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Electric Shuffle's 1st birthday celebration will feature giveaways throughout the afternoon, prize wheel opportunities, $10 Espresso Martinis & Spicy Lucy cocktails, live DJs, and more.

Electric Shuffle places a contemporary and high-tech spin on the game of shuffleboard.

Dallas Bites & Sights Tours presents Tacos, Margarita and Christmas Lights Tour

Dallas Bites & Sights Tours will present Tacos, Margarita and Christmas Lights Tour, a Christmas party that starts at a taco restaurant for some of the best tacos in town. Guests can enjoy a full order of two tacos (beef, chicken or vegetarian), rice/beans, a terrific top shelf Margarita and queso. Then it's on to the motorcoach for dessert at a sweet spot, then Christmas Lights in The Park Cities and other cool areas of Dallas.

Photo courtesy of Urban Crust

Urban Crust presents State Fare & Spirits Dinner

Urban Crust will present a State Fare & Spirits Dinner featuring four chef-prepared courses inspired by State Fair food paired with Lockwood Distillery cocktails

Photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market

Be MVP of your watch party with delicious help from Whole Foods Market

Game-Day Ready

Football is here (and fall isn't far behind). If you're just here for the snacks, then Whole Foods Market is ready to make all your chip, dip, food, and drink fantasies come true.

From full-on catering to grab-and-go goodies, here are some winning game day grub ideas:

Catering
Serve as few as four people or an entire team for everyday entertaining and special occasions with catering that's freshly prepared in stores. Whole Foods Market requires each item they prepare to meet their quality standards, which ban more than 230 colors, flavors, preservatives, and other ingredients, and ensures meat used must be from animals raised with no antibiotics ever.

Level up your next game day spread with these winning appetizers, party platters, snacks, drinks, and treats.

Appetizers: Everything you need for a classic tailgate setup that’s ready to heat and serve. Choose from quesadilla platters (with guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo), three flavors of chicken wings (with carrots, celery, and blue cheese dip), cocktail meatballs (with marinara or barbecue sauce), chicken tenders with honey mustard, and more.

Party Pinwheel Platter: A crowd favorite and mess-free option that includes roast beef and cheddar, pesto chicken, and grilled vegetable pinwheels.

Snacks: Give everyone something to nibble on with a cubed meat and cheese platter, smoked fish dip platter, spinach artichoke puffs, Chick’n taquitos, and vegetable crudités with hummus (the last three are vegetarian-friendly).

Sweets: Finish each game on a high note with vegan brownies and chocolate chip cookies or a fresh fruit platter.

Shop the catering lineup and pre-order for easy in-store pickup here.

365 by Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods Market offers their 365 brand to make shopping for affordable and high-quality products easy for customers, with more than 3,500 products that must meet their quality standards. Find everything you need to be the MVP:

Beverages: Shop a selection of canned drinks for the ice chest including 365 brand cola and sparkling waters, with flavors like black cherry, ginger, grapefruit, and lime. Bottled beverages make a great base for cocktails and mocktails. Try Whole Foods Market’s line of organic Italian sodas with fun flavors like orange hibiscus and wild berry.

Snacks: Be as unexpected as that new player on the field with 365 brand garbanzo and lentil chips or new ancient grains and flaxseed pita crackers, both great options to pair with your favorite dips.

Bring on the flavor with 365 brand Texas BBQ kettle cooked potato chips, spicy cheese curls, and organic chili cheese corn chips.

Add some color to your spread with 365 brand organic blue corn tortilla chips, paired with made-in-house guacamole, pico de gallo, and salsas.

And 365 brand animal cookies — frosted, honey cinnamon, chocolate chip, or vanilla — ensure a sweet final score.

Explore more Whole Foods Market game day offerings and recipes here.

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CultureMap is celebrating this fall season of sports with The Tailgate, an all-out party devoted to a favorite Texas pastime. Whole Foods Market will be there with their favorite catering bites and 365 brand snacks. Get tickets now.

Order catering and have everything prepared for you.

Photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market
Order catering and have everything prepared for you.

Gruene Music and Wine Fest brings more good times to historic Texas venue

Going Gruene

Wine, music, and super-old dance halls are the best offerings of Central Texas. Texas’ oldest dance hall, in fact, Gruene Hall, is bringing both wine and music together at the 36th Annual Gruene Music and Wine Fest from October 6 to 9.

