Deep Ellum Nightlife: The Hottest After-Dark Hangouts

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 Club Dada, a legendary concert venue 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 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.


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 improv jams on 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 $10-$15 and the improv/open-mic performances are always free.

Recommended for Deep Ellum's Best Nightlife because: Dallas Comedy House is the most affordable way to have a blast in Deep Ellum.

Ilene's expert tip: DCH offers happy hours on drinks and snacks from 7-8 p.m.

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Dada Dallas
Photo courtesy of Mike Brooks

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.

Recommended for Deep Ellum's Best Nightlife because: Dada has earned the reputation for being the best venue to see a variety of music spanning all the genres.

Ilene's expert tip: All shows are 21 and over unless otherwise noted. If the show is not sold out, you can purchase tickets (cash only) at the Box Office before the show.

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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 Deep Ellum's Best Nightlife because: The Nines is one of Deep Ellum's premier boutique dance clubs.

Ilene's expert tip: There are $3 wells and domestics from 7-10 p.m. daily.

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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 Deep Ellum's 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.

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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 jukebox 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.

Recommended for Deep Ellum's Best Nightlife because: Twilight Lounge covers all the bases: friendly people, great libations, good free entertainment and awesome decor.

Ilene's expert tip: Twilite Lounge offers daily happy hour specials from 4-8 p.m. and all-night drink specials throughout the week.

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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 Deep Ellum's 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.

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Black Swan Saloon
Photo courtesy of Black Swan Saloon

This dark and cozy shoe-box-sized 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 for its low-key atmosphere and expertly crafted artisanal cocktails. Depending on what's in season, expect to find libations made of vodka and rum infused with fresh fruits as well as bourbon in flavors like coffee and vanilla bean pecan. Since the maximum occupancy is limited to 49 people, expect to wait in line to get in, especially on weekends.

Recommended for Deep Ellum's Best Nightlife because: The Black Swan Saloon captures the essence of Deep Ellum with its laid back, friendly atmosphere.

Ilene's expert tip: Note that there's no sign outside, just look for the numbers. Be sure to check the Facebook page for weekly events.

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Shoals Sound & Service
Photo courtesy of Shoals Sound & Service

An impressive selection of classic-focused libations and an equally appealing assortment of Latin American street food are the draw at this chill, 70s-inspired cocktail den operated by veteran mixologists Omar YeeFoon and Michael Martensen. Expect to sip on espresso martinis and cosmopolitans to the sounds of 60s and 70s rock & soul playing on the turntable. Also expect to dig into the likes of empanadas, arepa burgers, and the bar's acclaimed half-pound mortadella sandwiches. Live jazz is on tap every Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m., and happy hour is offered from 4 to 7 p.m. during the week. Oh, and did we mention the kitchen stays open until 2 a.m. on weekends?

Recommended for Deep Ellum's Best Nightlife because: Shoals Sound & Service is perfect for when you're after comforting classics in a cozy, dimly-lit setting.

Ilene's expert tip: Score select bar bites (think fried plantains topped with pulled pork and the arepa burger) along with classic cocktails and wines by the glass for only $7 during happy hour, offered from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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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 Deep Ellum's Best Nightlife because: Double Wide is the quirkiest and most unique dive bar in Dallas.

Ilene's expert tip: Double Wide offers happy hour all week from 5-9 p.m. and bingo every Friday from 5-9 p.m.

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Photo courtesy of Hide

This sleek Deep Ellum spot is one of the most popular drinking dens in the city. And no wonder: it's a cozy neighborhood bar with a beverage program that pushes the boundaries of the cocktail experience. Almost everything that goes into the drinks is handcrafted in-house (sodas, syrups, juices, tinctures, bitters and garnishes) using centrifuges and other scientific gadgets. Needless to say, the tempting range of cocktails won't make your decision of what to drink an easy one. But no worries, they offer a variety of menus based on your taste and mood, including an experimental section for those craving something more adventurous. Don't sleep on the food options, the Akaushi beef cheeseburgers are epic.

Recommended for Deep Ellum's Best Nightlife because: HIDE is the place to go when you want to take your cocktail experience to another level.

Ilene's expert tip: HIDE offers an awesome Happy Hour (Sunday-Friday from 5 to 7 p.m.) with signature cocktails for $6-$8 and $5 bar bites. High-end shots are on offer for $5 every Tuesday. Check the website for more special events.

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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