Best Lists

Nightlife

Featured in Best of Big D 2019

Mike’s Gemini Twin

Best Classic Cocktails

Stick with the classics at this new bar in The Cedars: a filthy martini, a puckery daiquiri, an Old-Fashioned. The bones of the bar previously in the space are intact (including the checkered floor and stripper pole), but owners Sam Wynne and Pasha Heidari have gussied it up with booth seats and romantic lighting. Food isn’t served, so bring your own cold cuts.

Cosmo’s Bar & Lounge

Best Bar for a Date

This dimly lit and kitschy bar is ideal for getting to know somebody. Snuggle into a booth and compare your zodiac compatibility over a bowl of pho and a filthy martini. The seats near the fireplace are the place to be during the winter months.

Katy Trail Ice House

Best Bar With a Patio

If you’re judging by location, size, menu, and, well, pretty much everything else, you can’t beat Katy Trail’s gargantuan dog-inclined patio for drinking 18-ounce draft beers and frosty margs, snacking on loaded cheese fries, catching up with friends, and keeping an eye on the game. Snag a table under a mist-infused fan, and five hours will pass before you remember to check the time.

City Tavern

Best Comeback Bar

When City Tavern on Main Street closed, it left a void downtown that no PBR and shot of Jack could fill. Its new location on Elm feels like an updated version of the original: a bar for all, with wood and red leather, fair prices, and impeccable service.

The Cockpit

Best Dive Bar

Bars like The Cockpit are disappearing faster than Deep Ellum’s character. This humble dive near Love Field opens at 7 am for mechanics working the night shift. It’s a place for a shot and a beer­—and maybe some crockpot queso. It’s home for when you don’t want to be home.

Midnight Rambler

Best Drinks That Push the Envelope

Located in the basement of The Joule hotel, Midnight Rambler has served some of the city’s best cocktails since it opened in 2014. The menu changes seasonally, with themes including the English Northern Soul Movement and Pagan Ritual: Rites of Spring. The bartenders play with everything from floral essential oils to carrot soda.

The Bomb Factory

Best Live Music Venue

The 50,000-square-foot space (formerly an actual bomb factory, and then a music venue, and then nothing, and then, since 2015, a music venue again) can hold up to 4,300 guests and has one of the best stages and sound systems in the city. Not to mention a kick-ass VIP section.

Stratos Global Greek Taverna

Best Salsa Dancing

The most heart-pumping salsa dancing in Dallas takes place, surprisingly, at a Greek restaurant. On Wednesday nights, novice and expert dancers come from all over to perfect their salsa and bachata moves under a disco ball and the tutelage of renowned performer and instructor Jay Styles. The DJ cranks up the music as people twirl elbow to elbow well into the night.

Bishop Cidercade

Best Bar With Games

A $10 admission grants you access to more than 170 all-you-can-play arcade games and 30 ciders and wine on tap. Take a stroll down Fighters Row, where you and your drinking buddies can go head-to-head on fighting games. Or hit up one of the pinball machines. It’s all-ages during the day, but 21 and up past 8 pm.

White Rock Alehouse & Brewery

Best Pet-Friendly Patio

You just slayed your run on the trail with your Labrador retriever, and all you want is an icy beer and a bowl of water for the pup. Steps away, on the lake’s south end, you’ll find White Rock Alehouse’s wraparound patio has both. There’s plenty of seating and space for your dog to cool off, and a solid selection of house-brewed beers. Order the burger if you get hungry, but be prepared to share.

Barbara’s Pavilion

Best Karaoke

Karaoke needs a mix of foolishness with those who take it Way Too Seriously. Barbara’s is your place. You may see your Walgreens pharmacist belting nü-metal, and if you wait five minutes you’ll see the most dead-on rendition of “Fancy” this side of Reba. Plus, there’s a giant plush stiletto onstage for some reason.

The French Room Bar

Best Hotel Bar

We love slipping into the French Room Bar’s enigmatic boudoir, which serves beautifully made, precise cocktails that bring into balance celery and pink peppercorn or three-layer dalliances with absinthe. In their gilded world, they make it look effortless.

Strangeways

Best Bar for Beer

This laid-back bar knows its beer. There are 40 taps, all of which rotate on the regular and you can ask the bartenders anything you want to know about any of them. In October, they host Sour Week, which showcases the best sour beers on the planet. If that’s not your thing, there is also a barrel-aged week.

Izkina

Best Bar Food

Chef Joel Orsini’s menu at this hostel bar features Spanish-style tapas. Standouts include anchovies that are seasoned with a touch of fennel seed and curry powder, fried, and then tossed in a house pimenton spice and lemon juice. And Spanish meats and cheeses. The kitchen offers a late-night menu that’s served from 10 pm until 2 am, Thursday through Saturday.

Ruins

Best Bar to Catch a Local Band

The back room at this agave-and-can-based bar hosts a bunch of the city’s best up-and-coming bands and DJs. The stage is small, but that’s part of the fun, because it means the view is always good. On nice nights, they’ll open the sliding garage door to let in a breeze.

Disco, TX

Best Place to Dance

DJ Blake Ward has been throwing his signature dance parties since spring 2017, with themes ranging from Studio 54 and Intergalactic Discotech to Wes Anderson (everybody at that party dressed up as a character from one of his flicks). While the schedule is a bit sporadic, Ward does an excellent job at promoting each event.

The Round-Up Saloon

Best Gay Bar

This Cedar Springs mainstay has become one of Dallas’ most essential bars over its nearly 40-year history. There have been visits from famous artists and fashion designers, sure, but those don’t happen often. The line dancing, the drinking, the celebrations—those are constants and have made the Round-Up what it is today.

The Library Bar

Best Movie-Scene Bar

Over the years, The Library Bar has earned notice from Playboy and Maxim, both more likely seduced by its aesthetic—brimming with books, lived-in leather chairs, and a striking lapis bar—than something suggestive. There’s nothing fussy here, but it makes any get-together feel cinematic.

The Grapevine Bar

Best Happy Hour

Calls like Bombay and Weller are $4.50 from opening until 7 pm, Monday through Saturday, and from 8 pm until close on Sunday. The drinks are filled up halfway in rocks glasses—regulars get pint glasses—and enjoyed on a patio with a basketball court. If it’s boiling out, get a boozy frozen drink for $4.50. Use the savings on an Uber.

Neighborhood Cellar

Best Wine Bar

We’re suckers for this little spot in Bishop Arts. Try ever-changing flights with categories like “so fresh and so clean,” packed full of interesting varietals (Cinsault-Grenache, Carignan-Valdiguie-Syrah). Adventures with the 60 wines by the glass feel like tumbling down Alice’s rabbit hole. Nibble finocchiona and Manchego. Daydream about curating your own wine cellar.

Stan’s Blue Note

Best Sports Bar

All these years and we find ourselves back here, at the well-worn staple on Lower Greenville. There are enough screens for peaceful(-ish) coexistence between the fandoms and enough space that the big games feel momentous. There’s no better place to interrupt your beer order with a sports outburst. Just, you know, apologize.

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