The October edition of Where to Drink in Dallas returns to a favorite theme: happy hours. It's a perennial theme, one that is always of interest, especially during these inflationary times. Discount drinks taste better!

These five entries consist of four newly-introduced happy hours and one newly-relocated bar that has brought its happy hour along to its new address.

Here's where to drink in Dallas right now:

Bulla Gastrobar
Legacy West spot has a new tapas happy hour menu offered daily at the bar from 5-7 pm — daily, as in every day — featuring discounted pricing on iconic Spanish dishes like potato tortilla, ham croquettes, and Andalusian gazpacho. (They also have some new lunch dishes including quintessential autumn item butternut squash soup and fish tempura, but that has nothing to do with happy hour, let's stay focused here, people.) In celebration of Halloween, they'll host an extended happy hour costume contest all Halloween weekend long, from 4-7 pm on Saturday, October 28 through Tuesday October 31, for a chance to win a gift card.

Grapevine Bar
Beloved bar is newly-reopened at 2213 Butler St., where they've magically recreated their highly personal, charmingly eccentric atmosphere, with a motley collection of lights, signs, artsy collages, and other memorabilia to give the new space that lived-in feeling. They're still offering a generous happy hour that runs Wednesday-Friday from 3-7 pm, and all day Monday-Tuesday from 3 pm-2 am, with $5 well drinks, $7 premium, $4 domestic beer, $5 for imports, $6 for their very-popular frozen drinks, and $4 for house wine. Anything else is $2 off.

Ocean Prime Dallas
Swanky Uptown Dallas steakhouse hosts a happy hour Monday-Saturday from 4-6 pm in their Lounge, with half-off appetizers and sushi, as well as specially priced cocktails, beer, and wine. The Lounge is still pretty sophisticated, don't think you're stepping down for your light bites and cocktails at a discounted price. It's a good deal, even if they don't list a menu on their somewhat challenging website; if you go to "Lounge Menu," knock half off those prices. The Prime beef sliders, for example, listed at $18 would be $9, and the spicy tuna roll would be $14 instead of $28.

On Rotation
Brewery and brewpub near Love Field which takes price in its eclectic tap list and small-batch brews does a reverse happy hour - meaning it's on Friday and Saturday nights from 8-11 pm (versus weekday afternoons) and all drinks are $1 off. Not a huge discount but hey, it's prime time, and just in time, they've brought back their color-changing Mexican Lager, Blue Agave, on tap. It has blue agave nectar which provides floral undertones and a hint of smokiness, and also butterfly pea flower, an all-natural food coloring that turns food a grayish blue. They also have food including tacos on Thursdays and a Sunday brunch that runs all day from 11 am-4 pm.

Renny’s Bar & Grill
North Dallas restaurant at 11661 Preston Rd is the sibling to longtime restaurant Maguire's, which owner Mark Maguire opened in late summer. With its brighter, more contemporary vibe, Renny's is a departure from the darker, clubbier Maguire's, and has a broader, less formal menu. They recently debuted their Happy Hour on Tuesday-Friday from 3-6 pm, and it covers not only drinks but food, too: $2 off appetizers, $2 off wine and cocktails, $1 off beers, $7 martinis, and $10 cheeseburgers.

Omni PGA Frisco Resort

Casual eatery at Omni PGA Frisco hosts happy hour with the greenest views

PGA News

Since opening in May, the Omni PGA Frisco Resort has welcomed golf aficionados from all parts of the world. It's a 500-room hotel that sits at the heart of modern golf culture, with two championship golf courses, a spa, shops, restaurants, and bars that's steps away from the PGA of America headquarters.

Located on the 660-acre PGA Frisco campus, the Omni PGA has two 18-hole championship golf courses, a 10-hole par-3 short course, and a 2-acre putting course and entertainment area. All it's missing is a miniature golf course.

Food options fill a variety of niches: from the healthy Green Cactus Cafe with juices and bites, to the Leisure Pool Bar with handhelds, salads, and chilled treats, to the Swing Bar, a beverage truck with margaritas, draft beer, and bottled cocktails.

But for the best happy hour, it's The Apron, a cozy spot in the resort's lower level which, with its stunning views overlooking the Fields Ranch golf courses, is among the "golfiest" places in the hotel.

Named after the grass fringe that frames the green on a golf course, The Apron Kitchen + Bar Resort is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and is a casual, easygoing spot serving Texas and California fare: stone-fired flatbreads, California-inspired bowls, sandwiches, and pastries.

