Because Dallas’ Uptown district should be avoided like a zombie filled, plague ridden, militarized zone due to the abundance of the lowest of low life forms—the $30,000 millionaire, the local term for a douchebag who works retail, yet drives a low end luxury car; you know, that guy named Chad that you hate because he lives well above his means—we went ahead and listed the 15 best dive bars in Dallas. These are no frills places that are deeply Texas in their own special ways. Places where you’ll see hipster and cowboy alike sharing a nod over a cold pint and a shot of the harsher stuff. These are without a doubt the best dive bars in Dallas.
14. TWILITE LOUNGE
This recent edition to Dallas’ Deep Ellum entertainment district has quickly become the go to spot for those looking to grab a strong drink and take a break from all the music venues that surround the location. Twilite not only serves stiff drinks made by some of the most capable bartenders in the city, but also features an expertly curated jukebox and a back patio that has few rivals.
13. TRADEWIND’S SOCIAL CLUB
This Oak Cliff staple has been the site for many a drunken argument and bawdry sing-a-long. The drinks are Herculean strong and the beer is ice cold. Recent changes to the neighborhood has caused the hipsteratti to adopt Tradewind’s as their own, so while you’ll be sitting along side grizzled regulars, there’s going to be at least one social media manager in the crowd.
Cash only, and you better not forget it because the waitresses all have short tempers. You deal with that because Louie’s serves stiff drinks and the best pizza you’ll ever eat in a bar. The thin-crust pies are a staple of the East Dallas resident’s diet, and for a good reason—you’ve gotta soak the alcohol up with something.
11. CITY TAVERN
Literally the only bar in Downtown Dallas worth going to. The fact that it sits next door to a dance club makes for all sorts of hilarity, as dressed to the nines club goers mistakenly wander into this home of bearded denizens ordering Dirty Dustys. What’s a Dirty Dusty? It’s a shot of whiskey and a can of PBR, have three, and then order the chicken fried steak. After your meal wander upstairs to catch some live music.
10. TIME OUT TAVERN
Weirdly enough one of Dallas’ best dives exists in one of its richest neighborhoods. This Park Cities staple sticks out like a sore thumb in a neighborhood full of BMWs and Benzes, but it’s one of the best places to watch a Dallas Mavericks game. The bartenders are notoriously sour, but the atmosphere of camaraderie is high during any sporting event featuring a Texas-based team.
9. THE GOAT
You go here for karaoke, or the blues nights, and the people watching. Everyone gets overserved at the Goat sooner or later, which is why stories that start with, “So, we were at The Goat…” are instant cringers.
8. WINDMILL LOUNGE
The dive bar that made Esquire’s 2013 Best Bars in America list sports one of the great jukeboxes in the city and some of the best classic cocktails you’ll ever taste. You would think this would lead to some pretension, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a more affable and friendly bar in the city. Regulars here just love to talk and they’ll converse anything with you. It must be something in the cocktails.
7. ADAIR’S SALOON
A true honky tonk, Adair’s is home to outstanding country acts and the top burger in Deep Ellum. The tables are covered in sharpie signatures; the whiskey burns hotter than anywhere else in town; and the beer is cold enough that you’ll be up and two-stepping on the dance floor in no time. This is where you’ll find all of Hank Williams, Jr.’s rowdy friends.
6. THE GRAPEVINE
Co-opted by the local alt-weekly as their home bar because the offices are across the street, this dive features a vast patio that’s home to a rather weathered basketball goal. Many an argument has been started and settled with a game of one-on-one on the makeshift court. There’s really nothing quite like watching drunken sweaty patrons in office wear brick shot after shot for their fractured pride and your amusement.
5. VELVET ELVIS
Situated in a strip mall in North Dallas, this no-frills dive doesn’t have taps, just bottles and cans. Occasionally there’s music, or karaoke on the stage. More often then not its back patio is filled with smokers, and there’s someone being hustled on the pool table. The bartenders pour with a heavy hand, and some of the city’s best taquerias sit just five minutes away.
4. THE LAKEWOOD LANDING
The dankest, hippest, and most beloved hipster enclave in all of Dallas, The Lakewood Landing is home to the movers and shakers of the Dallas art and music scene, as they sit in the dark, talking over plans for the city, and eating the much lauded jalapeno corndogs that the bar only makes after midnight.
3. DOUBLE & SINGLE WIDE
Deep Ellum mainstay, The Double Wide, doubled down (I’m sorry, I had to) on their white trash premise, and opened a second smaller location off of Greenville Ave. that might be more fun than the original. Oh, and they froze Yoohoo, and added vodka to it. You won’t regret your first Yoohoo Yehaw, but you might regret the third, or fourth.
2. LEE HARVEY’S
Yes, we named a bar after Lee Harvey Oswald, because we’re classy in Dallas. This Oak Cliff staple is a dog-friendly place to catch some of the area’s best live acts, eat a burger, and buy some art. If you pay attention to the crowd, and don’t overindulge, you can play a fun game of “spot the first date” on the patio.
1. SHIPS LOUNGE
So divey they don’t bother with a Facebook page. Let’s do the highlights of Ships: They have a jukebox loaded with throwback country and Stax albums; you can bring your own hard liquor; beer is dirt cheap; set-ups for your liquor is cheaper; and there’s free chili dogs on Wednesday nights. There’s almost always a birthday celebration going on, and it gives the small quarters an air of camaraderie that’s not found anywhere else in Dallas. Oh, and there’s no cussing allowed.