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The Definitive Night Owl's Guide to Big D



Dallas may be a hive of activity during business hours, but the hustle-and-bustle doesn’t end when the sun goes down. If anything, it's when the city really starts to come to life with a dazzling array of nighttime diversions to entertain every kind of night owl.

In the mood to hit the dance floor? Then you'll want to check out The Nines, a multi-level hot spot providing everything from burlesque shows and aerial acts to quality programming by some of the city's best DJs.

For smooth jazz, head to the Library Bar and the Balcony Club. Or for live country music, Adair's offers up the cream of the crop (for free) every night of the week.   

On the hunt for a cozy drinking den serving up mind-blowing cocktails? Then you've got options. Some of the finest cocktails in all of Dallas can be found at Parliament, a lively Uptown haunt with a loose prohibition theme. But, good luck on deciding what to order–the menu features over 100 different libations to choose from. More jaw-dropping drinks and an equally stunning setting to match can be found at Midnight Rambler, a buzzy subterranean hideout in downtown's swish Joule hotel.

Whether you’re looking for a terrific cocktail, live music or the best place for dancing and partying the night away, these ten quintessential Dallas hot spots are worth exploring on your next night out.


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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.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Double Wide is the quirkiest and most unique dive bar in Dallas, plus it offers terrific live music.

Ilene's expert tip: Double Wide offers happy hour all week from 5-9 p.m., but be sure to check the Facebook page for more drink specials and weekly events.

Read more about Double Wide Bar →


Truck Yard
Photo courtesy of Truck Yard


Featured on the Travel Channel's "101 More Amazing Places to Chowdown," this 15,000-square-foot playground of food trucks, flatbeds and mismatched lawn furniture is the perfect spot for an alfresco party. Not only can you chow down on everything from Philly cheese-steaks to Korean barbecue, Cuban sandwiches, tacos and lobster rolls, you can also booze it up with craft cocktails, draft beer and wine on tap. And to mix things up a bit, the Yard hosts everything from beer tappings and game watching parties to weekly live music on a flatbed truck stage. Oh, and did we mention they have a bar in a tree-house too?

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: The Truck Yard is one of the coolest open-air spots in Dallas for drinking, eating and partying.

Ilene's expert tip: Truck Yard features live music on Friday from 4-6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 2-5 p.m. Note that it is 21+ after 9 p.m.

Read more about Truck Yard →


Sons of Hermann Hall
Photo courtesy of Sons of Hermann Hall


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.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Sons of Hermann Hall is a legendary place for live music and swing dancing.

Ilene's expert tip: The Hall is a cash-only venue. Be sure to check the Facebook page for current events and drink specials.

Read more about Sons of Hermann Hall →


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The Nines
Photo courtesy of The Nines


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.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: The Nines is the most unique dance club in Dallas.

Ilene's expert tip: There are $3 wells and domestics on offer from 7-10 p.m. daily. Check the website for additional weekly drink specials.

Read more about The Nines →


Library Bar
Photo courtesy of Library Bar


Tucked inside the lobby of the Warwick Melrose Hotel (a historic Dallas landmark dating back to 1924), the Library Bar is quite possibly the coziest place to sip a drink in the city. Named one of "30 Iconic American Bars" by Business Insider, the dimly-lit space, fitted out with leather chairs, intimate seating nooks and a flickering fireplace, is also one of Dallas' top spots for live piano entertainment (jazz and pop) six nights a week. Though you probably won't be reading any of the books in the shelves, you will want to be sure to read the drinks menu, which covers everything from crafted tipples to over 27 selections of wine by the glass. Oh, and come hungry, the bar food here is top-notch too.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: The Library is where to go for hand-crafted cocktails and live jazz in a sophisticated setting.

Ilene's expert tip: There's never a cover charge to get in, and the Library Bar also offers half-price bites and beverages from 4-7 p.m., Sunday through Thursday. There is no charge for valet parking if you get your ticket stamped at the bar.

