Super Bowl Visitors Guide: The Best of Dallas Nightlife, Bars, and Clubs
In town for the big game? We'll show you how to party like the locals do.
So, you managed to score tickets to the biggest game of the year. Lucky you. If this is your first visit to Dallas and don’t have thousands of dollars to earn your keep at the celebrity-flooded parties, you’ve lucked out once again. We’ve assembled a special nightlife visitors guide, mapping you all of the best cocktails, bar-hopping, dining, and hangover-curing activities that Dallas has to offer. Fair warning: you might not want to leave.
Day One: Thursday
After you’ve checked in, freshened up, and performed the quintessential check-out-this-city-skyline bit from your hotel window, it’s time to unpack. Don’t worry; we understand that paying extra for baggage doesn’t allow for the best clothing options. That’s where the West Village comes in.
West Village: Located in the heart of Uptown Dallas, this urban shopping destination has it all. Ladies, keep up with the Dallas trendsetters in a new frock from Epic Apparel. Don’t forget to stop by Accents to pick up any last-minute souvenirs (read: shiny accessories.) Guys, in case you didn’t know, it’s not just an urban legend: cowboy boots do indeed leave Southern belles swooning. Cowboy Cool will hook you up with your first pair. Or two.
Mi Cocina: After a day of traveling and shopping, surely you’re hungry. And thirsty. Walk on over to a Dallas favorite, Mi Cocina, which is conveniently located in the West Village. You can’t go home without saying you feasted on some Tex-Mex. The fajita and taco platters run for around $15-20, but we guarantee you’ll be scraping your plate. Try the Rico Salad if you’re watching the waistline. Whatever you do, don’t leave without ordering a Mambo Taxi. It’s a margarita concocted with a swirl of sangria and Chambord. Don’t ask us what it costs; just trust us when we say everyone seems to be much more attractive after a few sips.
The Loon: You’ve spent your afternoon surrounded by luxury cars at the valet stands, designer items in the dressing rooms, and double-digit-priced cocktails. Welcome to Dallas. But here’s an insider secret: as much as we love to put on our fancy pants, we have a whole other side. Need proof? Leave your car parked at the West Village – it’s safe next to that Maserati – and walk across Lemmon Avenue to one of our favorite dives, The Loon. Barely visible in a strip center next to Subway, this place might seem sketchy from the outside, but inside it means business. Sure, they serve beer in cans and you’ll get a laugh when you try to order your fancy import, but the bar lives up to its infamous reputation for cheap, stiff drinks. There’s no dress code, a pool table near the fireplace, and a jukebox: in other words, the perfect backdrop to plan your weekend over a few Crown and Cokes. Let’s face it. You might as well get the really bad hangover out of the way early on. Who wants to hunt down a drug store for Advil on Super Bowl Sunday?
Day Two: Friday
The Porch: Right now, you’re hating us. Let’s just consider your trip to The Loon as a hazing exercise of sorts, shall we? You’ll forgive us once we send you to the always-charming Henderson Avenue. We’re familiar with what comes after a night at the Loon, so let’s skip straight to brunch at The Porch. This restaurant is always busting at the seams with cute socialites, perched on the heated patio for the day’s best people watching. You’ll find them noshing on the savory spinach artichoke dip while attempting to recover from last night’s festivities with the three grilled cheese and tomato soup. (We highly recommend you do the same.) Need the hair of that still-biting dog? Try the blood -orange margarita or the grapefruit-agave gimlet. They’re fruity enough to go with brunch.
TopGolf: Now that you’ve refueled, hail a cab and head to TopGolf. The interactive driving range lets you and your crew try your hands at a field of targets, ranging from 20 to 250 yards away. The golf balls are equipped with microchips allowing you to keep score — and perhaps making it easier to decide who’s buying the drinks. The range boasts a full bar with quirky golf-related libations, such as the Pear for Par Cosmo. So if you’re really that uncoordinated, just down a couple Lay Me on the Greens, and you won’t care in the slightest that you whiffed the ball.
