Drinking Diaries

Dallas dive bar Velvet Elvis is a hunk of burning love in a strip mall

Dallas dive bar Velvet Elvis is a hunk of burning love

Velvet Elvis does not care about you. It does not care about what kind of car you drive or where you bought your nice shirt. It’s too busy to bother itself with trifling things like appearances.

There are dive bars — like Time Out Tavern — and then there are dive bars situated in run-down strip malls next to dry cleaners and karate studios.

Velvet Elvis is actually the nicer of the two bars in the strip, though that’s a bit like saying someone can win in a Sandra Bernhard look-a-like contest. (Next-door A Step Up Lounge came into this world covered in a thick layer of cigarette smoke and stale beer and keeps forgetting to shower.)

The Velvet Elvis is a neighborhood bar through and through, providing nourishment to those who flock there for dangerously cheap drinks and quality cougar watching.

You’re wasting your time if you go to the Elvis for anything other than drinking. Well, maybe some pool and sweet, sweet karaoke. It’s a neighborhood bar through and through, providing nourishment to locals who flock to Marsh and Walnut Hill lanes for dangerously cheap drinks ($3 Crown and Cokes) and quality cougar watching.

The last time I was at the Elvis, it was a busy Friday, nearly packed full of drinkers ranging in age from 20s to 60s, all keeping up with one another. It's a bit like walking into the bar from Shameless​.

The cover band members looked like patrons who had decided to play the instruments the last band left behind. They proved to be as eclectic as a jukebox, jumping from Journey to Snoop Dogg to Madonna as fluidly as any band can navigate multiple decades and styles.

As the night wore on, some of the patrons had a tough time holding their liquor. A Buddy Garrity clone got carried out by two friends around 12:15 am — a sobering, absurd and slightly funny glimpse into the future. But, hey, the Elvis will get you if you don’t respect it — and the band didn’t miss a beat.

Maybe the best part about Velvet Elvis is that for a neighborhood bar, it doesn’t feel cliquey or standoffish. Play some pool, order from friendly bartenders and start a conversation with people, and you’ll wonder why you were ever nervous about walking into the place.

You emerge from the Velvet Elvis a little stickier than you entered, and you might lie to your coworkers about what you did over the weekend. But a Friday night at the Elvis is more fun than anything happening in Uptown.  

Velvet Elvis
At the Velvet Elvis, it's all about having a good time and being a little wild.  Velvet Elvis/Facebook
Velvet Elvis
You are actually required to dress up as Elvis on Saturdays. (Editor's note: That may not be true.) Velvet Elvis/Facebook