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Ellie's Lounge, Hall Arts Hotel, Dallas
Photograph: Courtesy Ellies/Hall Arts Hotel

The 16 best bars in Dallas right now

From hip dives to hotel lounges, here are the best bars in Dallas right now.

Written by
James Wong
Contributors
Matt Charnock
&
Cecilia Meis
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Thirsty and looking for the best bars in Dallas? You’ve come to the right city. The Big D is home to a ton of excellent watering holes of all sorts, and their bartenders are ready to hit the spot. Bar hopping is particulrly fun in Dallas, because the pours are so big. If you don’t know what a Texan pour is, then just take your regular cup and double it. That standard goes for almost everywhere, whether you’re doing dives and speakeasies, or glistening hotel rooftops and lounges (some of them even serve champagne in wine glasses, because the flutes are too small!). It’s no wonder Dallas’ nightlife is always thriving, packed with bodies eager to take full advantage of such generosity. Texas may be covered in desert and cacti, but in Dallas it’s more like dessert and cocktails. Poolside soiree, stiff whiskey, or creative concoction, come experiment and get merry at the best bars in Dallas.

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Best bars in Dallas

Avant-garde cocktail lounge, Apothecary is unparalleled in Dallas. The hidden Lower Greenville bar transports guests down in time, in a space outfitted with decorative peacock wallpaper, custom-made rich velvet seating and vintage chandeliers. Cocktails are separated into three categories: Over the Counter, Prescription and Illicit Elixirs, offering a journey that begins at entry-level cocktails to adventurous. We recommend the Asian-inspired Pandan bear—sesame shochu, cacao gin, white chocolate, pandan-coconut cream and sesame mochi; and the Hummussexual—vodka, red bell pepper, cucumber, tahini, chickpea, lemon and black olive salt—a surprisingly winning combination. Their small plates, and cheese and charcuterie boards pair nicely with the drinks if you’re peckish.

A tried and tested date spot that guarantees to make magic happen every single time. We love Ellie’s Lounge, especially HALL Napa Valley’s Cabernet Sauvignon. Enjoy a glass amidst art and plush furnishings while live music plays from an elegant Steinway grand piano. Peckish? Add the Texas Pea Hummus to your drink order. 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.

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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.

Two locations later, Rye has quickly cemented itself as a local favorite. The latest Lower Greenville branch sits next to Apothecary, making for an easy night on the town. Both the food and drinks menus are seasonal, using fresh ingredients that are locally sourced. Cocktail “musical” hits include Somebloody To Love (vodka, blood orange, Aperol, buddahs hand, lime, cava, soda) and the Blurred Limes (dill infused tequila, cucumber, aloe, lime, celery bitters) and they also have an extensive wine, beer, whiskey, rye (obvs!) and scotch collection worth sampling. Remember to save room for dessert, it’s always a treat at Rye. 

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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.

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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.

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).

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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.

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.

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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.

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). If you like good tequila, ask for anything with Casa Dragones' Blanco. Marble counters, comfy booths, a fireplace...it’s a recipe for a perfect night of conversation and camaraderie.

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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.

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.

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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.

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