Just a short, 10min drive South of Downtown Dallas (yes, South) lies an eclectic area full of indie coffee shops, a bookstore equipped with a bar, mouthwatering street tacos, and so much more. If you haven't explored Oak Cliff and Bishop Arts yet, this guide should convince you to get on it. And if you have, this guide should help you do it better.
Davis Street Espresso (click here for info and address)
There are coffee shops, and then there are coffee shops. Here, you won't find any takeaway cups or annoying corporate types hogging the Wi-Fi -- because there is no WiFi. Only badass coffee. The shop is an extension of family-owned Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters (next door), who have been roasting in Oak Cliff since 2008. So needless to say, these roasters and baristas know their stuff... oh, and the coffee is good. Really good.
Jonathon’s Oak Cliff (click here for info and address)
They say that coffee suppresses the appetite, but right now you’re craving something hearty, something home-cooked, something like... Jonathon’s. Chef Jonathon has an eclectic menu mixed with some interesting takes on all-American classics. Don’t leave without trying the Danger Dogs (pancake-battered sausage links) or the famous Fried Chicken and Waffles.
The Wild Detectives (click here for info and address)
There’s nothing better than relaxing with a good book, unless you're relaxing with a good book and a beer. Stop inside Wild Detectives, an indie-book store cum bar/café in Bishop Arts, where you can enjoy your Bukowski or Salinger with a pint of your favorite brew. Don't overdo it, or it'll become really hard to read.
Boulevardier (click here for info and address)
Since you’re feeling cultured, take a quick jaunt across the street to this French-inspired bistro. You can pretend you were a part of the lost generation and debate art and life over their famous bread plate (the French know their bread). If you’re still thirsty, they serve more than 20-some wines by the glass. Don’t forget wear your beret. Note: please don't actually wear a beret.
Dude, Sweet Chocolate (click here for info and address)
Dude, where’s my chocolate? Why, it's right here in this little Bishop Arts shop where Chef and artesian chocolatier Katherine Clapner creates some delicious and unique confections! Try Truly Chocolate Granola or the wittily named, Fungus Amongus Toffee. And in case you lose your chocolate again, it can be found online and at their second location off of Greenville Avenue in Dallas.
Bishop Arts Winery (click here for info and address)
Wine bars can be a little stuffy and aloof -- but NOT in Oak Cliff. When you walk in, you’re surrounded by vintage jukeboxes and arcade games, including one with a talking clown, which is both pleasingly quirky and unnervingly creepy. At the bar, you’re greeted with several local wines that you can try by the glass. Make sure you check out the patio -- and if it’s cool enough you can sit by the outdoor fireplace and play some old Sinatra on the jukebox (yes, there’s one outside too).
Taqueria El Si Hay (click here for info and address)
No frills here... and also no seating. Just walk-up street tacos done cheap and tasty. Try two fajita steak tacos with pico de gallo and a bottled lime Jarritos. Make sure you grab a large handful of napkins so you don’t spill salsa on your nice shirt while you’re eating in the car. But since you didn’t break the bank on those tacos, you can afford the dry cleaning fee if you failed on the napkin front.
Ten Bells Tavern (click here for info and address)
Cleanse your taco palate with an ice-cold beverage. Stop in this British-inspired tavern where you’ll find a mix of craft beer from local and national brewers along with a strong selection of European offerings. If you’re still hungry, the lineup of pub fare is solid (mmm, curry chips), with additional chef specials on weekends.
Chicken Scratch & Foundry Bar (click here for info and address)
Taking cues from Austin’s outdoor beer gardens, this restaurant/bar has open-seating and walk-up service. It’s sort of like one huge enclosed family picnic where you can plop yourself on one of the old outdoor couches or play some horseshoes. It's a particularly great spot to go when you're rolling with a large group (either many people OR large people). There’s also live music on the weekends, so be sure to grab a seat close to the stage.
Bar Belmont (click her for info and address)
This retro-chic boutique hotel bar is one of the coolest in town. Be sure to end your day here because the view of the Dallas skyline is amazing. Scout out a table at the end of the terrace, order one of their many hand-crafted cocktails, and take it all in. You can also order food from their downstairs restaurant, Smoke, which is tasty enough to merit your consideration as a destination unto itself (coffee-cured brisket, mmm).
