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Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here. Want some State Fair discounts? Find those here.

1. Spiral Diner space in Oak Cliff Dallas nabbed by beloved brothers' Tex-Mex. A Dallas Tex-Mex restaurant that built a devoted following at its previous location has re-emerged: La Comida Mexican Kitchen and Cocktails, which drew fans during its five-year tenure at the Village on the Parkway up by Addison, has nabbed the former Spiral Diner space in Oak Cliff, where it will open in late fall.

2. La Madeleine Cafe closes favorite longtime Dallas neighborhood location. A longtime location of La Madeleine, the Dallas-based French-inspired bakery and cafe, has closed. It's the location at 3906 Lemmon Ave. and it closed on October 6.

3. Where to drink in Dallas right now: 5 bars with fall cocktails for October. This edition of Where to Drink, CultureMap's monthly column offering advice on the best places to drink, has five places that have unveiled cozy cocktails with a decidedly fall twist. Bring on the cider, the cinnamon spice, and the extra-spooky dry ice.

4. Ex-Lucia Dallas space makes way for NY restaurant with brunch all day. Pull out your world atlas for this: A new restaurant and bar based in New York is coming to Dallas from an Australian team. Called Isla & Co., it'll open in Bishop Arts, at 408 W. 8th St., better known as the former Lucia Dallas space. (Lucia relocated to 287 N. Bishop Ave.)

5. North Texas house goes all pink this Halloween for breast cancer awareness. Angela Fincher says she’s not entirely sure why she decided to decorate her house pink, but she knows she had to do something to raise awareness for breast cancer survivors. This October — Halloween month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month — she has decorated her home in North Richland Hills with pink Christmas lights and a pink pumpkin patch in her yard to raise awareness of breast cancer.

Photo courtesy of Ariana Delbar

New cat cafe prowls into this week's 5 most popular Dallas stories

This Week's Hot Headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. New cat cafe will prowl into East Dallas from kitty rescue group. A well-known Dallas cat rescue organization is expanding its reach with a new cat cafe. Called the Cat Café, it's from nonprofit A Voice for All Paws (AVAP), and will provide a home for rescued cats, a sanctuary for cat lovers to grab a coffee, and a place for abandoned cats to get access to veterinary care.

2. Dallas hot rod king Richard Rawlings is clearing out Gas Monkey Garage. There was a double dose of news about Dallas hot rodder Richard Rawlings this week. First came news that the Fast N' Loud reality show star and owner of Gas Monkey Garage was selling off a slew of classic cars — nearly his entire collection. Then came word that he's gearing up to open another bar-restaurant mega-venue in Dallas-Fort Worth.

3. Dallas designer serves up new sustainable loungewear brand inspired by Juicy Couture. Dallas-born designer Monica Millington is launching a new loungewear brand that, she hopes, will provide an ethical alternative to fast fashion while playing on millennial nostalgia. Called Sette, it's a line of sustainable, unisex loungewear officially launching online Saturday, August 27.

4. Where to drink in Dallas right now: 5 bars with ultra-hot happy hours. Fall has (almost) arrived, and if there's one thing that a change in seasons always brings to mind, it's happy hours. This August edition of Where to Drink rounds up five new candidates with exciting happy hour programs, some with great drink specials, some with food and drink, and one that's really just all about a cheap martini at lunch.

5. Cirque du Soleil's first-ever Christmas show makes Dallas debut for 2022 holidays. 'Twas four months before Christmas and all through Dallas-Fort Worth, holiday event news was stirring — and now comes a Cirque. Cirque du Soleil’s inaugural Christmas show, "‘Twas the Night Before…" will make its North Texas debut at Texas Trust CU Theatre in Grand Prairie during the 2022 holiday season.

A new cat cafe is coming to East Dallas.

Photo courtesy of Ariana Delbar
A new cat cafe is coming to East Dallas.
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Where to drink in Dallas right now: 5 bars with ultra-hot happy hours

Where to Drink

Fall has (almost) arrived and if there's one thing that a change in seasons always brings to mind, it's Happy Hours. This August edition of Where to Drink rounds up five new candidates with exciting Happy Hour programs, some with great drink specials, some with food and drink, and one that's really just all about a cheap martini at lunch.