In collaboration with KNBT 92.1 FM Radio, ticket and drinks sales from the four-day event in New Braunfels will benefit United Way of Comal County, which in 2021 received nearly $148,000 from the event.

Other festival costs are covered by sponsors (JP Morgan Chase & Co., New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung, and Texas Hill Country Wineries, to name a few). Visitors can participate in wine and beer tastings in between watching live shows at Gruene Hall and The Grapevine wine bar, another one of the event’s sponsors.

On Thursday, October 6, attendees will gather in the Grapevine Garden for tastings from Llano Estacado Winery, Becker Vineyards, Hilmy Cellars, and an unnamed brewery. Admission is free, and tastings are managed with drink tickets in increments of $5 per drink, which decrease to $4 when purchased in larger quantities. There will be live music and giveaways, followed by a ticketed performance from Josh Abbott Band at Gruene Hall.

Friday’s events are already sold out, but could inspire an itinerary for another day in Gruene, visiting the historic Gristmill River Restaurant right next to the dance hall. One of the draws to this day’s tickets was a “Great Guitar Auction,” followed by a performance from Pat Green.

Back at the Grapevine Garden on Saturday from noon to 6 pm, is a new event that mirrors Thursday’s tasting, this time with six wineries: Lost Draw Cellars, Fiesta Winery, Texas SouthWind Vineyard & Winery, Texoir, Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards, and Messina Hof. Josh Baca & The Hot Tamales and The Johnathans will play visitors through the six-hour tasting and into a ticketed concert by the Lost Gonzo Band, founded in 1972.

Sunday unplugs for a string of acoustic performances from 2 pm to 9 pm at Gruene Hall. The lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but Mattson Rainier of KNBT will emcee the all-day, 21-and-up show. The event ($40) promises “some of Texas’ best songwriters.”

When the festival was in its nascent years, it only filled one day, raising $450 for the United Way. The gigantic non-profit conglomerate claims a mission to “advance the common good,” which in Comal County includes support to several kids’, medical, and Christian groups. It also supports multiple food banks and resources for victims of domestic violence.

In general, tasting events are free and tickets can be pre-purchased online, or at the event. Concert tickets must be purchased ahead of time and may sell out. For more information and purchase links, visit gruenemusicandwinefest.org.

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The 10 best sports bars in Dallas for every team's top fan

Beer Me

Football, hockey, soccer, baseball, basketball — no matter which sport you support, it's way more fun to watch your favorite teams play when you're surrounded by other cheering fans.

But where to head for some cold drinks, hot food, and big sports action? In the spirit of CultureMap's newest signature event, The Tailgate, we're celebrating a season of sports with insider intel on all the ways you can enjoy it. (P.S. Tickets are on sale now).

Though by no means exhaustive, this list highlights sports bars in Dallas that are definitely worth your overtime.

Christies
This tried-and-true staple gave us a scare in 2020 when it shuttered its Uptown location after 30 years, but thankfully reopened the next year on Greenville Avenue. Now it boasts even more TVs and seating than before plus three full bars, specialty cocktails and wine on tap, games, and an Instagrammable rooftop.

Walk-On's Bistreaux & Bar
New Orleans Saints superstar Drew Brees and his wife Brittany co-own this Baton Rouge-based chain, which features Louisiana cuisine and a full bar in a game-day atmosphere at Grandscape in The Colony. Come prepared for a menu that sports fried seafood platters, pasta, burgers, sandwiches, and wraps in addition to po'boys, fried oysters, gumbo, fried alligator, and boudin balls.

Moxie's Grill & Bar
Owned by Tom Gaglardi, proprietor of the Dallas Stars, this Canadian-based chain has three locations in North Texas: Uptown Dallas, Plano, and Southlake. Floor-to-ceiling windows subvert the typical cave-like atmosphere of a sports bar, as does the elevated American classics that populate the menu. But don't worry: There are still plenty of TVs and draft beer options.

