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

Photo courtesy of Mama Tried Honky Tonk
Photo courtesy of Sons of Hermann Hall
Photo courtesy of Poor David's Pub
Photo courtesy of WW Fairfields Bar & Grill
Photo courtesy of The Rustic Facebook
Photo courtesy of Round-Up Saloon
Photo courtesy of Cowboys Dancehall
Photo courtesy of Billy Bob's Texas
By Ilene Jacobs, Dallas Local Expert

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.

10. 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.

9. Double Wide Bar
Photo courtesy of Double Wide Bar

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.

8. 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.

7. 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.

6. 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.

5. 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?

4. 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.

3. 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.

2. Adair's Saloon
Photo courtesy of Adair's Saloon

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.

1. 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.