Best Of Dallas

The 10 Best Metal Venues in Dallas-Fort Worth

Since the days of Joe's Garage, North Texas' metal venues have hosted some groundbreaking local bands like Rigor Mortis, Pantera and Drowning Pool. Today, dozens of venues showcasing local and national metal acts can be found across North Texas, and when one disappears, two more take their place. To pay homage to these bar owners who put up with the mosh pit and the messy aftermath, here's a list of the 10 best metal venues in Dallas-Fort Worth to "let the bodies hit the floor."
10. Reno's Chop Shop

Bikers and metal just belong together. Richard Rawlings, owner of Gas Monkey Bar and Grill, understood this fact when he opened his bar. It's like french fries with ketchup, Coke with Jack Daniels, weed and Snoop Dog. Where better to catch a metal show and fall into a mosh pit with a bunch of outlaws who ride fiery steeds than at Reno's Chop Shop in Deep Ellum? It's the best biker bar in Dallas and offers live music every weekend. The staff is friendly and AC/DC, Black Sabbath and Guns N' Roses can often be heard when the live bands aren't playing. Christian McPhate

210 Crowdus Rd., Dallas,
9. Tomcats West

Located just on the other side of the highway from The Rail Club, this hidden gem is nestled in a shopping center of bars with patrons who look like they belong in a Quentin Tarantino movie. But don't let this threat of being mugged or shanked turn you away; metal isn't meant to be packaged pretty. Once inside, you'll find James McWilliams, one of the most notable sound guys in DFW, working the system. The mosh pits that erupt inside this small venue often involve just a few drunk people stumble-slamming until one passes out or vomits, but every once in a while a vibrant one reminiscent of the Tombstone Factory days appears. CM

3137 Alta Mere Dr., Fort Worth,
8. Curtain Club

Though this Main Street staple in Deep Ellum has hosted all kinds of musical acts over the years (from Centro-matic to Dick Dale), it's best known as a refugue for metal bands. Maybe not as big as the ones Trees draws, but it's the kind of place that brings bands that are hungry and wanting to put the time and effort in, especially local metal acts. The stage is spacious and the sound system is quite apt for metal shows, with plenty of high end for screeching guitars and oomph for bass guitars and kick drums. It's one of the few venues that survived Deep Ellum's dark times 10 years ago, and it's still going strong today.  Eric Grubbs

2800 Main St., Dallas,
7. Three Links

Once known as "La Grange," Three Links in Deep Ellum hosts a larger stage, revamped sound system and more beer. Oliver Peck of Elm Street Tattoo is part owner and created an artistic décor — David and Goliath interpretations and owl-over-pyramid diagrams — that just feels metal. "This is more like your homie's buddy's friend's neighborhood hangout where you know who's running it, you know who works here, you're friends with everybody and it's way more relaxed and more inviting," Peck says in a recent Observer interview. The stage sits in the corner of the room, allowing a mosh pit to push out the back doors into the smoking area if it gets too large. It's the perfect place to watch young and old metalheads alike banging their heads to the "right rhythmic pattern." CM

2704 Elm St., Dallas,
6. Trees

Don't let the name fool you. There are no tree-hugging hippies singing "kumbaya my lord" inside this large venue, only the best concerts for the diehard fan. Wes Scantlin of Puddle of Mudd's onstage meltdown in 2014 is just one of the finer examples. Some of the biggest names in music have found their way to this legendary stage, including Nirvana, Deftones and Tool. This world-famous venue has an upstairs VIP area that offers a comfortable lounge where people can mingle between sets and a downstairs bar that faces the stage, allowing fans who are less likely to enter a mosh pit an opportunity to listen to drunken renditions of their favorite metal song. CM

2709 Elm St., Dallas,

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Dallas Observer Music Staff