Dallas' Great Nightlife: From Boot Scootin' to Sophisticated
By Denise Brandenberg
Dallas Local Expert
Whether you want to party like a rock star and mingle with local celebrities and athletes, or you’re looking for a romantic venue to set the mood, Dallas has all types of nightlife options. Beer lovers will enjoy visiting one of many local pubs, such as the Old Monk and Libertine Bar, which feature hundreds of imported beers on tap, complete with delicious pub fare. If you enjoy fine wines, choose from one of many laid-back, local wine bars with quality sommeliers that can help you choose the perfect glass (or bottle).
If you love live music, you can visit the Deep Ellum and Greenville Avenue areas where you can rock out all night. Electronica and hip hop lovers can also find several hot clubs that feature music and dancing. Visitors who want a taste of Texas can go to Fort Worth to the famous Billy Bob’s Texas or catch an eclectic country-and-western-meets-rockabilly scene at Adair’s Saloon in Deep Ellum. The Lone Star State is full of beautiful people, and most of the best Dallas nightlife venues won’t disappoint. In fact, most feature perfect people-watching opportunities. Choose from the best nightlife spots in Dallas for your trip by reading trusted expert and user reviews.
A unique sense of style characterizes this popular watering hole near Lakewood Landing. You won't find frat boys or the yuppie types here - Cosmos is where hipsters and laid-back twenty-somethings go to kick back and drink with friends. Its vintage decor boasts a collection of funky items apparently found at yard sales, including groovy lamps, a faux fireplace, and kitschy furniture. The result is an environment refreshingly conducive to chatting. Of course, a place this cool isn't without its own brands of sustenance, and Cosmo's specialty martinis and gourmet pizzas have won over more than a few 20-something patrons. (214-826-4200)
9 Double Wide Bar
"Quirky" barely skims the descriptive surface of this Dallas bar, which has all the style and charm of a mobile home. Don't let the kitsch drive you away though, because Double Wide promises to be one of the more memorable nightspots you'll visit in the Big D. And while the decor is certainly trailer-park, there's nothing trashy about the scene, even if the place does serve cold suds by the can and televise dizzying clips of tornados ravaging small towns. On Friday and Saturday nights, cutting-edge country and rock acts take to the stage; other nights, DJs are on call. (214-887-6510)
8 Library Bar
Located in the Warwick Melrose Hotel in the Oak Lawn neighborhood, Library bar is classy and elegant. It has a traditional decor, complete with dark woods, comfortable sofas, upholstered chairs, and stately bookshelves lined with classic titles. Guests enjoy quiet conversation while listening to the melodies of the house pianist and saxophone player and nibbling on tasty hors d'oeuvres from the hotel's prestigious restaurant, Landmark. While Library Bar is a popular spot for Downtown, Uptown and Highland Park residents, it's never too crowded, so you'll always be able to find a seat to enjoy your night out on the town. Happy hour is Monday through Friday, 5pm-7pm. (214-224-3152, 214-521-5151)
7 Balcony Club
Live jazz and a romantic, intimate ambience set the stage for an evening at the Balcony Club, located in the historic Lakewood Theatre in the laid-back Lakewood neighborhood. A mixed clientele, from young professionals to students, sip martinis and listen as throaty jazz singers croon their favorite melodies. On some nights, the live bands play reggae, while on others they play alternative rock. A small outdoor patio, comfortable booths and an assortment of stools and tables provide ample seating, and there's plenty of room enough for standing and mingling. The full bar also provides a nice selection of single malt scotches. (214-826-8104)
6 Round-Up Saloon
Two-stepping, tight denim, and 10-gallon hats attract Big D's best-looking cowboys to this country-western bar, which caters to a mostly gay clientele. Chipping in on the joint's popularity are great drink specials (Margarita Madness on Mondays, 22-oz. drafts for three bucks - every day - and a calendar full of fun weekly activities like karaoke, line dancing (lessons are free), and Friday and Saturday's Howdy Hour. Of course, the top crowd pleasers are "duded-up" events like Miss Gay Round Up, Miss Cinco de Mayo, and the Switch-Hitters Ball. If you want to experience a unique Texan gay bar, this is THE spot to go. (214-522-9611)
5 Granada Theater
Located in the heart of Greenville Avenue, where the fun begins!, the Granada Theater is a Dallas institution. This performance and concert venue has been around since 1946 and is one of Dallas' premiere live music spots. There are live performances and shows throughout the week in this beautiful theater. Visitors will be wowed by the ceiling mural and architectural elements that have been restored to their early glory. Most concerts offer wait service, including cocktails and food, to the seats, as well. It is definitely an upscale version of a concert, perfect for adults who want to enjoy a live show with modern conveniences. (214-824-9933)
4 Old Monk
Old Monk, with its great assortment of beers and its full bar, has built a steadfast reputation as a great place to begin an evening or a nighttime adventure. The kitchen serves sandwiches (including a great roast beef version), along with nachos, fish and chips, and steamed mussels - their specialty. If you're not that hungry, share a delicious cheese plate - complete with crackers and fruit - with your little group. At the Old Monk, you can play one of many communal board games, hang out with friends at a dart board, or people-watch on a perfect patio with a great view of Knox Henderson add to the appeal. (214-821-1880)
3 Libertine Bar
This Dallas bar serves upscale pub grub with a side dish of live music and weekly rotating draughts. Menu items include standards like burgers and salads served alongside sweet potato frites, mussels, and a few unexpected dishes like the popular cheese board, Muenster fries and pork tacos. Other popular - and unexpected - menu items include seared ahi tuna burger and duck confit salad. The best part about the great menu is that you can get recommendations of imported beers to pair with them! Nightly specials include half-priced food on Tuesdays and a Sunday brunch. Want to step it up a notch? Hit the Libertine for one of the monthly five-course beer dinners. (214-824-7900)
2 Grapevine Bar
The eclectic crowd that frequents this light-hearted watering hole is composed of folks from all walks of life. Highland Park socialites rub elbows with local drag queens, and if you're not a twenty-something, you won't feel like a parent busting your teenager's party. The Grapevine Bar's patrons are attracted by theme nights (drag shows tend to draw the most boisterous crowds), a rooftop patio, a backyard hoops court, and billiards. When you factor in cozy furniture and a laid-back vibe, it's easy to see why so many people consider Grapevine Bar to be Oak Lawn's rec room. Helping the place's popularity are fantastic specialty drinks and a jukebox that plays mp3s. (214-522-8466)
1 Adair's Saloon
Although Deep Ellum arguably functions as Dallas's cutting-edge district, parts of it maintain a long-standing commitment to simpler times. Take, for example, a honky-tonk like Adair's, which has been popular since 1963. The digs (in the early days, it was on Cedar Springs Road) and faces may have changed over the years, but other aspects haven't. Adair's remains a rustic haven for folks who like to swill brew, listen to live music, and munch on good burgers. For history buffs, too, the joint holds an allure, courtesy of a jukebox loaded with classics by Hank Sr. and Bob Wills, along with hundreds of framed photos and graffiti. (214-939-9900)
About Denise Brandenberg
Born and raised in Dallas, Denise Brandenberg has been a self-proclaimed “Dallas Ambassador” for out-of-town friends and colleagues for years. Denise started her career as an advertising agency copywriter, recruiter, and manager of online forums for an international meeting planning association. She ventured off on her own a few years ago, to start an adventurous career as a freelance writer and marketing consultant. Denise’s other work can be found at Global Road Warrior, USA Today, Chron.com, The Motley Fool, LovetoKnow, The Meeting Professional, and several other online publications.
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