It's a quick walk down the stairs in the resort’s main lobby takes diners to a vibrant space, with clean white floors, shiny granite countertops, and comfortable seating, ideal after a long day of golf. The Apron is encased by large glass windows, allowing diners to see the beautiful green golf park outdoors.

The Apron recently introduced a new happy hour, ideal for golfers who spent the morning on the course. Monday through Thursday from 3-6:30 pm, they're serving snacks, beer and wine, and a rotating cocktail at a fairly decent price (for the Omni).

Menu items include the TX Bao, a soft, warm bao bun filled with shredded pork, flavored with cilantro and jalapeño, $14 for three; and Crispy Chicken Bites: nuggets in a crispy, buffalo-spiced crust, with ranch and green onion dip, for $15.

Cocktails have a Texas theme including a prickly pear margarita and an old-fashioned with a large Texas-branded ice cube. Happy hour cocktails vary day-by-day, but the daily rotating signature cocktail is $12 during happy hour. Beer is $5, and red or white house wine is $10.

You don't need to be a golfer or even a hotel guest to drop in: with its rolling verdant greens, the property serves as a kind of oasis and The Apron has all the views.

Billy Can Can

Billy Can Can's 5th Anniversary Party

Dallas modern Texas saloon Billy Can Can will celebrate its fifth birthday in high style. From 5-11 pm, there will be live music by Jason Elmore, a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament with prizes, happy hour drink and food specials all evening, and more. Regular dining in the main dining room; reserve through Resy. Spots at the poker tables in the back room are first-come, first-served, so arrive at 5 if you want to compete!

Blue Goose

Where to drink in Dallas right now: 5 bars with new drinks and deals

Where to Drink

The June edition of Where to Drink, CultureMap's monthly roundup of suggestions of the alcoholic variety, is a refreshing mixture that includes two great Happy Hours, plus three places who've introduced some fresh new cocktails. There are spritzes, margaritas, and drinks that turn blue — everything you need for summer sipping.

Here's where to drink for June:

Blue Goose Cantina
Tex-Mex chain has margarita specials for June at its seven locations (Frisco, Plano, Highland Village, McKinney, Grapevine, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie) - Blood Orange Margarita with Casa del Sol Blanco Tequila (co-founded by Eva Longoria), agave, lime juice, and blood orange puree; and Coco Piña Margarita with Dulce Vida Blanco Tequila, pineapple juice, coconut puree, agave, lime juice, and toasted coconut - in addition to its original Classic Margarita and Hibiscus Margarita.

Blue Goose is also doing a very limited-edition Red, White & Boozy margarita - their traditional frozen lime margarita swirled with strawberry puree and rimmed with blue sugar - available for four days, from July 1-July 4. On July 1-2, it's $9. On July 3, it's $5. On July 4, it's $2.

Sports bar chain has new drink specials: $3 domestic drafts Monday-Thursday, and $3 "Crown & Down" Monday-Tuesday. These deals will run indefinitely. They also have three new limited-edition cocktails, available through June 25: the Ocean Water: Shark Edition with Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum, peach schnapps, blue curacao, sour, and lemonade, topped with a shark filled with grenadine that unleashes itself, creating a realistic shark attack in your glass; Twisted Honey Tea with Silver Star Texas Honey, Twisted Tea, and lemonade; and Jack's Mango Mezgarita, with Jack's Rita, mango purée, and Bosscal Mezcal Joven. They have 17 locations in the DFW area so it shouldn't be hard to find.

Bishop Arts cafe has a new aperitivo cocktail menu with six Spritzer cocktails, $11 each. (A spritz is a sparkling wine-based cocktail that originated in Italy and is made with prosecco or a dry white wine, a bitter amaro liqueur, soda water, and citrus.) Aperol Spritz has aperol, soda, & sparkling wine. Limoncello Spritz has limoncello, dry vermouth, ginger beer, & sparkling wine. Pamplemousse Spritz has grapefruit-aromatized aperitif, tonic, & rose prosecco. Kir Bourgeois Spritz has cassis liqueur, bitters, lambrusco, & OJ. Passionfruit Spritz has passionfruit cordial, manzanilla, & sparkling wine. Hugo Spritz has elderflower liqueur, tonic, sparkling wine, & bitters.

Sugar Factory
Dallas celebration destination known for sweets and treats is now offering happy hour on weekdays from 3-7 pm, available at the bar and on the patio. The menu includes $8 chicken wings, $9 spinach dip with tortilla chips, $6 tacos, $7 cheese quesadillas, and $10 carne asada quesadillas. Drink specials include $9 spirits; $9 margaritas such as the Traditional, Strawberry, Mango, Watermelon, and Smoked Cucumber; $7 bottled beer; and their signature "smoking candy goblet" of the day.

