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.

Cottage Lounge

It's been proven: You can start singing at your local karaoke night and go on to become a star. Robert Olivas knows this all too well. He makes his money onstage as a karaoke host at bars all across DFW, including at The Cottage Lounge every Monday. He says karaoke is an art form. Faces come and go from karaoke nights he hosts. But sometimes, they go from entertaining friends on the stage at The Cottage Lounge to competing on the global stage in the Karaoke World Championship. With a pro by your side like Olivas at The Cottage Lounge, you could become a karaoke star.

HG Sply Co.

HG Sply Co opened its rooftop patio bar on St. Patrick's Day in 2014, and we've been grateful ever since. If it gets too chilly, you can sit by the fireplace. Too hot and you can grab a covered spot and a frosty drink. Whatever the case, grab a seat and get comfortable because the view of downtown takes center stage on the rooftop. With a view like that, a drink in hand and one of HG Sply Co's healthy entrees in front of you, what in the world do you have to complain about?

Reno's Chop Shop

If you're not ready for some face-shredding rock 'n' roll, just keep walking when you come upon Reno's Chop Shop on Crowdus Street. Whether it's bigger national acts or smaller local ones, you can catch it at Reno's. Denton's Wee-Beasties, Plano psych-rock band Chrome and Dallas' Brave Days are just a few that have rocked the chop shop's stage. Everyone's a comrade at Reno's, even if you're not wearing your darkest clothes and sporting the blackest hair dye and makeup. So just walk in, grab a drink and kiss your ear drums goodbye.

Best Rooftop Bar
Courtesy Sundown at Granada

The Granada Theater has always offered decent drinks and food, but they take a backseat to the venue's concerts. Granada owner Mike Schoder wanted food and drinks to take the spotlight at Sundown at Granada, a beer garden and restaurant located next door to the theater. After extensive renovations transformed the spot that once belonged to seedy dance clubs, the space is now a warm, welcoming space with killer views of Dallas from the rooftop. Craft cocktails like Sundown's modest mule, the seasonal 'rita, or anytime old fashioned will help you raise the roof while you're on the roof.

Adair's Saloon

Bright neon lights illuminate this Deep Ellum treasure's name: Adair's Saloon. The venue's raw wooden walls are covered with stickers, and the floor is well-worn from late-night shuffles and line dances. This honky-tonk might is a local music landmark. It's one of the oldest bars in Dallas. S.L. and Ann Adair opened the first iteration of the venue in the early '60s on Cedar Springs. Adair's moved to Deep Ellum on Commerce Street about 20 years later where it stands today. The country music watering hole has seen the likes of Jack Ingram, Deryl Dodd and members of The Chicks. Adair's keeps kicking, churning out local country talent like it's nothing.

Opening Bell Coffee

Coffee grinding, people talking and music playing over the PA fill Opening Bell Coffee Shop as you enter. Big things have come out of this small, intimate Dallas coffee shop. Over 20 contestants from The Voice have performed at Opening Bell in the last few years. Acts like Leon Bridges, Sarah Jaffe and Charley Crockett have also graced the stage. Local singer-songwriters come through every week for the shop's open mic night. Regulars can go on to play five-song featured sets on open mic night or get booked for full-on gigs at this Dallas staple.

Poor David's Pub

Musicians and venues have had to be more than creative throughout the pandemic. The show must go on, after all, and it certainly has for the singer-songwriters tuning in for Poor David's Pub's virtual open mic night. Host Rob Case has helped keep it all going. Musicians sign up throughout the week, and then it's lights, camera, action on Monday nights. Viewers can catch it live on Facebook and, if they choose, make donations to help the folks at Poor David's keep doing their thing.

Best Latin Bar
Anthony Macias

The owners weren't wrong when they said walking into Yellow Rosa is like traveling to the beaches of Tulum and cantinas of San Miguel de Allende. The drink menu is stacked with their takes on classics like the Paper Plane and the French 75. On Saturdays and Sundays between frozen margaritas, you'll want to make time to chow down on something from their brunch menu. Order some chips and salsa just to get started. Then go all in with the bistek y huevos (chargrilled picanha steak, chimichurri, papas y chorizo with two sunny side up eggs) or the carnitas sope (two sopes with pork topped with pork carnitas, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, crema and black beans). Just bring a designated driver. You're going to need it.

Had enough of swiping? Of sick, half-hearted text conversations with strangers? Jaxon Beer Garden hosts a series of speed dating events that'll break you out of your online dating funk. Participants pay $25 a ticket to chat with someone new every 5 minutes or so while enjoying Jaxon's craft beers and cocktails. Nestled in the heart of Downtown, Jaxon is a relaxed, open-air space with the perfect vibe for some low-pressure chats with fellow singles. When you've decided whom you want to see again, organizers collect your submission and email everyone their requested matches a few days after. The series includes events exclusively for the LGBTQ+ community as well.

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