BEST PATIO 2020 | Revelers Hall | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Jason Roberts

Odd fellows, vagabonds, rabble-rousers and revelers all came together to bring a taste of New Orleans to the Bishop Arts District in Dallas. That is how district business owners Amy Wallace Cowan, Jason Roberts and Corey McCombs would describe themselves. In a short walk between their other creations, Odd Fellows and AJ Vagabonds, sits the trio's brainchild, Revelers Hall. On the weekends, the house band's performances usually pour out onto the sidewalk in front of Revelers Hall, but pull up a chair for some patio joy.

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The Balcony Club has been providing Dallas with great drinks and music for 32 years now. Seven nights a week, patrons can stroll through and hear some of the best jazz, soul and R&B acts in North Texas. Concerts at this small neighborhood gem often feature surprise guest improv performances. You can see it all and get cheap drinks every night of the week from 5 to 7 p.m.

Steve Glick

Magic happens at Louie Louie's Piano Bar when acts such as Alessia Cara, Shaun Martin, Cure for Paranoia and many others hop onstage for the artist showcase Lockjohnson's Playground. The showcase has rocked the venue for about two years. It's the brainchild of local musician and promoter Gino "LockJohnson" Iglehart. At first, the show drew crowds of about 10 people, but it continued to grow until it packed the house. The secret of the show is that Igleheart doesn't turn anyone away, so on any given night, you could hear folk, jazz, blues and whatever else you can think of.

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Originally designed to be a canteen for performers at Trees, The Green room has become a force of its own. There's nothing better than ordering a Green Room Melon-tini and slamming down a Metalachi Burger while local acts like Quentin Moore slam down a beat in the background.

Juan Betancourt

Founded in Morelia, Michoacán, in 1971, Cinépolis has become the fourth-largest movie chain in the world and Mexico's No. 1 cinema company. At Cinepolis' Dallas location, you can hang back in the lobby or at the bar and enjoy a view of Victory Park. There's not a bad seat in the house at Cinepolis, and their lobster tacos and Texas mule are a to-die-for combo.

Call us biased (our offices were in Oak Lawn until recently), but there are a million reasons why we're fond of the neighborhood. Most of them, of course, have to do with food. The neighborhood has a Latin bakery (Zaguán), a chocolate and jazz bar (Chocolate Secrets) and the long-standing funky-yogi vegetarian haven Cosmic Café. There's a social-distance friendly patio (and accessible Champagne) in friendly bar The Grapevine. The neighborhood has a secret garden in Dragon Park and is within a short distance of Cedar Springs' LGBTQ bars, the greenest parts of Turtle Creek, downtown and the Design District. With the mom-and-pop shops, nail and hair salons, abundance of coffee shops and proximity to Whole Foods, there's no reason to ever leave.

Kathy Tran

It'll Do has become one of Dallas' go-to dance clubs since it opened its doors in the cold 2012 winter. This East Dallas spot draws crowds of every variety to dance as resident DJs do their thing. It'll Do has kept the music alive during the pandemic, livestreaming DJ sets for the dance club-deprived masses.

Tattoo artists Marie Sena and Caleb Barnard run Electric Eye Studio, a quaint, clean shop tucked away in North Oak Cliff. Styles range from traditional Americana to fine-line black and gray, and all are executed with great attention to detail and a pleasing color palette. Would rather wear art on your clothes than skin? No problem. Check out Electric Eye's excellent print and T-shirt selection on their website, which displays original designs by Sena and Barnard. There's even a sweet black-and-white poster that captures the year's zeitgeist: "Your mask protects me. My mask protects you. Respect one other."

Tyler Hicks

Walls can talk, at least through murals, and Dallas loudly expressed its solidarity with Black Lives Matter this year through its street art. With homages to police brutality victims painted across downtown, the words "Black Lives Matter" painted on the road across from City Hall, performance art and other statements of support, local artists turned up to support change. One work by Jammie Holmes stood above the rest — at least physically speaking. The Dallas painter held a multi-city aerial presentation with banners that read the late George Floyd's last words. The plane that flew over Detroit had a banner that read "Please I can't breathe" while Dallas' read "My neck hurts."

Mike Brooks

We picked this album before front man Riley Gale died, and we doubly stand by it now. These Dallas thrash metal lords put on some wicked shows, and they're at the height of their game with Live in Seattle: 05.28.2018. Released in June, this live album is perfect for getting all your coronavirus-induced sorrow and/or aggression out. With eyes closed, curtains drawn and the volume turned way up, it almost feels like you're at an actual Power Trip concert — ah, if only. Rest in power, Riley; you were the real deal.

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