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Photograph: Courtesy Deep End

The 19 best bars in Dallas right now

From hip dives to hotel rooftops, here are the best bars in Dallas

Written by
James Wong
Matt Charnock
Cecilia Meis

From champagne toasts on hotel rooftops to bustling dives and speakeasies, the best bars in Dallas offer a reflection of the city itself, a special combination of swanky and low-key vibes. That’s great for visitors, because Dallas’ nightlife offers levels that most everyone will love—well, that and super generous pours (for good measure, one glass of wine in Dallas is often the size of two glasses in Manhattan).

No doubt, in a state dotted with desert and cacti, Dallas is a city like no other in Texas. Glistening with skyscrapers, this is a mega-metropolis through and through. But in such sweltering heat, there’s a good reason one of the essential things to do in Dallas is to cool off with a crisp cocktail or beer.

Whether you’re looking for a poolside soiree or simply a stiff drink, here’s our guide to the best bars in Dallas right now.

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Best bars in Dallas

What’s the best way to join the Deep Ellum hipsters? Jump in at the Deep End. Cool off at this laid-back, poolside cocktail bar all day where the cocktails feature flavors from the state; the Lone Star Green Chili Michelada, for example, mixes local draft beer with a tomatillo michelada mix and Tajín-striped pickled jalapeno. Those who don’t live on the spicy side can still enjoy an extensive list of beers and wines instead.

There isn’t a prettier date spot in Dallas than Ellie’s Lounge. Here, you and your beau can sip on a glass of Ellie’s Cabernet Sauvignon under starry lights while live music from an elegant Steinway grand piano (scheduled on Thursday to Saturday evenings) takes it up another romantic notch. The lounge sits within Dallas’ exciting and super walkable Arts District, which means a stop at this lounge pairs perfectly with a day at the Dallas Museum of Art or a night at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.


Perfect for groups, singles, or just a random night on the town, Round-Up Saloon and Dance Hall in Oak Lawn is one of the best LGBTQ-friendly bars in Dallas—and it’s western-themed to boot. Offering stiff drinks, spectacular line dancing, and inspired karaoke performances, the venue actually has six bars to choose from and a massive dance floor. Trust us: it’ll be your favorite and (probably) only bar stop for the night.

Lee Harvey’s checks everything on the list for a good dive bar: neon signs, cheap wood paneling, torn leather booths, and a raggedy pool table. Despite the infamous namesake, Lee Harvey’s is one of the weirdest, most welcoming joints in Dallas. Take advantage of cheap but stiff bar offerings and bring your dog to plop on the patio for an evening of free jukebox beats.


4 Kahunas Tiki Lounge is a 20-minute drive from downtown Dallas, but as soon as you belly up to this reclaimed wood bar—complete with palm thatch paneling, bartenders dressed in Hawaiian shirts, and a tropical soundtrack—you might as well be in Tahiti. The colorful menu includes classic island cocktails like the Navy Grog (rum, grapefruit, and lime), a killer Zombie combo (four juices, three rums, Absinthe, and bitters), plus tiki shooters and massive bowls that’ll quench the thirst of a small party (a.k.a., up to four patrons).

When in Dallas, stopping by at least one pool bar is somewhat necessary— Texas weather sure calls for it—and Waterproof is one of our faves. Perched on the 19th floor of The Statler hotel, Waterproof starts as a pool bar by day and turns into a rooftop lounge by night. You’re downtown, so trust that the views are sweeping while the cocktail menu is extensive. Happy hour goes down weeknights from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and features $5 wine and bubbles (not bad for a hotel bar, if you ask us).


As far as speakeasies go, Dallas is home to several worthy boltholes. You can head underground at Midnight Rambler, or visit the faux candy shop Truth and Alibi, both of which offer Prohibition-era-ish spaces with boozy cocktails. But High and Tight, tucked behind a barbershop and helmed by owner Braxton Martin, goes one step further: the speakeasy offers jazz-era cocktails and a great performance space that rounds out the whole experience. Sip on a bold, creative concoctions like The Zozzled (bourbon with a tart mix of apple, lemon, honey, and ginger) while watching live performances in a dark, intimate stage room.

Located in Deep Ellum, Mama Tried (named after the Merle Haggard song) is an expansive indoor-outdoor utopia fit for fans of country, bluegrass, and old-school Dallas. Just make sure to find space underneath the patio’s fan-misters if you're headed here on a hot day. Happy hour happens daily (times vary, so be sure to check their website) with additional deals on Fireball Fridays ($5 Fireball shots and half-off appetizers) and Sunday Funday Brunch ($4 mimosas and more).


