How about a toast to the 10 best bars in Dallas

If the coronavirus makes one thing clear, it’s how much we miss our Dallas bars. As part of our Tastemaker Awards, CultureMap’s annual event honoring the best local food and drink, we recognize the bars in Dallas that do everything right. Here you can meet friends and enjoy a cocktail or a cold beer on tap.

The 2020 event will be different from previous years. For the first time, we’re bringing the party to your home with the Tastemaker Awards – Virtual Edition, which you can read all about here.

One thing that hasn’t changed is our editorial series that features this year’s nominees. We will announce the winners at our event on July 30th.

Here are the 10 finalists for the best bar of the year.

Black Swan Saloon

This isn’t the first time Black Swan has been nominated. No wonder, as it is still one of the most prestigious bars in Dallas, thanks in no small part to the excellent hospitality of the bartender owner Gabe Sanchez. The bar was one of the first in town to take cocktails to the next level when it opened in 2010. So she was a pioneer and served magical drinks. Despite all that, the bar has a modest demeanor. It’s a small room, not too dazzling, that surpasses the first impression and sneakily convinces you.


The Lounge at Bishop Arts is a new craft cocktail destination with renowned bartenders and an ever-changing selection of botanical drinks. Ingredients include flowers, herbs, and homemade infusions. Cocktail examples include the Bob Ross with jalapeño beet tequila, lime juice, agave, and dry curacao. the chrysanthemum with Fernet-Branca, Bénédictine herbal liqueur, turbinado sugar, absinthe spray and a chrysanthemum garnish. There are also bites, including oysters, shrimp cocktail, caviar, and sausages.


After Irish pub veterans Peter and Cheryl Kenny (they own the Dubliner) closed their long-running Capitol pub on Henderson Avenue, they made the leap to East Dallas with Lochland’s, a prototypical neighborhood bar with everything the area wanted. A good beer selection, a place for the community to gather, good fish and chip pub grub, with a terrace, weekend brunch and a welcoming spirit.

Mike’s twin twin

“We’re a bar with a pool table, dart board and no window,” says this deliberately constructed pub in the Cedars District. It’s a shotgun room with a cool, moody vibe that feels like it could have been there for decades even though it’s only a little over a year old. Named after an old drive-in theater on the Northwest Highway called Gemini Twin, Mike’s is a collaboration between two young bar veterans: Sam Wynne, co-owner of Braindead Brewing, and Pasha Heidari, who owns the prestigious uptown bar Bowen House and Las Palmas Restaurant.

Playwright Pub

Alan Kearney, an Irish native who also owns The Crafty Irishman Pub in downtown Dallas, took over the vaguely doomed One Arts Plaza space, previously occupied by Proof + Pantry, for the Irish Pub. It offers hundreds of whiskeys and scotches and 50 beers on tap, including a healthy Irish selection. Kearney spent a lot of time and care making sure it was a traditional pub like the one found in his hometown of Dublin.

I wish you

To be honest, Te Deseo is the first restaurant to offer an ambitious selection of Latin American dishes and even have a celebrated chef, Ty Thaxton. However, this is a concept of the Harwood Hospitality Group whose restaurants always have a large bar component. The area of ​​Te Deseo is 14,000 square meters and includes several social and dining areas, each with different personalities and designs, including a tiled courtyard, four bars and a roof with a view of the city. It also offers lively entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights.

The Clover Club

This company originated from award-winning bartender Eddie “Lucky” Campbell and business partner Brad Woy, who also owns The Standard Pour. Their goal was to create a big band atmosphere and a unique supper club experience that could appeal to an older population than the usual uptown crowd. The atmosphere is the 1960s supper club with a New American restaurant, bar, dance floor, and live music stage. There’s also a rooftop terrace with a more casual feel and views of the downtown skyline.

Three links

Opened in 2013, Three Links is reminiscent of Deep Ellum’s punk rock heyday in the 1990s as a live music destination. You are now the go-to place to see emerging national bands on tour as well as local and regional bands. They also function as a neighborhood bar and open early every day with a full bar with 16 beers on tap. Their facade is a garage door that stays open most days creating a welcoming atmosphere that makes you feel part of the family immediately .

Small victories

The cozy neighborhood lounge in North Oak Cliff is from This & That (High Fives, The Whippersnapper, Ferris wheels). It’s tiny by bar standards, around 1,000 square meters without the small terrace. It’s just a great place to have a beer, glass of wine, or cocktail – especially a cocktail, as they take their craft pretty seriously and strive to get an education by listing the date of their cocktails’ invention, i.e. the 1927 Boulevardier to obtain.

Great patio

Having a terrace in your name is not a misnomer. This half-sibling to Hide in Deep Ellum has a huge deck as part of its 15,000-square-foot footprint and is especially dog-friendly. It is named after the Tolling Retriever dog breed. They make fun cocktails on tap, along with beer, wine, and a small selection of snacks like chips & queso, hummus, and wings.

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