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Cowboy up at the best country-western joints in the Dallas area



Contrary to popular belief, Dallas isn't actually a town of 10-gallon hats, oil derricks and cattle ranches. And rather than being at home on the range, Dallas' real Cowboys are playing football on a field. But that's not to say locals don't enjoy embracing their inner cowboy (or cowgirl), especially when it comes to two-steppin' at the city's best country music bars.

Those looking for dance floor action will want to head over to Cowboys Dancehall–where they'll find plenty of room to strut their stuff to live country music all weekend.

Speaking of live music, Adair's Saloon brings in the cream of the country music crop when it comes to up-and-coming indie bands and singer-songwriter acts. Even Jack Ingram and Miranda Lambert have performed there. Not to mention, all the shows are free for the taking. There's also Poor David's Pub, another legendary venue where Sara Hickman and The Dixie Chicks got their start.

Of course, we'd be remiss not to include Billy Bob's in Fort Worth, it's a must-see attraction even if you’re not a country music fan.  

Whether you want to kick up your heels on a dance floor or just hang back with a cold one and listen to good music, consider this your ultimate boot-scootin' bucket list.


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Mama Tried Honky Tonk
Photo courtesy of Mama Tried Honky Tonk


Named after the Merle Haggard song, Mama Tried is a sprawling indoor-outdoor oasis for fans of classic, Texas, bluegrass and outlaw country music. In addition to daily happy hours and events such as tailgate parties, cornhole tournaments and live band karaoke nights, the bar boasts a weekly roster of local and national country music DJs and live bands, most of which is on offer for free. And the Southern-style grub is no slouch either. Expect to chow down on the likes of everything from chicken fried steak to shrimp & grits and chile-rubbed turkey legs. Speaking of chowing down, don't sleep on the Sunday brunch.

Recommended for Country Western Bars because: Mama Tried is the ultimate spot for classic country music fans.

Ilene's expert tip: Drink specials and food specials are on offer during Happy Hour, from 4-7 p.m., Tuesday-Friday; 1-6 p.m. Saturday; and all day on Sunday.

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As the name indicates, this popular watering hole is set up in a double-wide trailer, replete with wood paneling, taxidermied animals and kitschy memorabilia as far as the eyes can see. But don't let all the quirkiness fool you, Double Wide also has a reputation of being a stellar place for live country music as well as for everything from rock to bluegrass and electronica. And though there's barely enough space to turn around (it is a trailer after all), it sure doesn't stop anyone from busting a move. In fact, audience participation in the form of dancing and singing is highly encouraged.

Recommended for Country Western Bars because: Double Wide is one of the city's most celebrated dive bars.

Ilene's expert tip: Happy Hour with $3 wells and domestics is offered from 5-9 p.m., Monday-Friday and from 1-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Live music is featured every weekend while DJs rock the house through the week.

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Sons of Hermann Hall
Photo courtesy of Sons of Hermann Hall


Originally built as a fraternal lodge over a century ago, Sons of Hermann Hall now serves as a dance hall and live music venue, hosting everything from folk, country and blues to alternative pop and reggae every Friday and Saturday night. In addition to concerts, the Hall features an array of events during the week, including Wednesday night swing classes and a Thursday acoustic campfire jam. When you're ready for a breather, head to the bar downstairs where a jukebox, pool table and shuffleboard provide a nice diversion. Just be sure to keep an eye out for ghost sightings, this place is supposedly haunted.

Recommended for Country Western Bars because: Sons of Hermann Hall is one of the city's most revered places for live music and swing dancing.

Ilene's expert tip: Score $1 off all domestic beer, wine and well drinks during Happy Hour, from 5-8 p.m., Monday-Friday. Note that Sons of Hermann Hall now takes credit cards.

Read more about Sons of Hermann Hall →


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Poor David's Pub
Photo courtesy of Poor David's Pub


Perhaps you'll do more listening than line-dancing at this venerable music mecca (going strong since 1977), but nevertheless, Poor David's Pub is a stellar venue to catch local rising singer-songwriters as well as top-notch national acts. The pub has hosted everyone from Jerry Jeff Walker to Lyle Lovett plus it's also the place where performers such as Sara Hickman and The Dixie Chicks got their start. In addition to a weekend lineup of must-see feature bands, the bar stays hopping through the week with comedy, poetry readings, open mic nights and more. Note that kids aged 17 and under are allowed in when accompanied by an adult.

Recommended for Country Western Bars because: Poor David's Pub is one of Dallas' best live country music venues.

Ilene's expert tip: The pub is located within a two-minute walk from the DART Cedars Station train station and there's also paid parking available right across the street.

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WW Fairfields Bar & Grill
Photo courtesy of WW Fairfields Bar & Grill


The neon light oil rigs and wooden dance floor ought to be enough to convince you that you're at an honest-to-goodness cowboy bar. And if that doesn't do it for you, then maybe the steady stream of folks donning Stetsons and boot scootin' to some of Texas' best country bands surely will. Located in the Dallas suburb of Plano, this popular neighborhood hang rustles in folks, not only with karaoke, dance lessons and live country music every weekend but also with a bar menu that runs the gamut from sloppy fries to sandwiches, burgers and Tex-Mex favorites.

