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Photograph: Courtesy Catbird/Gus Schmiege

The 10 best Dallas nightlife spots to visit right now

From late-night restaurants to lit bars and honky-tonk, these Dallas nightlife spots will keep you on your toes

James Wong
Written by
James Wong
Contributor
Justine Harrington
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What’s Dallas like after hours, you ask? While the city’s renewed cultural spirit keeps you busy with daytime attractions, the best Dallas nightlife spots will keep your heart rate up well after the sun goes down.

Start your night with a rooftop cocktail or a crisp Lone Star at one of Dallas’ best bars, but don’t hit the hay just yet—even laid-back joints take it up a notch with live music and well-crafted libations, while swanky restaurants stay open late for scrumptious snacks and nightcaps. In a nutshell, Dallas promises a darn good night.

Whether you’re keeping it fancy at a pricey (but worth it) hotel bar or hightailing it to a local dive, follow our list to the best nightlife in Dallas and get the party started.

RECOMMENDED: the best things to do in Dallas

Best Dallas nightlife spots, ranked

What is it? A hipster cocktail bar and speakeasy in the heart of the Deep Ellum.

Why go? The rustic, cool space gets a mini makeover every three to four months to match its latest cocktail menu. For example, “A Nightcap Before Christmas” saw festive drinks mingle with fairy lights, “Summer of Rum” transported guests to the tropics with rum-based cocktails and coconuts, and “British Invasion” had Oasis-cocktails and Beatles tunes against a Union Jack backdrop. Looking to impress your date? Head to Pony Tail, a backroom speakeasy located behind one-way mirrors (call ahead to see if it’s open).

What is it? It’s the oldest continuously operating bar in Dallas—enough said. 

Why go? Inwood Tavern is a neighborhood institution. Open for over half a century, The Tavern (as locals call it) is unlike anywhere else in the city. For one thing, drinks are served in red plastic solo cups. For another, you’ll be surrounded by regulars who visit this place time and time again—even for newbies, drinking here feels like a nostalgia-drenched trip down memory lane. Happy hours offer bargain-priced drinks every day till 7 pm.

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What is it? A swanky restaurant and bar within the new(ish) Thompson Dallas, frequented by the city’s glam squads.

Why go? Don’t we all need an excuse to throw on something sparkly and soak in some views? Catbird, located on the 10th floor, offers a breezy terrace where fancy folk mingle over cocktails. The patrons are actually friendly, however, so don’t be intimidated. We love the signature cocktail, The Catbird (made with Cazadores, Reposado, and Campari with a grapefruit foam), which looks as good in selfies as it tastes.

What is it? Dallas’ premier live music venue, home to a great outdoor patio and a Southern-style restaurant.

Why go? Situated in the White Swan Building in Victory Park, the sleek House of Blues is the best place to catch your favorite band while noshing on Southern snacks and main dishes (highlights include delicious Gumbo and Shrimp and Grits). The venue can hold over 1,500 patrons, and there’s even a roped-off VIP area if you can weasel your way into the in-crowd.

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What is it? A buzzy new supper club on Uptown’s McKinney Ave.

Why go? For those who don’t have the energy to hit Dallas' nightclubs but are still feeling social, sit down for a slap-up meal at Clé’s. Guest DJs bring the party to the big table while French Master Chef Frédéric Perrier cooks up dishes like escargot and baked oysters with scallops and Texas shrimp.

What is it? An intimate, widely beloved honky-tonk that first opened its doors to the public in the 1960’s on Cedar Springs (although, it’s since moved to its current home in Deep Ellum).

Why go? Look past the plentiful pitchers of beer, graffiti-blanketed tables, and wall-to-wall cowboy boots: you may spot a well-known country band on stage at this popular joint. Adair’s Saloon is a fantastic place to knock back cheap beer and greasy burgers, yes, but it’s also one of the all-time best places to catch great country acts.

 

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What is it? A sophisticated yet relaxed wine bar in Dallas' perfectly strollable West Village. 

Why go? What we love about CRÚ is that you can experience amazing wine with zero pretension—to us, that’s what Texas is all about. Order one of the flights and you’ll get a group of three wines (generously poured, of course) to taste and pair with a charcuterie board. If you’re strolling the West Village on a Thursday, don’t miss CRÚ’s Champagne Socials (you’ll get half off a bottle of champagne).

What is it? A buzzing bar and open-air courtyard in Deep Ellum with a giant beer selection, a savory food menu, and an interior bar.

Why go? In terms of ambiance, nothing beats Dot’s Hop House & Cocktail Courtyard: this lively Deep Ellum hangout has hip stained glass windows and murals and even an outdoor chandelier. Dot’s is a solid place to grab a brew, indulge in some classic bar food, and hang out under the Dallas night sky.

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What is it? A timeworn, LGBTQ+ friendly institution that slings cheap-yet-stiff drinks and features a rooftop deck.

Why go? Located in Oak Lawn, The Grapevine Bar has a seriously unique feel thanks to quirky décor like a pink-railed pool table, multiple decorative skulls, and even a basketball court. Plus, the crowd is always a little offbeat—in the absolute best way possible.

What is it? One of the teeniest bars in Dallas also offers a fabulous (and very affordable) wine selection.

Why go? Though it may not make much of an impression from the outside, walking inside Stoney’s Wine Lounge is akin to walking into your best friend’s house (if your best friend was an accomplished sommelier with a killer wine collection, that is). This friendly little neighborhood bar is the perfect place to sip glass after glass of velvety reds and crisp whites. Plus, Stoney’s always has great live jazz on the weekends.

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