Best Patio 2018 | The Porch | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
The Porch

Not to state the obvious, but it is called The Porch. So it comes as no surprise that this upscale Knox-Henderson gastropub's patio is at least as worthy of attention as its food. They offer elevated comfort food and out-there cocktails like the Blackberry Basil Lemonade and Pecan Old-Fashioned. The salmon burger has yet to disappoint, and at $5 a pop you can brunch-drink Bloody Mary after Bloody Mary Saturdays and Sundays to your heart's content. The true jewel on The Porch's crown is its patio, where you can people-watch the action on Henderson Avenue until you're too stuffed and tipsy to see.

Readers' Choice:Ozona Grill & Bar4615 Greenville Ave., 214-265-9105

If low-key and unassuming are what you're after, watch the game, or pretend to care about the game, at this unpretentious downtown spot. There are TVs blanketing every corner (16 to be exact, including one that's 112 inches), so you'll catch every touchdown even if you actively avoid it. Menu highlights include the Shiner Bock brisket sandwich and jalapeño pork chops. Beer aficionados rejoice, because Press Box offers 36 beers on draft, 24 of which are from Texas breweries. Don't let its diminutive size fool you: This place gets rowdy. Consider yourself warned.

Owned by the same company as Station 4, JR's Bar and Grill and Roundup Saloon, TMC is one of the only clubs on the Cedar Springs strip that actually feels like Dallas. From the music played, the bartenders and go-go dancers, the people you'll find represent folks from all walks of Dallas life. It's not all that spacious inside, giving it a divey feel. The staff are in touch with people who vibe to more than EDM and Top 40 music. It's the type of bar where you can start your night, or the place where you can finish it. That is to say, the bar is versatile.

Ever thought about going back to school? This is the way to do it. Offering "an education in the art of food and beer," Los Angeles-based Public School takes kitsch to a whole new level. The gastropub serves up Southern favorites alongside spirits and craft beer. From decor evoking grade-school nostalgia — typewriters as wall art, menus masquerading as notebooks, et al — to adult "recess" (aka happy hour), every detail speaks to the scholastic theme. Look for craft brews, including a rotating list of regional favorites, and A+ deals on brunch.

Who knew a DART Train day pass could lead to some of the best people-watching ever? Each stop, no matter how seemingly jejune, is never short of top-notch fascinations, whether it's the opportunity to smell the breakfast of a woman with the smallest feet you've ever seen on an adult or feel the tweed fibers of a well-dressed academic type on your arm as you're squeezed uncomfortably together during rush hour. You'll get a small sample of what it's like to walk in someone else's shoes, if only for a stop or two.

Mike Brooks

It's vulgar, funny and there are $3 wells and domestics. Hosts Travis Taylor and Nathan Adams are witty, and the questions this trivia night pose are culturally relevant, plus they have meme categories, which we love. You can tell Taylor and Adams care about showing people in Dallas a good time while simultaneously making people think about the world around them. The duo hosts a couple trivia nights in town, but we recommend the one at 8 p.m. every other Monday at The Nines in Deep Ellum.

Lauren Drewes Daniels

In a world of oft-underwhelming bar food, Ivy Tavern on Lemmon Avenue stands out. All dark wood paneling, wild game heads, and vintage (or at least vintage-looking) art, the bar itself is pretty great. But its menu is something to behold. In 2015, a year after the bar opened, its owners decided to up the ante on their food offerings. And boy, did they deliver. This isn't the first award this hidden gem has received for its food. The chef-driven menu is full of bar standards — french fries, burgers, nachos, etc. — made better.

Hannah Ridings

Full disclosure: Your first Vapshot can be a bit scary. But get past the initial "Oh my god, I'm inhaling vaporized alcohol" internal dialogue that occurs, and you're sure to enjoy. As far as flavor goes, there's little to speak of. But the experience ... that's worth bragging about. Order the Vapshot, and a cloud of vaporized alcohol will come presented to you in what looks like a large water bottle. The barkeep will pop the cap, stick in a straw and instruct you to begin inhaling right away. Unlike shooting Everclear, the process is quick, painless and guaranteed to leave you standing upright (prior indulgences notwithstanding).

Kathy Tran
DJ Blake Ward

One would be hard pressed to find a DJ in town with more hustle and chutzpah than Blake Ward. With his long-running Saturday night residency at Beauty Bar, Ward has built a small empire around his many residencies. Ward established Four Four Agency a few years ago to help facilitate his ambitious DJ and party-planning agenda. He has turned that ambition into a consistent string of successful parties. Ward's Sunday Jams have become a go-to end-of-weekend spot for hip-hop heads. This past summer he put roots at the Statler with day parties at Waterproof, popped up for support slots behind touring DJs at It'll Do and threw his ambitious and usually over-the-top Disco, TX parties. And he still manages to fill in the schedule gaps with corporate and party gigs. One has to wonder when Ward has time to sleep.

Martinis and manicures? What's not to love? Like its sister locations in New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas, Beauty Bar is reminiscent of a 1950s hair salon, complete with retro salon chairs, hair dryers and pink, well, everything. DJ-driven dance parties and theme nights are the norm here. But it's the bar's weekday happy hours featuring martinis and basic manicures that make it the ultimate destination for girls night out.

Best Of Dallas®

Best Of