It doesn’t get more Texan than watching an enthusiastic bartender sling drinks from an AirStream parked on a patch of dirt surrounded by a smattering of truck-bed tables. This open-air bar in Lower Greenville is the perfect spot for, well, anything. Choose from a variety of rotating food trucks and three stationary bars serving curious concoctions like Trash Can Punch, a drink made with New Amsterdam vodka and “other good stuff.” This is the place to be when temperatures climb to the unbearable triple digits, so get here early, snag a good spot, and catch some live music.

Wine Wednesdays were begging for an upgrade, so Sixty Vines came along to top it all off. Part of a growing trend that’s beloved in Dallas, you’ll find nearly 40 types of wine on tap (available in 2.5 oz, 5 oz, and 8 oz pours), allowing for the perfect temperature, minimal oxidation and, most importantly, a cork-free experience. Located in Plano and Uptown, the Sixty Vines focus is simple: good wine on tap and straightforward, delicious food made for sharing.


Ruins is anything but a relic of the past. Serving small-batch Mexican spirits (imported mescals, tequilas, whiskeys, and more), the bar has become synonymous with the craft scene—and perfectly executed libations—typical of Deep Ellum. And the fact that you can pair your drinks with various tapas and tacos? Well, that makes the trip here all the more fulfilling.

The ultimate “come as you are” bar welcomes the glitzed up, tipsy spillover guests from Knox Henderson who mingle with the “I’ve been here since happy hour” drinkers on an enormous patio with life-size jenga. With more than 24 beers on draft and one of the best happy hours in Dallas, you won’t even mind the slightly gimmicky pin-up decor.


Upscale and laid-back vibes mesh harmoniously in a historic landmark that’s now a cozy cocktail lounge. Right off the well-beaten path of McKinney Avenue, Bowen House offers elevated classics such as the rum-based Operation Bumbo Drop and a gin-based Silly Rabbit. For something a little more unique, head to the mezcaleria in the back room—here, all you have to do is pick a spirit and flavor profile (let the bartender do the rest). Marble counters, comfy booths, a’s a recipe for a perfect night of conversation and camaraderie.

Hide is like a secret laboratory for simple, unpretentious yet boldly flavored drinks. Most of the concoctions are made using centrifuges, roto-vaporizers, and a host of too-complicated-to-explain gadgets. Don’t let the molecular mixology intimidate you, though, because Hide doesn’t take itself too seriously. Case in point: you’ll find drinks with names like Yass Betch (made with vodka, mint, cucumber, honeydew, and clarified lime). Unlike the dark, windowless aura of most cocktail lounges, Hide is bright and open, with a fresh herb garden growing behind the bar. Reasonably priced bar bites and happy hours mean it’s a great stop for a post-work drink or a date night.


Times Ten Cellar is warm and inviting with plush couches, candles throughout the space, and all the hummus and cheese platters you can eat. Sign up for a tasting to sample some of the bar’s 33 wines on offer, more than 20 of which are locally produced. The food menu is limited, but both flatbreads (made with local ingredients like Jimmy’s sausage and whole milk mozzarella) are luckily scrumptious.

Step into the warehouse of your childhood dreams. Rows of nostalgia-inducing video games such as Defender and Mortal Kombat beckon from a simple, industrial-style building in Richardson. Free Play Arcade offers more than 95 arcade games for a flat $11 entry fee; a rotating menu of craft beers (not included in the $11 fee, natch) will fuel your competitive spirit while you plan rematch after rematch of The Simpsons.


Built in 1911 and now effectively the oldest operating bar in Dallas, Sons of Hermann Hall has lived many lives: fraternal order house, bowling alley, concert venue, dance hall. Don’t let the old exterior dissuade you, though: on Wednesdays, several hundred (yes, hundred) guests gather to learn the basics of swing dance. Don’t feel the need to bring a partner—guests are encouraged to mix and mingle, no matter your skill level. Sure, it may not be your go-to bar stop, but Sons of Hermann Hall is a cornerstone of Dallas history, making it something of a staple experience (if you’re up to the challenge).

One of the last true dive bars left in Dallas, The Grapevine Bar attracts a diverse crowd of regulars, including bikers in leather jackets and gay men in crop tops. Drink options include six ice-cold Texas beers on tap, a rotating selection of beers in cans (PBR is just $3 during happy hour), and frozen drinks served in an eclectic array of glassware. Finger food and pool tables round out the bar’s cozy atmosphere. Ask for something off the “naughty list” menu if you're feeling adventurous.


Mansion Bar, tucked inside the Rosewood Mansion Hotel, is full of dark wood, leather-lined walls with equestrian art, and clear casks filled with amber liquors. Voted one of the best Dallas happy hours, choose a weeknight, slip into something that doesn’t go into the dryer, grab a corner table and save money (kinda) while knocking back a Mansion G&T, Texas Marg, or the Mansion Manhattan.

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