Best Lounge

PM Nightlife Lounge
It’s no secret that Tommy D. takes great care of his Candleroom dwellers. But we simply can’t neglect the allure that is PM Lounge. Every dark and sexy detail, from the gold and red furniture to the extravagant chandeliers, looks like something from a movie set. It’s the perfect locale to relax and sip your champagne. Even if your date is boring you to death, at least the design is eye candy. 

Readers’ pick: Candleroom

Best Hotel Bar

The Mansion Restaurant
While Dragonfly does attract an interesting crowd, the escape to the Mansion allows for an evening of refined entertainment—something we can’t always find in Uptown. We can’t help but imagine we’re in our grandfather’s cigar room, listening to witty banter while sipping our String of Pearls (champagne with strawberry caviar). The live music is an added bonus. 

Readers’ pick: Dragonfly/Urban Oasis at Hotel Zaza

Best View From a Bar

Five Sixty
We’re not saying we don’t enjoy the unique perspective on downtown Dallas you get from the patio at Bar Belmont. But at Five Sixty, you’re 560 feet above the city—hence the name—with 360-degree views. How can anyone top that? (Spoiler: they can’t.)

Readers’ pick: Ghostbar

Best Bartender

Jason Kosmas, Neighborhood Services Tavern
First, the handlebar mustache should not be overlooked. Kosmas looks like he’s a drinking buddy of Jerry Thomas, America’s first mixologist. Then comes the pedigree: learned classic mixology at Tavern on the Green in Central Park, managed and tended at SoHo’s famed Pravda, won an Independent Cocktail Award from Food & Wine, launched (and still co-owns) the West Village speakeasy Employee’s Only. Finally, there’s his work behind the sticks. Kosmas is friendly and in control. It’s summer. Order the Pimm’s Cup. There. See?

Readers’ pick: Eddie “Lucky” Campbell, Bolsa

nightlife_2 Buzzbrews Kitchen. photography by James Bland

Best Gay Bar

Jack’s Backyard
We hesitate to call Jack’s a gay bar, considering the diversity of its Oak Cliff clientele. But there’s no denying Jack’s gay-friendly vibe and lineage: co-owner Kathy Jack spent more than 20 years working for Caven Enterprises, owner of Oak Lawn’s most successful gay establishments. While the twentysomething gay crowd parties and poses along Cedar Springs Road, a mature crowd has discovered the charm of Jack’s: a rollicking gravel patio with live music, a cozy-cool lounge, and an inclusive crowd void of pretense.

Readers’ pick: JR’s Bar & Grill

Best Place to Eat After Midnight

Buzzbrews Kitchen
At this time of night, you essentially want something convenient and filling, and Buzzbrews (we prefer the location off Central) fits that bill perfectly, with a menu full of comfy, breakfast-type options. But, we should add that we’ve been there during normal-people hours, and it lived up to what we (barely) remembered. And it has vegetarian options.

Readers’ pick: Cafe Brazil

nightlife_3 Neighborhood Services Tavern's Jason Kosmas. photography by Kevin Marple

Best Dance Club

Aura Lounge
Maybe it’s the line at the velvet rope, or maybe it’s the countless celebrity DJs owner Avi Adri recruits. Whatever it is, Aura just feels like Los Angeles. We do love the edginess of Lizard Lounge, but Aura’s nonstop energy, random sightings of famous people, and dancing in a sea of red-soled stilettos keep us coming back for more. 

Readers’ pick: Lizard Lounge

Best Dive Bar

The Goat
There are many things to recommend this dark joint just south of White Rock Lake: the opening hour of 7 am every day except Sunday, the cheap long necks, the curvilinear bar mended in spots with red tape, the sassy bartendrix who will need to see your ID even if you’re over 40, the live blues bands. But, really, all you need to know is this: the last time we were in the Goat, we saw a dog bellied up to the bar, sitting on a bar stool. And the dog behaved better than most of the customers.

Readers’ pick: The Loon

Best Live Music Venue

Renfield’s Corner
House of Blues is bigger, yes. It also brings in bigger-name bands to play on its bigger stage, and bigger crowds park in its bigger parking lot to see those bigger-name bands play on that bigger stage. But Renfield’s Corner—the latest addition to Feargal McKinney’s empire—is better, and here’s why: every meticulously booked show (courtesy of Chelsea Callahan) in the bar’s tiny back room feels like a secret gig by one of the best local bands in town. And they are all free.

Readers’ pick: House of Blues

nightlife_4 Corner Bar & Grill. photography by Elizabeth Lavin

Best Karaoke

Corner Bar and Grill
Uptown Bar & Grill has too many Idol wannabes. It intimidates us. We need to knock back a vodka tonic (or three) before we actually have the courage to sing in public. Down the road at Corner Bar, however, we can’t help but stray from our wallflower ways. The nonstage at the back of the dance floor is the prime spot to belt out tunes while hiding among the tipsy dancers.

Readers’ pick: Uptown Bar & Grill

Best Sports Bar

Lakewood’s 1st & 10
The Point Burger is one of our favorites (get the cottage fries). The service is good. The TVs are plentiful. But the main reason we fancy the 1st & 10: when a game of import is on, the people will pay attention. In other sports bars we could name, the patrons seem more interested in scoring with each other than they are in keeping up with the score. Go somewhere else if you want a scene. 1st & 10 is for fans.

Readers’ pick: Frankie’s Sports Bar and Grill

Best Jukebox

Lakewood Landing
Formerly, jukeboxes forced users to be sculptors. You had to create works of art using only the materials on hand, to find the perfect playlist within the machine. That is no longer the case, with iTunes stores that masquerade as jukeboxes in most bars. But a few places still require skill in exchange for your fistful of quarters. The Lakewood Landing has our favorite. We like any jukebox that has the Velvet Underground, and we especially like the ones that have all our favorite Elvis Costello songs.

Readers’ pick: The Londoner

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