Within the boundaries of Dallas and Fort Worth are fine spots for live music, especially of the country variety. But the city-limit signs aren’t where the twangy good times end. Anyone seeking a boot-scootin’ rowdy time, complete with buckets of iced-down brew and plenty of twin-fiddles, can find it in the suburbs.
Here are four fantastic spots to hit when you need good food and better tunes outside of the city glare:
Love and War in Texas (Plano and Grapevine)
Of the joints on this list, Love and War in Texas wins the battle of the menus. Not only is it a state map-themed concept (seafood from the Gulf Coast, a burger from Athens, wild game from the Hill Country and Tex-Mex from the Rio Grande region), but the geographically appropriate grub is legitimately tasty.
Each location has a unique, expansive patio where picnic tables and musical fellowship carry the night. In the spring and summer, do not miss the Shiner Sunday series, where the biggest names in Texas, including Charlie Robison, Hayes Carll and Jason Boland hit the stage for some fun in the sun (and under the shade-lending trees).
Hank’s Texas Grill (McKinney)
With a massive patio that manages to feel outdoorsy while being pretty much enclosed, Hank’s in McKinney has packed the place with quality bookings that blend local, regional and national talent. Case in point: Roger Creager and Bleu Edmondson, two Texas stalwarts who often pack rooms triple the size of Hank’s, recently played there.
The trusty combination of great nachos, massive and frosty beers, and good-time vibe make this a great experience.
Coach Joe Avezzano’s Hat Tricks (Lewisville)
This long-standing sports bar boasts the most eclectic entertainment schedule of any venue in the area, not just on this list. Although the Texas country vibe is perhaps the most prominent among the regular bookings at Hat Tricks, any week can see a calendar with Red Dirt icon Stoney LaRue followed by 1990s alt-rockers and Pitbull.
Cozily tucked away in the part of Lewisville not overrun by big-box stores, Hat Tricks is the neighborhood hang with top-notch live tunes.
Southern Junction Steakhouse (Rockwall)
The most old-school example of a honky-tonk on this list, Southern Junction regularly plays host to the likes of Robert Earl Keen and Randy Rogers. And yet the dance floor up-front makes it clear that this isn’t merely a concert hall. It’s a place to twirl that lady you’ve been thinking about all week long and be where the whole town is.