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Entertainment & Nightlife in Dallas
 
 
 

Dallas has a lively nightlife scene, with enough in the way of performing arts and theatre to entertain highbrows and more than enough bars and clubs to satisfy the young and the restless. In fact, in recent years the live music scene claims to have outpaced that of Austin (which continues to call itself the "Live Music Capital of the World" but lost some of its laid-back cool in the dot.com makeover of the city). If you've come to North Texas to wrangle a mechanical bull, you may have to drop in on Fort Worth, but there are a couple of sturdy honky-tonks in Dallas where you can strap on your boots and your best Stetson and do some two-steppin' and Western swing dancing.

For listings, check out the "Weekend Guide" section of the Dallas Morning News (www.guidelive.com) and the Dallas Observer (www.dallasobserver.com). You can also check the website of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau (www.dcvb.com) for events.

For tickets to sporting events and performances, try Central Tickets (www.centralticketoffice.com), Star Tickets (www.startickets.com), or Front Gate Tickets (www.frontgatetickets.com). For many events, there's little need to secure tickets in advance of your trip, but that's not the case with big sporting and musical performances.

Places to Unwind

Dance Clubs

Club Clearview, 2803 Main Street, is a stalwart of the Deep Ellum scene. Now connected to three other dance-oriented bars (Art Bar, Blind Lemon and Red Complex), it offers an eclectic mix of dance-oriented and live bands – everything from swing to techno to blues and rockabilly. Lizard Lounge, 2424 Swiss Avenue, is the city's best dance club; trendy and slightly seedy, but resolutely sexy, it trades in percolating dance beats and a hot crowd, with occasional live bands. Sunday night is Goth Night. For something out of the ordinary – dancing to Tejano and ranchero music, along with what seems like half of Dallas's Latino population – check out massive Escapade 2001, 10707 Finnell Street.

Live Music

Deep Ellum, the rowdy district east of downtown, is entering its second decade as the epicentre of live music and late-night dance clubs. It used to play almost exclusively to the alternative scene, but it has expanded its offerings to include discos, blues bars and honky-tonks. The top live music venue is the Gypsy Tea Room, 2548 Elm Street (www.gypsytearoom.com), Dallas's current standard-bearer for live performance. The setting for national touring acts of alternative and roots-based rock and country (Wilco, Steve Earle), it contains a 600-capacity vintage ballroom and a smaller, more intimate space. Other favourites are long-timers Trees, 2709 Elm Street (www.treeslive.com), with a stellar record for hosting the latest and greatest alternative bands, and Club Dada, 2720 Elm Street, an eclectic, small, and often crowded club that was one of the originals in Deep Ellum. You'll find lesser-known rock as well as folk acts and poetry slams here.

Competing for some of the same acts as the Gypsy Tea Room is the more spacious Sons of Hermann Hall, 3414 Elm Street, a classic Texas dance hall that's equal parts pickup bar, live music venue and honky-tonk, hosting rock, country, and occasional rockabilly acts. For live all-ages rock and pop gigs, including emo punk-rock and Christian acts, check out The Door, 3202 Elm Street. It has a large concert space as well as a lounge and theatre. For live blues (and this is the district that cradled blues legend Blind Lemon Jefferson), check out Deep Ellum Blues, 2612 Commerce Street, which features live jams every Sunday night. The Bone, 2724 Elm Street, is ostensibly a blues club, but much more than that is a crowded, sweaty drinking spot for young and rowdies.

Another hot area for bars and clubs is Lower Greenville Avenue. Greenville Bar & Grill, 2821 Lower Greenville Avenue, is a cool place to hang around. The crowd, mostly folks intent on defying the big 4-0, come for rock, country and blues nightly. The Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Avenue, is a converted old movie theatre that now books popular acts like Bob Dylan and Sigur Rós.

Once a dark and ambience-heavy jazz cafe, Sambuca has now gone thoroughly uptown with its new location at 2120 McKinney Avenue. A spacious, upscale supper club, it draws a trendy crowd for cocktails, dinner and live jazz, 7 nights a week. It has another North Dallas branch, also a Mediterranean restaurant, at 15207 Addison Road at Belt Line, in Addison. Balcony Club, 1825 Abrams at La Vista, upstairs from the Lakewood Theater, is a cool, dark spot with intimate booths, perfect for some relaxing beats and a drink. It has live jazz nightly. Poor David's Pub, a venerable old club whose stage has been graced by many great Texas singer-songwriters, recently moved into new, decidedly not poor digs at 1313 South Lamar, near Gilley's. It aims to retain some of the old ambience, as well as provide a platform for live jazz and blues, albeit with slightly greater capacity.


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