Thirsty Lion Gastropub
Gastropub chain has brought back its massively popular Late Night Happy Hour, which takes place not at the standard happy hour time of 3-6 pm, but instead at prime time on Friday and Saturday nights from 9-11 pm. They're offering their standard happy hour menu (click on "Happy Hour") with cocktails including Moscow Mule, Mojito, and Margaritas, from $9 to $10, and snacks such as sliders, tacos, spinach dip, from $8-$10. At four locations: Glade Parks/Euless, Grandscape/The Colony, Music Factory/Irving, and Preston Hollow/Dallas.

Photo courtesy of Happy Hour Hike

Plano sizzles with hot music and cool pools all summer long

Fun in the Sun

The sun is shining, the kids are out of school, and you're all ready for some summer fun. Plano's where it's at, with everything from concerts to happy hours on tap this summer.

Dive in
From Memorial through Labor days, take a refreshing dip in 168,000 gallons of saltwater that's shaped like the great state of Texas. This membership-supported community pool (there are tourist passes available) features a diving board, two water slides, and an island with a shallow "South Texas" wading area for the little ones. Picnic tables, a beach volleyball court, barbecue grills, and a snack bar complete the experience.

C'mon, get happy
Head to Legacy West for its monthly sip-and-shop Happy Hour Hikes, where you can sample beer, wine, cocktails, and food; receive exclusive offers at shops and restaurants; and enjoy entertainment throughout the Legacy West neighborhood. There are also photo opps, featured local artisans and nonprofits, and a chance to win a $300 gift basket to your favorite store.

The hikes happen from 6-9 pm the first Thursday of the month, aka June 1, July 6, and August 3 in the summer. Participants must be 21 and up, and groups of 10 or more get a discount by emails happyhourhike@lot32.com.

Tasty tunes
From Monday night karaoke to a concert lineup that includes all your favorite genres of music, live music at Legacy Hall is a rockin' good time. Check upcoming acts here, and then arrive early to enjoy dinner from nearly 20 eateries and craft cocktails from five-plus bars.

For an even more elevated experience, reserve a Balcony VIP Lounge (21 and up only) and enjoy dedicated cocktail service, soft seating, and the best view of the stage. Fridays and Saturdays also come with free admission to the Late Night After Party on the third floor of Legacy Hall in High Bar.

First-rate Fourth
America's birthday is a big deal in Plano, beginning with a free patriotic concert on July 3 at 7 pm. Plano Community Band will be playing in Haggard Park in the Downtown Plano Historic Arts District.

On the Fourth itself, cheer on — or walk in! — the Rotary Clubs of Plano 4th of July parade at 7:30 pm. The route travels along Spring Creek Parkway in between Collin College and the Red Tail Pavilion, and you can sign up to participate here.

The parade is smack in the middle of Plano's All-American 4th, a free festival that starts at 6 pm and features a kids’ zone sponsored by Champion Energy Services and a fireworks show beginning at 9:30 pm. Blankets, lawn chairs, and coolers are welcome, with food and beverages available for purchase from onsite vendors — sorry, no pups allowed.

Staycation vibes
With all this fun on the agenda, you'll want to stay more than a day. Immerse yourself in Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West Hotel's "West of Zen" culture, with gorgeous artifacts hidden away in every public corner, and the menus for both beverage and food offer a bold take on Asian fusion.

Dine in the main restaurant, ŌMA, grab a quick bite at the quaint Texas Teahouse & Marketplace, or dip into The Whiskey Moon Bar + Lounge to sample its impressive selection of American, European, and Asian whiskeys.

Enjoy DJs on the pool deck every Saturday afternoon during the summer or live music at Whiskey Moon every Saturday evening — see a lineup here.

Speaking of the rooftop pool, you can now book private cabanas through Resort Pass and stay shady all summer long.

See all your Plano accommodation options here.

Happy Hour Hike at Legacy West

Photo courtesy of Happy Hour Hike

Join the Happy Hour Hike the first Thursday of each month.


For a complete guide to Plano, head to www.visitplano.com.


Where to drink in Dallas right now: 5 bars with new happy hour specials

Where to drink

With April already halfway done, we're long overdue for the April edition of Where to Drink, our monthly column focused on bars, happy hours, new cocktails, and other things of a drinky nature.

This month includes new happy hours, a new bar menu, and a new spot with discounts on drinks.

