They say hindsight is 20/20, but looking back at the bars opened in DFW in 2018, we're just seeing double. This year brought us a few tiki options and plenty of hipster hot spots, some of which quickly became staples of the local bar scene. With some end-of-year openings, we're hopeful for what some new bars will bring in the new year — but for now, it's too soon to call.
Ruins2653 Commerce St. (Deep Ellum)
With mezcal finally making it big in popular bar culture in Dallas, we were glad to see a second mezcal-centric spot pop up in Deep Ellum. Ruins offers a spectacular selection of the smoky spirit, alongside street tacos and live music, to get your blood pumping and your feet moving.
Local Traveler7522 E. Grand Ave. (Lakewood)
This small tiki spot proves to us that size doesn't matter. Tucked away on the back patio of Local Traveler, you'll find a little slice of paradise complete with well balanced, fruity concoctions. Expect some classic tiki favorites and some of their own riffs, but all done well and delightfully overgarnished.
4 Kahunas Tiki Lounge506 E. Division St., Arlington
4 Kahunas Tiki Lounge, the first completely tiki bar in DFW landed on the hind side of a car dealership in Central Arlington this year, and we're still giddy about it. This little bit of tropical heaven puts the "fun" back in "Arling-fun" with all the trappings of a tiki haven, complete with delights from wall-to-wall kitsch to a menu with classics and custom cocktails curated by bar manager Brad Bowden.
Pony TailInside Trick Pony, 2823 Main St. (Deep Ellum)
After you down a couple of cocktails or a heavy meal, sipping an amaro can make a world of difference. Enter Pony Tail, the bar within a bar within a bar offering an amaro-heavy menu and plenty of expertise on the bitter digestif. Don't expect to walk in just anytime, though. The six-seater bar is open only Fridays and Saturdays starting at 8 p.m.
IzkinaInside Deep Ellum Hostel, 2801 Elm St. (Deep Ellum)
The boutique-y bar Izkina brings visitors a Spanish-inspired menu with varied takes on the gin and tonics, traditional Spanish cocktails — think sangria and sherry with lemon soda — and tapas-style bites. The welcoming feeling of the bar is matched by a well trained, friendly staff.
Tiny Victories602 N. Tyler St. (Oak Cliff)
Tiny Victories, a cozy come-as-you-are spot in North Oak Cliff, comes from the minds behind High Fives and Ferris Wheelers, and it served its community well this year. The opening of this too-good-to-be-true spot has been a big victory for the neighborhood. Stop by during happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday when classic cocktails are half-off.
Gung Ho2010 A Greenville Ave. (Lowest Greenville)
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The high-energy Gung Ho has honed its "feel" over the last 10 months to make a hub for the unusual — an Asian-ish restaurant on Lower Greenville that gives late-night drinkers the chance to eat well and diners the chance to drink well. Don't miss the Thai tea shot or the Crack Chicken. This bar is extraordinary thanks to a beautiful partnership between beverage director Matt Ragan, the mind behind the Victor Tangos program, and bar manager Zach Potts.
Macellaio287 N. Bishop Ave. (Bishop Arts District)
While this neighborhood eatery is more of a restaurant than a bar, Macellaio is the perfect place to belly up to for a belt and a bit of (pork) belly after a long day of bringing home the bacon. With house-cured meats and a thoughtful selection of spirits, it's sure to hit you right where you need it — in your belly. This summer, we fell in love with their creative Negroni slushie.