It's Friday night, and after leaving work a bit later than you had hoped to, battling the traffic to get home, and finally making it out the door again for a night of steam-blowing revelry, mapping a night out is often more daunting a task than you'd prefer. It's late to the point that visiting separate establishments for drinks, dinner and then a concert -- not to mention finding a parking spot or having to valet at each locale -- leaves most just wanting to surrender to the allure of Netflix and a jar of Trader Joe's Cookie Butter.
Thankfully, the greater Dallas area offers multiple options where one-stop grubbing and gigging are not only possible, but highly desirable. Such a combo of convenience and quality will leave most only wondering about where their hangovers will be cured the next morning. Here are the 10 Best Places to Grab Grub and Catch a Concert in the Same Spot.
10. Gas Monkey Bar and Grill (Dallas): Since opening in late 2013, it has become clear this is a multi-use venue that just happens to be affiliated with a reality television show (Discovery Channel's Fast 'N Loud), and not a Planet Hollywood-style merch market. Formerly known as the Firewater Bar and Grill, the menu at the redesigned spot isn't too adventurous, but it doesn't have to be, as the grub holds its own, actually.
Plus, on a given night, you can catch a set by honky-tonker Wayne "The Train" Hancock in the earlier part of the evening, while making your way onto the spacious, well-equipped patio to headbang to a metal band such as The Sword.
9. Hank's Texas Grill (McKinney): Over the past few years, this easy-to-access joint just off of U.S. 75 has become a must-stop for the biggest names in the Texas country scene, such as Stoney LaRue, Dirty River Boys and Chris Knight. The casual covered patio and communal seating vibe creates a rowdy dynamic when it's called for, but it's not just a honky-tonk that happens to serve food.
The grub here is what you'd expect from a place boasting Texas in its name -- chicken-fried steak, nachos, big-plate bar food. And though not a scientific fact, the frosty fish-bowl schooners of beer at Hank's seem to arrive a few degrees colder than at most other places.
8. The Foundry (Dallas/Oak Cliff): With perhaps the area's only stud-chef inspired chicken shack (Tim Byre's Chicken Scratch) and an outdoor stage made completely of wooden shipping pallets, The Foundry is as cool a spot to catch a show by notables such as Centro-matic or the Baptist Generals as anywhere in North Texas. Located in the former home of Jack's Backyard, the property, lined with lightbulbs strung above dozens of picnic tables, has enjoyed the upgrades and certainly stands as a fine spot to knock a few drinks back when the weather is nice, even when a band isn't on the eco-friendly stage.
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7. J&J's Pizza (Denton): As the old, creaky home to beer-stained college memories for so many in the area, J&J's on the Square is a landmark. While the aroma of the baking pizza wafts downstairs into the basement of the venerable joint, Schlitz cans and cheap pitchers of beer are readily available for an assortment of bands that spring forth from the fertile Denton music test tube.
A sophisticated night out isn't what this spot is for. In fact, in the best way possible, J&J's is for just the opposite: the kind of night where you just don't care and want to eat whatever, drink whatever and see a show from whomever.
6. Truck Yard (Dallas): A sunny Saturday afternoon at this still novel spot offers about as fun a time as one can have when drinking, eating and catching live tunes all at the same time.
The selection of food trucks, wide array of bottled, inventively crafted cocktails, and a stage featuring some of Dallas' best songwriters (typically on Saturday's from 2-5 p.m.) resembles, dare we say, a pretty kick-ass afternoon in that city to the south with the state capitol building. But you know you're in Dallas when you're hearing Madison King singing while holding a Cable Car bottled beverage in one hand with an Easy Slider Sweet & Lowdown in the other.
5. Coach Joe's Hat Tricks (Lewisville): Many venues in the metroplex book musical acts offering an assortment of sounds, not confining themselves to one genre. But few, if any, places in the area offer such an array of artists on their roster.
The past couple of years have seen Coolio, Fuel, Shock G, Jason Isbell, Everlast, Marc Broussard and Shooter Jennings take the stage at the venue named for the dearly departed former Dallas Cowboys coach, which is now owned and operated by Tony Avezzano, Coach Joe's son. The food at the nondescript suburban spot is killer, and the pizza, baked from scratch, makes the menu and venue far more than a dive or a sports bar.
4. Adair's Saloon (Dallas): In a similar way to J&J's in Denton, Adair's is an institution. Forget Southfork Ranch, when any self-respecting Dallasite has friends or family visiting from out of town, this should be the spot to haul them to.
The recipe for Adair's success is simple. No cover charge, cheap cans and pitchers of beer, insanely good (and greasy) cheeseburgers, and the best roster of North Texas country talent of any venue in town, period. One night at Adair's equals a full day of visits to the Sixth Floor Museum, Klyde Warren Park, the Nasher Sculpture Center and Reunion Tower. It's fact. Look it up.
3. Love and War in Texas (Plano and Grapevine): With a name like this, overkill of the whole "Texas thing" would've been easy, but the two locations understand the spirit of Texas food and entertainment lies in the quality and the comfort, not in kitschy decorations and hokey outfits.
The original location, in Plano, has a tree-covered Hill Country-style patio that's the best place north of Interstate 635 to eat a massive plate of regionally inspired food (The Athens Burger, Gulf Coast Fish Tacos, etc.). While both locations host music, including notable names from the Texas country realm, Love and War's allure is most wonderfully evident in the spring and summer on Sundays for the Shiner Sunday concert series, when the warm temps bring the likes of Reckless Kelly, Jason Boland and Charlie Robison to Plano for the hundreds of folks who aren't ready to call it a weekend, just because Sunday night is ticking ever so nigh.
2. The Rustic (Dallas): The youngest place on this list, it's also the only place where one can enjoy an outdoor show by Pat Green, one of the restaurant's owners, while sipping from one of 40 Texas brews and chomping on the testicles of a bovine. Indeed, the buttermilk-marinated calf fries are spiked with a touch of Tabasco and lightly fried to a point where it just all works together with everything else. Though Green is Texas country royalty, rock acts from the area often play here as well. Even nationally loved talents such as Sheryl Crow will take the stage of the large outdoor area known as "Pat's Backyard" at some point.
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1. The Sundown at Granada (Dallas): Mike Schoder, owner of the Granada Theater on Greenville Avenue, essentially created the area's best one-two entertainment punch when he opened the doors of the Sundown in 2012. The menu, which is offered well past midnight, is varied and boasts the best sweet potato fries around.
Indeed, free live music, mainly from worthy local acts, is offered seven nights a week from 11 p.m.-2 a.m., but let's take a look at the bigger picture. Arrive around 7 p.m. to see Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, The xx, Eric Johnson or Devin the Dude, among so many other internationally touring acts. Before heading into the theater, head to the Sundown's roof for a drink and a seat on one of the plush couches.
After you enjoy the show you came to see, head a few feet back over to the Sundown for the free aftershow concert (usually a band that matches up well with whoever just played next door) and chow on a Greenville Avenue Grilled Cheese. Two venues, one spot, so many party-filled purposes.