Here is our Where to Drink for April:

Bar Louie
Upbeat pub chain is throwing down happy hour discounts Monday-Friday from 4-7 pm. Beer-wise, they're pouring $4 domestic pints and $5 craft pints. Cocktails start at $6 for single-pour premium call liquor cocktails, and $7 premium cocktails, including margaritas, mojitos, and martinis. All the M drinks! Wines by the glass are $6, and you get half-off on flatbreads, wings, Bavarian pretzel with mustard, spinach artichoke dip with chips, and a chip & dip trio with salsa, queso, and guacamole. Four locations include Shops at Park Lane in Dallas, plus Allen, Arlington, and Las Colinas.

Elm & Good
Restaurant at The Kimpton Pittman Hotel Dallas in Deep Ellum has a new weekday happy hour Tuesday-Friday 4-6 pm at its cool in-house bar with $5 local beers, $6 house red and white wines, and $7 select appetizers. On Tuesdays they stretch it out from 4-10 pm with Texas-themed specials including local beer, local wine, and cocktails made with Texas spirits.

Leela's Pizza & Wine Bar
Lower Greenville wine bar has spawned a spinoff which also includes "pizza" in the name, in Uptown at 2355 Olive St. They're in the old Malibu Poke space, across the street from the Ritz-Carlton, in the same parking-challenged complex as Starbucks and Roti Grill. Their happy hour runs Tuesday-Friday from 4-6 pm and is limited to $7 champagne cocktails and $7 house wines. For what it's worth, they don't take cash.

Casual comfortable community hub in Bishop Arts is there for your coffee, breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner needs, as well as happy hour, Monday-Friday, 3-6 pm, with a new slate of discounts on wine, beer, and cocktails. More specifically, they have $7 cocktails, $5 draft beer, $6 glasses of wine, plus half-price shared plates including their deviled eggs, white bean hummus, fried Brussels sprouts, and shrimp ceviche.

Villa Azur
Venue at the W Hotel has a new bar menu and, while it's not discounted, it is new, and surely worth a look, maybe even a try. New cocktails include Let’s Get Guava with gin and guava purée; Purple Rain with Avion Reposado, grapefruit juice, lime, and blueberry purée; and Touch of Azur with gin, infused butterfly pea tea, lavender, and prosecco. Bites include crab spinach & artichoke dip with focaccia toast, and flatbreads with toppings such as spicy capicola, eggplant, shiitake mushroom, spinach, and lobster.

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Holiday pop-up with fudge & truffles at Macy's Dallas Galleria sure is sweet

Chocolate News

It's fudge for the holidays with a fudge-themed pop-up now holding court at Galleria Dallas. Called Chocolate Moonshine, it's a Pittsburgh company known for its incredible fudge, and it's at Macy’s, where it will be selling fudge and truffles throughout the holiday season.

Chocolate Moonshine was founded as a passion project in 1989 by Christopher Warman, Sr. who began selling it at a local candy store on the campus of Pittsburgh University. The fudge has been said to be "so good, it should be illegal."

They use Belgian chocolate, Madagascar vanilla, and cane sugar, but in smaller doses than usual so it's not quite as sweet. They make the fudge in small batches, in copper kettles cooked over an open flame, which is said to produce their trademark silky-smooth texture.

Their other big thing is truffle bars, little batons with striking colored glossy shells, similar to what Dallas chocolatier Kate Weiser does, painted with French cocoa butter.

Chocolate Moonshine has six year-round locations, including one in Allen at 941 Garden Park Dr., which opened in 2022, plus a handful of seasonal pop-ups at Macy's like this one at the Galleria, not unlike the holiday pop-up shops that See's Candies used to do.

The fudge is available in up to 33 varieties including:

  • Dark espresso
  • Peppermint crunch
  • Bourbon sea salt caramel
  • Black cherry bourbon
  • Butter pecan
  • Chocolate peanut butter
  • Winter red velvet
  • Rocky road
  • Spiked eggnog

Plus chocolate bark, pecan turtles, and fudge samplers.

Some of their items are infused with alcohol, but the alcohol is sufficiently cooked out that it remains kid-friendly.

They'll have the same confections offered at most Chocolate Moonshine locations (including the one in Allen): fudge, truffle bars, chocolate caramel turtles, and chocolate-enrobed fruits and nuts.

The shop is on the second floor, by the mall entrance, and will be open until January 6, 2024.

