Food & Drink

10 Underrated Places to Drink in Dallas

Published On 01/14/2015 Published On 01/14/2015
Second Floor

There’s a certain class of bars in Dallas: you know them, you nod your head in recognition when you drive or walk (nah, just drive) past and think, "Damn, I’ve been meaning to check that place out." Then there's another class of places you might not notice at all. Here are 10 hidden and/or underappreciated gems you should add to your to-drink list.

The Second Floor

North Dallas
Hotel restaurants don’t generally spring to mind when asking yourself "where should I drink?", but the bar area of this sleek New American restaurant located inside the Westin Galleria Dallas happens to whip up crazy-good cocktails that rotate with the season. It also houses one of the finest and most extensive whiskey collections in town. And bonus: if any over-bourboning happens to occur, you’re just steps away from a hotel room.

Malai Kitchen

Malai Kitchen

West Village
In addition to serving up some formidable Thai and Vietnamese cookery, this West Village restaurant is one of the few spots in town with a brewpub license — aka making and selling its own beers on-site. What that means for your liver is that rich, Southeast Asian-inspired beers like the Bia Hoi, the cleverly named ThaiPA, and rotating seasonals can be had here and nowhere else. Plus, Malai’s cocktail game is spot-on, too, with drinks like ginger margaritas and the Vietnamese coffee martini on offer.

Casa Rubia

Casa Rubia

Oak Cliff
More than just a hotbed of Spanish tapas, this Trinity Groves spot deserves to be moved immediately off your "visit someday" list, with the Pintxo Social Hour that’s been raging there the past couple months. From 5-7pm Monday through Friday, a handful of featured cocktails go into deep discount mode; we’re talking the sherry-based "Elvis," the house-special blood orange-flavored "Rubia," and an Old Fashioned (as well as a sangria, and gin & tonics) for $5 each. And, so these drinks don’t have only each other to mingle with in your stomach (this IS a social hour, after all), Casa Rubia provides free eats, too. 

Tate's

Tate’s

Uptown
It’s easy to slip under the cocktailing radar along McKinney, rife as it is with places to drink. Tate’s went quiet there for a spell, but now the handsome space with the throwback vibe is roaring back with a terrific team behind the bar whipping up thoughtful, unique drinks as expertly as they do the classics. Right now, they’re churning out warm cocktails like toddies and spiked hot cocoas, perfect for staving off the chill. Not to be missed are half-priced rums on Tuesdays and half-priced whiskey Wednesdays.

The Woolworth

The Woolworth

Downtown
Speaking of throwbacks, this CBD bar-restaurant is tucked deep into an old building that housed the no-longer-with-us department store Woolworth’s. It’s a little work to find, which adds to its charm, so don’t let a little legwork deter you from discovering the fantastic cocktails (strawberry-cuke caipirinhas come to mind) and food like the endlessly snackable crab nachos and sticky wings.

The Social House Addison

Social House

Uptown
Just because a bar’s not on the tip of every other tippler’s tongue (say it 10 times fast!) doesn’t mean it’s not worth posting up there for the night, particularly with insane weekday happy hour deals including half-off pizzas, half-off Crown and Downs. and $3 off house-special cocktails. Also, the crowd tends to be good looking, even more so once you've indulged. The 100 beers on tap have to be a help, too.

Bryan Street Tavern

Bryan Street Tavern

East Dallas
This low-lit dive has always felt like a friend's basement, decked out as it is in sofas, bar stools, and pool tables. Both feel like someplace where it’s (maybe too) easy to spend seemingly endless hours eating pizza and drinking. On Tuesdays, Texas drafts go for $3 all day, but almost every day of the week there’s some incredible deal to be had, along with a tray of surprisingly tasty thin-crust pizzas.

The Wild Detectives

Wild Detectives

Oak Cliff
This converted house may not have registered as a place to drink for the simple fact that it’s a bookstore/coffeehouse (and you may not have realized it was converted in the first place). But inside the cool, wood-paneled space, you can chase your cappuccino with a Four Corners El Chingon. Or your cortado with a cocktail. Guest bartenders, DJ nights, and a rustic picnic-tabled patio make it one of Oak Cliff’s most interesting places to gather.

Boxwood T+G

Boxwood Tap + Grill

State-Thomas
Another quiet standout on the bustling Uptown scene is this brick-walled joint with a solid slate of drinks and chef-crafted eats. It also hosts a formidable reverse happy hour on Thursdays, with $3 domestics and $5 craft cocktails from 10pm-2am. Local beers are represented on the menu, too, and non-mimosa cocktail pitchers make us wish that were a thing everywhere.