Read more about Library Bar →


Station 4
Photo courtesy of Station 4


Easily one of the city's best and biggest gay dance clubs, Station 4 (or S4 as locals call it) boasts late-night house and hip hop madness Thursday through Sunday, plus awesome drag shows and pageants in the Rose Room upstairs. Spread across 24,000 square feet, this cavernous, multilevel nightspot offers numerous bars, a state-of-the-art sound system and lighting powered by dancers on a motion-sensing, stainless steel dance floor. When you're ready for a breather, you can chill out in a VIP Lounge to watch the party action from above or take in some fresh air from a lofty two-story balcony. Cutting-edge DJs and a host of regular events, from gay bingo to costume contests--make this a hot spot for a mostly gay (and young) crowd, but it's just as welcoming to anyone who's looking for a good time.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Station 4 is one of Dallas' hottest and grandest dance clubs.

Ilene's expert tip: Station 4 stays open until 4 a.m., Friday through Sunday.

Read more about Station 4 →


The Balcony Club
Photo courtesy of The Balcony Club


As the saying goes, sometimes the best things come in small packages, which is undoubtedly the case with this pint-sized jewel of a jazz joint. And what this laid-back watering hole lacks in square footage, it more than makes up for in ambiance, not to mention, live music-- which is served up seven nights a week. The club's repertoire features both local and national jazz artists as well as everything from R&B to soul, funk, classic rock and even country. Not-to-be-missed are special events like Open Blues Jam and the Jazz Master Series.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Potent cocktails and an incredible lineup of music seven nights a week, what's not to like?

Ilene's expert tip: The Balcony Club offers Happy Hour every day from 5 p.m.- 8 p.m., plus there's no cover Sunday through Thursday.

Read more about The Balcony Club →




Sure, the drinks are cheap and the burgers are legendary, but what lassos most folks into this Deep Ellum dive is its undeniably unpretentious vibe and a weekly roundup of free, live music. But it's not just any live music, Adair's brings in the cream of the country music crop when it comes to up-and-coming indie bands and singer-songwriter acts. Even heavy hitters like Jack Ingram, the Dixie Chicks and Miranda Lambert have taken to Adair's tiny stage at one time or another. And an old jukebox filled with the likes of Bob Wills and Hank Williams, plus floor-to-ceiling graffiti and enough Christmas lights to last a lifetime only add to the place's old school charm. It's no wonder this spot has been able to maintain its staying power for over fifty years.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Adair's is the best place to catch free live country music every night of the week.

Ilene's expert tip: Adair's offers drink specials every day, including happy hour from 2-8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday as well as all day on Sundays and Mondays.

Read more about Adair's Saloon →


Parliament
Photo courtesy of Parliament


Dallas is crawling with cocktail lounges, but this Uptown drinking den is considered one the best in the city, and for good reason. It's a handsome, moodily-lit space with a laid-back vibe and an extensive cocktail list (more than 100 libations) featuring everything from innovative concoctions to prohibition-style classics. Best of all, it boasts a ridiculously good happy hour (all day on Mondays, and from 4-8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday), where you can snag many of these tipples for only $4-$7. Not only that, Parliament offers happy hour prices anytime it's raining, and it hosts complimentary artisan cocktail tastings several times a month. As you might expect, the place fills up fast, so come early if you want to find a seat.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Parliament is the best place for an evening of serious cocktail love.

Ilene's expert tip: You can order food in from State & Allen Kitchen+Bar next door. You can also park there free for 3-hours.

Read more about Parliament →


Midnight Rambler
Photo courtesy of Midnight Rambler


It may not be in a secret location, but the Joule Hotel's posh subterranean hideout has all the makings of a sultry speakeasy--from its arched ceilings and wood-paneled walls to vintage light fixtures and plush leather sofas. The beverage menu runs the gamut from re-imagined classics to modernist inventions (think wheat vodka, sherry, lime juice and beef broth infused with roasted ginger, anise and cardamom), punches, housemade sodas and everything in-between. There's a limited selection of gourmet goodies available from the bar or food can be ordered from CBD Provisions upstairs. And on Thursdays and Sundays, a DJ drops in to spin the '60s and '70s hits from the lounge's expansive vinyl collection.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Midnight Rambler is an uber-cool subterranean drinking den boasting some of the most inventive cocktails in town.

Ilene's expert tip: Drop by for Twine Time-- Monday through Friday-- from 5-8 p.m. to take advantage of specials on cocktails and assorted nibbles.

Read more about Midnight Rambler →


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Meet Ilene Jacobs

As a perpetual wanderer, foodie freak and wannabe chef, Ilene is always on the lookout for the best places to see, eat, drink and sleep. When she's not writing about the latest happenings in...  More About Ilene

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