The 12 Best New Speakeasies, Bars, Dives and Cocktail Dens in Dallas | Dallas Observer

Fresh Pours: The Newcomers on the Observer's Top 100 Bars List

Dallas loves a nice cocktail. We have the proof. Here we've updated our annual list of the top 100 bars around North Texas. Cheers!
Cheers, Dallas.
Cheers, Dallas. Kathy Tran
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Each year we like to assess the local bar scene and tweak our top 100 bars list. We look for a mix of iconic Dallas spots, new places with big energy, sports bars, cocktail lounges, great rooftop bars, strong drinks, naturally, and music to pull it all together. Good service is important, and superior bar grub gets extra gold stars.

Fortunately for Dallas, no matter what you're parched for, there's literally a bar for every mood you can fathom. Following are 12 bars, new and old, we've added to the list for 2023.

See our full list of the top 100 bars here. 
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Angry Dog in Deep Ellum doubles as both a great restaurant and a bar.
Patrick Williams

Angry Dog

2726 Commerce St.
Is Angry Dog a restaurant or a bar? It's a great place to have some drinks while watching a game, get a good meal and hang out. So, a bar, right? Are good salads on the menu a disqualifier? What about a packed house when the Stars are in the playoffs? See? Tough call. So, we threw a dart at our Angry Dog Venn diagram and it landed on bars. The burgers, chili cheese dogs or club sandwiches are great for lunch or before a game over at the American Airlines Center or a show in Deep Ellum. Or just let Angry Dog be your only destination and you'll be well entertained, fed and, hopefully, buzzed.

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Barb's in Oak Cliff.

Barbara's Pavillion

325 Centre St. (Oak Cliff)
Barbara’s Pavilion, or as the Oak Cliff townies like to call it “Barb’s,” is probably your favorite bartender’s favorite bar. This beloved watering hole has been slinging drinks to patrons for more than 50 years. So, to be honest, this is probably your mom’s favorite bar too. This low-key dive bar with a retro drip is notable for its epic karaoke nights on Thursdays and Saturdays and its steamy burlesque shows every third Wednesday of the month. When locals aren’t belting out their favorite go-to karaoke tunes, you can rock out to anything from '70s golden disco to New Age millennial hits to contemporary hip-hop. Don’t be surprised if you see a celebrity camped out at the bar next to you. It just means they have good taste.

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Branca Room is Bishop Arts' newest speakeasy.
Chris Wolfgang

The Branca Room

324 W. Seventh St. (Bishop Arts District)
Lying out of sight, The Branca Room is a speakeasy of sorts behind Chimichurri Bistro in the heart of the Bishop Arts District. To find it, slip down the alley just east of Eno's and look for the red light hanging above the unmarked door. It's self-described as a ceremonious atmosphere honoring the Argentine culture and its rich Italian influence. Inside is lit by crystal chandeliers, showing off Argentinian art and posters. Order anything with Amaro or vermouth. An Amaro Transfusion has house-made vermouth, port, jasmine liqueur and rye, served in an IV bag.

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City Hall Bar is a beautiful and historic spot.
Lauren Drewes Daniels

City Hall Bar (Social Lobby) at The Adolphus

1321 Commerce St. (Downtown)
If people-watching is on your LinkedIn profile as a skill, then the bar at the center of the historical Adolphus Hotel is your Huckleberry. There's a treasure chest of options at this iconic downtown hotel, including the Rodeo Bar, The French Room and City Hall Bistro, all great spots on their own. But at the center of it all, past the dual fireplaces in the lobby, is a marble-topped bar surrounded in old money wood walls. There's also a large communal table to relax or go sink into a couch in front of one of the fireplaces. Soak in the early-20th-century craftsmanship, which was a "passion project" of Anheuser-Busch cofounder Adolphus Busch. Sip a 1912 old fashioned and watch wedding parties stumble into and out of the elevators.

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Cold Beer Company's spacious courtyard.
Lauren Drewes Daniels

Cold Beer Co.

3600 Main St.
Cold Beer Co. is a low-key beer garden on the east end of Deep Ellum — east enough that East Dallas locals get split custody. The bartenders are attentive and knowledgeable, and the place has a fantastic selection of local beer: 24 taps with 36 more options in cans, some that rotate seasonally. And, perhaps its most adorable feature, CBC has a grilled pimento cheese sandwich on the menu. The large outdoor areas are all worked over with either heaters or misters and fans, depending on the time of year. Check out the Wednesday drink special: The Pony Up, a small Miller High Life with a shot of Jameson.

Double D's

1404 N. Riverfront Blvd.
Get your mind out of the gutter: It's Double D's because it's in the Design District. This is another bar from the same group behind The Whippersnapper and High Fives. The vibe here is the best party you ever hosted in your grandma's basement, with polished brass knickknacks, old couches, a shag rug and the rest. The cocktails here are serious. Try Edna's Lunch Box, a tribute to the famed Oklahoma bar, made with a Miller High Life, amaretto and orange juice served in an ice-cold mug. It oddly tastes like Dr Pepper. Early in the evening, the vibe is a bit more cocktail-lounge. Later, a line starts to form at the door and things get groovy. Local DJs set up in the booth and the whole place starts dancing. Don't be shy about ordering a classic cocktail; the bar menu is one of the best in the city.

