Winds Of Change Have Blown Through Tradewinds Social Club

Where: Tradewinds Social Club, 2843 W. Davis St.

When: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays

What: $2.50 well drinks and domestics. Additionally, the bar offers "Dinner and a B-Movie" at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, with pizza and two domestic beers or wells for $12 during movie screenings.

Why or why not: Well, the happy hour prices aren't much of a discount from the regular prices. That's not to say you shouldn't head out to Tradewinds for a visit. On the contrary, you should -- just don't cancel your visit if you can't make it before happy hour ends at 7 p.m., because you can still find a cheap drink.

Cheap entertainment, too.

Tradewinds, featured in November 2009 cover story "Dallas' Most Authentic Dive Bars," has long been a staple of the north Oak Cliff neighborhood but underwent a change of ownership last September when Phillip Jester (formerly of Lee Harvey's) and his partner Ken Arkwell took the place over from longtime owner Dennis Wood. In the process, it became something of a self-aware dive bar, rather than one that would take offense at the term -- complete with intentionally mismatched glassware and chairs.

But if some of the changes add a redundant bit of pre-fab dive shtick to a bar that already exuded the essence of dive like a streetwalker's cheap perfume, other alterations have injected vitality to the bar and neighborhood. The back room has been converted into a comfortable lounge area with couches and tables, a small space for dancing and an eclectic art display including a hilarious piece featuring a "ZILF." The "Z" stands for zombie. Surely you can figure out the rest of that acronym. But the biggest change is the addition of live music, thanks to the ingenious choice to have Kara Howell (of Paste-approved Darktown Strutters) book live music. Her own band along with other cutting-edge rock, dance, experimental and DJ acts -- from Oak Cliff and beyond -- invigorate the scene by bringing in a young crowd on most weekends and even some weeknights.

That hasn't kept the old-timers away, thankfully. You're just more likely to see them earlier in the day, like at happy hour. It's usually not too crowded early, but in case you can't find a spot, you can park across Davis as long as you're not in the convenience store's lot -- or do some oil-pan-scraping off-roading through the alley behind the bar and park in front of the billboard.

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