You know that stereotype of Dallas that people go with? No, not the one about the city being extremely segregated, and stuck in a class warfare. We mean the one all the sports broadcasts use. The one where they show b-roll of the area to kill time between action, and you see people in boots, cows and other western-themed things that reinforce the idea that we're all a bunch of backward cowpokes.
So rather than shy away from it, we're going to own that stereotype with a list of the best tourist-trap country bars in the DFW area. No you won't find any Cedar Springs institutions, or Deep Ellum hot spots. We'll even spot you a certain Fort Worth venue, just to spice this sucker up. These are the places to go to when you want to embrace your inner cowboy (and maybe drink too much in order to try to blend in).
Rockin Rodeo 1009 Ave. C, Denton
The Denton bar scene has picked up over the last few years as a few entrepreneurial souls have helped turn the area surrounding the city square into a Mecca of high concept water holes aimed at catering to a slightly older crowd. This has left Fry St. to be claimed by the college crowd. Across campus in a strip mall sits Rockin Rodeo, basically the complete opposite of the Denton stereotype. Aside from live music, there are various dance parties and drinks that hover around the $1 line, and if you book a party of 10 or more you get a free koozie, a shirt, a poster, and fishbowl/bottle of champagne/shot of your choice. So you know, keep it classy, and bring 9 friends.
Electric Cowboy 1165 Stemmons Freeway, Lewisville
Open till 3 a.m., Electric Cowboy has a hilarious Facebook page where patrons take pot shots at each other over what they wear. The same thing happens on their Yelp page. Let's just say it feels a little tense in this place around 1 a.m. on a Thursday after the 49-cent -- 49-cent! -- drinks have been flowing. Yeah you read that right, a venue full of people who dislike each other, and have access to drinks that cost less than half a dollar. Oh, and there's a weekly bikini contest.
Cowboys Red River 10310 Technology Blvd. W., Dallas
They have a mechanical bull, so if that's your thing, and Billy Bob's seems too far away and/or intimidating you can check it off your bucket list here. Also they play a lot of Nelly, like not just the random country songs Nelly has shown up on, but most of his catalogue. Nelly crosses all boundaries and we as Americans love Nelly. And mechanical bulls.
Midnight Rodeo 17727 Addison Rd., Dallas
This Addison adjacent club is like a Red River light (or in cowboy-bar parlance, "lite"). They regularly offer country & western dance lessons, but are sorely lacking in mechanical bulls. They also play a lot of Nelly, and as a bonus for you Friday night revelers, they offer free a buffet.
Concrete Cowboy 2512 Cedar Springs Rd., Dallas
I spent a night out with a reality TV star barhopping for a Red Bull promotional event and we ended up here. Imagine if you took all the pretention of the SMU crowd and added rhinestones. Now add some low-level racism, terrible cover acts and boom, you have Concrete Cowboy. Lucky for them Kung-Fu Saloon exists and because of that they're not the worst bar in town.
White Elephant Beer Garden 106 E. Exchange Ave., Dallas
Did you know that Chef Tim Love once was the iron chef? Did you know that you are legally obligated to mention the iron chef within two sentences of writing about Tim Love? Chef Time Love is not only the iron chef, he also owns a bar in the Fort Worth stockyards that somehow made a list for the best bars in America despite being 1) in the stockyards 2) overpriced and 3) sharing space with iron chef Tim Love's bland burger joint. But, hey, it's got a boot shine stand.
Redneck Heaven 2501 Stemmons Freeway, Lewsville
A friend of mine met his future in-laws for the first time ever at a Redneck Heaven for drinks. It was pasties day and he mentioned that half the staff also decided it was thong day as well. So yeah, that happened.
Escapade 2001 10701 Finell St., Dallas
I actually sort of love this place; they play Tejano, Ranchera, and musìca norteña. Everyone is dressed to the nines, you won't see more cowboy hats or boots anywhere else in the metroplex and people are here to party. Also, check out this dancing. The one downside is that the parking lot can become a post-apocalyptic movie some nights; I swear I saw somebody almost get stabbed in it once.
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Crossroads Bar 1803 N. Elm St., Denton
I literally saw someone get stabbed here after a country show. This Denton dive is dark, smoky, a little sketchy, and cheap. So if you're up for an adventure hit up the strip mall off Elm St. in Denton. If it's a karaoke night you might catch magic in a bottle of Natty Lite.
White Horse Saloon 9100 N. Central Expressway, Dallas
The upscale Dallas version of Electric Cowboy meets Escapade 2001. It's new, it's located in a random-as-hell location and it's not likely to lead to you getting any DWI's, seeing how Michelob Ultra will run you about six bucks. With those prices the potential for stabbings is also pretty low and you can catch some pretty solid Tejano acts too.