown near American Airlines Center, Happiest Hour boasts Dallas' largest patio bar, a rooftop deck with fabulous views, and four — count them, four — full-service bars. There are signature cocktails and beers aplenty, but we recommend gathering the crew and trying one of the bar's "team drinks." The Tour de Lillet, for instance, is made with red, white and blush sangria and requires 8 to 10 people to share. In similar form, the food menu features "team happytizers" with shareable plates feeding four or more.

A wine lover's paradise, Cork Wine Bar features more than 48 wine varietals, which rotate monthly; an impressive collection of craft beer and cheeses; and dips and desserts for pairing. Offering a state-of-the-art experience, the wine bar features computer touchscreens and a top-of-the-line pour system, allowing wine drinkers to sample one-ounce tastings up to six-ounce glasses at their leisure. The educated staff know their stuff and are happy to guide you through the process. And of course there's a retail shop to hit on the way out, boasting more than 350 wines.

It doesn't get more chic than The French Room Bar at The Adolphus Hotel. Jaw-droppingly beautiful, the recently renovated space transports you back to the early 20th century. In fact, The French Room opened in 1912. Remnants of its rich history are visible throughout, but it's decidedly modern — particularly the bar with its navy-clad walls, marble tables, velvet seating and diamond-cut glassware. Come at the right time and you might catch a live pianist. And while you'll pay dearly for shareable plates and artisanal cocktails, it's worth every penny. After all, you never know who you'll run into.

The People's Last Stand

At The People's Last Stand in Mockingbird Station, it's all about quality not quantity. Cocktails are handcrafted with homemade juices, syrups and infusions, using locally sourced ingredients when possible. Yes, it is a full bar, and they also serve craft beers and wine. But really, with award-winning cocktails on the menu, why not break out of your comfort zone? There's a bistro menu replete with pairing options. And for those who are interested, group cocktail classes taught by the experts behind the bar.

Patrick Williams

Boasting one of the biggest and most Instagram-worthy dance floors — think "Saturday Night Fever" — in the city, It'll Do is a cross-section of Dallas nightlife. This Deep Ellum favorite hosts some of the top touring performers in the electronic, EDM, dance and house scenes. With a large, open interior and spacious dance floor, It'll Do is one of the biggest dance clubs near the heart of downtown. It's served as a hot spot for dancing since its inception in 2012. And, in addition to resident and celebrity DJs who regularly sell out the place, you'll hear one of the best sound systems in town.


Matthew Urbanic is that rare bird of DJ who is not only technically adept behind the decks but truly excels at whatever genre he chooses to play. In the past year, he has been seen most often as a resident for Proton, but Urbanic has been an in-demand guest at spots with different crews at Wits End and Beauty Bar. Urbanic's deepest roots are in house music, but he has made a significant mark as a techno DJ in recent years. Not one to be pegged, Urbanic has also been on bills playing drum and bass, electro and disco. No matter what genre he's playing, his track selections are world class, and he possesses a rare ability to play accessible floor-fillers that can blow the roof off a club or traverse into the deeper, experimental and more forward-thinking tunes to keep music nerds in the back of the room nodding their heads. Oftentimes within the same set.

Readers' Choice:DJ Souljah
Kathy Tran

Three Links may seem to be just a neighborhood bar that happens to host some national, regional and local artists, but it's much more than that. From touring rock, punk and indie shows to local album releases, Three Links hosts some of the most memorable nights in Deep Ellum. With 16 beers on tap and 40 canned, and sliders available from the bar, enjoy the venue's open-air seating (with heaters during the cold months) beginning as early as 11 a.m. every day. The venue and bar celebrated its fifth anniversary back in March and continues to be a hot spot for Deep Ellum concertgoers today.

When the weather's just right, catching an outdoor show can be a real treat. And with ample seating, plenty of standing room to get intimate with the stage, picnic tables, a beautiful courtyard and a mix of local and touring acts, The Foundry is the best place to kick back on a cool night. It's got a large selection of draft and bottled beers, is dog-friendly and a great place to take a date. Long-time Oak Cliff residents will remember the space as formerly occupied by Jack's Backyard. With a shared outdoor area with Chicken Scratch, you can grab a plate of chicken and biscuits or mac-and-cheese during the show. But the best part? The venue's Friday and Saturday shows are totally free and have included acts such as Parquet Courts, AJ LeGrand and others.

Deep Ellum's newest music baby sits at the corner of Canton and Crowdus streets next to its older sibling, Bomb Factory. This state-of-the-art, 10,000-square-foot venue opened in October 2017. Proprietors Clint and Whitney Barlow, who also own Trees Dallas, took the space, once upon a time Deep Ellum Live, and transformed it into a top-notch, versatile venue with an aim to host both private and ticketed events. It's the Bomb Factory lite, and that's why we like it.

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.

Best Of Dallas®

Best Of