Catherine Downes

Located in a refurbished home in the Bishop Arts District, Wild Detectives has been selling beers and books since 2014. When it opened, the owners hoped the bookstore-bar combo would inspire meaningful conversations about literature and culture as well as serve as a gathering place for folks who love books. Plus, there are well over a dozen signature and seasonal cocktails, wine, cold brew on tap and a handful of canned beers. Pop in, grab a drink or a bite to eat and peruse the literary selection: The walls are lined with books, including selections in Spanish.

Mike Brooks

The Electric Shuffle isn't locally owned, but it's hands down the best place to get your drunk on and pound your friends in shuffleboard. In fact, the whole concept behind the business, which also has locations in Austin and London, is to "save shuffleboard from the back of bars," according to its website. Open till midnight Sunday through Thursday and till 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, Electric Shuffle offers a host of cocktails and a massive menu with full-course meals to serve your party.

Nestled in a small shopping center not far from Central Expressway in Richardson, Sultan Café is a Mediterranean grill best known for its hookah. Open since 2006, the café doesn't look like much, situated near a barbershop and a South Asian supermarket, but it offers some of the best hookah, or argileh in Arabic, for your dollar in the Dallas area. Find the standard hookah tobacco brands like Al-Fakher and Starbuzz, and flavors running the gamut of fruits and mints as well as spicier combinations such as Code 69 and Margarita. You might want to try smoking a bowl in a head carved from a pineapple or an apple.

Nestled in a small shopping center not far from Central Expressway in Richardson, Sultan Café is a Mediterranean grill best known for its hookah. Open since 2006, the café doesn't look like much, situated near a barbershop and a South Asian supermarket, but it offers some of the best hookah, or argileh in Arabic, for your dollar in the Dallas area. Find the standard hookah tobacco brands like Al-Fakher and Starbuzz, and flavors running the gamut of fruits and mints as well as spicier combinations such as Code 69 and Margarita. You might want to try smoking a bowl in a head carved from a pineapple or an apple.

Back in May, the Observer took its hard-hitting journalism to new heights when we reported on arguably the most important story of the year: the phallus of North Dallas. City Council member Cara Mendelsohn broke the news of an uncomfortably detailed penis graffiti drawing on a portable toilet in North Dallas. She believed that the john and its johnson may have been placed there by Dallas Area Rapid Transit because of certain residents' opposition to a rail line. In addition to the drawing, it looks like someone also wrote, "right up the butt." Just like the city's Leaning Tower in 2020, the Phallus of North Dallas will forever remain in our hearts. You say you don't remember the Leaning Tower? Exactly.

Dallas Observer

The art of political impersonation has been sullied thanks to a certain president with a certain head of hair that looks like a cat coughed up a half-digested gerbil. This person is already such a caricature that impersonations on the mainstream level have to be even cartoonier. That's why it was so refreshing to see comedian and actor Carl Merritt bring an adaptation of a major political influencer, businessman and philanthropist to the stage that focuses on more than just his memorable voice or choice of hairstyle. His performance as H. Ross Perot in the Coppell Arts Center's production of Perot! American Patriot, written by playwright Dave Lieber, offered a measured, honest, unflinching and uncanny portrayal of a man most people probably know more from his imitators on Saturday Night Live. There's more to Merritt's performance of the independent presidential candidate than the attention he paid to Perot's mannerisms and voice. Merritt also captured Perot's entrepreneurial spirit and drive that fueled a career, a campaign and a city to its highest potential.

YouTube

It takes a lot of planning and work to pull off a really epic prank that doesn't cause a felony level of mischief and damage. Sky Elements Drone Shows and marketing maven Jared Guynes, the Jared behind the annual Jared's Epic Blaster Battle at AT&T Stadium, came up with a great way to catch an entire city's attention at just the right time to pull one giant rug out from under everyone at once. Guynes had the idea to flash a giant QR code in the nighttime sky on April Fools' Day. The lighted drones formed the QR code in the sky, and it led people to the music video for Rick Astley's immortal classic "Never Gonna Give You Up." They "Rick-rolled" an entire city. The stunt caught on locally and then got picked up by every major news outlet as one of the year's most impressive pranks. They made us all, as the kids say, look.

As it becomes increasingly clear that the home of music is in the digital sphere, good old-fashioned radio has sought to keep up with the times. To that end, North Texas' beloved independent radio station, 89.3 KNON, launched an entirely online expansion of its already diverse roster of shows called KNON NOW. Among those new shows is '80s New Wave, hosted by concert promoter and ubiquitous Deep Ellum figure DJ Crash. Starting at 6 p.m. every Wednesday, DJ Crash and a special guest from the North Texas music scene spin two hours of music either originating from or inspired by '80s new wave music.

Olivia Julianna

This summer, Texas teen activist Olivia Julianna got even with far-right Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz after he body-shamed her on social media. Julianna, the political strategist for Gen-Z for Change, soon launched a fundraiser for abortion rights, a move that garnered her national headlines. It took only around a week for the 19-year-old to generate more than $2 million in donations. Those contributions are getting evenly distributed to 50 abortion funds nationwide to help safeguard reproductive health care access. Even though abortion is now illegal in Texas and other red states, activists like Julianna have continued to fight.

Mike Brooks

Charlie's Star Lounge is a colorful heaven. Whether you're drunk-singing karaoke, bumming a cig from a fellow rock lover or chatting it up at the bar with resident bartender Big Fun, Charlie's feels like home. So step up to the mic, belt out those vocals and don't be afraid to bust a move or two. Or, if you're not too keen on performing, you can play one of the bar's several classic arcade games. As Nirvana would say, this place is very much "Come As You Are," so be sure to wear your most festive outfit.

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