We're excited about our first-ever CultureMap Dallas Tastemaker Awards, where we celebrate the talent in the local food and drink community. Our editors selected the nominees, and a panel of experts chose winners in nine categories — which will be revealed at our big event on May 6.
So far, we've applauded the city's top pastry chefs and tipped our hat to the best breweries in town. Now we get to the fun stuff: best bars. Our list covers the spectrum — from the fancy hotel canteen to the funkiest dive, from the best beer bar to the pub with excellent food.
After you've scanned this list of Best Bar contenders, head over and cast your vote in our Best New Restaurant tournament.
This Deep Ellum dive is famous for beers in cans, burgers and live country music. The walls are covered with Sharpie art, and you're encouraged to add to the ever-growing mosaic of dirty rhymes and initial-filled hearts. Live music is a big draw; a Red Dirt band plays just about every night.
Black Swan Saloon
Understated bar in Deep Ellum is hard to find but worth the search. Owner and accomplished mixologist Gabe Sanchez knows his way around the art and magic of fruit-infused vodkas and bourbons.
A pioneering presence on the local craft beer scene, Common Table boasts one of the best selections of beer on tap in the city. The bar is a destination for local beers clubs and brewers from around the country. Plus it boasts a good menu with fried calamari, margherita flatbread, and chicken and dumplings.
Katy Trail Ice House
Best patio anywhere, with long community tables, idyllic location off the Katy Trail and 50 taps of beer all combine to make the Ice House a major presence in Uptown Dallas. It's also dog-friendly.
Quirky bar in urban South Dallas neighborhood is an acquired taste. With its enormous patio in front, it's more of an outdoor bar than anything else, with picnic tables and cheap beer. Sunday afternoons, it becomes a giant dog park, and the place has at least two unofficial mascots, one a dog, the other a cat called Bacon.
As Greenville Avenue becomes more cool and more crowded, the Libertine becomes a more invaluable alternative. The laid-back vibe is somewhere between stoner and hipster, while the selection of beer on tap is as good as it gets in Dallas. A nifty menu of edibles is priced at $10 or less and includes a few vegan dishes.
Like the Mansion restaurant and hotel, the Mansion Bar is a class act, through and through. With its marble on the floor and petite size, it feels European. More a collection of cozy nooks than anything else, it provides the perfect location for a nightcap or an illicit rendezvous.
Uptown's version of a dive translates into a spot that's informal yet has the sophistication of a cocktail lounge. There's plenty of see-and-be-seen along with well-made drinks like the Moscow Mule: vodka, ginger and lime juice served in a copper mug.
This Mockingbird Station hangout has the classic trappings of an Irish pub — rich mahogany wood, live music, wide assortment of beers and excellent food for a bar, including an ever-growing selection of vegan items. Owner Marius Donnelly is an incomparably hospitable and accommodating host.
Come celebrate the Tastemakers with us on Tuesday, May 6, at Seven for Parties in the Dallas Design District. To learn more about the event, including information about our beneficiaries, judges, participating restaurants and ticket sales, visit our Tastemakers website.