It's far too easy to get stuck in the bubble of Dallas' hippest bars, to never leave the comfort of Deep Ellum, the Square in Denton or a bar named after a bird in Fort Worth. By doing so, we neglect the sheer number of unique locations that we're afforded by living in one of the largest metro areas in the country. With that in mind we’ve decided to give you 10 spots in the suburbs for you to venture off the beaten path to. So get out of your comfort zone and go explore the world of McMansions and middle class families. You never know, you might just enjoy yourself.
10. Redneck Heaven
We’re as surprised as you are to find DFW’s most notorious breastaurant on this list, but we’re serious about this whole “experience the weird and explore” thing. Yes, this place is offensive to women and good taste alike. Yes, you can play “spot the Confederate flag” here, but you can also score stupidly cheap drinks when local sports teams are playing or just on a random night. You’re not going here because you want to; you’re going for the cheap booze and the story.
Willhoite's is where all the cover groups in Dallas go to get P-A-I-D. That’s the only reason it’s on here. This is where your hip uncle who loves The Ticket goes to watch Petty Theft because he can have six Bud Lights and be home in 15 minutes. This is not a bad thing; even people with college age kids need to have fun. You might as well join them because they like to buy rounds for people under 30. It makes them feel cool.
We sure as hell cannot in good conscience recommend any establishment in the Shops of Plano area, so this downtown Plano spot gets the nod for the place to go in Dallas’ largest suburb. That’s not to say it’s not deserving: This English-style pub offers an interesting mix of British brews and U.S.- and Texas-based microbrews along with classic pub fare and the occasional live event. You could do much worse if you find yourself on the wrong side of I-635.
Glass Cactus earns its spot on this list because some of the most random things happen there. They’ve had random Big Boi shows, random DJ sets and all other manner of weirdness that makes you say, “Really, such and such was in Grapevine?” It gets bonus points because you can get drunk and crash the indoor waterpark.
Dingy, leaky, rundown and trading on the name of an ex-Dallas Cowboy’s coach, this Lewisville bar is the premier place to catch the hottest radio stars of 16 years ago perform in a suburban location. Where else can you catch Aaron Carter one week, then Juvenile the next, with a smorgasbord of Texas country acts thrown in for good measure? Sometimes you gotta let all pretension go and enjoy the low places, where the whiskey flows like an oasis.
Did you know there’s an old town Richardson complete with a Main Street and a dive bar that people flock to to see live music and have reunions and such? Neither did we until accidentally running across it while trying to track down a Chinese restaurant one night. We were greeted by the type of place you’d see in a sitcom, but without the actors or the friendly bartender who knows your name or order. It’s like a trip back in time, but sometimes you want that and you want to be able to swear while you do it — in which case you choose this place over Ships.
115 E. Main St., Richardson, tavernonmainstreet.com
Nestled in the heart of Carrollton’s Koreatown is this prime spot for private karaoke and drunken shenanigans. This isn’t a casual place for you to hangout. This is where you go when you and your friends want to drink too much, make absolute fools of yourselves and then sober up with delicious Korean food. This isn’t a night out; this is an excursion.
Positioned at the Plano/Frisco border is one of the better places to grab a drink and meal while chatting with a server or bartender who knows way too much about the booze they’re slinging. There’s not really music, but the people behind the bar make decent selections when they’re playing jams, and there’s always some utterly interesting special or beer dinner going on. These are good things, because you don’t always need all the hustle and bustle of other places. Sometimes good food and good booze is all you need.
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Dallas’ dirtiest secret is that all those local bands who play Trees, Granada and The Kessler and charge $15 for a cover play here for free because they get paid a premium to show up and knock out a few sets. The downside is you have to be in Addison to catch them, which means douchebags and smoking indoors. Both these things are hazardous to your health, but you gotta sacrifice if you want to save some cash.
It’s cheaper to drink here than it is at Rangers or Cowboys games, and parking is free. So, go and do that at this dive of all dives. It’s full of hipsters who either can’t afford to live in Dallas or Fort Worth, or bit the bullet and bought a house in the 'burbs and are trying to hang on to some semblance of cool. But hey, it’s got one hell of a patio and the drinks are cheap and strong, plus UTA students will randomly invade it and turn it into a party, especially on the karaoke nights.
900 W. Division St., Arlington