Best bars in Dallas
Mansion Bar, tucked away inside the Rosewood Mansion Hotel, is the kind of place where you could imagine Tolstoy writing out a timeless novel on a bar napkin. Dark wood, leather-lined walls decorated with equestrian art and clear casks filled with amber liquors set the tone. This is classic chic meets southern charm. Voted one of the best Dallas happy hours, choose a weeknight, slip into something that doesn’t go in the dryer, grab a corner table and sip on a half-price creative cocktail like the beetlejuice: made with roxor gin, strawberries, beets and balsamic.
Lee Harvey’s checks everything on the list for a good dive bar: neon signs, cheap wood paneling, torn pleather 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. Stop by on Mondays for $1.50 tacos.
4 Kahunas Tiki Lounge is a 20-minute drive from downtown Dallas, but as soon as you belly up to the reclaimed wood bar—complete with palm thatch paneling, bartenders dressed in Hawaiian shirts, and a tropical soundtrack—you might as well be in Tahiti. Happy hours abound (Monday through Thursday 4–7pm; Saturday 11:30pm–12:30am; and Sunday 10:30–11:30pm), when you can score $7 specialty drinks like the Pain Killers, an old-fashioned made with rum. Lounge areas can be reserved in advance if you're traveling with friends and want to share a flaming Volcano Bowl.
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, western-themed bars in Dallas, offering stiff drinks, spectacular line dancing and inspired karaoke performances. With six bars to choose from and a massive dance floor, it’ll be your favorite and (probably) only bar stop for the night.
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 is offered Tuesday through Friday 4–7pm, Saturday 1-6pm, and Sunday noon–2pm. All-day deals like Fireball Fridays ($5 Fireball shots and half-off appetizers), Sunday Funday Brunch ($4 mimosas and more) make this bustling bar a must-do when in Dallas.
It doesn’t get more Texas than a bartender slinging 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 very interesting drinks like trash can punch, 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 to snag a spot and catch some live music.
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 perfectly executed libations in Deep Ellum. And the fact that you can pair your drinks with various tapas and tacos make the trip here all the more worthwhile.
There are upscale bars, and then there is the The Library. One of Dallas’s most iconic and historic drinking establishments, this uptown gem lands itself on nearly every “best bar” list for good reason. Half-off wine and cocktails Sunday through Thursday from 4–7pm means a little live music and fancy sips without too much damage to your wallet. It’s the perfect spot for quiet conversation against an elegant piano and timeless mid-century decor backdrop.
The ultimate “come as you are” bar welcomes the glitzed up, tipsy spillover guests from Knox Henderson to mingle with the “I’ve been here since happy hour” goers on an enormous patio with a 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.
Wine Wednesdays were begging for an upgrade, and along came Sixy Vines. A growing trend that’s fairly new to Dallas, nearly 40 types of wine on tap (available in 2.5 oz, 5 oz, and 8 oz pours) allow 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 straight-forward, delicious food made for sharing. Looking to upgrade your wino status? Join the Vine Hugger Club and get to sample custom-made wines made specifically for Sixty Vines.
Upscale and relaxing don’t usually mesh, but this historic landmark turned cozy cocktail lounge is just that. Right off the well-beaten path of McKinney Avenue, Bowen House offers $5 happy hour mules, palomas, old fashioneds and more. For something a little more unique, head to the mezcaleria in the back room, where you choose a spirit and flavor profile, and let the bartender do the rest. Marble counters, comfy booths, a fireplace: it’s a recipe for a perfect night of conversation and camaraderie.
Show off your bikini body at the rooftop pool and bar of the renovated Adolphus hotel in downtown. Although normally only accessible with a room key, this seventh-story hangout is open to the public every Friday night during the summer for “Sundown at Seven.” Sip on discounted Mai Tais in a secluded cabana or float with friends past the poolside DJ.
If the 7th floor of Adolphus isn't high enough for you, try the 19th floor of The Statler. A pool bar by day and rooftop lounge by night, the views and the cocktail menu here are both extensive. Happy hour goes down weeknights from 4–6pm and features half-off all cocktails, beer, and wine by the glass.
Hide is like a secret laboratory for simple, unpretentious but boldly flavored drinks. Most of the concoctions are made using centrifuges, roto-vaporizers and a host of complicated gadgets. Don’t let the molecular mixology intimidate you, though; Hide doesn’t take itself too seriously with offerings 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 of one of the 33 wines on offer, more than 20 of which are locally produced. Although the food menu is pretty limited, Wednesday night is pie night, featuring Urban Crust’s mobile pizza oven and slices of Dallas' favorite bourbon pecan pie from Emporium Pies.
As far as speakeasies go, Dallas is home to quite a few. Underground Midnight Rambler and faux candy shop Truth and Alibi, for example, offer Prohibition-era inspired spaces with boozy cocktails appreciated by all sorts of drinkers. But High and Tight, helmed by owner Braxton Martin, goes a step further, offering jazz-era cocktails in the back and a great performance space in the front. Sip on a bold, creative concoction like the Zozzled—bourbon with a tart mix of apple, lemon, honey and ginger—while watching live performances in a dark, intimate stage room.
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 (disappointingly not included in the $11 fee) will fuel your competitive spirit while The Simpsons rematches will keep the gaming rivalry alive.
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 and show off their skills. Don’t feel the need to bring a partner; guests of all skill levels are encouraged to join while indulging in typical bar offerings. Although not the usual go-to bar stop, Sons of Hermann Hall is a cornerstone of Dallas history and offers a different kind of entertainment for the adventurous guest.
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 well-used pool tables round out the bar’s cozy atmosphere. Ask for something off the “naughty list” menu if you're feeling adventurous.