Here's our list of spots for Where to Drink in August:

Greenville Avenue cocktail bar has many things in the works including two recently introduced new menus: a new regular cocktail menu PLUS a new Happy Hour menu. The new regular cocktail menu has some out-there items such as the Holy Pozole cocktail made with corn that's inspired by the Mexican soup. You'll have to do that on your own time, because we're here for the Happy Hour. The new lineup includes a lemon drop with Absolute citron; rum with passion fruit & ginger beer; dark rum with soda & bitters; and mezcal with Génépi, an herbal liqueur. Prices run from $8 to $11, and the Happy Hour runs almost every day, Sunday through Friday 5-7 pm.

Barcelona Wine Bar
For the first time ever, the Mediterranean-inspired tapas spot in the Knox-Henderson neighborhood has launched an all-new Happy Hour with drinks, bites, and specials that can only be found during this new Happy Hour timeframe. Available Monday-Thursday 4-6 pm, it’s designed to support the existing tapas and Mediterranean-style cuisine already on the menu and draw in the community to try new, interesting items not found on the regular menu. That means half price on all bottles of sparkling wine, plus 7-ounce beers starting at $3.75, along with drinks such as the mini espresso martini, mini dirty martini with gin and green olive infused dry vermouth, and the cool Sacaback, a sherry shot blended with brandy and served with a side of Guindilla pepper brine. Happy Hour foodstuffs include potato chips with Lomo Ibérico, crispy chickpeas with pimentón, beef tartare with mustard vinaigrette, and mini churros with dulce de leche. Fantástico!

Dahlia on Ross
Southern-European inspired spot at Ross & Hall in East Dallas is bringing back the 3-martini lunch, one quarter at a time. On Fridays, they're doing a lunch special from 11 am-3 pm featuring a 25-cent martini, either their Ketel One Classic martini or their Ketel Oranje Espresso Martini. You only get one at this price, and it must be ordered with a food menu item. Come on, no coming in and just ordering a 25-cent martini. But if you wish to continue your Friday day-drinking, their Dahlia cocktail (Ketel One, watermelon juice, basil) is $6 instead of the usual $13, beer is $5, and house wine and Prosecco are $7.

Deep Ellum steakhouse with a global menu is celebrating its one-year anniversary with a variety of fanfares and that includes the thing we care about most in the Where to Drink space: a new Happy Hour menu. It's generous in price and selection, with deals on the drinks and a menu of good bites as well. Drinks-wise, it's half off all of their signature cocktails, beer, and wine (with the exception of sparkling, dang). Snacks include Thai potstickers, deviled eggs, hummus with crudite, Korean fried cauliflower, tempura, and Szechuan chili chicken, all $8 each.

Sky Blu Rooftop Bar
Design District rooftop bar on the ninth floor of the Tru by Hilton Dallas Market Center off Interstate 35 hosts Happy Hour every day from 4-7 pm, featuring $7 well cocktails, $6 draft beer, $5 house wines, $6 frose, and $10 signature cocktails. Did you say frose? The setting is pretty divine, featuring a sprawling outdoor and indoor space with abundant seating, comfy couches, fire pits, and views from here to downtown Dallas and back.

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Where to drink in Dallas right now: 5 bars with new happy hours for July

Where to Drink

With the 4th of July holiday here, and heat for days, the need is great for a refreshing cocktail, and finding one at happy hour prices is the cherry on the sundae. These bars are here to help with valuable cost savings on your cocktails and snacks.

Here are five happy hours for July:

Electric Shuffle
Shuffleboard spot in Deep Ellum has a newly launched happy hour featuring $7 cocktails including Spicy Lucy with jalapeno-infused tequila, cucumber, agave, lime, orange liqueur, and tajin; the Bold Fashioned bourbon with rosemary-infused demerara syrup and bitters; and the Espresso Martini with vanilla-infused vodka, espresso, coffee liqueur, and salted caramel. They've also added two new cocktails: a Frozen Watermelon Margarita with Watermelon and lime, and a Frozen Aperol Spritz with Aperol, Sparkling Rosé, and Soda. Hours: Monday-Friday 3-6 pm.

Fuel City
If "cheap drinks" are your driver, you can't beat the offer at this location of Fuel City, the locally-famous chain of mega gas stations outfitted with in-house taquerias, whose location at 10025 Harry Hines Blvd. (and that location only) is featuring what they are calling frozen daiquiris, but which consist of frozen mangonadas, featuring mango sorbet with tajín and chamoy, spiked with alcohol. What kind of alcohol, they do not say, but at a price of only $1, it seems in poor form to even ask. Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays all day.

