BEST PLAYMATE

Chasity Samone is a veteran, activist, actress, model and, earlier this year, she became our official pinup fantasy by becoming a Playboy Playmate. In February, the publication featured Samone on the cover of their "Equality" issue. Samone has positioned herself as more than a sex symbol. Her aspiration is to join the City Council and advocate for marginalized communities. Samone's brand of sex appeal doesn't simply cater to the relentless male imagination but lies in her freedom to choose to do what she damn well pleases by celebrating her own body without shame. The model's outspoken about letting future critics know that her Playboy shoot will not deter her career in politics. She's said the experience of posing nude is "liberating," pointing to the fact that art has featured nude women since the beginning. The statuesque beauty was raised in a Baptist family as one of a batch of 12 and joined the Army like her father. If her looks don't kill, she's also trained to kick your ass.

BEST DIVE BAR

This Deep Ellum honky tonk might as well be a local music landmark. One of the oldest bars in Dallas, the country music watering hole has seen the likes of Jack Ingram, Deryl Dodd and members of The Chicks. The first iteration of the venue was opened up in the early '60s on Cedar Springs by owners S.L. and Ann Adair. Adair's moved to Deep Ellum about 20 years later, where it has sat on Commerce Street ever since.

BEST PATIO
Courtesy Revelers Hall

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.

BEST HAPPY HOUR
courtesy Lorena Davey

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.

BEST SHOWCASE

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.

BEST ROOFTOP BAR

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.

BEST MOVIE THEATER

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.

BEST DANCE CLUB

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."

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