A dive bar is like art — you know it when you see it. It’s not glamorous. It has cheap drinks. And it’s probably not too crowded. For Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area visitors, a good dive bar is a great place to get to know a city. The locals drinking in them are friendly, not pretentious, and are happy to share stories about the neighborhood. Pull up a stool and let’s look at a few DFW dive bars that visitors seeking some local flair should visit.
The Chat Room Pub bills itself as “easily Fort Worth’s eighth best bar”. This windowless place has a large, regular crowd who come for the cheap drinks, good conversations and free music shows. You can still smoke in bars in Fort Worth, so be prepared to leave smelling like smoke.
The Landing, as the locals like to call it, is a great low-lit “upscale dive bar” in East Dallas to unwind, put a song on the jukebox and play some pool. You might want to sit on its deck and smoke a cigarette, too. Everything is easy-breezy at the Landing. Corn dogs go on sale after midnight. Highly recommended: The bar and the corn dogs.
4. LEE HARVEY’S
South Dallas’ Lee Harvey’s is pretty much a small house with a big yard. There’s room in the back for a tight game of pool, but you’ll want to spend most of your time in the front yard where the fire pits are lit when it’s cold. Lee Harvey’s burgers are consistently ranked as one of the best in Dallas, and the friendly staff will happily serve you a strong drink.
Tradewinds is in Dallas’ Oak Cliff neighborhood. The nearly windowless bar opened in 1967 and describes itself as “a place for cold beer and good times.” There’s shuffleboard, darts and karaoke to entertain visitors. And homemade pizza. And burgers. What I’m saying is that it has food, too.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE
We could spend all day talking about DFW dive bars. In addition to the ones above, visitors should check out these other, equally great, places.
Barbara’s Pavillion (Dallas): A LGBTQ-friendly bar located in Oak Cliff.
Cool Beans Bar & Grill (Denton): Self-proclaimed to be “Denton’s Finest Dive Bar”. Lots of UNT students drink here.
Double Wide (Dallas): It’s a bar. In a double wide home. Great place for live music, too.
The Grapevine Bar (Dallas): Describes itself as a “strange little dive bar, prom queens to drag queens”.
Ships Lounge (Dallas): Opened in 1947, it’s one of Dallas’ oldest and best dive bars.
Sunshine Bar (Arlington): Calls itself “a dive bar for everyone from bikers to bankers and hippies to punks”.
Windmill Lounge (Dallas): Known for well-made cocktails that are affordable.
Featured image of Double Wide. Courtesy of Thomas Hawk/Creative Commons.