DFW Music News

Things We Miss About North Texas Venues

The Granada Theater has hosted everyone from Johnny Rotten to Bob Dylan. We miss it.
The Granada Theater has hosted everyone from Johnny Rotten to Bob Dylan. We miss it. Can Turkyilmaz
Like old Rose says in Titanic, “It’s been 84 years” since we started social distancing. For live music fans, it feels even longer than that. We are lost without our favorite venues, where we get half our dopamine from watching great bands perform and consume half our calories through each place’s signature drink. Even occasional concertgoers can probably agree that there’s something about the old, new and middle-aged Dallas venues. While we love watching artists perform online, we can't wait to catch them onstage at our favorite hangout spots. Here are the top things we miss about North Texas venues:

  • Trying to soak up our drunkenness with the gloriously greasy burgers at Adair’s, where we were so drunk (did we mention this?) that we sang along to a country song we’d never heard before, because we just felt it.

  • Getting Elvis waffles in the basement at Andy’s during metal shows.

  • Discovering that your server is in your favorite band at AllGood Cafe, and then getting the chicken-fried steak.

  • Eating well and dancing wildly at a King Camel show at Armoury D.E.

  • Slow-dancing on a date at the Balcony Club like you're a classy person who wasn't wasted at Adair’s the night before.

  • Dancing in a human circle with friends at Beauty Bar, where we dressed up hoping that Blake Ward would take our photo.

  • Feeling proud to be Texan at Billy Bob’s even though we are fake Texans who don’t even own cowboy boots.

  • Getting a balcony seat at the Bomb Factory so you can look above the crowd like a goddamn royal. And the bathrooms have so many amenities that you want to ask the attendant how much to stay the night.

  • Going into the crowded patio in Canton Hall even though you don’t smoke just so you can feel like a beatnik talking all artsy as your eyes burn.

  • Trying to convince dudes at Club Dada that the line for the bathroom would go much quicker if one person took the toilet and one person took the urinal. And standing on the bench by the soundboard at Club Dada to get the best possible view.

  • Feeling like you're trapped in the Austin Powers movie Goldmember but with better booze and no Beyoncé thanks to the groovy vibes at Crowdus Bar.

  • Seeing the poster of Frank Sinatra’s mug shot at Dan’s Silver Leaf.

  • Stopping by Deep Ellum Art Co. to see big names and weird names and names no one has heard of and feeling like an art connoisseur because we glanced at the art.

  • Having a Dallas Blonde beer and making jokes about it for hours at Deep Ellum Brewing.

  • Having an impromptu party with strangers on the lawn of Dos Equis Pavilion.

  • Praying you'll get the corner table inside at Double Wide because it’s kind of like the Central Perk couch, the place to sit.

  • Scoring a seat under the shade at The Foundry.

  • Reliving Mardi Gras with the Cajun menu and voodoo spirit at The Free Man.

  • Watching the moonlight reflecting on the lake or pond or whatever you want to call that man-made body of water at Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill.

  • Choosing one of the billions of beers on tap at The Ginger Man in Uptown and always making the right decision. About the beer. All wrong decisions after that.

  • Watching guitar players out-drink blues each other at The Goat.

  • The insane lineups Good Records curates every year for Record Store Day.

  • Feeling old-timey by watching a touring act at Granada and then going to Sundown next door afterward to support a local act.

  • Walking through the barber shop to get to see some of the best weekly residencies in Dallas at High & Tight.

  • Going up to the Foundation Room after a show at House of Blues in hopes the band comes up to party after the show.

  • Discovering the ambiance that upstairs footsteps add to the sound of a basement show at J&J’s Pizza

  • Ordering the little Champagne bottles at the Kessler and adulting at a show.

  • Getting fresh air without getting rained on in the covered outdoors space at Lava Cantina.

  • Being able to hang with our actual best friends, our dogs, at Lee Harvey’s.

  • Watching the giant stage and admiring the architecture at Legacy Hall, while eating macarons.

  • Screaming out My Chemical Romance lyrics at Lizard Lounge for Emo Nite.

  • Listening to Ronnie Wilson's rock tales at Louie Louie’s Piano Bar.

  • Watching indie acts like Daniel Markham at Magnolia Motor Lounge.

  • Letting your Texas twang hang out after a few drinks at Mama Tried.

  • Hanging around with suspension artists at hip-hop shows at The Nines and feeling like we are actually cool.

  • Getting to use the super duper secret password to get into Off the Record when there’s a line down the block. What is it? Fine, it’s: "Nice try. We’ll never tell."

  • Discovering the next big thing at the open mic night at Opening Bell Coffee.

  • Being the only person wearing a color other than black at Reno’s and being welcomed anyway.

  • Watching swing dancers at Revelers Hall even though there’s room for one person to just stand. The more the merrier.

  • Congregating with all the artsy weirdos every Monday for the Outward Bound Mixtape Sessions at RBC.

  • Being able to hear after seeing one of Rob Buttrum’s bands at Rubber Gloves.

  • Having a margarita and head-banging at Ruins. Like complex people.

  • Eating brunch at The Rustic in a back patio so big we could social distance before it was a thing.

  • Watching Erykah Badu’s band (and hoping to see the queen herself roll through) at Sandaga 813.

  • Going to DIY zine fests at Shipping and Receiving.

  • Paying respect to the ghosts of great performances past at Sons of Hermann Hall, and downing plastic cups of Shiner.

  • Bonding with strangers in the crowd at South Side Ballroom because none of us can see shit but we’re both there, damn it.

  • Watching a John Carpenter film and then stepping behind the scene for a punk show at Texas Theatre.

  • Choosing a patio table Three Links as strategically as we picked our cafeteria table, depending on how many people we knew were sitting on it.

  • Watching some weird-ass shit at Top Ten Records.

  • Watching even more weird-ass shit at Tradewinds Social Club.

  • Knowing that all of Deep Ellum is safe just by looking at the muscles on the Trees bouncer.

  • Getting the best kind of bar food, from a food truck, at The Truck Yard.

  • Having a roller coaster of emotions while visiting Twilite Lounge: First, feeling inadequate because of the way the door guy looked at you and then being welcomed warmly by the bar staff. Then getting a brain freeze from their frozen Irish coffees. God, we miss our dads, too.

  • Browsing through books you actually want to read, before watching a Latin electronic band at Wild Detectives.

  • Watching the majestic city skyline from Wits End’s upstairs bar.
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Dallas Observer Music Staff