Deep Ellum Nightlife: The Hottest After-Dark Hangouts

Photo courtesy of Off the Record Facebook
Photo courtesy of The Nines Facebook
Photo courtesy of Dallas Comedy House
Photo courtesy of Sons of Hermann Hall Facebook
Photo courtesy of Black Swan Saloon
Photo courtesy of Armoury D.E. Instagram
Photo courtesy of Mike Brooks Dada Dallas Facebook
By Ilene Jacobs, Dallas Local Expert

Deep Ellum offers night owls an emerging lineup of bars and clubs, but what it's most known for is live music, which has been ingrained in its culture since the early 1900's when the area was a famous haunt for jazz and blues artists. Today the neighborhood is home to countless music venues, boasting not only jazz and blues, but everything else in between.

When it comes to catching some of the best music in the city, look no further than Trees, a legendary concert venue for some of the biggest up-and-coming names in rock. If you're musical interests are more varied, Club Dada may be the place for you– where you'll find everything from rock, rap and metal to country and punk. Another place to find a diversity of sounds– and perhaps get in a little swing dancing–is the Sons of Hermann Hall, one of Dallas' most authentic honky-tonks.

If you're looking for a truly unique experience, it doesn't get any quirkier than Double Wide, Dallas' favorite trailer themed dive.

For those who want to do more than just listen to music, The Nines provides a place to dance to it. 

Looking for something more laid back? Then you'll like Off the Record, a combination watering hole and record shop– or the Black Swan Saloon, a cozy drinking den with a friendly vibe and tasty house-infused liquors. There's also the Twilite Lounge, a Big Easy themed bar serving cocktails, karaoke and comedy. Speaking of comedy, you can definitely get a funny fix on at the Dallas Comedy House.

Read on to find out about all the Deep Ellum hot-spots you should be partying in right now.

10. Off the Record
Photo courtesy of Off the Record Facebook

Not only can you imbibe on craft cocktails and brews at this Deep Ellum gem, but you can also browse over 2,000 well-curated LP's for sale. But that's not all this place has going on. Off the Record happens to be the city's gathering hub for music aficionados–hosting everything from DJs most nights of the week to book clubs, lectures and crate dating(a speed dating for music lovers). Even if you're not so much into music, you'll find its cozy surrounds, with exposed pipes, brick walls and reclaimed wood tables--an ideal setting for hanging out and mingling with friends.

9. The Nines
Photo courtesy of The Nines Facebook

Deep Ellum offers plenty of places to listen to music, but this two-level dance palace is one of the only places in the neighborhood dedicated solely for dancing to it. And there's plenty of area to do just that. Here, you'll find a lower level complete with two bars, a cozy lounge, a dance floor and some of the city's top DJs spinning everything from '80s hits to EDM. When you feel like coming up for air, take the back stairway to the rooftop terrace where you can enjoy more music, more libations and prime views of Deep Ellum.

8. Twilite Lounge
Photo courtesy of Mike Brooks

Welcoming like your local dive bar, but impressive enough to bring a date-- is exactly what the owners of this Big Easy themed bar set out to create when they first opened it in 2012. But the Twilite Lounge has morphed into much more than a dive. From its classy decor, replete with red leather booths, chandeliers and dark paneling-- to its cozy French Quarter-style courtyard, Twilite is just the kind of locale you can easily pass the night in. A cocktail list heavy on New Orleans style libations, like cucumber fizzes and frozen Irish coffees--certainly add to the place's overall appeal. As does the cool juke box playing country, jazz and '90s indie rock. Even better is the weekly lineup of free entertainment, ranging from DJ nights and karaoke to stand-up comedy and jazzy quartets.

7. Dallas Comedy House
Photo courtesy of Dallas Comedy House

Dallas Comedy House is the city's go-to venue for some of the best improv, sketch comedy and stand-up in town. Here, you can get your funny fix on five nights a week with open-mic on Tuesday and Wednesdays, comedy sketch revues on Thursdays, and comedy variety shows on weekends. Much of the talent comes from students and faculty members of DCH's training facility, but nationally known comedians are known to hit the stage on occasion. Along with two theaters, the venue boasts a bar with a full menu of libations and food. The shows are all reasonably priced with ticket prices generally running $8-$10 and the open-mic performances are always free.

