Best Starbucks 2022 | Mockingbird Station Starbucks | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

You might be wondering why we have a category for "Best Starbucks" when the cafe can be found in nearly every city in America. It's because the good baristas at Mockingbird Station's Starbucks have joined in the nationwide push to unionize. Earlier this year, nine workers wrote the coffee company's CEO to tell him they intended to unionize. Although the road to forge a union has faced some hurdles, Mockingbird Station's baristas recently announced that they were victorious in their efforts.

For 36 years, Pegasus Theatre has given DFW theater fans the novelty and unique marvel of their signature stage productions made entirely in black and white, achieving the look of old films through expert makeup and stage design. And there's also RadioVizion, a series in which they emulate old-time radio tapings. The not-for-profit group, which got its start in Deep Ellum in the mid-'80s, is still delighting audiences with original productions in their style of vintage, zany, murder-y comedy that we've long loved.

Dallas summers are hellishly hot, but luckily, there's a tropical getaway waiting for you right on Lower Greenville: Swizzle. Since it opened in 2020, Swizzle has earned accolades for being Dallas' only true-blue tiki bar to crop up in more than a decade. Its stunning interior sports tons of tiki art and transports patrons to a sandy beach far, far away. Swizzle's phenomenal rum-based cocktails will help you escape the soul-crushing pain of another grueling workweek, and its Polynesian food is just as sure to please. Surf on over for an extraordinarily refreshing experience.

It's been a tough time for many in Texas, with a conservative-majority Legislature penning legislation targeting LGBTQ+ rights. But the state Capitol may soon gain its first openly gay Black lawmaker living with HIV in Dallas Democrat Venton Jones, who's running for House District 100. Community advocate Jones is endorsed by the Victory Fund, a pro-LGBTQ+ political action committee. He's long worked toward ending the HIV epidemic and is an advocate for public education, fixing the power grid and civil rights. Jones, who was born and raised in HD 100, is also a licensed Realtor and serves as CEO of the Southern Black Policy and Advocacy Network.

The Basic Blogger Bitch, Alexandria Ashraf, struck TikTok gold when she managed to piss off every $30,000 millionaire in DFW by simply stating the facts: Dallas is a dating dumpster. Truth hurts, fellas. But TikTok after Tiktok, Ashraf continues to enthrall followers with her ability to be unforgivably herself, and luckily, she brings Dallasites along for the ride. Ashraf is the TikTok BFF everyone needs. With the support of 22,900 followers and over two million likes, Ashraf has been able to cover a broad range of topics from Pakistani representation to her Taylor Swift fandom seamlessly. She is the perfect balance, relatable to both millennials and Gen-Zers. Dallas and beyond is hitting the red follow button to join in on her shenanigans.

Mike Brooks

We have strong opinions about the best vodka in the Lone Star State, and no, it's not Tito's. Duckworth Vodka is located in Dallas, where each hand-crafted small batch is made with the utmost care. Duckworth is so good that you can actually sip it, which isn't what most people have in mind when they think of vodka. Interestingly enough, Duckworth is overseen by an accomplished winemaker-turned-distiller whose attention to detail manifests in each batch's balanced taste. The Premium Sipping Vodka is great for nursing neat or on the rocks, and the earthy Truffle Vodka is a show-stopping delight. Martini-lovers rejoice.

Virtual reality isn't a fantasy about how the future might look. It's the present. It's available in our homes. It's available on our computers. It's available on our phones and can be used with something as simple as a carefully cut-out piece of cardboard. VR venues have to go the extra mile to top something so accessible and easy to use. Zero Latency's games can set up virtual walls and hallways and create challenges that aren't like anything you can play on an Oculus Quest. They range from zombie survival shooters to cooperative puzzle-solving worlds, and you get to hold weapons and objects that mimic what you see in the virtual world. They've even added a triple AAA game title from the popular FarCry franchise of videogames. Zero Latency in Addison offers games that you can play at home only if you demolish all the walls on one floor of your house, and it offers technology that feels like something used to train military personnel.

Lauren Drewes Daniels

Just as grandmas did while playing bingo at the VFW in the '80s, groups of players stake out territory at Four Corners to play loteria on Thursday nights. The game moves fast, and it's actually kind of intense for short stretches of time, but once someone wins, you'll have a few minutes to get back to your drinking, smack talk and those ginormous fried fajita balls. This brewery in the Cedars has a fun tap room and the person leading the loteria doubles as a DJ. You might even learn some new Spanish words (like ladder: escalera). Pay attention and don't be shy. This is a great experience if you're looking for a way to entertain out-of-towners too — and get them drunk. Or get them to shut up for a bit.

The Observer has long promoted the talents of WFAA's Pete Delkus. But another, more under-the-radar forecaster from the same channel is ready for his time in the sun: Jesse Hawila. A Texas native, Hawila grew up wanting to be a weatherman, and he's also passionate about many types of music, particularly metal. His consistent social media updates on North Texas weather are often infused with a comforting sense of humor, whether it be stormy or hot as hell. Hopefully, Hawila's weather wizardry can help to deliver mild winters and cool summers from here on out.

Raul Reyes Jr.'s roots are in West Dallas. His parents, Raul and Juanita, immigrated to Dallas in the '60s. In 1979, they bought a home in West Dallas, eventually purchasing several other properties in the area. Today, Reyes Jr. is bringing up his kids in the same community. Over the years, he's organized political battles in the community, like its long-running efforts to run a shingle manufacturer out of town. That effort continues today. Another he's helped spearhead is a proposed neighborhood-led plan for his corner of the city. West Dallas has grown substantially over the years. With property taxes on the rise, some in the community are worried they'll be priced out of their own neighborhoods. As long as Reyes is around, someone will be fighting on their behalf.

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