HG Sply Co.

HG Sply Co.

Lower Greenville
While across-the-street neighbor Blind Butcher tends to get all the drinking press in this neck of the woods, you’d do well to remember that this health-conscious eatery turns out some fine cocktailery, too. Among the most fun is its Sunset Toast, a rotating mixed-drink selection meant for bringing up to HG Sply’s decked-out rooftop patio and enjoying the eventide view. You'll especially enjoy their tweaks on the classics, like the Fall Fashioned and the Confit Sazerac.

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1. The Second Floor 13340 Dallas Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75240 (North Dallas)

Found on the second floor (see what they did there??) of the Westin Galleria, The Second Floor is an American Bistro with a killer whiskey selection -- we're talking 200 different varieties.

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2. Malai Kitchen 3699 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75204 (West Village)

Two local Thai & Vietnamese cuisine vets who also ran restos in Cali have opened a bistro where ginger plants blossom near walls covered with Japanese polonia wood painted silver, gold, and green, and scored with a pattern of interlocking leaves.

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3. Casa Rubia at Trinity Groves 3011 Gulden Ln, Dallas, TX 75212 (Oak Cliff)

More than just a hotbed of Spanish tapas, this Trinity Groves spot has a raging Pintxo Social Hour. From 5-7pm Monday through Friday, a handful of featured cocktails go into deep discount mode. And, so that these drinks don’t have only each other to mingle with in your stomach (this IS a social hour, after all), Casa Rubia provides free eats, too.

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4. Tate's 2723 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75204 (Uptown)

When was the last time your drink was made with fresh squeezed juices? If you're a Tate's regular, it was 10 seconds before you generously tipped your 'tender. This place believes in superb cocktails and will never disappoint in their variety or quality of the booze they pour.

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5. The Woolworth 1520 Elm St #201, Dallas, TX 75201 (Downtown)

Truffle fries and lobster fondue sneak their way onto the menu of this Downtown cocktail bar where the man behind the bar is more "bar-chef" than just a mixologist. The Woolworth's brunch menu features flavorful, Southern dishes like habanero fried chicken and jumbo buttermilk biscuits, all of which you can enjoy on the spacious outdoor patio with a ice cold pitcher of Pomegranate Mimosas.

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6. The Social House 2708 Routh St, Dallas, TX 75201 (Uptown)

Come to The Social House for insane weekday happy hour deals, including half-off pizzas, half-off Crown and Downs, and $3 off house-special cocktails. The crowd here tends to be good-looking - even more so once you've tossed back a few. Video DJs pack the house on Fridays and Saturdays and 25 TVs ensure you don't miss a moment of your favorite game. Brick oven pizzas and Southern flavors pack the menu, with eats like Buffalo Calamari and Texas Shrimp and Grits.

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7. Bryan Street Tavern 4315 Bryan St, Dallas, TX 75204 (East Dallas)

This low-lit dive has always felt like a friend's basement, decked out as it is in sofas, bar stools, and pool tables. Both feel like someplace where it’s (maybe too) easy to spend endless hours drinking and eating pizza, but what exactly is wrong with that? An added bonus of this spot is their regular live concerts and spacious outdoor patio area-- a major upgrade on the basement, indeed.

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8. The Wild Detectives 314 W 8th St, Dallas, TX 75208 (Bishop Arts Dist)

A combination of indie bookstore and bar/cafe in Bishop Arts, The Wild Detectives welcomes you to stop by and enjoy your favorite authors while sipping your favorite brews. Locally sourced drinks and small plates include Dallas-based Zakti tea, Texas Ale Project beer, and sweet and savory bites like pastries sourced from Rush Patisserie and breakfast tacos from El Padrino.

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9. Boxwood T+G 2901 Thomas Ave, Dallas, TX 75204 (Uptown)

A collabo between the dudes from The Dram and Oak, a Kosmas-trained 'tender to used to mix drinks at NYC's Employees Only, and a chef from Cafe 43 and Whiskey Cake, Boxwood T+G serves up delicious brasserie eats, has 10 beers on tap, and features the finest patio on all of Thomas Ave.

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10. HG Sply Co. 2008 Greenville Ave, Dallas, TX 75206 (Lower Greenville)

Dallas's first primarily paleo diet-influenced restaurant, serving everything from bacon that you can dip in hummus, to an 80% Wagyu beef burger topped with bacon jam.

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