With such a momentous food year in Dallas, we can't forget to recognize the stellar bars that we've seen crop up across Dallas-Fort Worth. And there were quite a few. So, in no particular order, we're ready to crown our own winners of Best New Bars of 2019.
This mezcal speakeasy on North Fitzhugh Avenue opened in June and comes to us from the brothers behind El Come Taco. They kept their authentic feel from the taco shop and added some moody elements with a little tongue-in-cheek kitsch. Duck into the faux dress shop and you'll find dim lights and eclectic music. Grab a stool at the bar where you'll find lit shelves of unusual agave spirits flanked with green walls, and you'll be served by bartenders who really know their agave.
2513 N. Fitzhugh Ave. (Old East Dallas)
This casual spot in The Cedars is Dallas' nicest dive bar, or the diviest nice bar in the city. Ignore the stripper pole and join them for a round of pool, a drink and a chin wag with the laid-back staff. The owners, Sam Wynne and Pasha Heidari, wanted to bring Dallas a place to relax — a self-described "Moe's meets Cheers." You know, a quiet spot primed for shots-and-beer combos and one-and-one drinks with a side of checkers. We think they got it just right.
1902 S. Harwood St. (The Cedars)
We can't begin to tell you how much we love this place. We've said it before, and we'll say it again, it's a portal to 1920s New Orleans. The bar's Big Easy vibes are amplified when their house jazz band takes over the stage, sometimes the entire bar, and occasionally even the street. The (literally) upbeat feel makes this a Bishop Arts must-visit, because they really laissez les bons temps rouler!
412 N. Bishop Ave. (Bishop Arts District)
The food at The Charles caught our eyes, and then our stomachs. And really, the restaurant did so well that they needed more space. So, obviously, they added a bar to the building ... a bar you can only access through the back door in the parking lot. We're not mad about it, though. We'll run through that pink door every time we're able to enjoy Italian-style cocktails and glass after glass of bubbles at the gorgeous bar. Take some time to enjoy the off-beat decor ... especially the wallpaper in the bathroom hallway.
1632 Market Center Blvd. (Design District)
This completely unexpected jewel of a bar popped up in Bridgeport (yes, that city you see on signs but didn't realize was a real place) in October to "bring big-city creativity and hospitality to our small-town residents," says bar manager Matthew Barrington. Expect whiskey meet-ups, seasonal menus and even spirits classes from this suburban watering hole in 2020.
1010 Halsell St., Bridgeport
This heightened Tex-Mex eatery is more than tortillas and frozen margaritas. They keep giving us clever agave-based cocktails that have us not just wanting more, but needing more. (Can a frozen margarita be addictive?) To make this bar even more dreamy, they serve "11-11" with happy hour starting at 2 p.m. You can find our team at the horseshoe bar downing their queso and margs at least once a week.
2708 Routh St. (Uptown)
We've found our new favorite spot for a pre- (and post-) theater cocktail. And, really, anytime we're feeling fancy. The airy, bright bar in the Hall Arts Hotel gives us plenty to be excited about, from the live music to the forward-thinking cocktails and even Instagram-worthy art installations fitting of the neighborhood. The bar's spirit offerings and cocktail menu are also thoughtfully curated and just enough to keep us wanting more.
1717 Leonard St. (Dallas Arts District)
This laid-back "distillery" is Richardson's beacon of hope for suburbanites. Residents finally have a place they can belly up to a (beautifully designed) bar for a drink on a weekday without schlepping to Dallas. The couple behind the new spot wanted a casual place for their neighbors where they were pouring their own juice, but they've made it so much more. With the addition of Justin Box in the kitchen, this concept has wildly overdelivered for us this year.
506 Lockwood Drive, Richardson
This Deep Ellum bar and restaurant completely transformed the space with trendy tile work and chandeliers made of greenery. The aesthetic is enough to make us fall in love with this cozy bar, but thanks to some trendy cocktails, we're equally taken with the bar menu. Stop in for a happy hour so you can be sure to get just the right light to capture this beautiful space when you Instagram your color-changing drink.
2651 Commerce St., Suite 100 (Deep Ellum)
The Clover Club opened in Uptown a couple of months back with a cocktail program by the inimitable Eddie "Lucky" Campbell and food from Anthony Van Camp and the promise of Hunter Sullivan taking the stage almost nightly. We've loved the supper club and simply enjoying a cocktail on the rooftop patio, complete with awesome view, and we're eager to see how the concept continues through the New Year.
2404 Cedar Springs Road, Suite 400 (Uptown)
This beautiful restaurant and bar in the Harwood District got us excited before they even opened their doors. The Latin American hot spot is absolutely stunning, and their bar program is no slouch thanks to the creativity and knowledge of their bar manager, Andrew Stofko, and bar supervisor, Sam Gillespie. Creative, unique south-of-the-border-inspired cocktails and late-night food options keep this place at the top of our list.
2700 Olive St. (Harwood District)
Swanky is the best way to describe this new Knox/Henderson, upscale steak and martini restaurant, but the bar is what's absolutely blowing us away. Jorge Herrera, heading up the bar program, is a longtime favorite of ours, and he's done an incredible job curating a bar staff that is wildly knowledgeable and personable. And if expertly mixed drinks were enough, they're the first to play with the Flavour Blaster, and we're mesmerized.
4514 Travis St., Suite 132 (Knox/Henderson)
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We'll admit it: We're always excited to see a new concept open in Fort Worth but always wonder if they'll be able to hold on. Luckily, this "speakeasy" kept on for the year. Stop in and check out this unexpected spot before the crowd arrives, and make sure to grab a couple of items from their bodega while you're at it!
2921 Morton St., Fort Worth
We're looking forward to visiting the more recent additions to our local bar scene and look forward to seeing more from them in the coming year. (Dallas Proper, Commons Club, Drake's Hollywood, Swizzle and Peak Inn, we're looking at you.) And we'll admit, we have high hopes for the new concepts opening in 2020. (Yes, Nickel City Fort Worth ... We're waiting for you.)