Last Call on the Dance Floor: Deb Does Rio Room and Beauty Bar

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Thursdays in Dallas are getting unruly, reworking my school night routine a bit. I make sure the laundry, nails and hair are did a day or two early since we are all bound to run into each other once the sun sets.

Last night, Dallas overfloweth. I love Parks and Recreation as much as the next gal, but the real must-see events were beyond your front door, sugars, what with Dallas darling du jour Shepard Fairey's talk at The Contemporary, and They Might Be Giants hosting '90s nostalgia at The Granada. Plus, a smattering of weekly events was plenty of inspiration to cancel those Friday meetings. (Quit scheduling Friday meetings!)

In one corner, we have Beauty Bar's beloved DJ Sober weekly, Big Bang, a Thursday staple. In the other, Rio Room's Thursday night rotating DJ series, currently under the '83 Series moniker, is getting hotter and hotter with Blake Ward's thoughtful programming. Can one Deb do it all?

When I first spied news of Rio Room's '83 Series, I was impressed with the line-up and the muse. Rio Room describes it as harkening "to the glamorous decadence of the city's age of excess." I did the math.

In 1983, my father would have been approximately my age. A Highland Park lawyer with access to dollas, drugs and doormen at the original Rio Room and their counterparts, his reputation precedes him in Dallas '80s lore. My apple falls only a little ways from the tree. I don't benefit from his Reagan-era income and I swing more East Dallas, but I have always been fascinated by the St. Elmo's Fire of it all. The chance to dance the night away and pour a little (champagne) for my father's former social life would make an espresso-fueled Friday entirely worth it.

I can make my own party, but walking into Rio at 11:45 p.m. was a bit of laugh, since you guys will not come out 'til after midnight. I can appreciate your very late 1 a.m. arrival -- we can all see your hair looks fantastic -- but this is not some asshole series. Rio Room has programmed a rich mix of producers, DJs and bands and the later you are, the more party you miss. Sinden was on the tables as a crowd finally started to pour in and got the dance floor to an admitted pitch just as I had to make my way out. The valet line was at its longest roughly 45 minutes before last call.


A quick sprint across Central got me to Beauty Bar in less than 10 minutes. As we walked in to the packed bar, the bass line from "Niggas in Paris" was creeping into the mix and the floor went predictably wild. With DJ Sober on tour, the Big Bang barflies still came decked out for DJ A1, who kept the mix relatable for regulars, but there were some noticeable new spins. I personally appreciated the SBTRKT and Frank Ocean thrown in.

It's easy to get overwhelmed by the crowd but toss your elbows up and dance through - you can usually find a spot to get low under the A/C vent near the DJ table. Oh, and pro tip: Linger just a little after 2 a.m. for the b-boy battle that occasionally starts when the crowd clears out after final call. That is a lot of fun.

I am not going to call a winner yet, since these nights are apples and oranges. But let me say, music nerds: Get thee to Rio Room. You are going to pay a lot more to check out these DJs at some music festival in the fall and Rio Room has the best atmosphere, not to mention sound system, for their particular flavor of dance party. Go ahead and save the date to check out Treasure Fingers, Classixx and Alan Braxe.

If Big Bang is not in your Thursday rotation already, what the hell is wrong with you? Next week, I'mma flip the schedule so Rio and Treasure Fingers gets my final call. I don't expect a b-boy battle, but you late-ass Dallasites better be on the dance floor, even if it's only for an hour, or you can expect me to drag you there.

These are more than your average dance parties, folks. Thursdays in Dallas are turning into a finely curated mix of music meant to make you move, so let these newfangled puppet masters guide your body. It can be a supremely delightful submission and will make your late arrival to work on Friday all the more worth it, with dreams of basslines and 808s coloring your dreams.

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