Best Of Dallas

DFW's Best 10 Dive Bars

The term "dive bar" can evoke a distasteful reaction in people who don't appreciate them. Maybe they don't understand the subtleties. A proper dive bar is a highly evolved piece of art, offering a delicate mix of the quirky and the depressing. Whether you're looking to drink away your troubles or just want to sip a nightcap in a place with character, these 10 bars will always set you right.
10. The Chat Room Pub

The Chat Room has been a staple of West Magnolia in Fort Worth for years. It has exactly what you want out of a dive bar: affordable drinks, friendly staff and no pretenses. But make no mistake, this bar is not bland. Its loyal clientele and frequent, eclectic rosters of live music give The Chat Room a culture all its own. If you live outside of Fort Worth, it's definitely worth hoofing it there to pay this understated gem a visit. Andrew Hawkins

1263 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, thechatroompub.com
9. Cosmo's Bar and Lounge

This jukebox bar is a retro and color-lit hipster hideaway for those in cheerful exile from the mainstream. You may find some of the coolest musicians in Dallas in a jam session on the patio. It's also one of the friendliest places in Dallas; lonely souls who stand around awkwardly checking their Instagram feed for the fifth time will likely receive a sincere invitation to join a group. Go ahead and try the bar's pizza — it's deliciously greasy.  Eva Raggio

1212 Skillman St., cosmosbar.net
8. Double Wide and Single Wide

Double Wide and its self-described "lil' sis," Single Wide, haul the white-trash bar out of the boonies and drop it into Dallas. The two distill the more endearing elements of rural shotgun bars — oddball characters and cheap drinks — to create an atmosphere that's as much cartoon as drinking establishment. Although each bar has several craft beers on tap, don't expect to be pampered by aged, hibiscus-infused fare. These places specialize in domestics and kitschy mixed drinks (one is made with Yoohoo) in an entertaining setting that make you instantly happy you walked in the door. Their lively bingo and karaoke nights further sweeten the deal. AH

3510 Commerce St. and 2110 Greenville Ave., double-wide.com
7. Windmill Lounge

In 2013, Esquire named the Windmill Lounge one of the best bars in America, and it damn near ruined it for those of us who enjoyed having a quiet, well-made drink amongst others in the know. Of course, with time being a flat circle and all that, the fever for the place has died down, and now the clientele is a mixture of longtime regulars and Dallas hipsterati. It's still a place to settle down to drink in a dimly lit corner and enjoy the jukebox, lists be damned. Jaime-Paul Falcon


5320 Maple Ave., windmill-lounge.com
6. Velvet Elvis

Putting a bar in a strip mall in North Dallas may sound like a recipe for a great dive, but Velvet Elvis is a true hole-in-the-wall. For one, there are no beers on tap; it's all bottles and cans. Sometimes they have live music or karaoke on a stage, or rather, on the floor. It's pretty dark inside, even for a dive, but they have pool tables and there's a back patio for smokers. The glass they fill may make you do a double take because it looks like a glass a child would sip milk out of. But the bartenders must either have heavy hands or weak arms because these drinks are strong. Jeremy Hallock

3720 Walnut Hill Lane, facebook.com/pages/Velvet-Elvis-Dallas


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Jeff Gage
Contact: Jeff Gage