1. Bar Belmont901 Ft Worth Ave, Dallas
2. Davis Street Espresso819 W Davis St, Dallas
3. Jonathon's Oak Cliff1111 N Beckley Ave, Dallas
4. The Wild Detectives314 W 8th St, Dallas
5. Boulevardier408 N Bishop Ave, Ste 108, Dallas
6. Dude, Sweet Chocolate408 W Eighth St, Dallas
7. Bishop Arts Winery838 W Davis St, Dallas
8. Taqueria El Si Hay601 W Davis St, Dallas
9. Ten Bells Tavern232 W 7th St, Dallas
10. Chicken Scratch2303 Pittman St., Dallas
Located in the Belmont Hotel, Bar Belmont's got an outdoor terrace with incredible views of the Downtown skyline (as does the hotel's pool!), an EB&D Loaded Up & Truckin Burger (bacon, cheddar, and frittered farm egg), and a Beer (!) Can Farm Chicken with tomatillo chili sauce and pickled green beans.
This shop is an extension of family-owned Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters (next door), who have been roasting in Oak Cliff since 2008. There are no takeaway cups and no Wi-Fi here -- only amazing coffee and chill, relaxing vibes. The coffee's really that good (pro tip: get the Van Buren aka Davis St's take on a Cortado) that you won't mind unplugging for a while. Take a seat at one of the unique wood tables, order a double espresso, and have an actual conversation with someone, instead of your phone.
With not one but two daily happy hours, a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar, and breakfast served all afternoon, Jonathon's Oak Cliff is pretty easy to love. The popular soul food spot, housed in a charming green clapboard building, serves classic Southern fare all day. While the (literally) award-winning chicken and waffles are the crowd-favorite on the brunch menu, the kitchen serves everything from breakfast tacos to pancake-battered sausages. For dinner, the burgers are the house specialty, ranging from the fresh veggie burger to the famous "Nooner Burger," stacked with bacon, ham, Swiss, and a fried egg. Whether searching for some hearty Southern fare, or a serious hair of the dog, Jonathon's will certainly deliver.
Part indie bookstore, part bar, and part cafe, The Wild Detectives in the Bishop Arts District invites you to stop by for an afternoon or evening of curling up with fiction, poetry, and untranslated Spanish literature, while you sip local craft beverages and brews, and snack on Mediterranean-inspired bites. Coffee comes from a roastery in the neighborhood, beer comes from a brewery around the corner, and food includes toasts and cheese boards. You’re encouraged to pair your Spanish novel of choice with a glass of Spanish wine, or your classic literary tome with a craft cocktail, like the Shakespeare Sister.
This French-inspired Bistro uses its wood-fired grill to reinvent some classic dishes from across the pond. In addition to the grub, there's an expansive wine selection that includes more than 120 American and French varietals, as well as a large array of liquors including Whiskeys, Armagnacs and Cognacs.
Coming from an ex-Stephen Pyles pastry chef, this stoner-ifically named storefront sells sophisticated, local ingredient-driven bars (Kampot w/ Cambodian black pepper & cocoa nibs), chocolates (Marley: olive oil/butter/hemp seed), and truffles (the T: yerba mate tea/lemon/powdered sugar).
Not just a winery, walk into this Bishop Arts institution and find yourself surrounded by arcade games and vintage jukeboxes. Grab a glass of local wine from the bar, then walk out to the patio, where you'll find yourself surrounded by a cozy fireplace and ANOTHER vintage jukebox, hooray!
Taqueria El Si Hay is so good you'll want to eat it standing up... also, you'll have to eat it standing up because there are no seats -- but you won't mind because it really is that good. Get yourself two fajita steak tacos with pico de gallo and a Jarritos and enjoy.
A small, casual space with dark wood accents, low-key lighting, and the walls covered with eclectic framed images, Ten Bells has all the charm of a traditional English pub with all the southern goodness of a comfort food-centric menu. The locals favor Ten Bells for their hearty brunch menu, but honestly those short rib cheese fries taste exceptional at any meal—especially late night. Try the Duck Confit Hash or the Smoked Salmon Benedict, but don’t worry they have your traditional country breakfast options like sausage and eggs. They keep you guessing with an ever-changing list of craft cocktails, and host pub trivia on Wednesdays.
Chrises Jeffers & Zielke tapped Smoke's Tim Byers to build the menu for this rustic-modern, quick-service shack, where you can dine in, or get a to-go plate, then grab beer from the next-door Foundry and sit at one of their picnic tables while listening to live music. Either way, you'll gorge on fried or rotisserie chicken, mac 'n cheese, and from-scratch, daily changing frozen paletas.