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Happiest Hour in the Harwood District.
Lauren Drewes Daniels

Happiest Hour

2616 Olive St. (Harwood District)
Mostly we lean toward off-the-beaten-path bars, speakeasies and low-key places with quirky personalities. Happiest Hour is none of those. This is that one friend makes you go out when you just want to stay in and you always wind up having a great time. It's a great spot to pregame for anything at the American Airlines Center, which is an easy walk. It's trendy and busy, but well-run and worth pushing the limits of your usual social capacity. Groups gather around lounge seating on the rooftop for a view. There's a large bar downstairs, as well as tables and chairs that spread out over a lawn. Ample TVs show all the sports ball contests. Be sure to share an order of foot-long fried mozzarella sticks (it's 5 feet of cheese). Happiest Hour is an all-weather, all-occasion, all-happy spot.

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HIDE, formerly of Deep Ellum, is now on Lower Greenville.
Lauren Drewes Daniels


1928 Greenville Ave.
HIDE opened in Deep Ellum in 2017 and became a fast and true standard. Alas, during the pandemic, it closed. But, great news, it resurfaced in the bustling (but not busting) Lower Greenville area late last year. Luckily it's back to its old self as if it never missed a beat. HIDE is another one of those spots that has a toe in the restaurant and bar pools, but at its core, it's a boozy botanist. Case in point: the Bell of the Block cocktail is made with vodka, Singani 63, grapefruit, grapefruit bell pepper cordial, floral super bloom, lemon, absinthe and bubbles. Or you can get High Life Pony for just $4. The rooftop atmosphere is great and there is still that amazing $7 burger on the happy hour menu.

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The courtyard at Ivy Tavern.
Lauren Drewes Daniels

Ivy Tavern

5334 Lemmon Ave.
Ivy Tavern is a local's spot. Good news: you can be a local. And you and you and youuuuu. The Ivy is a big sports fan with lots of spirit. The inside bar is dark and comfortable, but be sure to saunter around to the back door for the big patio bar and courtyard. Don't let hot temperatures deter you, misters and fans keep your sweat chilled in the summer and it's shady. Service is fast and super friendly. And the bar food is much better than it should be. Wings, loaded potato skins and fried jalapeños are all solid choices, but the pizzas are one of the most popular options.

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Leela's Wine Bar on Lower Greenville has a wine tap system for optimal freshness with each pour.
Lauren Drewes Daniels

Leela's Wine Bar

1914 Greenville Ave. (Lower Greenville)
2355 Olive St. (Uptown)
If Leela's Wine Bar was an Airbnb host, it would definitely have super-host status. Leela's original location on Greenville Avenue is a little bit more free-spirited than its new Uptown sibling, where the mood is a touch more mature with lo-fi bass beats and dark green plush booths. At both locations, Leela's implements a tap system, meaning every glass of wine is as the winemaker intended, not sullied by light or oxidation. Also, there's much less waste. The global wine list includes a super Tuscan, a Garnacha, West Coast staples including Joel Gott and Robert Hall, plus some deeper cuts. Get one of the cracker-thin-crust pizzas, which can be made with cauliflower crust. The mushroom bechamel or Butcher loaded with meat both hit the spot. Be sure to check out the Greenville location during the holidays for a winter wonderland pop-up. Whatever you do, don't leave without treating yourself to one of the best espresso martinis in the city.

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The whiskey wall at Whiskeys.


835 Exposition Ave. (Fair Park)
In less than two years, Whiskeys in Exposition Park has elevated itself to one of Dallas’ finest hidden gems. Located across the street from Fair Park, Whiskeys is a sophisticated oasis in this almost-forgotten strip of Dallas real estate. Co-owner Sean Smith and the team take to heart the curation of about 700 unique top-shelf whiskeys and bourbons for all to enjoy. Whether you are a dubious beginner or a fortified aficionado, this bar has something for everyone. Among the many things that makes the place pop, besides the beautiful sultry interior and the soulful sounds pumping from the speakers, are the various whiskeys flights you can try. There's a flight that pays homage to the originator of the Jack Daniel's whiskey brand, Uncle Nearest Green.

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The Wounded Ostrich has familiar boilermakers, like Coors Banquet with a shot of Jim Beam.
Doyle Rader

The Wounded Ostrich

2815 Main St. (Deep Ellum)
If you're looking for a bit of a country vibe, a pool table and, perhaps, a small stage for some guitar picking, meet The Wounded Ostrich. Located in Deep Ellum, this spot is a tall funny bird amid a bunch of chickens. A dive the day it was born, this low-key watering hole is a respite from the faster pace in the neighborhood. And, yes, you should get a boilermaker: The Original is a Coors Banquet with a shot of Jim Beam. If you get peckish, there's a good selection of hotdogs.
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