Best Cocktail Bar 2018 | Shoals | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Melissa Hennings
Shoals' cosmo.

This Deep Ellum industry darling hits all the sweet spots: perfectly executed classic cocktails, crave-worthy bar food like that obscene bologna sandwich and a cool, understated vibe with vinyl playing over the speakers. Visit at the right time, and you might catch some live jazz to enjoy with a perfect Bloody Mary.

Beth Rankin
Meddlesome Moth is an altar to great beer.

"If you've seen it in a commercial, we don't serve it." The Meddlesome Moth touts this on their website, and with a glance at their beer menu, you know it's true. Meddlesome Moth prides itself on their expansive, creative beer options. They offer a rotating beer selection, featuring 40 beers on tap with an additional 85 bottled beers on the menu. You'll find some local favorites, but the majority of the on-tap menu is dominated by seasonal and rare selections from small breweries around the United States and abroad.

It's one of those mornings: You stayed out too late the night before, your head aches, and all you want is a big meal to quell an uneasy stomach — and maybe some hair of the dog too. Make a beeline to Lee Harvey's, where the food isn't fancy, but it is damn good. The burgers are some of the best in Dallas, hungover or not. Jalapeño grilled cheese, wings, quesadillas and tacos are other hangover-busting options. If sitting outside in the light of day is too much, hunker down in the dimly lit bar in one of the ancient booths.

Deep Ellum Brewing Company usually keeps things pretty straightforward (they're known for their Dallas Blonde in particular), but we've fallen in love with Play Date, a super-drinkable 5.4 ABV American sour made with the subtle flavor of medjool dates. This sun-kissed sour isn't over-the-top tart and is a perfect summer sipper.

Brian Reinhart
Pegasus City's amber beer, Cannoneer, with a cameo appearance on the left by Black Magnolia.

This relative newcomer to the Dallas beer scene is already making an impression on beer drinkers with its straightforward, uncomplicated lagers, ambers and porters. You won't find any IPAs or sours, but we can almost guarantee you'll still fall in love with these Design District brews. This summer, we filled our fridge with the Woofus, a hybrid kölsch, steam beer and cream ale.

At Bar & Garden, it's about quality, not quantity. You won't find every liquor under the sun at this beautiful, plant-filled Ross Avenue store, but you will find a thoughtful selection of small-batch spirits and natural wines. They also host regular tastings and in-store events like yoga and meditation. If you're looking for sulfite-free wine, a stunning bottle of limited-production mezcal or the perfect bottle to give as a gift, this store is a real treat to visit.

Ten years ago, it was near-impossible to find a Texas-made whiskey or bourbon. These days, it's quite the opposite. Our favorite local distillery right now: Witherspoon, the Lewisville business making stellar bourbon whiskey, single-malt whiskey and even bourbon cream and White Dog, an unaged whiskey that comes in at 125 proof.

Courtesy Free Play Arcade
Free Play

Free Play is not only a great place to play vintage arcade games, but it's also a great craft beer destination. And each of its three locations in North Texas is a little different. Free Play Richardson and Arlington offer beers as well as a full bar and kitchen, but its latest location in Denton offers 52 draft beers, several bottled and canned beers and the opportunity to fill full-size growlers. Five bucks gets you in the door to play some of the coolest classic arcade games and pinball machines, and from there, simply pick your poison and enjoy drink specials and a rotating list of beers.

Beth Rankin
Peticolas' taproom is a must-visit for Dallas beer fans.

While microbreweries aren't exactly novel, there are still a few that are worth a visit. First and foremost: Peticolas, an award-winning brewery launched in 2011. The brewery's founder and namesake, Michael Peticolas, left behind a career in law to pursue his dream of becoming a brewmaster. And while some called him crazy, he clearly knew what he was doing. On December 30, 2011, Peticolas brewed an Imperial Red Ale called Velvet Hammer. In the years since, Velvet Hammer and several other Peticolas beers have gone on to earn some of the industry's most prestigious awards. Now Peticolas is available in bars and restaurants across the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But you can't beat a visit to the taproom, where you can tour the facilities to see how the magic is made.

Best Grocery Store to Drink While You Shop

Whole Foods

If you can drink while grocery shopping, you have just hacked time and pain. There's nothing wrong with regular grocery shopping per se, but the aisles and aisles of impossible choices and the screaming kids running around don't exactly make things easy. Luckily, God invented alcohol, and even better, Whole Foods has the option to sip on some wine from the bar and continue shopping for all your favorite gluten-free crackers along the way. Once you discover this hack, there truly is no going back. Rosé while picking out the best take-home frozen pizza is basically the equivalent of eating in Italy, and you're welcome forever.

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