Where to Drink

Where to drink in Dallas right now: 5 best bars to sip wine or beer

Where to drink in Dallas right now: 5 best bars to sip wine or beer

Adam Lee Wine Dinner
Would you like some wine with that? Courtesy photo

Whiskey is wonderful, cocktails are cool. But sometimes you don't want to get that heavy. You want to sip on something easier, more laid-back, with a lower ABV, whether that's a bottle (or glass) of wine or an icy cold beer.

These 5 bars, some new, some classic, can all accommodate you. Some also have cocktails; some do not. But they all definitely feature a great collection of beer or a fine selection of wine.

Here's 5 bars to try for October:

Beckley 1115
Oak Cliff wine bar from Sharon Van Meter, most previously at the 3015 at Trinity Groves event space, just opened in the old Victor Hugo's space at 1115 N. Beckley Ave. You can get wine by the glass, bottle, or case, plus shared small plates such as Spanish meatballs with creamy polenta and crunchy bread; tomato bisque with mini grilled cheese; caramelized squash toast with whipped ricotta; and smashed fried potatoes with saffron goat cheese.

Braindead Brewing
Deep Ellum bar-restaurant-brewery was a craft beer pioneer when it opened in 2015 — a lifetime ago in a neighborhood that has changed dramatically. Somehow they squeaked through the pandemic, and the (slightly thinner) crowds are back, hanging out on their lively sunny patio overlooking the action on Main Street. Their beer includes a tap wall of more than two dozen beers and ciders, most brewed in-house. They're still serving food from a pared-down menu of greatest hits such as the "Thick & Morty," an Akaushi burger with American cheese, bacon, steak sauce, sautéed onion, and string fries.

Civil Pour
Mom-and-pop at The Hill, the center at the northeast corner of US-75 and Walnut Hill Lane, is well known for great coffee, whether it's espressos or creative drinks such as the 1885, combining a double espresso and Sugar Cane Dr. Pepper over ice. But owners Chad & Nellie Montgomery — who founded the Big Texas Beer Fest, which heroically returns this year on November 12-13 — are equally adept at beer. Civil Pour not only features rare, seasonal, best-of-style beers — many available only on draft — but they're also fastidious caretakers, observing best practices like cleaning tap lines regularly and tending to minutiae such as the proper proportion of CO2 to guarantee a smooth pour.

Distinctive Vines Wine Lounge
Black-owned wine lounge on the southern edge of downtown in the old Piggly Wiggly building near the Lorenzo Hotel opened quietly this summer, and has become exactly the kind of social destination that co-founder Verlin Taylor envisioned. You can get wine by the glass or bottle,  as well as wine flights and wine slushies in flavors such as peach. They feature weekly specials like Wednesday nights where you get a free flatbread when you purchase a bottle. The space is heavily programmed, with jazz musicians, DJs, and a new Sunday brunch that debuts on October 24.

Deep Ellum gets a wine bar thanks to the tendency of this eclectic and funky chain from Phoenix to gravitate towards historical neighborhoods. It's a cool indoor-outdoor venue where you can choose from 30 wines by the glass and 40 wines by the bottle. Their food is simple but good, with a big selection of boards and bruschetta that you can compose yourself, plus salads and panini, and a category called "Snacky Things" that includes crispy cauliflower with sultana raisins, capers, and Romesco. They rotate in seasonal wine selections and a glass is only $5 until 5 pm. The vibe is cool, effortless, yet warm and welcoming.