Lists

The Best Venues To Catch a Punk Show in DFW

Fabrication Yard has the punkest setting.
Fabrication Yard has the punkest setting. Vera "Velma" Hernandez
Beer, studs, charged hair and chaos — these are the first things that come to mind when you think of punk shows. But there are a few other things to take into account. Bar prices, parking, age restrictions, stage accessibility (for those stage-diving opportunities) and bathroom layouts are other important aspects of the punk show experience. Sometimes shows aren't even at a proper venue but at an abandoned warehouse, a house or even in a ditch in the middle of the woods. The really ace "Ask a punk" shows are when you never know if you'll get to see the bands because of the risk of it getting shut down. Until you're in the know, here are the venues that put on the punkest of punk shows, and some pointers for when you're there.

Three Links

2704 Elm St.
Nicknamed "HQ," the Deep Ellum bar has drink specials that are such a great deal that you'll be able to buy all the merch from all the bands. And you should always support the bands. Full disclosure, this writer has worked at this venue, but as a punk destination, it has to be on the list. The Three Links stage is at a perfect height, not low enough to fuck up your shins, not tall enough to cause major damage just in case you stage dive at the wrong time. If it gets too crowded up front to move from one side to the other, you can get around to the other side through the back patio without missing too much of a song. Be sure to check out the famous vending machines in the bar's bathrooms; they're stocked with sex toys, because you don't know when the mood will strike. If only the fire marshall could stop being so un-punk about capacity regulations so that the wild shows can spill out into the street again through the venue's garage door.

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Three Links has everything: punk shows, cheap drinks and sex toys.
Vera "Velma" Hernandez

Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios

411 E. Sycamore St., Denton
Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios is the kind of place where there's always something going on. With a "Speakeasy" stage, a giant new outdoor stage and a  historic indoor stage, the venue — known by its best patrons as simply “Gloves” — hosts some of the craziest midweek punk shows. With singers swinging from its low-hanging ceiling inside and a massive outdoor area for moshing, it’s definitely something to look into if you’re bored on a Wednesday.

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Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios hosts a lot of midweek punk shows.
Ed Steele

Club Dada

2720 Elm St.
Dada's stage is a bit low, so you can expect some bruised shins if you stand at the front, but it's mad easy to gain access to throw yourself off the stage. The venue's multilevel back patio is huge and has plenty of seating. It's also got a great outdoor stage. It's always rad to get to see two separate shows in the same night, but seeing them in different areas of the same venue is even better. We recommend getting there early, since parking in Deep Ellum is rough, but there are always opportunities to bounce around to several shows the same night.

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Club Dada has thrown endless punk shows through the decades, so no wonder it's one of the best.
Vera "Velma" Hernandez

Andy’s Bar

122 N. Locust St., Denton
Boasting three tiers of bars, Andy’s Bar in Denton is the perfect place to grab a drink and see a show. Patrons can choose from a downstairs bar with dive bar vibes, an upstairs speakeasy with top-shelf cocktails or a venue on the ground floor. With a small performance space and a stage just high enough for diving, Andy’s hosts punk shows that bring people close together before the music gets them circling in the pit.

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Punk band The Fapps at Andy's Bar in Denton.
Ed Steele

CheapSteaks

2613 Elm St.
There have been some amazing bands at this newer venue: NIIS, Gel, Urn, Gagging Order, Smirk and Surfbort, to name a few. Drinks are pricier here, but hey, that's what parking lot beers are for, yeah? CheapSteaks has a bar in the building and on the back patio where the stage is located. The back is all dirt and gravel, so when it really starts raging, it all gets kicked up. The venue has shows year-round, and don't be discouraged during winter. The fire pit keeps things toasty.