La Stella Cucina Verace
Italian restaurant in Dallas' Arts District has launched a special patio-friendly weekday happy hour starring Starlino Rosé, an aperitivo that hails from Turin featuring citrus flavors such as Italian pink grapefruit, lemon, and orange with botanicals such as elderflower, Italian strawberries, raspberries, and coriander. There's a Starlino Spritz, plus bellinis in three flavors: mango, passion fruit, and white peach, as well as red and white wine, all $10. A small menu includes foccaccia bites, salumi & fromaggio, and frittura mista. Hours: Tuesday-Friday 5-7 pm in the bar, and 5-10 pm on the patio.

Taco Cabana
Any dedicated happy hour/cheap drink disciple is already more than familiar with Taco Cabana, home of the budget-priced frozen margarita, with their classic flavors being Lime, Strawberry, Mango, Mangonada, and Strawberry/Mango. It's not just that they're cheap — it's also that the texture of their frozen mix is irresistibly smooth and slushy. For July, there are two special quintessentially-summer flavors: Cherry and Watermelon, available at all Texas locations for $4 through July 31. Hours: 6 am-9 pm daily.

Tommy Bahama Restaurant
Restaurant at Legacy West in Plano is hosting the "Summer of Gin" through the end of July, with a special menu of gin cocktails, including the Tommy G & T made with Tommy Bahama Island Gin; Strawberry Fields of Summer with gin, lemon, soda, strawberries & basil; Ambrosia Fizz with Hendricks Orbium, St Germain, Prosecco, and Aperol; and Hendrick's Tea with Hendrick’s Gin, strawberry puree, lime juice, black tea syrup, and ginger beer. They also host happy hour every day. Hours: 2-5 pm daily.

Photo courtesy of Eberly

Where to drink in Dallas right now: 5 hot happy hours for April

Where to Drink

The old saying is something about April and showers but around here, April summons a thirst for cocktails — specifically happy hours, which generally occur in the afternoon as the sun is setting and the day is winding down. It's not that we won't pay full price for a good drink, but why not avail yourself of a discount when it's offered? It's the right thing to do.

For our monthly Where to Drink Right Now column, we present 5 happy hours around Dallas:

Addison comedy venue, restaurant and bar is serving $5 house red and white wines, plus $5 apps and $10 pizzas. Apps include Mozzarella Crostini, Buffalo Chicken Rolls, Meatballs and Salads, while pizzas range from Margherita and Pepperoni to Mushroom Truffle. Tuesday-Thursday 3–7 pm, only available at the bar.

Elephant East
Pan-Asian concept in the Harwood District, has a new happy hour with half-price appetizers for $6, select cocktails for $7, beer for $5, and select sake and wine for $7 by the glass. Appetizers available include Fresh Roll – shrimp, rice noodles, cucumber, carrot, herbs and peanut sauce; Pork Belly Bao Bun; Bang Bang Shrimp; Nems – pork sausage, glass noodle, carrot, gem lettuce, herbs, chili lime sauce; and Chicken Satay. Cocktails include the Margarita of the East with tequila, Cointreau, ginger lime agave, and candied ginger; Return of the Mac with scotch, Domaine de Canton liqueur, and spiced apple reduction; and Lychee Martini with lychee-infused sake, gin, peach infused vodka, lime, and luxardo cherries. Wednesday-Friday from 4–6 pm.

PT Neighborhood Pizzeria
Lemmon Avenue pizzeria has a regular happy hour that runs all night on weekdays with $2 off beer and wine by the glass and $3 off frozen drinks. They also have a great weekend-long special that runs all day Friday-Sunday featuring their "frozen fun" drinks including Frosé Coupe with gin, aperol, rosé, fresh strawberries, rosemary, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup; and Frozen Italian Margarita Coupe with silver tequila, amaretto, orange juice, palladio rosso floater, for $4. Monday-Friday 4 pm-close.

Pool Club at Virgin Dallas Hotel
Get your glow on during Golden Hour at The Pool Club. Enjoy $10 signature cocktails & 1/2-off bottles of rosé while watching the sun set over the Dallas city skyline on Wednesday-Thursday from 5-7 pm.

