Mali’s. The great old beer joint of Dallas continues to pull in its rednecks, loud-mouthed attorneys, chic city women who act country, and all-around run-loving people who like to drink beer and spill it on the pool tables. Since Adair’s moved to its Deep Ellum location, cynics have been predicting its demise. But the half-pound hamburgers and whiny jukebox still draw a crowd. 2624 Commerce. 939-9900.
Barnacles. What a find! This place is comfortable, easy-gning in the Lower Greenville manner, bedecked with nets and other bits of nautical kitsch. On a balmy evening with the front doors thrown open, it has that “Nawlins” flavor. The musical fare can be uneven, but. there’s no cover charge, so who’s complaining? 1915 Greenville. 826-2623.
Belle Starr. With wave after New Wave of music rolling in yearly, the old country /western culture might be fading. Art you kidding’.’ Belle Starr, packed with a middle-aged boot-kicking crowd, continues 1o be a huge moneymaker. There are bands every night, urban cowboys everywhere, and women in those light-fitting jeans that would make any good ol’ boy swoon There’s also free beer Tuesday through Thursday, which means you’ll have trouble squeezing into the place. 7724 N Central at Southwestern. 7S0-4787.
Boiler Room. It’s easy to sec how this bar got its name: it’s the actual boiler room of the old Sunshine Biscuit Com-pany. However, this has nothing to do with its popularity as a dance club and the best singles bar close to downtown. Some may feel inhibited dancing in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows next to the dance floor; others won’t want to leave. Part of the Dallas Alley in the West End Market-Place. 2019 N Lamar. 988-0581.
Chaise Lounge. It’s nice that Esquire agrees with what we’ve said all along-this is a great club for drinking, eating, playing, and meeting. The well-trained staff is a real asset here. Under the guidance of Dick Chase, the gonzo barmeister, they’re friendly, lively, and knowledgeable about the drinks (watch that Sex on the Beach) and the standout Cajun-bused food. If the Chaise has a drawback it’s the noise level, especially on weekends when the band is cooking. But that’s far outweighed by the multiple pleasures of this valuable club. 3010 N Henderson. 823-1400.
Club Clearview. Nowhere in Dallas can you find such a delightful combination of the outrageous and innovative, of modern music groups, weird shows, and nouveau fashion victims. But let none of it intimidate you. You can go in there in a business suit, lean against the wall, watch the parade, and nobody will bother you. 2806 Elm. 939-0006.
Dave’s. Dave’s is casual, friendly, and comfortable-not because of the surroundings, but by virtue of a friendly staff, a casual, eclectic crowd, and great bartenders. No one sits in the uncomfortable metal chairs unless the place is too crowded to sit or stand at the bar, and no one can accuse Dave’s of being pretty, but the attraction’s still there-and the neighborhood crowd loves it. 2812 N Henderson. 826-4544.
Dave & Buster’s. “There’s nothing quite like it” is Dave & Buster’s slogan, and they’re not kidding. The place is enormous, but the brass and dark wood decor adds a degree of sophistication, Head for the umpteen pool tables lining the walls; try shuffleboard, darts, Pente, or backgammon; or just sip a cool one at the large bar on the main floor. 10727 Composite, near Walnut Hill at Stemmons Frwy 353-0649.
Empire. At Dallas’s latest club to the beautiful people, everyone wears black, they all look worldly, they don’t all look straight, and they absolutely adore this former dinner theater on the edge of Deep Ellum. The owners call Empire “elegant.” “classical.” “modem,” “minimal.” and “international,” and the truth is it’s all these things: the most ornate, fashionable nightclub we’ve ever had. It’s worth an evening just to come look at the fixtures, let alone the people. 2424 Swiss Ave. 828-1879.
500 Café. Everyone likes to think they’re part of the eclec-lic crowd. but you can find the real thing here-a combination of the city’s intelligentsia, New Wavers, and Deep Ellumites. This little bar near Fair Park offers live entertainment Thursday through Saturday and such unusual delights as poetry readings and short films during the week. 408 Exposition Ave. 821-4623.
Greenville Avenue Country Club. Chic. Understated-ly elegant. Exclusive. None of these words have anything to do with the GACC, and they’ll throw anyone in the pool who pretends otherwise. Despite the name, this remains one of the best beer-and-sandwich bars in town. The patios now covered, and the restrooms, thankfully, have been brought into the 20th century. Otherwise, this is the friendly, comfortable joint it always was. 3619 Greernille. 826-5650.
Greenville Bar & Grill. If Dallas had a Watering Hole ofFame, this bar would certainly be in it. The kingpin of the Lower Greenville circuit won’t disappoint if you’re looking for a good burger, a longneck beer, and a band that won’t let you hear yourself think. 2821 Greenville. 823-6691.