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CheapSteaks has hosted some of the biggest names in punk.
Vera "Velma" Hernandez

Golden Boy Coffee

1803 N. Elm St., Denton
Denton Square may be the main stomping grounds for punks to find a show, but The Gold Room at Golden Boy Coffee near TWU has played host to some of the wildest punk and metal shows off Denton’s well-worn paths. The venue may not host shows as often as other venues in Denton, punk fans should definitely keep an eye peeled, because when there’s a show in The Gold Room, it’s sure to go hard. The venue may be a coffee shop, but there's plenty of space for those who mosh and those who just want to stand back and enjoy the show.

Tulips

112 St. Louis Ave., Fort Worth
Tulips is a nice space, but it can still be punk. The stage is pretty high, and sometimes there's a barrier, but it makes it more fun to throw yourself off it. The huge back patio is an awesome place for kicking back, and it also has multi-level seating areas. Legendary band Agent Orange played at Tulips last year and it was a ripper. The band Ceremony recently tore it up alongside Gel, and that night was a testament that any barriers put up by management will not make a difference at hardcore shows.

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Tulips in Fort Worth offers a bouquet of sounds. We like the punk ones the best.
Vera "Velma" Hernandez

Caves Lounge

900 W. Division St., Arlington
Arlington may not be the first place that comes to mind when North Texans think punk, but that is a real mistake. Caves Lounge, which backs up to an auto shop off Division Street, is known for its cave-like atmosphere and small stage. It's the kind of place where up-and-coming punk bands can host record release parties to small crowds and still feel well-supported. Concertgoers can also look forward to Caves’ huge patio area to catch their breath or breathe a little smoke.

CreatorsDontDie

12035 Shiloh Road
More punk shows should be held at CreatorsDontDie. Some of us were lucky to catch Kinky Bastards play here with Gagging Order and Emotional Xan, when stage diving, crowd killing and all-out raging took place all night. This venue is set up in what looks like a small hangar, an all-corrugated-metal building complete with a breakaway stage, faux cloud installations, cones and barriers scattered everywhere. Parking is on a field or off-street, so it gives house show vibes.

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CreatorsDontDie is one of the best spaces for an indie show, so DontMissThemBeforeYouDie.
Vera "Velma" Hernandez

Fabrication Yard

611 Fabrication St.
When you pull up to Fabrication Yard in Dallas, you'll see dirt roads, dodgy -ooking tagged buildings and abandoned metal structures everywhere. You'll also find some of the raddest times. Every now and then a flyer will pop up for a DIY fest here, or just a regular show. People pull up with generators to power the show and coolers. Sometimes homies vend their art or sling food, and it's just a great time. Be sure to not be a jerk and help pick up afterwards; places like this are getting more scarce because people fuck up good things. Sometimes you don't want to be at a venue to enjoy music, and when you finally go to a show here you'll immediately understand why.

GROWL Records

509 E. Abram St., Arlington
Punk music has a longstanding tradition of turning any space into a performance space, and nowhere is that history better seen than at GROWL Records in Arlington. The record store is not large, and the stage is level with the ground, but what the venue lacks in production it more than makes up for in authenticity. Punk, after all, is the music of the people, where you can look the lead singer in the eye and take over the vocal duties with their lyrics or whatever else you feel like screaming.

Killer's Tacos

424 Bryan St., Denton
Killer's Tacos is a taco spot that has shows at night. Its stage is a mere inches off the ground, so every band is right in your face. Don't worry, you won't be crashing into tables while slamming with your buds; the standing area is nice and open, leaving plenty of space to carry your mates and cause some chaos. The back patio area is a great place to hang when it gets hot in the venue, and not just because of the kitchen. The place also gets packed because Killer's sells killer tacos.

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The walls of Killer's Tacos are lined with unique art, stickers, writing and, somewhere, a secret menu. And the taqueria throws some sick punk shows.
Jordan Maddox

Sunshine Bar

902 W. Division St., Arlington
Sharing a parking lot with Caves Lounge is the smoky little venue known as Sunshine Bar, but don’t let the name fool you. The Sunshine Club plays host to some of the hardest and heaviest punk and metal shows in the area. Seeing a show at Sunshine Bar is necessarily immersive because there really isn’t any other place to go. The bar is small and the performance space is up close and personal — and perfect to let out some aggression.

