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Kathy Tran

14 Essential Dallas Bars

Where to drink, from highbrow to lowbrow and everywhere in between

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Dallas is blessed with bars for every type of drinker, from those who desire thoughtful cocktails in an upscale setting to others who prefer domestic beers and the game on TV. But even with dozens of great watering holes across town, certain bars stand out for their history, quality, or service.

These are Dallas’s essential bars, across a range of styles and neighborhoods. Revisit an old favorite or find a new go-to as you check off each spot on the list.

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Part bar, part mad scientist’s laboratory, Hide deftly uses immersion circulators and centrifuges to infuse flavors and clarify ingredients — but it’s not precious about it. The bar, which recently moved from Deep Ellum to a two-story space on Lower Greenville, is still a fun spot for happy hour or late-night drinks, whether you’re going all-in with the Turbo Quaker (bourbon, cream sherry, milk-washed applejack, steel-cut oats, cinnamon, pecan, whole egg) or just want a beer and a shot.

Apothecary

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Apothecary is one of Dallas’ new guard cocktail bars, employing centrifuges, liquid nitrogen, and pyrolysis to make avant-garde drinks in a sultry lounge setting. The creative bartenders pair DIY ingredients like sous vide green apple mezcal with scallop bottarga and, somehow, it all works.

Strangeways

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This beloved dive recently faced closure and is now holding on by a thread while its owners battle for their rights as tenants. That’s a good reason to visit, but the best reason is the beer list, which includes options drinkers won’t find anywhere else in the city paired with expert guidance to explore it. Oh, and the playlist is always on point.

Alexandre's

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A central figure in Dallas’ LGBTQ community, this intimate Oak Lawn bar and music venue pours classic cocktails, spotlights local singers, and hosts Sunday Cher-e-oke (Cher-themed karaoke).

The Mansion Bar

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Go deep into the heart of the Texas experience with an evening at the Mansion Bar. It’s got the wildest mix of stained glass, Texas decor, and fancy drinks in this town. You’re covered for any kind of classic cocktail, as well as innovative inventions from its bar program, and you can have it with Tito’s or the highest-shelf tequilas and bourbons. Plus, there’s often an impromptu dance floor to two-step or waltz across Texas. 

Parliament

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Opened by barman Lucky Campbell in 2014, Parliament has been one of Uptown’s best cocktail destinations ever since. The warm interior has Prohibition-era vibes, and the extensive drinks menu spans classics and originals, from an Old Fashioned to the Parliament Royale, with gin, yuzu, apple, bitters, and Champagne.

Double D's Bar

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Where are the cool young people going? Uh, to this bar designed to evoke a ‘70s basement in the Design District (those are the double Ds in the name, not the other thing — or so the press release says). The draft cocktail list is pretty basic, but the originals will rev a cocktail lover’s engine.

Tina's Continental

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There are martini bars, and there are bars that specialize in martinis. The folks at this tiny Deep Ellum spot go beyond in their efforts to not only serve the perfect martini but perfect the steps of creating a martini. The menu includes gin and vodka options and most styles of martini — including an icy cold Vesper. 

This Deep Ellum spot wins, hands down, for most unusual cocktail names. If you have the cojones to order the Azteca 666 with “illegal Mezcal” then god be with you. For those of us who spit three times at the sign of the evil eye, there’s also a great frozen rum concoction called the Painkiller.

Whiskeys

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This Black-owned bar sports one of the state’s best whiskey selections. Scan the back bar, and you’ll see hundreds of bottles ranging from the usual suspects to several hard-to-find bourbon releases and private barrel picks, so there’s always something new to try.

Las Almas Rotas

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One of the country’s best mezcalerias sits just outside of Fair Park. Las Almas curates an incredible selection of mezcals and other agave-based spirits, serving them solo, as flights, or mixed into cocktails. Those efforts have been rewarded by consistent accolades, including a James Beard nomination for Outstanding Bar Program.

Midnight Rambler

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Located beneath the Joule, Midnight Rambler is a classy haven for well-made cocktails, warm hospitality, and great music, and it’s regularly noted as one of the best hotel bars in America. The cocktail program is ever-changing and the staff will help you find your perfect drink.

Tiny Victories

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Packing a lot of goodness into a small space, the 1,000-square-foot Tiny Victories has become one of Oak Cliff’s best bars. Craft cocktail aficionados will get what they came for, but anyone can enjoy this unpretentious bar, which also serves beers, seltzers, and a $7 vodka-and-strawberry shot dubbed Spring Break ‘99.

