Dallas' Best Nightlife

Travelers arriving in Dallas believing they'll find an Old West town of honky-tonk bars and country line-dancing will soon discover that this cosmopolitan city has a thriving arts scene, and an excellent selection of bars and nightclubs. Sure, there are the requisite honky-tonks -- this is Texas, after all -- but a closer look at the city after dark reveals an array of options that will make everyone from symphony lovers to beer and wine aficionados swoon. Here are our top 5 picks for Dallas nightlife.

1. AT&T Performing Arts Center

AT&T Performing Arts Center, Dallas
JoshEwwAhh, flickr

The 3-year-old AT&T Performing Arts Center is the hub of the Dallas arts and culture scene. The 10-acre complex houses multiple indoor and outdoor performance spaces, theaters and the Winspear Opera House. A number of groups perform at the center, including the Dallas Opera and the Texas Ballet, as well as various theater troupes. Tickets to events at the venues can often be purchased for less than $20, and the center also offers occasional free performances. During nice weather, check out an event at Sammons Park; the center's large, grassy lawn is a relaxing outdoor venue to watch smaller, live performances.

2. The Dram

The Dram, Dallas
Andy Keye + Whitney Photography

If you're the see-and-be-seen type, and looking for one of Dallas's sexiest nightspots to get your groove on, head immediately to The Dram, one of the city's hottest lounges. Sip one of the bartender's retro-style cocktails, like the Aviation (a combo gin, creme de violette, lemon and maraschino), or a classic boozy beverage like a Gimlet, Sazerac or Negroni. The mixologists here will gladly whip up any number of artisan hand-crafted cocktails. The dimly lit lounge masks a sea of velvet-covered furniture, with plenty of couches and cozy dark corners for intimate conversations. Enjoy your drinks with the smooth background sounds of nightly DJs spinning a mix of funk, R&B and house music.

3. Adair's Saloon

Adair's Saloon, Dallas
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Kick up your cowboy boots and get ready for a night of line dancing, live music and longneck beers at Adair's Saloon, one of Dallas's oldest and most popular honky-tonks. Serving locals since 1963, Adair's is a dive bar at its finest: ripped booths, graffiti-covered walls, nightly live country music, a well-worn dance floor and seriously good pub grub -- in particular, giant juicy burgers garnished with a whole jalepeño. If you're having a yen to belly up for some day drinking, head to Adair's on a Wednesday, when all pints cost a mere $3.

4. The Foundry

You'll find the best outdoor patio in Dallas at The Foundry, whose industrial-chic gravel courtyard comes complete with picnic tables, strings of twinkling lights hung overhead, a performance stage made of wooden shipping pallets, and is artfully surrounded by semi-truck trailers. Built in a rehabbed garage, clearly, this is a Texas hipster's paradise. The recently opened beer garden here has been making waves in Dallas lately, drawing in curious locals to experience its laid-back vibe and ice-cold beers, putting The Foundry on the fast-track to becoming one of the hottest bar scenes in town.

5. Grapevine Bar

Grapevine Bar, Dallas
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The mismatched mayhem of the Grapevine Bar's decor means that every table, chair, sofa and glass is unique -- much like the Grapevine itself. This Dallas staple has one of the city's wackiest -- and warmest -- atmospheres, making it a favorite watering hole for all kinds: musicians, artists and professionals of every race, religion and sexuality. If you get tired of sipping the signature frozen bellinis while cuddled up on a velour couch, head outside to check out the basketball court, or play a game of pool or ping-pong. Save your dollars to spend on the jukebox; with more than 400 CDs to choose from you'll help keep the music rocking all night.

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