The 10 Best Suburban Live Music Venues in Dallas-Fort Worth

The suburbs: We hate to talk about them. They're there, yes, and every so often we have to drive to Ikea, or drive through them to get to, say, Denton. (Which, technically, is a suburb itself, but let's not get into that right now.) Chances are if you don't have a 401k and/or children, you're probably terrified of the prospect of going to the suburbs. But guess what? They have music fans too, and with the news of Lava Cantina's plans to open up a mega-venue in The Colony, we may be talking about concerts in the suburbs more and more, and sooner than we think. In the meantime, there are plenty of options for catching live music out in the 'burbs, and these 10 venues are the best bets to make it happen.
10. Silver Saloon

You’ll have to make a bit of a drive, but Silver Dollar Saloon in Terrell is an excellent place to see some fine Texas country music on a smaller stage than you might see them in Dallas (or Fort Worth) proper. In terms of the talent it attracts, you can think of it as a smaller, less-crazy Billy Bob’s. Just in case you weren’t convinced, take a look at the calendar – Cody Canada, Charlie Robison and Aaron Watson will all take the stage in the coming weeks. Amy McCarthy

1708 State Hwy. 34 S., Terrell, silversaloonterrell.com
9. The Pavilion

The Pavilion is the straight-edge music venue you’ve been looking for, but may not have heard of. This non-profit, Christian live music venue is located in the heart of Lewisville’s Historic District and is equipped with state-of-the-art sound and lighting gear. There is a spacious stage and plenty of standing room for concertgoers to enjoy. While they do offer concessions, none of said offerings are of the booze persuasion, and you cannot smoke inside. The Pavilion is an all age’s venue and is only open on show nights, which appears to be one to two times per month. Sara Button

225 Milton St., Lewisville, thepavilionmusic.com
8. The Mule Barn

If you head west on 114 past the Texas Motor Speedway and go three miles north on FM 156, you'll find this place called The Mule Barn on the left side of the road. It doesn't have Billy Bob's space or Pearl's history, but it's still a fun place to see shows from legends like John Anderson to road-tested contemporary mainstays like Cody Canada and Mike and the Moonpies. Along with the music, there's a menu full of fried food, burgers and plenty of other things that go good with a pitcher of Kurrs Laht. Steve Steward

218 Highway 156 S., Justin, mulebarntexas.com
7. Tolbert's Restaurant

If you listen to The Hardline on the Ticket, you've probably heard Mike Rhyner plug his bands Petty Theft and Buick 6 playing at Tolbert's pretty often. Since those bands are all about cover songs, this place in Grapevine is perfect for them. It's been around for 27 years, and these days, they have tributes to Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Ray Vaughan, as well as bands who play covers from various artists from the '70s and '80s. And this is every night until 1:30 a.m. It's a spacious and welcoming spot in the downtown area, and the chili con carne is renowned, too. Eric Grubbs

423 S. Main St., Grapevine, tolbertsrestaurant.com
6. Southern Junction

Suppose you would rather eat a steak than drink a beer when watching a band perform live. At Southern Junction Live, you can do both. It’s a 40-minute drive from downtown Dallas, but so what. You can watch people ride a mechanical bull while waiting for the band to start. The dance floor in front of the stage, with its galaxy of lights, is such a wonderfully old school way to work off dinner. And there’s no pretentious vibe in this nightclub steakhouse; just show up in your sweaty work shirt and a hat and sit in the dark if you want. Jeremy Hallock

5574 HWY 276, Royse City, southernjunctionlive.com
5. Sunshine Bar

The lovely little Sunshine Bar is inside a faded building on Division Street, near The University of Texas at Arlington. Sure, the surrounding area isn't pretty — it's placid and boring, even — but this decades-old bar with its tiny stage and quirky retro atmosphere is a hub of local music activity for the roughly seven-mile radius of gridlocked houses. More recently, it's become an oasis for the punk rock/metal crowd, which is fitting for a city that some locals humbly refer to as "Gnarlington." And while this sprawling suburb has bigger and bolder attractions to see, the cheap homeliness of Sunshine is charming at least. Pablo Arauz

902 W. Division St., Arlington, facebook.com/TheSunshineBar
4. Hank’s Texas Grill

Perhaps more than any prominent country venue in North Texas, Hank’s in McKinney has consistently offered a top-notch weekly calendar of local, regional and national acts. With live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, as well as great burgers and nachos, Hank’s is a fine one-stop-party-shop. The music venue, which is attached to the side of casual restaurant, consists of a cozy covered area with some seating, sound booth and a full bar with open sight lines to the stage from every angle. Whether it’s current big dogs such as Reckless Kelly or Jason Boland, up-and-comers such as Shane Smith and the Saints, or classic '90s country stars Tracy Byrd and Doug Stone, a dull weekend never happens at Hank’s. Kelly Dearmore

1310 N. Central Expressway, McKinney, hankstexasgrill.com
3. Glass Cactus

With an event calendar dominated by high-dollar cover bands and easily digested country acts, the Glass Cactus is typically host to bougie party animals barreling toward their impending midlife crisis. After a particularly lively Eleven Hundred Springs show, I shared cocktails with a recovering heroin addict who was either on the lam or waiting for her uncle to pick her up. A second-level bar overlooks a large stage and expansive dance floor, as well as access to an outdoor patio complete with a view of Lake Grapevine to remind you of your middle-class privilege. The reasons why this venue makes the list: fantastic people watching, spectacular sound and lighting, and the fact that there aren’t many other places for live music in the heart of the midcities. Anita Riot

1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine, glasscactusnightclub.com
2. Love and War in Texas

There are two fantastic locations of Love and War, with each offering a different live music feel. While the artists who perform at the Plano and Grapevine locations typically fit into the Texas Country and Americana realms, it’s the set-up of the outdoor stages that offers a distinct vibe for each spot. A decade ago, the Plano location, aka the flagship of the fleet, offered only a grassy outdoor picnic area with some shade tree coverage and a small shed roof over the tiny stage. Now, a massive wooden stage opens to a spacious covered patio that can be cool in the summer or toasty in the winter. Of course, the icy schooners of local beer car help either condition. KD

601 E. Plano Parkway, Plano, loveandwarintexas.com

1. Hat Tricks
Even though Tony Avezzano, the former owner, heart and brains of Hat Tricks in Lewisville is now helping get Lava Cantina off the ground, the good musical times will still roll in the small but welcoming and well-appointed former Dart League spot. Texas country is often on the docket there, but talent ranging from Coolio, Shock G, Jason Isbell, Fuel and Reverend Horton Heat have made Hat Tricks the hot spot in town in recent times. Nestled amidst a cluster of apartment complexes, Hat Tricks has the homey feel of a legit local-only place, but the staff never makes anyone feel like an outsider. KD

101 E. Corporate Drive, Lewisville, hattricksdallas.com

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