Yogi's Sushi & Sports Bar
Craving something other than burgers or brats for game day? Try freshly made sushi at this Casa Linda Plaza joint, which is a collab between Dan Barbara, who founded Yogi's Home Plate sports bar in Lake Highlands, and Armando Ramirez, owner of Deep Sushi, the venerable sushi bar in Deep Ellum. TVs aren't confined to the bar area, but line the walls of the restaurant, giving everyone a great view.

PhD
Also known as Pour House Dallas, this Oak Cliff sports bar is equally known for its hangover brunch and covered patio, which provides great people-watching as concert-goers head next door to the Kessler Theater. A curated selection of local drafts complements the 26 TVs and friendly service.

ChopShop Victory Park
Conveniently located right next to the American Airlines Center, you have the option to either drop in for a pint before or after a game or post up in front of the Jumbrotron until the buzzer sounds. Ideal for when you want to feel a part of the action, but not actually cough up the dough for tickets.

Sidecar Social
This fun outdoor bar is from On Deck Concepts, founded by Brent Tipps, founder of BoomerJack’s sports bar. There are two: one in Addison and another set to open this fall at The Star in Frisco (which also happens to be the headquarters for the Dallas Cowboys). Frisco's massive 15,000-square-foot space will feature craft cocktails and bites, games, karaoke, live music, TVs, and an all-season patio.

Yard House
A massive circular bar dominates the middle of this Addison eatery, pouring 100-plus beers into "yards" (hence the name). Pull up a barstool or cozy up in a deep booth and watch the more than 20 TVs while ordering sophisticated appetizers and entrees from the gigantic menu.

Cedar Springs Tap House
It may look like your typical old-school sports bar, but remember that it's on Cedar Springs and therefore very supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. Food comes in baskets, beer is mostly domestic (and a lot Texas), and there's a different special each day. Time your Sunday football-watching with brunch for even more bang for your buck, or come stay late on Saturdays for the drag show.

Draft Sports Bar & Lounge
This hangout in the downtown Sheraton Dallas is 4,000 square feet of sports nirvana, with memorabilia and TVs galore. The only caveat is that it doesn't open until 5 pm, so save it for those night games.

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CultureMap's The Tailgate is happening October 13 at The Empire Room. Head here to buy Early Bird tickets while they last.

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Texas hot spot hooks No. 1 ranking as best college city in America

Studies Show, Study Here

It might be a bit reductive to call Austin a college town, but that's what makes it so good. It certainly benefits from the creativity and industry of college living, but there's a lot more to do than go to gentrified lunches and cool, underground shows.

Recognizing this special balance, financial website WalletHub has declared Austin the No. 1 college city in the United States for 2023, beating out some obvious contenders like Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio.

In addition to being the best city overall, Austin also tops the large cities list, and is one of only two Texas locales represented in the top 10 of any category; the other is College Station, No. 6 on the small list.

The most represented state, perhaps not surprisingly, is Florida, with four cities in the overall top 10. The top 10 college cities for 2023, according to WalletHub, are:

1. Austin
2. Ann Arbor, Michigan
3. Orlando, Florida
4. Gainesville, Florida
5. Tampa, Florida
6. Rexburg, Idaho
7. Provo, Utah
8. Scottsdale, Arizona
9. Miami
10. Raleigh, North Carolina

And how did Austin make the grade? WalletHub looked at key metrics across three categories to determine the rankings.

Austin scored best, No. 12, in the “social environment” category, determined by metrics like students per capita; breweries, cafés, and food trucks per capita; and safety issues like vaccination and crime statistics.

Its ranking at No. 21 in the “academic & economic opportunities" category puts it in the 95th percentile, even above Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts, famous for their Ivy League prevalence.

And perhaps unsurprising to those who currently reside in Austin, the Capital City ranked worst in "wallet friendliness,” at No. 204 out of 415.

Elsewhere in Texas, El Paso did well on the overall list at No. 36, followed by Houston (No. 64), Dallas (99), Fort Worth (153), and San Antonio (169).

Dallas landed well down the list in every category: wallet friendliness (226), academic & economic opportunities (168), and social environment (147).

Fort Worth fell even farther down the list in the same categories: wallet friendliness (242), academic & economic opportunities (201), and social environment (149).

Notably, cities that tend to fall lower in similar studies ranked relatively well among college towns.

