The Year/The Decade: Bars

A person's selection of "favorite bar" may be even more personal than that of their favorite restaurant. Where someone chooses to drink, after all, says more about their appreciation of scene and the sort of people they wish to associate with--the Stella or Goose tastes about the same anywhere, for the most part.

To compound the problem of naming a 'best' in this category, some of us--namely me--just don't frequent bars. Not anymore, at least.

Making matters worse, the city is populated with the memory--and sometimes the carcasses--of 'of the moment' venues, such as Samba Room (Villa-O), Buddha Bar (Neighborhood Services), Martini Ranch (Nick & Sam's Grill) and so on.

There are so many drinking spots that come to mind that may or may not fit into 'best' lists for the year or the past ten. Sambuca? The Libertine? Obar? Grapevine? And there are those locations that transcend periods of time without defining them...although that last point might be hotly debated by regulars. I speak, in this case, of bars like The Loon.

So, with considerable trepidation, we present the best bars....

Best bars of 2009...

1. Loft 610
This Plano outpost has a lot going for it. The bar itself is circular, allowing for a lot of cross-room scanning. It's associated with a good, upmarket restaurant. And the proximity of young professionals, cougars, recently divorced Frisco types and visiting executives means the atmosphere is highly charged, as well.

2. PM Lounge
It's a little too dressy and self-conscious for our tastes, but Mr. Dallas speaks highly of the exclusive Joule hot spot, so we yield to his drink-addled judgment. (Even though I don't hit the bars, I do respect alcohol-inspired wisdom).

3. Capitol Pub
A good beer selection, trendy setting and hopping patio makes this a destination for young, well-compensated beer swillers. Dallas may have strayed from their mid-00s lounge obsession, but that doesn't mean they've forsaken every attribute of pretension.

Best bars of the 00s:

1. Candleroom
Opened in the hard door era following the success of Sense, it both outdrew and outlasted its sibling. The ownership changed, but that's about it. Candleroom still has the same bartending crew, a similar plush design and stellar DJs. And if you want to get a sense of the decade, it is still the place to go.

2. Wine Bars
First there was Cru, then Mercy--bars built specifically to bring good wine to the everyday drinking crowd. Others followed, most notably Dali and Veritas. You won't find them on every corner, but the idea of going to a wine bar has become commonplace.

3. The Old Monk
Throughout the era, this Henderson Avenue pub has become a second home for many. And it does what a good one should: provide comfort, serve all flavors of alcohol with competence and cook up some better than expected bar food, as well.

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Dave Faries
Contact: Dave Faries

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