Drinking is easy. Finding the right bar, not so easy. We’re here to help. As a public service to all of you thirsty explorers, every week we highlight the best bars in America and tell you what makes them so damn great. This week we’ve got a bar that makes you feel like you’re crashing dozens of backyard parties at once.
NAME: Truck Yard
MUSIC: Honky tonk, Western swing
WHAT TO ORDER (NEWBIES): Cup of frozen Trashcan Punch
WHAT TO ORDER (REGULARS): Bucket of Lone Stars
WHY WE LOVE IT: The Truck Yard is a place where you can come have a beer with your dad in the afternoon and a cocktail with your date later that night. Owner/chef/busboy Jason Boso says he was inspired by Texas institutions like Gruene dance hall to build a neighborhood hangout where everyone could feel at home.
Boso bought an old junkyard in Lower Greenville—long before the Trader Joe’s and valet parking moved into the ‘hood—and spent years turning it into a junkyard-themed, multi-bar. As an homage to its roots, Truck Yard’s chainlink fence is covered with dozens of hubcaps and its tables are made out of pickup truck beds, one still bearing the evidence of a woman scorned; “Bo Sucks A Cheatin’ Dick” is spray-painted on the side.
Most everything Boso picked up for cheap or free on Craigslist, including his Airstream trailer-turned-bar, which only cost the gas to haul it to the property. “When we first opened, we told our Facebook fans that if they stole their grandma’s outdoor chairs and brought them to us, we’d give them a free round of drinks,” he says. Today about 20 percent of the bar’s lawn chairs can be traced back to donations by Dallas grandmothers.
The drinks aren’t half bad either. Jason Kosmas—founder of Employees Only bar in New York—created the recipes for Truck Yard’s five, all-natural draft cocktails, and Truck Yard also makes frozen Mai Tais and frozen Trashcan Punch. “They’re the 2015, fresh juice version of that 1980s bullshit,” Boso says.
But you’ll find most patrons drinking the official state beer. “We’re the number one seller of Lone Star in Texas,” he says. Boso even installed a Glycol cooling system underground to pump 30-degree-F beer from his main bar to the Airstream bar 70 feet away. “People come here and throw mini backyard parties all day long.” And food trucks rotate in and out of the yard every day, so the party snacks never gets old.
When you’re ready to cash out, order the Closing Time: a bottle of Underberg digestif and a fortune cookie with a bartender-written fate such as “Go on a whiskey diet. You’ll lose three days in no time.”
Alyson Sheppard is the resident hangover specialist at Playboy.com. She lives in Dallas. Follow her on Twitter: @amshep