These are the 9 best food and drink events in Dallas this week

This week in gluttony

Christmas spirit is in full swing, with all but one of this week’s events being holiday-themed. Check off pics with Santa for both the family and fur babies; take a Christmas cocktail-making class; sample holiday spirits from around the world; and stroll acres of candlelit walkways while indulging in holiday hors d’oeuvres and drinks – just to name a few. ‘Tis the season.

Tuesday, December 6

Caymus Wine Dinner at Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Decadent four-course meal features pairings with wines from award-winning Caymus. Courses include Stuffed Mushrooms with Shrimp, Rigatoni Al Forno with Chicken, Filet & Scallop Spiedino with Mashed Potatoes, and Crème Brulée, paired with Caymus wines including Cabernet Sauvignon and Conundrum Red Blend. The dinner is $75 starts at 6:30 pm. For the Dallas location, reserve here, and for Plano, reserve here.

Fontodi Wine Dinner at La Stella Cucina Verace
The Dallas Arts District Italian restaurant will host a five-course dinner paired with wines from Fontodi, a producer located in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany. Courses will include beef carpaccio, butternut squash cappellacci with brown butter and sage, porchetta di Pienza with marble potatoes, Wagyu New York strip tagliata with porcini mushroom and butternut squash, and apple crostata. Dinner begins at 7 pm and is $175 plus tax and gratuity.

Thursday, December 8

Santa Paws at Texican Court Hotel
The Irving hotel invites furry friends and their humans to pop by for photos with Santa and complimentary hot apple cider and s’mores by the fire. Santa will be available for pet photos from 5-7 pm. Also enter to win a “Pups Night Away” overnight stay. Don’t miss the hotel’s pocket tequila bar, Salt, for new holiday cocktails in jolly keepsake glassware.

Reindeer Games Bar Crawl
Here’s a holiday bar crawl that spans beyond just drink specials. Participants get their money’s worth with a night of mini golf, axe throwing, unlimited video games, a chartered “sleigh bus,” and a pizza buffet. Start at Another Round and make stops at Flashback Retro Pub, LoneStar Axe Dallas, and Sylvan Avenue Tavern. Participants will also get a beer or seltzer at each stop. Tickets are $150 per duo, and the crawl will run from 6:15-10:30 pm.

Holiday Spirits Around the World at Hotel Vin
Sample an array of global spirits during this tasting experience at Grapevine’s Hotel Vin. Spirits to be served include Montenegro Italian liqueur, The Dalmore Scottish whiskey, Komo tequila, and Horse Soldier bourbon. Each spirit will be paired with globally-inspired bites. The tasting is $50 and will begin at 7 pm.

Friday, December 9

Cocktails by Candlelight at Old City Park
Candlelight will feature more than 13 acres of holiday cheer with decorated buildings, carolers, craft vendors, and candlelit walkways in Old City Park. Its 50th edition is set to begin on December 10, but adults only can get a sneak peek the night before during Cocktails by Candlelight, which comes with heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Tickets are $100 per person or $175 per couple, and the event begins at 6 pm.

Saturday, December 10

Shaken, Not Stirred, Holiday Cocktail Class at Elm & Good
The modern American restaurant inside the Kimpton Pittman Hotel will host a holiday cocktail class great for groups looking to make spirits bright. Elm & Good’s lead mixologist Indy Acevedo-Fowler will guide guests through creating three cocktails: a cranberry margarita, peppermint espresso martini, and sangria rosa. Guests will also receive a branded take-away gift. The class is $35 and will begin at 2 pm.

Sunday, December 11

Brunch with Santa at the AC Hotel Dallas by the Galleria
Meet the big guy himself while indulging in brunch dishes during this family-friendly Sunday Funday. Tickets are $25 for adults (includes one mimosa) and $15 for kids 3-12. Children will get to meet Santa and take family photos. Brunch will run from 11:30 am-1:30 pm.

Monday, December 12

12 Days of Thompson
The Thompson Hotel Dallas will spread Christmas cheer with 12 days of daily holiday activations. The festivities start Monday with Home Alone, S’mores & Sips, a movie night with cocktails themed after the Christmas classic, a s’mores bar, and movie screening amid downtown views. The price is a $15 charitable donation. Doors opens at 5 pm with the movie to start at 6 pm. Other 12 Days of Thompson events range from a pie-baking class and cookie decorating to brunch with Santa and Holiday High Tea. See the complete calendar of events here.

