Six Months into the Pandemic, Dallas Dive Bars Are Getting Back to Business

The patio at The Grapevine Bar in Oak Lawn.
The patio at The Grapevine Bar in Oak Lawn. Kathy Tran
This story was first published Sept. 29, 2020, and was updated Sept. 30, 2020.

Six months deep into this pandemic, there’s no question about it: In terms of economic fallout, bars have been among the hardest-hit businesses.

Dive bars, specifically, are sorely missed because of their ability to offer the best boozy versions of ourselves. These gems all come with their own form of affable humor. They don't take themselves or anyone else too seriously. And we need them now more than ever.

And while restaurants, hotels and even Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor have been able to enact (mostly) measured and careful reopenings, bars are shut.

In case you’ve lost your notes in your Trapper Keeper, under Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order to contain the spread of COVID-19, bars are not allowed to be opened at all. But, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) created a loophole so bars can apply for a food and beverage certificate, the caveat being that food and merchandise must make up at least 51% of their total sales.

Some dive bars have acquired such a permit, so if you go, go peckish.

Michelle Honea, co-owner of The Grapevine, reopened her spot a couple of weeks ago, and it's been an adjustment running a restaurant instead of a bar.

"Someone has to 'touch' the table as soon as people are seated by the host because the customers can't walk up to the bar and grab their first drink like it was before," Honea says. "We set the tone when they walk in and that helps. We are very clear that we are following the Strike Force Guidelines. We have signs everywhere telling people the rules, even on every table."

Caution tape lets customers know where not to sit, and occasionally staff members have to remind customers who get up to put on a mask, but Honea says everyone has complied so far. Her staff, which she insists is the best in the city (and her regulars would agree) have to wear multiple hats: "Everyone is doing everything, no one has a set job." 

Still, seeing their people is what it's all about. Lakewood Landing reopened recently, and barkeep Jordan Lowery is tremendously happy to be back. 

"A bar like Lakewood Landing is a community. So, it's great to be reunited with your friends and family," Lowery says.

Following is an update on which places have reopened:

Adair’s Saloon
2624 Commerce St. (Deep Ellum)

That sums it up. This is, in fact, an all-caps situation. Patrons have to keep in mind that these businesses want to stay open, but it can all be taken away quickly if the TABC feels they’re a threat to public health.

Adair's is open from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Check their Facebook page for upcoming shows, and wear a mask. 

Cosmo's Restaurant and Bar
1212 Skillman St. (East Dallas) 
Cosmo's recently announced they’ll be back with big bowls of pho and whatever drink cures your ails. Check their Facebook page for details. Looks like they'll be open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

Double Wide
3510 Commerce St. (Deep Ellum)
Closed temporarily.

The Goat
7428 Gaston Ave. (White Rock)
The Goat recently announced they, too, acquired a food certificate and will be open at 75% capacity with Cigarz Bona Pizza, which is next door and has the same owner. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for their official reopening date.

The Grapevine
3902 Maple Ave. (Oak Lawn)
Our favorite everything bar in Uptown just reopened a couple of weeks ago. Because the interior runs on the small side of spacious, the patio is where it’s at. The inside is open for the bathroom and jukebox only. Bar none.

If the weather looks questionable, check Pete Delkus’ page, but for the love of God don’t "at" him (actually do, he’s set off so easily), and also check the Grapevine’s Facebook page

They have food to buy, so plan on buying it. 

Don’t test them on their rules: They’re only reopening with an abundance of caution. Don’t be that guy who causes the owner to send everyone home. She'll do it. 

The Grapevine is open from 4 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Wednesday and from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. 

Inwood Tavern
7717 Inwood Road (North Dallas)
The self-acclaimed oldest bar in Dallas, Inwood Tavern opened for the Stars playoffs. They're serving Fireside Pies' full menu and Marty Turco's new beer. In other news, Marty Turco has a beer.

Inwood Tavern appears to be open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, but check their page for more details.

click to enlarge Jordan Lowery wants to know what it'll be. - LAKEWOOD LANDING
Jordan Lowery wants to know what it'll be.
Lakewood Landing
Lakewood Landing
5818 Live Oak St. (East Dallas)
Finally, you can all get your corn dogs again. The Landing opened Sept. 9 with a full menu, and they have daily specials plus Tifany’s cookies.

The Landing is open 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 3 p.m. to midnight Sunday. 

From their Facebook page: “Seriously, wear a mask. Don’t make us ask twice. Don’t fuck it up for the rest of us. See you at 3. We missed you.”

Lee Harvey’s
1807 Gould St. (the Cedars)
UPDATE: The bar owners announced Wednesday morning that the bar has reopened. Operating hours remain 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

Ship’s Lounge
1613 Greenville Ave. (Lowest Greenville)
Ship's Lounge told us they're working on getting a food permit. They'll provide updates as soon as they have an opening day. Keep an eye on their Facebook page. 

Single Wide
2110 Greenville Ave. (Lowest Greenville)
Closed temporarily.

2429 Fitzhugh Ave.  (Old East Dallas)
Strangeways opened in late August after snagging one of those coveted food and beverage certificates from the TABC. They’ve jumped right into things; Monday they hosting the Khao Noodle Shop Tour for a “mussels and drinks” evening.

And barrel week is slated for Oct. 12-18, for which you’ll also need a reservation.

Strangeways is open 4 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. 

Tradewinds Social Club
2843 W. Davis St. (North Oak Cliff)
Closed permanently.
The Dallas Morning News reported, “after 52 years, Tradewinds Social Club in Oak Cliff is shutting its doors for good.”

Owner Dennis Wood told the paper the building was sold and he was unable to renew his lease.  
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.