Bravo gala draws applause + nearly half a million dollars for Dallas arts

Standing Ovation

Surrounded by a backdrop of twinkling lighted trees, the glowing red Winspear Opera House threw open its doors for more than 250 guests on November 18 for the AT&T Performing Arts Center's annual Bravo! Gala.

These arts-loving patrons were on hand to celebrate the Center's education and community engagement initiatives, plus programming that ranges from touring Broadway shows to its five resident companies.

Dallas Theater Center, Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, and Texas Ballet Theater each had their moment to shine with individual performances staged in the lobby and mezzanine during cocktail hour.

Once inside the Margaret McDermott Performance Hall, the black tie-clad guests ascended onto the stage itself for a decadent seated dinner of herb-crusted tenderloin filet and truffled Yukon whipped potatoes.

A specially composed tribute to Cher, in a nod to the upcoming December 14-16 tour stop of The Cher Show at the Winspear, played while the iconic chandelier retracted into the ceiling.

The Dallas Opera performed while the crowd dined on a dessert of dulce de leche caramel cheesecake.

A surprise performance from 101 Dalmatians featuring "puppies" from Martin Luther King Jr. Arts Academy garnered the loudest applause of the night.

Bravo! Gala co-chairs Diane Brierley and Ellen Winspear welcomed the Center's supporters and introduced the night's honorees, the Moody Foundation.

Jamie Williams and Kristina Whitcomb from the Moody Foundation joined prominent guests Deedie Rose, Barbara Thomas Lemmon, Grace Cook (Eugene McDermott Foundation), Matt Hickey (AT&T), Brendan McGuire and Amber Scanlan (PNC), and board chair Danny Tobey.

Several Dallas arts and culture leaders were also recognized, including Councilmember Paul Ridley, Councilmember Chad West, State Representative John Bryant, Benjamin Espino, assistant director of the City of Dallas Office of Arts & Culture; David Small, chair of the Arts & Culture Advisory Committee; and Lily Weiss, executive director of the Dallas Arts District.

Critically acclaimed alternative band Lake Street Dive then took the stage, enthralling guests with their hits "Good Kisser" and "Better Than," among others.

More than $437,000 was raised during the starry night, which will partially go to help build sustainable musical theater programs in Dallas schools.

ATTPAC Bravo Gala 2023

Photo by Turk Turkyilmaz

The Dallas Opera performed during dessert.

Texas billed top-10 rank in new report of states dealing with most debt

drowning in debt

It's not too late to rein in that holiday spending, Texas. A new financial report has revealed Texas is the No. 9 state with the highest debt levels in the country.

The report by personal finance website CreditDonkey examined each state's average mortgage debt, student debt, automobile debt, and credit card debt. Rankings were determined based on which state had the highest amount of debt.

Texas was ranked so highly due to its rampant amount of auto loan debt, the most out of all 50 states. Over 100 million Texans have loans on their cars, which has racked up more than $1.5 trillion in auto loan debt. The average Texan's auto loan debt stands at $27,739.

Texans' higher-than-average credit card debt was also a major factor, according to the report. The average credit card debt amount adds up to $6,542.

The average mortgage debt in the Lone Star State is $217,461, while the average student debt amounts to $33,354. For a house-rich city like Dallas, affording a starter home will cost residents 10.6 percent more than it did in 2022.

While Texas' level of debt is no laughing matter, residents can find some relief in the fact that they're not living in California. Californians have the most debt in America, with the average mortgage debt at nearly $423,000 per household, and an average student loan debt of $37,384. Any Texans considering relocating might want to rethink their choice with that level of debt on the horizon.

CreditDonkey Director of Research Anna Ge explained the "multifaceted story" of why debt in Texas (and overall in the United States) has skyrocketed over the years.

"The causes for the surge in debt are rooted in a confluence of factors – from the pursuit of higher education to home-ownership aspirations and the challenges of rising costs across the board," she said. "The ease of access to credit, while providing immediate relief, has contributed to a culture where spending can outpace income."

Population growth and consumerism are two other driving factors, according to Ge.

"There are also more deep-rooted issues that are causing such drastic increases in debt, from rising costs of essentials such as gas and groceries, to healthcare and living expenses (rent and bills), as costs continue to rise many Americans are being pushed to the edge and require relief that inevitably results in the building up of debt," Ge continued.

The top 10 states struggling with the most debt are:

  • No. 1 – California
  • No. 2 – Hawaii
  • No. 3 – Maryland
  • No. 4 – Alaska
  • No. 5 – Colorado
  • No. 6 – Washington
  • No. 7 – Virginia
  • No. 8 – Georgia
  • No. 9 – Texas
  • No. 10 – Nevada