6. Trees Dallas
Photo courtesy of Mike Brooks

Since the 1990s, (with the exception of a four year hiatus) Trees has been Dallas' premier small concert venue for some of the biggest up-and-coming names in rock music. Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Nirvana and the Dave Mathews Band, are just a few of the headliners to play here at one time or another. Although the venue is spread out over two levels, it's intimate enough to give fans the feel of being up close to their favorite performers, whether they're on the ground level(standing room only) or seated in the balcony. Trees also has an amazing sound system, so if you plan on rocking out in front of the stage, you may want to bring a pair of earplugs. Along with rock, Trees boasts a calendar packed with local and national acts ranging from heavy metal to rap and hip hop.

5. Sons of Hermann Hall
Photo courtesy of Sons of Hermann Hall Facebook

Dallas has plenty of honky-tonks, but few are as authentic as this century old Deep Ellum mainstay. Originally built to house several lodges for a fraternity of German immigrants, the hall now serves as a live music venue showcasing a variety of genres from folk, country and blues to alternative pop and reggae. Countless music legends have graced the stage at SOHH, including artists such as Ray Wylie Hubbard and the Dixie Chicks to name a few. Along with concerts, you'll find an array of weekly events, ranging from burlesque and comedy shows to dance classes.

4. Black Swan Saloon
Photo courtesy of Black Swan Saloon

This dark and cozy tavern could easily be missed unless you know it's there. But rest assured its existence is well-known to the city's in-the-know drinkers who come here for its laid back atmosphere and artisanal cocktails. Upon entering, you'll be greeted by barkeep Gabe Sanchez who stays busy whipping up magical potions with his house-infused liquors. Depending on what's in season, expect to find vodka steeped with fresh strawberries and bourbon in flavors like coffee or vanilla bean pecan. Since the maximum occupancy is limited to 49 people, expect to wait in line to get in, especially on weekends.

3. Armoury D.E.
Photo courtesy of Armoury D.E. Instagram

Where can you go drink plus eat a full, delicious restaurant menu until 2 a.m. every night of the week? Enter The Armoury, a low-lit, rustically chic eating and drinking den set in a former art gallery. Though it may be hard to find as the place boasts almost no signage other than a red "A" marking the bar's entrance, but once you do, belly up to the bar and be prepared to be met with a mind-blowing list of drinks galore. An extensive lineup of whiskeys, bourbons, mezcal and the like are on offer as well as brandies, eau de vies, housemade sodas, wine and beer. And the cocktails, from traditional classics to modern inventions–like the Stagger Lee (fernet branca, cynar, lemon syrup, and acid phosphate)– are consistent showstoppers. Equally impressive is an ambitious menu of everything from pork belly fritters and charred Spanish style octopus to Hungarian specialties like goulash and chicken paprikash. Oh, and did we mention there's free live music and DJ sets on offer throughout the week?

2. Dada Dallas
Photo courtesy of Mike Brooks Dada Dallas Facebook

When it comes to Deep Ellum's live music venues, you'd be hard pressed to find a place more revered than Club Dada. Before it closed in 2009, the club enjoyed more than two decades of hosting big-name gigs and helping to launch careers of home-grown favorites like Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians. Now Dada is back up with a new name (Dada Dallas) and renovated digs that include stages both indoors as well as outdoors in a large landscaped patio. Expect to find a diverse range of local and national artists covering a wide range of musical genres including, rock, rap, metal, country and even hardcore punk. Ticket prices generally range from $12-15 and all shows are general admission.

1. Double Wide Bar
Photo courtesy of Double Wide Bar

This venerable watering hole pays homage to the trailer park culture with its kitsch-adorned decor and surprisingly tasty low-brow cocktails. As the name indicates, the bar is set up in a double wide trailer--replete with wood paneling, taxidermy animals, mismatched old furniture and white-trash memorabilia as far as the eyes can see. The theme continues out on the AstroTurf covered patio, where bar patrons relax on seats made from old toilets and chug Boone's Farm martinis. Aside from all its tackiness, Double Wide is one of Deep Ellum's top music venues-- showcasing everything from rock, bluegrass and Americana to electronica.