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:
2624 Commerce St. (Deep Ellum)
Adair’s is hosting live music again, but with a warning via Facebook: “MUST WEAR MASK UPON ENTERING, WHEN UNSEATED OR AWAY FROM YOUR GROUP, ETC. BE NICE, FOLLOW THE RULES, EAT BURGER HAVE SOME FUN.”
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.
3510 Commerce St. (Deep Ellum)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
2110 Greenville Ave. (Lowest Greenville)
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)
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.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.