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.
Acquired Taste: Blood Rice Cakes With Timothy DeLaGhetto and Justina Valentine
Davis Street Espresso (click here for info and address) Oak Cliff 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) Oak Cliff 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) Bishop Arts 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) Bishop Arts 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) Bishop Arts 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) Oak Cliff 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) Oak Cliff 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) Oak Cliff 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) Oak Cliff 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) Oak Cliff 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).