Jukeboxes serve a simple yet critical role in bars everywhere. They can help you cope after a breakup, relax you after a long day of work, remind you of what you love most or fire you up and give you something to dance to.
A jukebox used to be the imprint of a bar's spirit, hosting a select set of albums and songs that shed light on that bar's personality, the character of its regulars and ultimately the soul of the place. While they certainly aren't what they used to be, with digital jukeboxes playing anything you could possibly want, a few gems with lovingly hand-picked selections remain. Here are the 10 best in Dallas, Texas.
10. The Windmill Lounge Stats: The jukebox, which is at least 20 years old, according to the bar owner Charlie Papaceno, holds 100 CDs. Bartender says: "It has Tom Petty in there, which I loathe, but when people get drunk, they wanna hear Tom Petty." Music includes: Jennifer Lopez, Love?; Tom Petty, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers; Windmill Lounge Presents, Windmill Picks (a collection of customers' favorite tunes) featuring The Sopranos theme song, Beastie Boys, Santigold and Digital Underground.
9. The Londoner Uptown Stats: Although you might first mistake it for a newer internet jukebox, look again and you'll see that it's simply an updated CD jukebox. If you go to The Londoner in the early afternoon, the staff often has the jukebox set to "free" mode, and let customers pick songs to play. Staff says: "This is pretty much our staple. We prefer to use it over our Pandora station, although people come in and play the same songs over and over." Music includes: Fitz and the Tantrums, Pickin' Up the Pieces; Eric Clapton, 461 Ocean Boulevard; The Verve, Urban Hymns
8. Ginger Man Stats: This beer- and wine-only bar in Uptown has a jukebox that is a little more contemporary than most CD-holding bars in Dallas, which means that the staff changes it out more than most. Customer says: "This is the jukebox you can use if you want to impress a girl with your taste in music." Music includes: The National, Boxer; Misfits, Static Age; Bob Seger, Greatest Hits
7. Lee Harvey's Stats: Surprisingly, for a bar that hosts exclusively country, Southern and rock 'n' roll bands, Lee Harvey's has a very eclectic jukebox that is more than a decade old. Bartender says: "People who have worked here over the years have contributed to it little by little, so it's got a really wide range." Music includes: Steely Dan, Two on One; Jet, Get Born; Elton John, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
6. Cosmo's Stats: A bar that has a mod, sexy lounge-like celestial theme to it has a jukebox to match. Customer says: "I've been coming here for more than five years and I've never heard a song I didn't like." Music includes: Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots; Frank Sinatra, Classic Sinatra; M83, M83
5. The Crown & Harp Stats: Upstairs, there is a jukebox in the corner that doesn't look like it gets a ton of love, since local bands and DJs play there so often throughout the week, but the Crown & Harp has the best go-to jukebox to hear local music -- it is packed full of local CDs. Customer says: "They should play nothing but the jukebox in between bands' sets, and it'd be nothing but local music all the time." Music includes: Death Ray Davies, The Return of the Drunk Ventriloquist; John Singer Sergeant, John Singer Sergeant; Goodnight Ned, Smoke from the Sails
4. The Lakewood Landing Stats: The most diverse jukebox of this entire list, The Lakewood Landing boasts a CD-only jukebox that has a very diverse selection; from obscure local music to hip-hop to old Motown hits. For this reason, it was given the "Best Jukebox" award by us at the Observer in 2004, 2006 and 2008. Customer says: "There's nothing like playing pool to this jukebox. This bar wouldn't be the bar it is without its jukebox. It's just got the perfect music for it. Also, you can take a smoke break and hear the music over the speakers outside, so you don't have to miss anything." Music includes: King Bucks, Bar-B-Que Drugs; Heartless Bastards, Arrow; Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin III
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3. Ships Lounge Stats: This is by far one of the best jukeboxes for Motown hits in Dallas, and on a weekend there will be a line for the jukebox in Ships' simple, stripped-down atmosphere. Bartender says: "I would say that the jukebox itself brings a lot of people in here." Music includes: Sam Cooke, Twistin' the Night Away; Bobby Darin, The Rock 'n' Roll Years; Jackie Wilson, Mr. Excitement!
2. Adair's Stats: The jukebox in Adair's, which is at least 10 years old, replaced an even older one that took its place in the country bar six or seven years ago. Adair's has always had a jukebox filled with classic country, and according to staff, it is played daily. Customer says: "This is the best jukebox for when you've had a really long day at work." Music includes: Conway Twitty, Gold; Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road; David Allen Coe, 17 Greatest Hits
1. Sammy's Bar-B-Q Stats: One of the oldest working jukeboxes in Dallas, this one has been in place for more than a half-century, has roughly 100 albums in it and still plays 45s. Oh, and it's only 25 cents for two songs. Beat that. Manager says: "I love it for all of its old love songs, like Elvis. And when the guy came to fix the jukebox when it was broken for a while, he stole two or three of the albums out of it." Music includes: Elvis Presley, Elvis; B.B. King, King of the Blues; Billy Joel, River of Dreams