Barcadia: Rough cab ride back to Henderson Avenue? You can hear it now, can’t you: “hey, remember how you whiffed on that golf ball in Dallas?” Friends can be so cruel. It’s time to settle the score. Gather your quarters, and head to Barcadia. You’ll see every old-school arcade game you can imagine: Skee-Ball, Ms. Pac-Man, Star Wars, Atari, Space Invaders, and even super-size Jenga and Connect Four on the patio. Happy hour lasts until 8 pm on Friday, so be sure to take advantage of the 24 beers on tap and selection of 35 bottled brews.
Victor Tango’s: All that gaming works up an appetite. It’s time to indulge. Victor Tango’s is a Euro-style gastropub, located across the street from where you brunched at The Porch. You might notice the same attractive Dallasites you saw this morning, now donned in their Friday night best. Victor Tango’s takes an upscale approach to bar food; no onion rings or nacho platters here. We’re talking ahi tuna nachos, warm flatbreads, lollypop lamb chops, and, the popular crowd pleaser, chicken and waffles. The plates are meant for sharing, but don’t be shy. We can’t seem to recall a time when the server has taken away anything but empty plates. The cocktails are equally satisfying and serve as the perfect precursor to a night on the town. Champagne junkies, try the French 75. If whiskey’s your drink, the Blood & Sand never disappoints. And, for the sake of your first visit, try the Victor Tango, a refreshing cucumber and tequila creation.
J. Black’s: It’s late, and you’re probably suffering from a food coma after your first date with Mr. Tango. But you’re a trooper, we know. So it’s down the street to J. Black’s. (This bar originated in Austin, so you’re getting extra Texas culture here.) The self-proclaimed “feel good lounge” is just that, with an easy-going vibe. By this time there might be a line to get in, but here’s a tip: this line could easily be mistaken for a model-search open casting call, so use your time wisely. Once inside, claim your spot at one of the high-tops circling the bar, or burn off those chicken and waffles and join in on the dancing action. Order a Sea Cat or the Hemingway, and you’ll fit right in.
Day Three: Saturday
Sfuzzi: Now we’re a little over 24 hours until kickoff. We’ve sent you golfing, dancing, and eating, but we’re not stopping there. It’s carb-loading time. What happens to be one of Uptown’s hottest nightlife spots also serves as one of the best see-and-be-seen weekend brunch posts, lending the perfect opportunity to play your mysterious-out-of-towner card. Sfuzzi’s Italian-styled villa is perched on the bar-infested McKinney Avenue and offers weekend brunch from 10 am-4 pm. Try the homemade strawberry shortcake pancakes, the challah bread French toast, or the Sfuzzi frittata. Also included in the brunch: bottomless Frozen Sfuzzis, blueberry mojitos, and mimosas for $12 each.
Victory Park: So, you’ve spent some time on McKinney Avenue, and you liked what you saw. Don’t worry; we’ll send you back later. For now you’re trekking downtown because we know you’re just as excited as we are to see the hoards of celebs in town for the game. But this is where you can see them for free. In case you haven’t done your Super Bowl party research, you’ve got to pay to party. But not at DIRECTV’s Celebrity Beach Bowl Bash. Watch as countless A-listers play a game of flag football in the sand, smack dab in the middle of Victory Park, followed by a live performance by Maroon 5. It’s free and open to the public. (You’re welcome.) If you need to calm your nerves at the chance of meeting your celebrity crush, grab a quick drink at the Living Room Bar at the W Dallas right across the street.
Five Sixty: Since you’re already in the area, we suggest dining where you can catch one of the best views of the city. Wolfgang Puck’s Five Sixty is located on top of Reunion Tower, 560 feet above the ground. The rotating restaurant offers a glimpse as far as the eye can see. The only downside? Your sautéed halibut or crispy quail might get cold, as one tends to get a little distracted by such breathtaking views. Wash down dinner with the aptly named Aviation, a mixture of junipero gin, crème de viollette, and maraschino liqueur. Here’s your chance to order one more than usual and blame any lightheadedness on the rotating restaurant.
