Things Dentonites Might Like Doing in Dallas - Part 1

Denton is lovely. One reason it’s lovely is because we live within a reasonable distance of Dallas and Fort Worth. Folks, we’re on the fringe of a top 5 media market and with that comes some cultural perks to make up for the annoyances of a suburban gruel placed between Dentonites and the Dallas experience. Here are some getaway places to check out in the Big D.

Wild Detectives – We know not everyone is 21, and if you happen to be in this group or in mixed company this is actually a very good spot short of lowering the health rating of a public library by sneaking in a flask. This spot features seasonal cocktails, a well-curated selection of books, an even more curated selection of Spanish language books (only one bookshelf and probably the best selection in Dallas), a fully stocked coffee bar, and really nicely shaded outdoor seating. Though they close slightly early as far as bars go, they still manage to make a few music bookings so it’s a pretty good spot overall.

Cidercade – At this point we’re fairly used to the idea of barcades so this is nothing new except for a few factors: Minors are allowed, They only serve cider, and they have a killer pinball selection. $10 gets you in and there’s usually a food truck outside.

Lizard Lounge – Another one worth mentioning for the under 21 crowd. Lizard Lounge is, for better or for worse, everything people have come to associate with dance clubs. It’s packed, the admission is expensive, you’ve got neon everywhere. That being said, this place is one of Dallas’ longest lasting establishments for a reason and that’s because the people that actually go there end up having a hell of a time. On Sundays this place is actually a goth club called The Church, with one side of the venue playing Industrial and the other smaller portion playing New Wave and general 80’s hits. If you can go on a three day weekend or on one of their special themed nights it’s a really good time. Paddles optional.

S4 – 18+ LGBT night club in the middle of the Gayborhood. The music is solidly electronic with a good house mix and solid light system. On weekdays they’ll host drag shows and on weekends the music goes on until 4AM.

Cowboys Red River – If you’ve ever got some time after an early show at gas monkey live, you should really go ahead and finish the night here. It’s a country place, but it does play a lot of hip hop and there’s a surprisingly diverse group of people for a country spot with surprisingly decent drinks.

Hide – The décor at this place is solid: the bar lighting and the gold mesh-wrapped lights give it a warm glow, which makes the drinks at this joint go down all the easier. Don’t let the décor fool you, it’s a casual spot. It’s a small place with not many places to stand so you’re out of luck if there’s nowhere to sit, but if you get there early enough on a weekend you’ll find one of the best cocktail spots in Deep Ellum. If you’re a fan of gin, try their Clarified Gin & Tonic, it’s a bar basic taken to perfection.

Deep Ellum DJ Nights – If you’re in town, Deep Ellum is already a solid spot to check out and it’s difficult to not find something to do, but if you happen to be in town while Blake Ward’s Disco, TX event is going on, you’re sure to bump it up a notch with his revolving set of themes. Boom Boom Pum plays at Wit’s End once a month and hosts a packed Latin night with live painting by local artists and a solid rooftop view where they serve food as well. You could also head over to Faded Deejays, another monthly event at Club Dada that uses both inside and outside stages with a revolving set of DJs that blasts hip hop and Latin music, but you’ll have to get there early unless you want to pay a cover.

Black Swan – Deep Ellum can get a little overwhelming, so if you need somewhere to chill out check out this place and you’ll find a staff that’s truly knowledgeable about their spirits and is usually low-key enough to where they’ll walk you through a few bottles of whiskey before you decide which one to pour.

Dot’s – If you happen to pass this Deep Ellum joint and find that it feels a little familiar, that’s because you’ve probably visited its Denton-based parents. Owned by the same people that run East Side and Oak St. Drafthouse, Dot’s runs the same concept in Deep Ellum with a giant chandelier hanging in the patio and a big UNT flag to remind people where they come from. Unlike the spots in Denton, though, this place has a bar menu with some top shelf duck fat fries if you’re looking for a bite to eat before you head somewhere else.

It’ll Do Club – Except for the light-up floor in the middle this East Dallas place is a barren warehouse with a single row of seating on the edges and that’s what makes it GREAT because you’re there to dance and that’s about it. It's weekends only. They don't play Hip Hop or Pop, but what they do book are just some DJss that should be playing larger spots than this. It's a little crowded, but nowhere near the same level as S4 or Lizard Lounge on Fri/Sat. It’s also got a very generous AC system in the middle of the summer. If someone's playing, it's a 20 cover. If it's the Hug Life weekly, it a $10 cover. If you want a good photo on the floor, get there early because they’ll kick you out if you use your phone too much once it picks up.

Beauty Bar – Off by Knox-Henderson is another incredible dance spot in Beauty Bar. Thursday is a solid hip hop night, all hip hop all night. Friday you have Red Eye blowing up the joint with Italo and Disco mixes. Saturday you have Blake Ward doing a weekly named Glamorama with a solid mix that’ll get you moving. The drinks are on par with every place, but because this spot is relatively small it can get crowded quick. They’ll be moving to Deep Ellum later this year so if you can go to the Knox Henderson spot before then, I highly recommend it.

All complaints about cool Dallas spots that were left out can be sent to Get yourself in the next article.