Dedicated volunteers extract Spaghetti Warehouse trolley from Dallas' West End

Trolley News

Thanks to a dedicated team of conservation-minded folks, the vintage trolley from the Spaghetti Warehouse in Dallas' West End has been moved to a temporary new home: in a warehouse at Orr-Reed Architectural Co., the salvage store just south of downtown Dallas, which will provide a safe space for the vehicle while it undergoes a restoration.

A permanent home is still TBD, but Orr-Reed will be housing the trolley for at least the next 12 months.

The trolley was one of the original streetcars that ran through East Dallas nearly a century ago. It surged to fame in 2019 when Spaghetti Warehouse closed after 47 years, and the company held a giant auction of its extensive collection of memorabilia.

The streetcar got a bid from an anonymous buyer, but that buyer bailed once they encountered the difficulties of removing the trolley from the location.

The trolley was donated to the Junius Heights Historic District, a neighborhood association in Old East Dallas who wanted to save the trolley because of its role in the original streetcar program that was key to the establishment of Junius Heights.

Orr-Reed is providing the space and backup manpower for free.

"The first time it went on the auction block, I wanted to buy it because I'm obsessed with keeping the city’s history," says Orr-Reed owner Hannah Hargrove. "Dallas is known for tearing things down and replacing it with bigger and better things, but 'bigger and better' only lasts 50 years. Since we have the space, we wanted to be helpful in providing the trolley's next chapter of life."


spaghetti warehouse trolley A team unloads the Spaghetti Warehouse trolley into a warehouse at Orr-Reed.Johann Huebschmann

The move
JD Middleton, who builds out restaurants and bars for his "day job," oversaw a team of volunteers who broke the trolley down into pieces and transported it to the new location.

"My buddy JJ Velez and I saw it in the news, we both had a personal connection," Middleton says. "My grandfather drove the trolley, it's possible he drove that one, while JJ had seen it when he was a little kid, after the Christmas parade in downtown Dallas."

With another friend, Randy Lasiter, assisting, they volunteered to do it on a 100 percent volunteer basis. For the past six months, they've been going there in the early morning, before heading to their regular job sites.

"We do a lot of crazy things for customer requests, and this was right up our alley," Middleton says.

This entailed cutting the exterior into parts: removing the front and back "nose pieces," breaking down the body of the trolley into panels, then splitting up the chassis foundation — like a vertebrae that they cut up, to be reassembled by a welder.

Middleton says that Uncle Dan’s Pawn Shop donated saw blades and trailers and other equipment, as did Frida's Social Club on McKinney Avenue, who provided a big trailer and truck to haul it over to Orr-Reed.

Middleton assembled a group of friends who spent four hours on December 3, loading the trolley piece-by-piece onto trailers, then unloading it at Orr-Reed. He's also volunteered to help restore it.

"There's some rusting on the inside, it's like an old Ford Model-T that's been sitting in a garage," he says. "We'll get it sand-blasted and primed and painted, then put it back together again."

Their work is saving the Junius Heights Historic District hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"It's like an art project for us, and we're getting the opportunity to help take care of history," Middleton says. "JJ ate there when he was a little kid, and he'd like to take his kid to see it when it's finished. That’s why we're doing it."


Spaghetti Warehouse trolley Spaghetti Warehouse trolley, in pieces.Johann Huebschmann

The new home
The Junius Heights group does not yet have a permanent home for the trolley, nor a plan for how it will be managed or maintained. Details details.

For now, it resides in Orr-Reed's "dry house" — a warehouse they've used for overflow and for items that need to be kept out of the elements such as big furniture items, casement windows, and things that cannot get wet.

Hargrove and her staff built shelving and redesigned the warehouse to make it work.

"It'll definitely affect our day-to-day routine — there's a giant cumbersome trolley that's taking up space — but it’s worth it," Hargrove says. "If we hadn't done it, they would have had to spend a lot of money on storing it rather than restoring it. I'm a keeper of history, it’s my duty, although I've never done anything on this scale."

"We're not doing it for the money, we're doing it because someone has to," she says. "I feel like I'm doing the right thing."