Why do kids have all the fun with the “kids eat free” nonsense? We adults want in on this. After all, we’re the ones who pay the damn bill. We may live in the land of free chips and salsa, but they won't soak up all that booze unless queso gets involved.
Luckily, a handful of Dallas establishments are subscribing to a more extreme version of the Jon Taffer method — he claims that customers will stay at a bar an average of 52 minutes longer if there's food — by offering free food to drinking patrons. We're guessing patrons will stay even longer if the food's free.
Dive bars Inwood Tavern and J. Gilligan's in Arlington have been offering (questionable at best) serve-yourself popcorn for many years to give patrons a thirst for just one more beer, but what if we want a little more than mediocre popcorn that 18 other people touched? These 11 Dallas spots are offering boozing patrons the chance to spend on the part of the experience that matters: the alcohol.
Dallas Fish Market
1501 Main St. (Downtown)
What you can eat: A complimentary sushi roll with purchase of an alcoholic drink.
When: 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Friday
The Downtown sushi spot will go tit for tat with a sushi roll to complement your drink. Just know that you’ll need another sake martini and roll in an hour.
Rattlesnake Bar at the Ritz Carlton
2121 McKinney Ave. (Uptown)
What you can eat: Guacamole bites and mini-margaritas
When: Nightly starting at 6 p.m.
This see-and-be-seen scene offers up Fearing’s favorites, Chef Dean’s mini margaritas and bites of their guacamologist’s famous guacamole, nightly in the lobby. Bonus: Get a peek at their Tequila Vault featuring unique tequilas (including a bottle that’s one of only 100 bottles in the world) while enjoying your bites.
2101 Cedar Springs Road (Uptown)
What you can eat: Free truffle popcorn, bar only or upon request.
There’s heroin, there’s caffeine, there’s tobacco and then there’s this popcorn. When it’s called addictive, it’s not even close to an exaggeration. The sumptuously decadent truffle popcorn is worth the slight stomach ache that eating four bowls may send you away with.
World Beer Co. (AKA The Bottle Shop)
2116 Greenville Ave. (Lower Greenville)
What you can eat: Free pizza
When: Mondays starting around 7 p.m.
This bottle shop lets you sip beer while you browse and, every Monday, offers up free pizza to sweeten the deal. Don't fill that growler on an empty stomach.
1717 McKinney Ave. (Downtown)
What you can eat: Free pork chicharrones (bar only)
When: 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday
The downtown Stephan Pyles hotspot offers a free treat that pairs nicely with their inexpensive happy hour tacos and does a lovely job of soaking up the infused, roasted and flash-frozen cocktails they serve behind the bar.
What you can eat: Free fully-loaded nacho car
When: 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday
The off-the-wall-Austin transplant offers drinkers chips and salsa out of the trunk of a chopped-up car and quadruples down with queso, beans, ground sirloin and shredded pork.
What you can eat: Free appetizer buffet with alcohol purchase
When: 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday
If you’re into buffets and booze, this is your scene. If you purchase an alcoholic drink during happy hour, help yourself to the assorted traditional Tex-Mex goodies they offer until 6 p.m.
Mucky Duck and Saintsbury Tavern
Mucky Duck, 5064 Addison Cir., Addison
Saintsbury Tavern, 6800 Windhaven Pkwy., The Colony
What you can eat: A free taco bar with drink purchase
When: 6 to 8 p.m. Thursdays
Forget Taco Tuesday, these pubs go all-in on Thursdays. This make-your-own taco bar is nothing to sneeze at. You can even take your fur baby along to Saintsbury — no tacos for Toto, though.
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What you can eat: Free quesadillas
When: 4 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
Sidle up to the stone bar during happy hour, order up a cheap blue margarita and get free quesadillas. That was easy. Make sure to load on up on their delicious tortilla and sweet potato chips.
What you can eat: Free dessert with entree purchase
This Dallas mainstay offers a little booze-induced way to keep away the Sunday scaries and even offers diners a treat to end their visit. Choose any item from the dessert menu or bakery counter to enjoy with a White Russian after dinner.