Deep Ellum Art Co.

3200 Commerce St.
This spot's pretty tight and hosts original acts you won't see elsewhere. Boy Harsher played at Deep Ellum Art Co. before they blew the fuck up, and if you were lucky enough to catch that set, you probably ended up loving the venue. The floor is massive, giving plenty of space for slamming, dancing, all that jazz. The stage is pretty low, so even though it's a big room, the shows still feel intimate. The outdoor area is massive and sometimes has food vendors in case you need a quick bite before heading home. The venue usually holds events where you can see a bunch of local artists, and it's a great place for a hardcore show. We can only imagine the stage dives.

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Deep Ellum Art Co. has a great stage for stage-diving.
Vera "Velma" Hernandez

Ridglea Room

3309 Winthrop Ave., Fort Worth
Located near the historic Ridglea Theater in Fort Worth is the newly restored Ridglea Room. While the theater may play host to bigger acts coming through Fort Worth, the Ridglea Room serves as a smaller space for little local punk bands to play as big and as loud as they want. Built with enough space to crowd up the front or have some elbow room in the back, Ridglea Room is the kind of venue that welcomes you to just let it all out.

Double Wide

3510 Commerce St.
No surprise, a trailer-themed bar with the slogan "Drinks that hit harder than Dad" makes the perfect spot for a punk show. Double Wide has drinks you won't find elsewhere (such as the Dallas-famous Yoohoo YeeHaw) and decor you would find in your uncle's trailer. The patio offers seating in the form of a row of toilets, and the art includes a mural of Dolly Parton raising a middle finger. There's nothing more punk than Dolly.

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Double Wide is a great place to catch a punk show. But who's surprised?
Vera "Velma" Hernandez

Division Brewing

506 E. Main St., Arlington
Back in 2021, Division Brewing showed its dedication to the North Texas rock scene when it released its Frost Hammer beer in partnership with Dallas heavy metal band Frozen Soul. Whether it's big-name acts like Frozen Soul and Speedealer or small local punk bands like Thyroids and Beaver, all things rock have been welcomed to perform at the Arlington brewery. Division Brewing hosts shows regularly, so be sure to follow its social media accounts.

Ruins

2653 Commerce St.
Connected to the Mexican restaurant, the music space in Ruins is technically called "The Limbo Room." This place feels like a warehouse show in the best way. It's not tiny, but it's not so big that you'll be fighting your way to the front the entire time. The walls are adorned with some of the sickest art ever (we're really keen on the giant Virgin Mary mural on stage left). It's just a singular, rectangular room with a bar to your right as soon as you enter, and great drink options and prices. The bathrooms are in the restaurant part of the venue, which is a vibe on its own — a really dark space. The music area doesn't interfere with the restaurant, which offers an excellent menu. There are also plenty of parking lots surrounding the place, so you've got options.

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Ruins has punk shows and an incredible Mexican restaurant for those days when you want to fine-dine and then rage.
Vera "Velma" Hernandez
Austin Bonus: The Tunnels
We're including this one in the hope it sparks a similar idea somewhere in Dallas. Like Dallas, Austin has underground tunnels. But in the state capital's tunnels you'll find slick, DIY shows. Concertgoers have to go through some woods to find the spot where the bands/promoters have powered up with generators, since shows takes place inside the tunnels. So many sick shows have happened here, and they're always packed. We're not dropping the location, but if you find yourself in Austin and see a flyer for a show there, we strongly suggest you look up one of the bands and get there.
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Austin uses its tunnels for punk shows. Why isn't Dallas doing the same?
Vera "Velma" Hernandez
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David Fletcher writes about music, arts and culture for the Dallas Observer. You can usually find him at a show in Deep Ellum whether he's writing about it or not. A punk scholar and local music enthusiast, David focuses his attention on the artists screaming in the margins of Dallas' music scene.
Contact: David Fletcher

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