For many, the holidays center around family. That's great and all, but cramming a bunch of people into a house for multiple days at a time can create some anxiety for everyone. Plus, being a good host requires showing your guests around town.
For diffusing cabin fever and playing tour guide, we've put together a list of bars designed for the many types of friends and relatives you may have to entertain this holiday season. You can't make anyone drink, but you can put them in a place they're likely to enjoy.
For your drunk uncle
Classic dive bar The Loon reopened a few blocks away from its old haunt and with a new name: Cliff's Bar & Grill. But the drinks are still 95 percent alcohol. Sure, the setting is a little nicer, which means your drunk uncle might "cause a scene," but Cliff's has the same attitude, so he'll find kindred spirits for an afternoon that quickly bleeds into the evening.
For your oenophile aunt
A more refined breed than the drunk uncle, the oenophile aunt is more likely to turn into a cheery, adorable mess after a couple of glasses of wine. Take her to Veritas Wine Room on Henderson Avenue where she can sip from a well-cultivated wine list and nosh on meat and cheese plates. Veritas has a crowd that enjoys wine, so your aunt will be among her people. Just make sure she doesn't get too flirty with the staff after a couple of Pinots.
For your older guests
Ignore Uptown and Deep Ellum and take your (grand)parents to the Mansion Bar, where the residence-turned-hotel's classic elegance comes through with touches of modernity. The drinks span generations, from timeless cocktails to present-day concoctions like the Figgie Smalls with Rogue gin, fig and lemon. Even if you don't hail from Dallas' first families, you and yours can feel like it here. Just leave Drunk Uncle at home.
For your cousin who goes to LSU
There are only two college football games going on during Thanksgiving, but after that you'll have conference championships, bowl games and the inaugural College Football Playoffs. Take advantage of crisp fall weather with Katy Trail Ice House's massive patio. College football fans flock here on Saturdays for goblets of beer, a plethora of flat screens and tailgating antics such as cornhole. Wear your colors; you're sure to find fellow fans from all over the Big 12 and SEC.
For your cousin who goes to Kansas
If you've got a relative who likes their balls and goals equally round, Christies on McKinney Avenue has enough TVs to cover all your college basketball and NBA games. It definitely caters to hoop fanatics; expect to find it full of Tar Heels and Jayhawks whenever they tip off. Grab some buckets of beer and a table to watch your team drain buckets. (See what we did there?)
For your newly single friend
Let's say your friend, who's back in town for Thanksgiving, is newly single. He or she is probably going through some stuff, what with all the happy couples who have cuffed up for the oncoming slate of tacky sweater parties. Friends in these situations need a little boost, and Knox Street Pub's Fireball Jello shots will help them forget about their ex and have them making new friends in no time. The rowdy weekend crowd is a meat market, so surely the right cut can be found.
For the boyfriend who's hanging out with the family for the first time
It can be stressful to introduce your significant other to your family, particularly during the holiday season. Take the tension down a notch at the Ginger Man in Uptown. Its cozy interior can get busy thanks to all the hop heads hunting that craft beer buzz, but the upstairs room has a homey feel that's far way from the action. You can have a quality conversation yet enough distractions to get away for a moment if your parents start grilling your partner too much. Tell your boyfriend/girlfriend to bring up the literary context of the bar's name, and your parents will be impressed that you're dating someone so learned.
For your Austinite sister
Before your Austinite sister gets a chance to open her mouth about how superior the state capital is, take her to The Foundry and plop her down in front of the stage. It's closed for Thanksgiving, but go on Friday or Saturday night when live music happens after 9 pm. The dog-friendly patio and craft beer selection rivals most Austin joints, and it's far away from the sheen of Uptown.
For your New York brother
Whereas your Austinite sibling finds Dallas too shiny, your brother living on the Lower East Side might find his return to Dallas to be a little ... pedestrian. For his jaded, leather-jacket-wearing self, head to Midnight Rambler at The Joule. This cocktail lounge from Christy Pope and Chad Solomon is the hottest new spot in Dallas, and the bartending duo hail from NYC themselves. It's swanky, sexy and suitably priced ($12-$15 per drink) for any New Yorker in your life.