Best Rock Bar
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.

The Foundry

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.

The Grapevine

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.

Asia O'Hara
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.

Café Brazil

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.

Best Karaoke Night
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.

Double Wide
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.

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