Recommended for Country Western Bars because: WW Fairfields is the place to go when you're looking for more of a friendly neighborhood type of vibe.

Ilene's expert tip: Score $3 wells and $1.50 jello shots every day plus $3 Cuervo shots on Tuesdays; $4 Crown Whisky on Wednesdays; and $3 Bud Light & Miller Lite on Thursdays. Dance lessons are held on Tuesdays for $5.

Read more about WW Fairfields Bar & Grill →


The Rustic
Photo courtesy of The Rustic Facebook


A traditional honky-tonk The Rustic is not. And most of the folks who come here are more cosmopolitan than cowboy. There's not a real dance floor either. But you'll certainly have plenty of room to kick the dust-up in The Backyard, a massive outdoor space filled with picnic tables, fire pits, and a stage for live C&W music, which is on offer every night of the week. In fact, you might even catch country music legend Pat Green taking to the stage since he happens to be part-owner of this spot. Did we mention that they also serve a terrific lineup of Texas-inspired food (think: smoked brisket, burgers and carnitas) plus expertly executed tipples and over 40 craft beers on tap?

Recommended for Country Western Bars because: The Rustic is a solid spot for live music and good eats, plus it has the best patio in Uptown.

Ilene's expert tip: Score beer, house wine and frose for $3 at 3 p.m., $4 at 4 p.m., and $5 at 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

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Round-Up Saloon
Photo courtesy of Round-Up Saloon


This legendary Cedar Springs hotspot has been hailed as the nation's best gay country western dance hall-- and with good reason. The saloon boasts multiple themed bars, a rooftop patio and a spacious hardwood dance floor with plenty of room to boot-scoot and disco dance the night away. It also cranks out a roster of weekly events, from drag shows to karaoke to dance parties. As if that weren't enough, there are drink specials every day, plus all-day happy hours as well as late-night howdy hours. Speaking of dancing, if you need to tone-up your two-step, they offer free lessons Monday through Thursday every week.

Recommended for Country Western Bars because: The Round-Up Saloon is the best straight-friendly cowboy-themed gay bar in Dallas.

Ilene's expert tip: Happy Hour is offered all day on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and until 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Reverse Happy Hour (aka Howdy Hour) is offered from 8-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights.

Read more about Round-Up Saloon →


Cowboys Dancehall Dallas
Photo courtesy of Cowboys Dancehall


If you've got a hankering to down ice-cold Lone Stars and two-step your way across a massive dance floor-- then this enormous honky-tonk is for you. Not only can you do some serious boot-scootin' to live bands Wednesdays through Saturdays, but you can also cowboy up with everything from mechanical bull riding to games of Texas Hold 'Em, Blackjack and Craps. And if that doesn't get your toes a-tappin', then free dance lessons, ladies nights and $3 drink specials certainly will. For an authentic country experience without having to get your boots dusty, this place is the real deal.

Recommended for Country Western Bars because: Cowboys Dancehall is the only country bar with a mechanical bull.

Ilene's expert tip: Find $3 wells and select longnecks on offer all night on Wednesdays and Thursdays and until 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Free dance lessons are held from 7-8:30 p.m. every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

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Sure, the drinks are cheap, and the burgers are phenomenal, but what lassos most folks into this Deep Ellum dive is its unpretentious vibe and a weekly roundup of free music. We're talking the cream of the country music crop of upcoming bands. Even heavy hitters like Jack Ingram, the Dixie Chicks and Miranda Lambert have taken to Adair's tiny stage at one time or another. Add in 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, no wonder this spot has been able to maintain its staying power for over fifty years.

Recommended for Country Western Bars 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 →


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Outside the City
Billy Bob's Texas
Photo courtesy of Billy Bob's Texas


Sure, it's touristy and gimmicky, but if you really want to get your urban cowboy shtick on, this legendary country and western venue in the Fort Worth Stockyards is where to do it. Billed as the world's largest honky-tonk, Billy Bob's covers almost 3-acres and boasts over 30 bar stations, a Texas-size dance floor, an indoor rodeo arena, a restaurant, a gift shop, arcade games and country music memorabilia galore. It's so massive that it can accommodate 6,000 people at a time. Oh, and talk about live music, this place is known for hosting some of the biggest names in rock and country music, from Willie Nelson to ZZ Top and Ringo Starr. Plus, there's a house band that plays Wednesday through Saturday and live pro bull riding on offer every weekend. And, yes, they have dance lessons (Sunday, Monday Wednesday and Thursday) here too.

Recommended for Country Western Bars because: A visit to the DFW Metroplex isn't complete without a stop at this Fort Worth icon.

Ilene's expert tip: Note that there is a charge of $2-$5 just to enter, not including admission to concerts and rodeos. However, there's free admission on Tuesdays with a DFW Metroplex ID and on Thursdays with a college ID. Ladies receive free entry on Wednesdays.

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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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