The 10 Best Bars to Drink With Musicians in Dallas-Fort Worth

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Musicians are, by virtue of their profession, creatures of the night. Playing live music often means late gigs in bars, and musicians might even have jobs working the door or serving drinks at those same establishments. But where do North Texas musicians go to unwind and, most important, where can we go to hang out with these cool kids? These 10 bars are surefire places for each.
10. The Boiled Owl Tavern

Unless there’s some show going on elsewhere in which the bands share the same members, you can catch a good sample of Fort Worth’s musicians at The Boiled Owl. They'll be there, mid-hang-out, inhaling PBRs and nodding their heads to the Uncle Acid on the jukebox. The Dandy Warhol’s Zia McCabe (aka DJ Rescue) pops in to spin records once or twice a year, too. Then there’s the bar’s role in Leon Bridges' origin story: The Owl was where the then-girlfriend of White Denim’s Austin Jenkins noticed Bridges' pants, which led to the recording sessions at Jenkins' studio that launched Bridges' career. If you come to the Owl’s weekly karaoke night on Mondays, you might still catch Bridges jumping in on some soulful classics. Steve Steward

909 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, facebook.com/The-Boiled-Owl-Tavern
9. Cosmo's Bar and Lounge

When you're feeling too cool to go next door to the Lakewood Landing, or maybe just want to hide in the corner with some low-key mood lighting, then Cosmo's is the place to be. Funny enough, though, you're still likely to be surrounded by musicians, and they're probably there for the same reasons. With a wide selection of drinks and friendly bartenders, there's always reliably good conversation and a lax atmosphere. If you head out to the patio, you might see some more musicians unwinding around a bonfire — and they might even bum a smoke off of you. Caleb Wossen

1212 Skillman St., Dallas, cosmosbar.net
8. The Free Man

The Free Man is run by a musician, John Jay Myers, from the Freeloaders. If you want to smoke, drink and talk politics with resident guitarist and singer Stevie James, we wish you the best of luck. You may see Mike Mitchell, one of the best drummers on the planet, eating grilled catfish. It seems like Charlie Crockett is perpetually either walking in or out of the place, even if he's not playing. Leon Bridges has proclaimed his love for the place a couple times on social media. In fact, it would be really strange to go to the Free Man and not run into a musician who might be charitable enough to hang out with you. Jeremy Hallock

2626 Commerce St., Dallas, freemandallas.com
7. Paschall Bar

Although the unmarked door is hard to miss, Paschall is not a speakeasy, so don’t ask. Paschall Bar adorns the top of a formerly semi-iconic Denton music venue, Andy’s Bar. The folks behind the bar are none other than the five original members of Midlake, McKenzie Smith, Tim Smith, Eric Pulido, Eric Nichelson and Paul Alexander. Maybe the most aesthetically pleasing bar in town, Paschall is often filled with cheery folks on dates, craft cocktail lovers and musicians alike. Under the management of five of Denton’s more prominent musicians — two of whom also own music recording studios in town — Paschall also makes for a lovely watering hole when your well-known guests are visiting from out of town. Sara Button

122 N. Locust St., Denton, facebook.com/PaschallBar
6. The Chat Room Pub

If Fort Worth’s band dudes and ladies aren’t gigging, and they’re not at the Boiled Owl (or the Grotto, for that matter), they’re probably at the self-proclaimed Eighth Best Bar in Fort Worth. The Chat Room Pub and the Owl exist on opposite ends of the Magnolia, and in a lot of ways, the two are yin-and-yang – the Chat is bright, the Owl is dark, but both are full of musicians sharing smokes and cadging drinks. But the Chat’s been there the longest, and you’re likely to see some of the most colorful characters in the annals of Fort Worth music history. And yes, Bridges hangs out there a lot, too. SS

1263 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, thechatroompub.com

5. Off the Record

The only real difference between Off the Record and other bars in its area is the presence of racks filled with back stock from Good Records. But different kinds of conversations happen when you're holding a record in your hands surrounded by musicians. You can hear the value of Scott Walker's early records, stories about seeing My Bloody Valentine in the early '90s or admire the beauty of a brand-new record by a local musician. Standing at the bar, lounging on the patio or just waiting to use the bathroom, you're surrounded by music and the people who make it — many of whom swing by between gigs. Eric Grubbs

2716 Elm St., Dallas, facebook.com/OTRDallas
4. Twilite Lounge

When two musicians own a bar, it's bound to happen that fellow musicians will hang out there. You often see all kinds of musicians hanging out at Danny Balis and Jess Barr's low-lit Deep Ellum bar. Whether it's Philip Peebles from Old 97's, Summer Dean, Chris Holt or even bartender Madison King, you can shoot the shit about what they're up to and where they've been. Given how spread out the place is, you can find a spot to talk pretty easily. Whether you're on the patio, in a booth or at the bar, you'll have a pretty great time hearing unfiltered stories. EG

2640 Elm St., Dallas, thetwilitelounge.com
3. Dan’s Silverleaf

Possibly the most iconic Denton music venue still standing, Dan’s Silverleaf is home to some of the best programming and kindest bartenders in Denton. In fact, some of your favorite local musicians have probably, at one point in time, served you a drink or two from behind the bar. Sarah Jaffe and Scott Danbom of Centro-matic have slung beers at Dan's, during downtime from touring of course. Dan’s has always proudly employed musicians who need to work while not on the road, artists who need special time off, students with busy schedules and creative folk in general. Whether you’re catching happy hour on a weeknight or at the bar for a sold-out show during the weekend, you’re bound to rub shoulders with no less than three musicians at one time. Guaranteed. SB

103 N. Industrial St., Denton, danssilverleaf.com
2. Lakewood Landing

If you're wondering where all the musicians in town go when they're not playing a gig, there's a good chance they're off drinking. (Sorry not sorry, but if we're being fair that's true of most other professions, too.) And when they're drinking, there's a good chance they're doing it at the Landing (and coping with the hangover the next day around the corner at Gold Rush Cafe). More than just the best dive bar in Dallas, the Landing is also the quintessential spot for a night cap, which is why it's such a popular spot for bands to unwind after a long night at the "office." Hell, Danny Balis goes here and he owns his own bar. Jeff Gage

5818 Live Oak St., Dallas, lakewood-landing.com
1. Double Wide

What's better than having a bar filled with musicians? How about two bars filled with musicians, connected by a patio. Double Wide almost has an unfair advantage in that regard, but the truth remains that once the sun goes down there's likely to be at least five musicians on the patio at all times, and that's not including the ones who might be in the main bar spinning records or in the other room playing live music. Located on the edge of Deep Ellum and Expo Park, it's the perfect meeting point for the musicians heading back to East Dallas or stumbling back to a nearby loft space. JG

3510 Commerce St., Dallas, double-wide.com

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