Improv Comedy Club and Restaurant. A good thing about this place is that you can get pretty good (but not great) food and then be entertained all night long at the same place. A not-so-good thing is that if just you and your sweetie go. you’ll be seated at a table for four and they’ll plunk two strangers down with you. But there’s not really a bad seat in the house-even from the back you can clearly see the facial expressions of the comics on stage. 9810 N Central Expwy (in the Corner Shopping Center). 750-5868.
Joe Miller’s. The more things change, the more they stay the same. That’s certainly true of Joe Miller’s. It’s still one of the best places in town for a real drink, and as always, after work there are plenty of good conversations going on that anyone can enjoy. That is unless you can’t say anything but “Come here often?” or “What’s your sign?” 3531 McKinney. 521-2261.
Library. Sit back in the big, cushy den chairs and sip a Manhattan or a martini or a scotch on the rocks. No strawberry daiquiris, please; this is a bar for adults. But a beer would be fine in this comfortable, sophisticated spot tucked away in a back corner of the Omni Melrose Hotel. There’s even a piano player to soothe your soul. Omni Melrose Hotel, Oak Lawn at Cedar Springs. 521-5151.
Louie’s The crowd is an odd mix of media and legal types, neighborhood folks, and barflies, but it works. Louie’s has great drinks, cheap prices, good service, and wonderful pizza. What more could one ask for? 1839 N Henderson. 826-0505.
Max’s 403. Brace yourself! There’s another “high-energy dance club” on Upper Greenville. This one has been the rage of the dance-and-get-picked-up set since its December opening. In the same location where Packard’s and Brio were once the latest hot clubs, this latest hot club promises state-of-the-art music and sound systems and a more sophisticated crowd. In other words, it’s the same old thing-which seems just fine to everyone who packs the place. 5500 Greenville. Suite 403. 361-9517.
Memphis. Don’t let the tiny dance floor (literally about the size of a two-door foreign car) and the dark hue of the bar disturb you. People dance in the aisles, on the chairs, by the bar-mainly because this is the best live jazz-dance bar in North Dallas. Great local groups are regulars-like Emerald City and Schwantz Lefantz. Quorum Plaza. 5000 Belt line. Suite 500. 386-9517.
Nana Grill. It’s hard to imagine a hotel bar that’s romantic, but elevator up to the twenty-seventh floor of the Anatole. In one of his racier moves. Trammell Crow had a huge painting of a nude woman named Nana put behind the green marble-topped bar. You’d probably stare at the painting, but the view of Dallas through the huge windows is better. Fine jazz trio plays Thursday through Sunday. Loews Anatole Hotel, 2201 Stemmons Fwy. 748-1200.
The Palm Bar. If you’re downtown. few places are as nice as this for a drink after work. If you’re not downtown, it’s worth the trip. The decor is elegant but not pompous, the drinks are excellent and reasonably priced, and the service is flawless. If you work late, beware-this place closes at 8 p.m. Adolphus Hotel, 1321 Commerce. 742-8200.
Pinot’s Wine Bar. You want wine by the glass, this is the place to get it-twenty-one varieties, ranging in price from $2.50 to $21 a giass. (If you’re trying to check out all twenty-one in one night, the half-glass option might be advisable.) There is a menu, and it’s more than passable, if less than awe-inspiring, but wine, not food, is the lure here. Pinot’s setting is closer to plain than plush, which doesn’t seem to bother in the least the wine and restaurant business crowd that gravitates here. 2926 N Henderson. 826-1949.
Poor David’s Pub. Has anything changed at Poor David’s-ever? Hmm. That poster, upper right from the stage, may not have been there in 1984. Hard to say. Pitcher prices have nudged upwards a bit. but not much. Other than that, Poor David’s is happily frozen in lime. Anson and the Rockets still provide straight-ahead blues several limes a month: name acts like Loudon Wainright and Guy Clark still drop in. In the alcove near the restrooms. there is a new video game cleverly designed to resemble a pinball machine, if you can believe it, (Wait a minute-that is a pinball machine.) 1924 S Greenville. 821-9891.
Prohibition Room. Long regarded as the place in the basement next door to the Starck Club, the Prohibition Room has developed an aura of its own. For one reason, it has begun to regularly draw some of the lop local bands, like ’ Robert Lee Kolb. When you enter, you’ll think it’s another pool-and-shuffleboard bar, but when you run out of quarters, go to the back by the stage and listen to an evening’s worth of fine music. 703 McKinney in the Brewery. 954-4407.