(Note: reservations are recommended and dress code may be enforced.)
Aura: In the interest of contradiction, now we’re sending you where you can dance as if no one would know you just fine-dined atop white tablecloth, several stories above the city. (And, yes, you’re finally back on McKinney Avenue.) Aura has seen the likes of Paris Hilton, John Legend, Kevin Dillon, Adrian Grenier, and Jerry Jones, so this just might be the pit stop for any celebs in town wanting to get down with the locals. Dress to impress. Glitter, Palm Beach-like tans, and big hair dominate the dance floor. We secretly think the DJs pound a few energy drinks before they start playing. Believe us when we say it’s nonstop. If you prefer to sit back and people-watch, head a few blocks over to Teddy’s Room. Catch the live burlesque show which, for about 15 minutes, will make you think it’s Super Bowl Weekend in Sin City. (Don’t worry, girls. It’s done tastefully; very boyfriend-appropriate.)
Day Four: Sunday
Bread Winners: Game day is finally here. It’s crunch time, which means you need to power through to cheer for your team. And if there’s anywhere to find the perfect power brunch, it’s Bread Winners on McKinney Avenue. The food is always fresh, and the helpings are plentiful. You crave it, and chances are they’ve got it. Everything from waffles, pancakes, and French toast to eggs served Benedict, as scrambles with meats, or as specialty platters. The bakery items are must-haves, and so are the breakfast cocktails: mimosas, Bloody Marys, frozen cherry limeades, and frozen peach Bellinis, all $10 or less. Our only warning? Expect a wait. Even natives can’t get enough.
Primo’s Bar and Grille: If the aforementioned wait is too much for your antsy group, walk next door to Primo’s, which serves a weekend brunch that includes bottomless mimosas and poinsettias for $8.99 from 11 am-3 pm. You might as well squeeze in one more rendezvous with Tex-Mex, right?
If you’re one of the thousands who have tickets to the game, this is where we say goodbye. But, if you’re simply a diehard fan who traveled to Dallas for all of the festivities and fun, then below are two sports bars within walking distance so you can cheer with the best of ‘em.
Frankie’s: Otherwise known as the sports mecca of Dallas, you don’t go to Frankie’s for any other reason than watching the game. Not only is it conveniently located – literally across the street from Bread Winners and Primo’s – but with more than 30 HD plasma TV’s hung with precision, there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Sunday specials include $18 beer buckets all day, and $2 mimosas and $3 Bloody Marys from 11 am to 3 pm. Brunch menus are also available, in case you want to get there early to claim your spot.
McKinney Avenue Tavern: Just a few blocks down lies McKinney Avenue Tavern, or what we locals call “The MAT.” It has to be said that they love their sports fans. This year, they’re giving away several 42-inch plasma TVs on Super Bowl Sunday. (Not sure how one of those will fit in the overhead compartment on your flight back, but surely you can figure it out.) They also have The MATmobile, which will shuttle any ticketholders to and from Cowboys Stadium. The giant projection screen at the front of the bar allows for easy group viewing. It can get crowded, so order pitchers for the table to avoid having to leave your seat. Be sure to ask for Big Al or Steve. Tell them you’re a tourist but, ironically, you’ve still heard of them. If you’re charming enough, they just might give you a shot on the house.
Buzzbrews Kitchen: By now, your voice is probably gone from cheering, and your mood … well, it depends on how your team did. Either way, it’s time for a late-night meal so that your morning flight isn’t completely miserable. Buzzbrews serves breakfast and lunch 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Find a cozy booth, order the Buzz Burger Deluxe, and recap what hopefully was one of your favorite weekend getaways. And while you’re at it, plan your next trip. We’ll be waiting.
Need even more nightlife options? Check out our bar-and-club guide.