The 10 Best Punk Venues in Dallas-Fort Worth

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Oi! If you've got those letters tattooed on your brain, somewhere alongside the Lucky 13 tattoo you got on Friday the 13th, you probably spend a lot of time at punk shows in Dallas. That's prone to mean a lot of time spent in Deep Ellum, but North Texas' punk roots spread out much farther than Dallas. Virtually any small club, dive or hole-in-the-wall with live music is likely to be a haven for punk — because, well, that's how punks tend to roll. When you need to get your punk fix, these 10 DFW spots will never let you down.
10. Sunshine Bar

If there’s one bar that embodies the spirit of “Gnarlington,” it’s probably the Sunshine Bar. Over the past year, the scrappy Division Street dive has gone from hosting occasional shows to booking bands once or twice a month, crowding amps and bodies into the pool table area. There’s a lot of band overlap between the Sunshine and 1919 Hemphill, and you’ll probably be surprised at how many Tarrant County residents wear Iron Maiden-patched denim kuttes. But drinks are cheap (and shows are 21+), the air is smoky, and the vibe is similar to the one you’d find at a house party, if the house was exempt from 10 p.m. cop shutdowns and had a sunken den filled almost entirely by a bar. Free bar snacks, too! Steve Steward

902 W. Division St., Arlington, facebook.com/TheSunshineBar
9. Texas Theatre

Texas Theatre is perhaps one of the most active historic venues in North Texas, and it's certainly the most notorious, thanks to its well-known connection to a certain Lee Harvey Oswald. And what true punk doesn't like crime? The venue's gritty past no doubt makes it a fertile ground for punk activity in 2016, and for several years the movie house has moonlighted as a non-traditional music venue. While proto-punk legends like the Sonics have graced the main stage, it's the backstage shows that really embody the Theatre's punkish, DIY sensibilities, often veering toward the more experimental end of the spectrum. Pablo Arauz

231 W. Jefferson Blvd., Dallas, thetexastheatre.com
8. Crown & Harp

Crown & Harp is like a Swiss Army knife of local venues: It’s a dance club, it's a space for experimental music and it can even be a metal or karaoke bar. It’s pretty much whatever it wants to be and will not be defined — just like any authentic punk. The shows tend to have a heavy DIY ethic to them; it’s a bar, but often feels like a house show, which is why too-weird-for-most-venues acts often feel right at home here. As gentrified as Lower Greenville has become, Crown & Harp is the last holdout for people with more left-of-center music tastes and — more than occasionally — a good punk band. Wanz Dover

1914 Greenville Ave., Dallas, thecrownandharp.com

7. J&Js Pizza

If you happen to frequent the square in downtown Denton, you've spent more than a few drunken nights in the basement of J&J’s — and there was a probably a punk band playing. Being located below a pizza place gives this place a certain underground hideaway charm, but the great thing about J&J’s is their willingness to let anyone play. New and young bands like Bukkake Moms get a good chance to spread their creative wings in this space (provided they don't get arrested before the show starts), free of snobbery and judgment. There’s nothing quite like seeing a packed show in that small room. Chris Billings

118 W. Oak St., Denton, jandjpizzadenton.com
6. Double Wide

Double Wide’s longevity owes a lot to its commitment to a paradoxical vision as a concept dive bar and rock venue. It looks like a venue punk rock ex-pats would want to get a beer at, and if you go there on any given night you are likely to cross paths with a mohawk or two. The venue side of the bar is actually a perfect small venue with decent sound, with Transmission's booking presence helping bring in acts like Fred & Toody of Dead Moon. Most important, the people who work there get the music and the vibe, which leads to some great shows rooted in DIY and punk culture. WD

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

5. 1919 Hemphill

This September, Fort Worth DIY space 1919 Hemphill will celebrate its 14th anniversary, no small feat for any venue, let alone a nonprofit that’s gotten by on (mostly small) donations and the fierce determination of its volunteers. So that’s pretty punk, but so are the bands that play here, which skew local but often include touring acts from all over the world. Of course, punk is a subjective term, but 1919’s bills are no stranger to the genre’s various permutations, as well as those that spring from every stylistic branch of the heavy metal tree. There’s also the occasional folk and/or acoustic performance here, too. To ensure it’s a safe spot for everyone, shows are smoke- and alcohol-free and all-ages, all the time. SS

1919 Hemphill St., Fort Worth, 1919hemphill.org
4. RBC

RBC, formerly known as Red Blood Club, has seen a lot of changes over the years. In the early 2000s, it was a hub for local punk shows and the venue’s recent resurgence is a perfect example of history repeating itself. Punk as a mindset rather than a genre of music thrives in an environment like RBC. While the presence of hip-hop and an open mic night like RBC Underground adds a dimension these days, those bills fit comfortably alongside Stefan Gonzalez’s ever-important Outward Bound Mixtape Sessions and the upcoming two-day DIY bash for Vice Palace's second anniversary. CB

2617 Commerce St., Dallas, rbcdeepellum.com
3. Club Dada

Club Dada in Deep Ellum is a household name in Dallas. Sharing the block with Trees and Three Links, Dada’s small but seasoned stage has hosted some amazing punk shows over the years, along with countless touring bands. Dada is also the home base for Parade of Flesh’s Spillover fest every March, which hosts a plethora of punk bands. Local punk acts such as Sealion, Party Static and Street Arabs are regulars, and often share bills with touring acts like Diarrhea Planet and the Coathangers. Moody Fuqua’s recent move over to Dada also promises to sharpen up the venue's long-standing presence as a punk staple. CB

2720 Elm St., Dallas, dadadallas.com
2. Rubber Gloves

Despite the fact that it's primarily a studio and bar and not technically a DIY space, Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios is one of the most respected punk dives in North Texas. Since 1997, the club has hosted countless acts from local favorites to timeless legends alike and it continues to be a hub of gnarly authenticity complete with silly artwork, arcade machines and graffiti-covered bathrooms. It's more than a venue; it's a business complex and playhouse for the Denton underground and the dedicated punks who make it happen, and there's nothing like catching a Parquet Courts or Riverboat Gamblers set here when they come back to town. When it comes to local scene cred, this is where punk points are made. PA

411 E..Sycamore St,. Denton, rubberglovesdentontx.com
1. Three Links

Three Links, located in a prime, high-traffic Deep Ellum location, may be the least divey spot on this list, but don't be fooled. A room with great sound, Three Links books more than punk, but it definitely hosts a lion’s share of touring old school punk bands, from Sham 69 to CJ Ramone to Reagan Youth, and also serves as home base for the Elm St. Music and Tattoo Festival. If the show stirs up punk rock vets over 40 to start waxing poetic about the glory days of old school, it’s a good chance that show is gonna happen at Three Links. But it's also the bar you're most likely to find the young punks making a name for themselves, because that's what they eat, sleep and breathe at this place. WD

2704 Elm St., Dallas, threelinksdeepellum.com

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