San Francisco Rosa. This is a place that bills itself us a fern bar and grill The something-for-everybody appeal includes a big-screen TV, piped-in rock ’n’ roil, a limited menu, indoor and outdoor seating, even a couple of easy chairs and solas. Color San Francisco Rose eclectic middle-of-the-road. 3024 Greenville. 826-2020.
Sam’s Cafe. Yes, we know Sam’s is a restaurant. Yes, we know the burgers there cost almost $6 Yes. we know it’s the Southwestern sister of Mariel Hemingway’s chic New York bistro. But even if you aren’t planning to eat even one bite, the bar at Sam’s will welcome you with an open tab. A cocktail at Sam’s has now become the thing to do after Sfuzzi and before San Simeon, or before Sfuzzi and after San Simeon, or before San Simeon and Sfiizzi. Get the picture? 100 Crescent Court. Suite 140. 855-2233.
Stan’s Blue Note. The best beer-drinking joint on Lower Greenville, this place has been discovered mostly by the post-SMU crowd. But you’ll still find your quota of eccentrics and plain old barflies who love the shuffleboard and pool tables and the surprisingly lively atmosphere. 2908 Greenville. 824-9653.
Stoneleigh P. Ask someone about the Stoneleigh P andthey’re likely to describe it as one of their favorite places for a casual lunch. Ask someone else, and they’ll tell you what a great bar it is for a late-night drink. Both are right. This would be a great neighborhood bar even if it weren’t in a great neighborhood. 2926 Maple. 871-2346.
Studabakars. I mean, this place is gettin” old. Johnny! I mean, I’m in there the other night, and this woman asks for my podiatrist’s phone number! Old, I tell ya! Seriously, folks, while the median age here is on the darker side of for-ty, this nostalgia bar is still rockin’ with Chuck. Dion. Elv, Bobby. Frankie. more Bobbies, more Frankies. and of course those famous dancing waitresses. NorthPark East, 8788 N Central Expwy. 696-2475.
Tllt. This drinking man’s arcade is just the ticket if you’re experiencing withdrawal pains between visits to the State Fair’s famous Midway. Tilt is two long rooms lined with, among other things, pinball machines, shoot-the-duck-as-it-bobs-in-thc-water games, motorcycles-with-screens-mounted-on-their-dash-ihat-simulaie-obstacle-course games, and games testing marksmanship with a water pistol that could make you the winner of that stuffed Spuds hanging on the top row. Kick back with your favorite libation and enjoy being a kid again. In the West End Marketplace. 603 Munger, 720-7276.
Video Bar. If you’ve watched MTV once during the last year, you owe it to yourself to go to the Video Bar. They have found music videos that you never see anywhere else-even some absolutely weird stuff that is fraught with significant meaning and whatnot. If you consider yourself part of the new scene-and if you promise not to wear anything resembling penny loafers-this is your Deep Ellum kind of place. 2812 Elm. 939-9113.
The Wine Press. This is the perfect place to go on a rainynight-or any time you’re looking for romance, intimacy, and spirits. The Wine Press is decorated with wine bottles from floor to ceiling on almost every wall. The atmosphere is low-key and elegantly casual; the service, friendly but not hovering; the wine selection, extensive-to say the least. 4217 Oak Lawn. 522-8720.
Zanzibar Zanzibar offers drinks and good deli food in a colorful cafe” setting. The decor-neon, glass bricks, and pink-and-green walls-is odd enough to work. And even though Zanzibar looks cosmopolitan, it has a neighborhood bar feel to it that leads to discussions among perfect strangers from table to table. 2912 Greenville- 828-2250.
Zabo’s. This is a wide-open pop-music dance bar that’s unpretentious and has a low cover charge-an increasingly rare find. Zebo’s real forte, however, is its Rockabilly Wednesday, which features live bunds and pumped-in rock ’n’ roll. 5915 E Northwest Hwy. 361-4272.
FORT WORTH NIGHTLIFE
Caravan of Dreams. Caravan of Dreams, which covers three floors of a chic Sundance Square building, has excellent live jazz/blues (and a bar) on the first floor, a theater with movies and live drama (and a bar) on the second floor, and an outdoor patio with a cactus garden (and a bur) on the roof. 312 Houston, (817) 877-3000.
The Hop. In three words. The Hop is warm, woody, andwonderful. It has the air of a typical college hangout (it’s justone block from TCU). but lacks the cutesy crowd or trendyatmosphere. A stage tucked in the corner features nationaland local bands, with music ranging from folk to reggae,rock to country. Although all the food is good, none of it cansurpass the pizza. 2905 W Berry. (817) 923-7281.