Best Of 2021 | Dallas | Dallas Observer | The Leading Independent News Source in Dallas, Texas
14951 Midway Rd., Addison, TX 75001
Courtesy of Richardson Bike Mart

It's been centuries since bicycles were first invented, and we're still waiting for a more practical replacement. Segways may have impressed us back in the day (before proving they were just for show), but bikes have always been dependable, allowing us to never have to worry about fluctuating gas prices. Whether you dream of competing in the Tour de France or intend to fill your bicycle's front basket with fresh flowers and pretend you're in a perfume ad, you'll find what you need at Bike Mart. The specialized shop has rare contraptions that cost more than your piece of crap car, and affordable bikes for those with simple tastes and riding needs. They also have a long list of services to keep you on your wheels.

In the dictionary entry for dive bar, there should be a picture of O'Riley's in Dallas. Though there hasn't been smoking inside the club for a while, the musty smell of years of tobacco smacks you in the face as soon as you step inside. And that's not a bad thing. It reminds us of simpler times, when you could smoke a stogie without any consideration for nonsmoking patrons. On any given night, you might hear live rock, metal or blues shooting from O'Riley's stage monitors as you shoot pool, throw darts and drown your sorrows in alcohol.

Yes, reservations are hard to get. How hard? Well, proprietress Jennifer Uygur recently divulged to that on one Friday night they had 233 people on the Notify list. Just for that night, not any Friday night. If you stalk their Facebook page like a black bear hankering for a salmon snack, you might get lucky enough to see a post about a recently opened table. If you get the chance, grab seats at the end of the bar, where you can watch the kitchen and chat with the sous chefs. While the pasta is amazing, but be sure to save room for the freshly baked bread and house-cured meats.

Kathy Tran
We came up with our theme for this year’s Best of Dallas® issue — Roaring ’20s — back in April, when our staff was all freshly vaccinated and economists were predicting boom times as the world reopened. We were feeling pretty optimistic.

The original Roaring ’20s came after a world war and deadly global pandemic, so maybe history is due for a rerun and we’d soon toss away our pandemic masks, dance wildly on tables and guzzle fancy hooch like a modern Jay Gatsby. Let’s celebrate!

Those of you with an interest in history or literature have probably spotted some flaws here. Prohibition arrived in 1920, the Klan was resurgent and Gatsby didn’t get the girl in the end. He got shot.

In 2021, we got the summer COVID surge. So …. roar.

In our defense, it’s not that we’re unaware of the past; we’re just not familiar with optimism. But we’re not giving up. We’re doubling down. Are these ’20s going to roar? Are happy days here again? Damn straight. We’d take that bet.

Why? Because in putting together another Best of Dallas, we see once again that we live in a pretty sweet place. Speakeasies are back, and you don’t need to say Joe sent you in order to get in. Musicians, artists, chefs, barkeeps and merchants have proven they’re both tough enough to endure hard times and imaginative enough to keep Dallas’ creative heart beating no matter what surges at us. After the past couple of years, what you have before you isn’t just a catalog of the Best of the Dallas. It’s the Cream of the Freakin’ Dallas Crop of Tough, Smart, Durable Mofos.

For branding purposes, we’re sticking with Best of Dallas, but you get the point. A summer surge spoiled the party? Whatever. Surges end but the best endure, and when the time is right, they roar — and maybe even dance the Charleston.

We’re pretty excited about the prospect and plan to give this optimism thing another shot. “I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else,” Winston Churchill once said. Here’s hoping you feel the same.

Keith Allison, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

We're still feeling the sting from Dirk Nowitzki's retirement two years ago, and a move at the Maverick's head coaching position is the closest the team has come for filling the gap. Jason Kidd made his second return to the Mavericks, this time as the team's head coach. Kidd's history with Dallas goes back to the start of his NBA career when the Mavericks used their second draft pick to bring him to the team in 1994. He left for Phoenix and then New Jersey before returning to Dallas in 2011. The move cost the Mavericks a little bit more money, but it was worth it since Kidd helped bring the team through legendary competition, like the LA Lakers' Kobe Bryant and the Miami Heat's power duo of LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, to its first Finals win. Having a coach who knows how to power through walls of seasoned opponents and lead hot, top talent like Luka Doni down the court could lead to that elusive second NBA Finals trophy.

1326 Botham Jean Blvd., Dallas, TX 75215
Beth Rankin

Before you dig into The Snooze Classic with bacon, egg, hash browns and white toast or one of the many other guilty pleasures at Snooze an A.M. Eatery, you may think to yourself, "Shouldn't I eat something healthy this morning? Perhaps something green?" Sure, you could hop on over to the "Plant Power" portion of the menu, but why do that when your server can bring you a Goin' Green Bloody from the bar? With jalapeño and habanero infused vodka and Snooze's house green bloody mix, this drink will spice up your morning. Snooze an A.M. Eatery landed in the Lone Star State from its home in Colorado in 2018. The breakfast joint has since expanded to three locations in DFW: Fort Worth, Addison and Dallas.

Courtesy of Dallas Fuel

Our hometown team in the Overwatch league may only be 4 years old, but it established an impressive following in that time by fragging the competition to win its biggest tournament so far. The Envy Gaming team went 9-3 in the 2021 to win its first Overwatch League title in a close, pulse-pounding win against the Shanghai Dragons. The team seemed to be in a corner just a few days before the May tournament when its top Hitscan specialist Ki-hyo "Xzi" Jung had to step aside for health reasons. Going into a high pressure tournament as a perceived underdog, however, seemed to pump an extra dose of octane into the Fuel's performance. The team finished with a 4-2 tournament record against Shanghai, a $100,000 purse for winning the "May Melee" and a record win for the team's books, which is more than we can say for most of Dallas' other sports teams.

Best Of Dallas®