Many moons ago, I worked at an Applebee's Bar & Grill. It's been a while since I threw in the apron, but to this day I still cannot listen to a handful of songs that were on a torturous loop at the neighborhood bar and grill, including "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles, "Joy to the World" (known to many as the "Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog" song) by Three Dog Night, or "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood.
Maybe if I'd had this blog post when I was first applying for jobs, I could have been spared. Without further ado, here's a list of places to eat or drink that don't play shitty music.
Amruth Cafe in Irving: The mango-colored walls that line the Indian restaurant and buffet have not a single thing on them except a printed-out sheet of paper that reads "Please Don't' Waste Food" and a giant flat screen TV that plays nothing but Bollywood's best soundtrack hits while you eat from their delicious Indian buffet. (The samosas there, man.)
The Libertine Bar: Somewhere between their annual corn dog battle, the lavish beer dinners and half-price food Tuesday nights, the Libertine manages to fit in awesome local tunes (last year's Toys for Tots Benefit featured Cutter & J. Charles & the Trainrobbers). If they're not booking good bands, they're serenading you from the speakers with countless rock legends.
The Cedars Social: Expect to hear some Frank Sinatra or some Zero 7 to be played inside of The Cedars Social's secret agent-themed bar and restaurant. The swanky music mixed with a combination of the understated theme of danger, sex and cocktails make The Cedars Social the best place to go for non-shitty music if you're on a date.
12. Bryan Street Tavern: An East Dallas favorite, you should go to Bryan Street Tavern for the giant pizzas and stay for the pool, life-sized Jenga and dueling stages. Good music is everywhere at the tavern, where you can take your pick between listening to live local music, putting a dollar in the jukebox or humming along to BST's pandora station.
11. Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger House: With 16 American taps, five locals and more than 60 bottled beers, there is plenty of incentive to go to Goodfriend's kitchen and bar near Lakewood, but the cool thing is that when you get there, you'll be in hog heaven if you're a folk or Americana nerd. Bands like Wilco, Ryan Adams and Father John Misty dominate the PA over at Goodfriend, so you've got some pretty reflective tunes to hear while you sample a gazillion beers and munch on the restaurant's delicious pigs in a blanket with mustard dip.
10. Chicken Scratch / The Foundry: What doubles as both strange and supremely awesome about these next-door neighbor restaurants (Chicken Scratch being owned by Tim Byres, who won Food and Wine's Best New Chefs for the Southwest award) is that they share the same wonderful taste in live music (mostly folk or jazz), which flows from an immense wooden-crate-constructed stage throughout the picnic tables in the gravel courtyard that houses them both.
9. Holy Grail Pub in Plano: If you find yourself in an unfortunate scenario - stuck in the Plano suburbs - you can find retreat at the Holy Grail. This English pub plays nothing but great '60s and '70s rock, including some of the obscure stuff, alongside their ghost-pepper-tinted bowls of chili.
8. Grapevine: Where else can you hear Aretha Franklin, "It's Raining Men" and all-out '90s pop hits in the same bar, and get a unanimously cheerful response from the patrons? I'll tell ya where: the bar that's just a few dangerous paces from the Observer offices, that's where.
7. City Tavern: Wedged in between clubby-clubs like Plush on Main Street in Downtown, City Tavern is a breath of fresh air for people simply looking to duck in for a cold, cheap beer. Come here if you want to munch on some great hot wings while listening to a sea of endless rock and classic rock, or while catching a local shoegaze band on the second floor. It's the only real tavern in the area, which makes it extra special for avoiding shitty music.
6. Double-Wide: A Yoohoo Yeehaw and dirty rock is what you will find at Dallas' favorite intentional trailer. The former being the most white trash milkshake you'll ever wrap your cigarette-tinged lips around in your life, but boy does it pack a punch. Dirty rock 'n' roll and sexy glam rock are in store for you at Double-Wide. Jack White, Josh Homme and Robert Smith would all likely be regulars of Double-Wide, but they'd probably hear themselves over the speakers.
5. Smoke: It wouldn't be weird to hear Bon Iver, Bell and Sebastian or a handful of Old 97's songs while gnawing on pig cheek, pulled pork eggs benedict or one of Smoke's other upscale barbecue menu items. Welcome to a new Oak Cliff. Also, Smoke is just next door is Bar Belmont inside of the Belmont Hotel, where you can also hear some of the best music in the city, including Shelley Carrol's jazz creations, while sitting next to a fireplace.
4. Off-Site Kitchen: A little shack on the desolate outskirts of Dallas' Design District where you can listen to Rolling Stones and eat the best burgers in Dallas. 'Nuff said.
3. Sundown at Granada: Sundown is like the gateway to Granada Theater, one of Dallas' best and oldest concert venues. The perks of dining or drinking at Sundown at Granada is that it has so many options: inside, outside, upstairs on the balcony or downstairs on the patio -- all of which make for amazing places to hear music. You can hear live music all around you, whether from the restaurant's upstairs or downstairs stages, or from the hustle and bustle of lower Greenville's active nightlife.
2. Lakewood Landing: Lakewood Landing's old jukebox makes the whole place what it is. One customer said: "There's nothing like playing pool to this jukebox. This bar wouldn't be the bar it is without its jukebox. It's just got the perfect music for it. Also, you can take a smoke break and hear the music over the speakers outside, so you don't have to miss anything." With one of the most diverse selections of music in the city, it's no wonder it's played so much.
1. Tried and True: For those who haven't yet witnessed its retro majesty, Tried and True is a '70s themed sports bar with not only a fantastic street view of Henderson from its outdoor patio, but also it has the best reason why this bar tops the list of best places to eat and drink without shitty music: there's a friggin' record player behind the bar. And they play it. If you're nice enough, and tip your bartenders well enough, you can actually request albums for the bar staff to play, although they may or may not have them in their limited collection. One thing is for sure though: They have Led Zeppelin II.
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