Atlas Bishop Arts

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Designed around an “around the world” theme, Atlas and its head bartender, Reid Lewis, are racking up awards left and right. Their Atlas Shrugged cocktail, a smoked rum old fashioned with spiced black tea syrup, is presented in a literal statue and made for 2 to 3 people. And make sure you pop into the “secret” back room.

HIDE

Part bar, part mad scientist’s laboratory, Hide deftly uses immersion circulators and centrifuges to infuse flavors and clarify ingredients — but it’s not precious about it. The bar, which recently moved from Deep Ellum to a two-story space on Lower Greenville, is still a fun spot for happy hour or late-night drinks, whether you’re going all-in with the Turbo Quaker (bourbon, cream sherry, milk-washed applejack, steel-cut oats, cinnamon, pecan, whole egg) or just want a beer and a shot.

Apothecary

Apothecary is one of Dallas’ new guard cocktail bars, employing centrifuges, liquid nitrogen, and pyrolysis to make avant-garde drinks in a sultry lounge setting. The creative bartenders pair DIY ingredients like sous vide green apple mezcal with scallop bottarga and, somehow, it all works.

Strangeways

This beloved dive recently faced closure and is now holding on by a thread while its owners battle for their rights as tenants. That’s a good reason to visit, but the best reason is the beer list, which includes options drinkers won’t find anywhere else in the city paired with expert guidance to explore it. Oh, and the playlist is always on point.

Alexandre's

A central figure in Dallas’ LGBTQ community, this intimate Oak Lawn bar and music venue pours classic cocktails, spotlights local singers, and hosts Sunday Cher-e-oke (Cher-themed karaoke).

The Mansion Bar

Go deep into the heart of the Texas experience with an evening at the Mansion Bar. It’s got the wildest mix of stained glass, Texas decor, and fancy drinks in this town. You’re covered for any kind of classic cocktail, as well as innovative inventions from its bar program, and you can have it with Tito’s or the highest-shelf tequilas and bourbons. Plus, there’s often an impromptu dance floor to two-step or waltz across Texas. 

Parliament

Opened by barman Lucky Campbell in 2014, Parliament has been one of Uptown’s best cocktail destinations ever since. The warm interior has Prohibition-era vibes, and the extensive drinks menu spans classics and originals, from an Old Fashioned to the Parliament Royale, with gin, yuzu, apple, bitters, and Champagne.

Double D's Bar

Where are the cool young people going? Uh, to this bar designed to evoke a ‘70s basement in the Design District (those are the double Ds in the name, not the other thing — or so the press release says). The draft cocktail list is pretty basic, but the originals will rev a cocktail lover’s engine.

Tina's Continental

There are martini bars, and there are bars that specialize in martinis. The folks at this tiny Deep Ellum spot go beyond in their efforts to not only serve the perfect martini but perfect the steps of creating a martini. The menu includes gin and vodka options and most styles of martini — including an icy cold Vesper. 

Ruins

This Deep Ellum spot wins, hands down, for most unusual cocktail names. If you have the cojones to order the Azteca 666 with “illegal Mezcal” then god be with you. For those of us who spit three times at the sign of the evil eye, there’s also a great frozen rum concoction called the Painkiller.

Whiskeys

This Black-owned bar sports one of the state’s best whiskey selections. Scan the back bar, and you’ll see hundreds of bottles ranging from the usual suspects to several hard-to-find bourbon releases and private barrel picks, so there’s always something new to try.

Las Almas Rotas

One of the country’s best mezcalerias sits just outside of Fair Park. Las Almas curates an incredible selection of mezcals and other agave-based spirits, serving them solo, as flights, or mixed into cocktails. Those efforts have been rewarded by consistent accolades, including a James Beard nomination for Outstanding Bar Program.

Midnight Rambler

Located beneath the Joule, Midnight Rambler is a classy haven for well-made cocktails, warm hospitality, and great music, and it’s regularly noted as one of the best hotel bars in America. The cocktail program is ever-changing and the staff will help you find your perfect drink.

Tiny Victories

Packing a lot of goodness into a small space, the 1,000-square-foot Tiny Victories has become one of Oak Cliff’s best bars. Craft cocktail aficionados will get what they came for, but anyone can enjoy this unpretentious bar, which also serves beers, seltzers, and a $7 vodka-and-strawberry shot dubbed Spring Break ‘99.

Atlas Bishop Arts

Designed around an “around the world” theme, Atlas and its head bartender, Reid Lewis, are racking up awards left and right. Their Atlas Shrugged cocktail, a smoked rum old fashioned with spiced black tea syrup, is presented in a literal statue and made for 2 to 3 people. And make sure you pop into the “secret” back room.

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