Best Of Dallas

The 10 Best Punk Venues in Dallas-Fort Worth

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,
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,
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,

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,
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,

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Dallas Observer Music Staff