Mi Dia From Scratch
All Mi Día From Scratch locations in Flower Mound, Grapevine, and Plano are serving discount cocktails through April including Hell Freezes Over, with Hatch green chili infused tequila, dry ice, and a hatch chili salt rim; Blueberry Habanero Margarita; The Riviera Maya with strawberry infused tequila, elderflower, cointreau, and prosecco; and Dulce Enfuego with pineapple-chipotle infused tequila, Grand Marnier, and lemon. Monday-Friday 3-6 pm.

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Where to drink in Dallas right now: the 10 best Irish pubs in town

Where to Drink

Nearly everyone loves an Irish pub, and that's especially the case in Dallas which has been an enthusiastic home to a vibrant Irish pub scene for many years, helped along by the fact that we have Irish emigres among our midst who've led the way on opening authentic-style pubs.

Irish pubs are lively and welcoming, with trademarks that are easy to identify and fun to embrace: Guinness on tap, fish & chips, dark woods, cozy booths, dartboards, and live music.

The pinnacle of their year is St. Patrick's Day, a holiday that gives bars of all stripes a boost in business: It's one of the busiest days of the year (if not THE busiest day of the year) for bars, and especially Irish pubs. Most pubs in Dallas are hosting St. Patrick's Day-related events of some kind, but with the 17th falling on a Thursday this year, we're looking at St. Patrick's Day Week in 2022.

Here's the 10 best Irish pubs in Dallas right now:

Cannon's Corner Irish Pub
Cannon's opened in 2019 as the first neighborhood Irish pub and restaurant in Oak Cliff — one of four Irish pubs around DFW from Ireland native Alan Kearney (Crafty Irishman, Playwright), a rising star in Dallas' Irish pub scene. Like its siblings, it boasts certain Kearney staples including his signature Scotch eggs as well as the cozy seating and warm, welcoming atmosphere for which Irish pubs are known. It's a neighborhood pub that both embraces the history of the building and strongly reflects the area. "It's a copy of a pub in Ireland — it reminds me of bars where I grew up," Kearney says.

Crafty Irishman
Small but friendly bar that opened on the ground floor of the historic Mercantile Building in 2016 was the first Irish pub in Dallas from founder and native of Ireland Alan Kearney (Playwright Pub, Cannon's Corner). Scotch eggs and the shepherd's pie are standouts, and they serve their beer and cider at the correct temperature. But bigger than that is the way it has become embedded into the fabric of downtown Dallas, a reliable mainstay open long hours with a congenial demeanor, helping to create a sense of neighborhood in the Central Business District as well as adding a little Euro/Big Apple/Upper East Side flair.

Dubliner Irish Pub
One of Dallas' original Irish pubs, The Dubliner was opened in 1994 by Peter Kenny, a native of Dublin, and helped create the thriving Irish pub market in Dallas. A staple on Greenville Avenue, the bar is worn and comfortable inside, with a friendly patio facing the street. It houses a large selection of whiskies, both Irish and Scottish, plus imported and craft beer; they take great pride in the quality of their draught Guinness, hailed by many as the best in town. They possess a strong sense of community, whether they're amiably hosting animal rescue events or serving as home base to Dallas' Vespa scooter rider meetups.

Harwood Arms
Another concept from the Harwood Hospitality group (Happiest Hour, Magnolias: Sous Le Pont, Mercat Bistro), Harwood Arms may not be Irish exactly, but they've created a literal copy of an English pub in London, dartboards and all, providing an incomparably authentic atmosphere that alone would merit a slot on this list. They've covered other essentials, too, including a plentiful selection of beer on tap and a well-executed menu with beer-battered fish & chips, London broil, and Reuben "fries" — a bed of French fries topped with shredded corned beef.

Holy Grail Pub
Husband-and-wife Brian and Christi Rudolph opened this European-inspired pub in 2009, with a major selection of craft beer and classic Irish dishes like corned beef with grilled cabbage, executed with chef-caliber flair. The couple has created a hospitable space with cozy seating nooks and dartboards on the wall. Brian is a beer aficionado and there's always something notable on tap, as well as beer-themed dinners and special events. They do a brisk weekend brunch and will be featuring special dishes to celebrate St. Patrick's Day such as Guinness Stout pancakes with Jameson Irish Whiskey maple syrup and Bailey’s whipped cream.

Irish pub and beer garden opened in 2020 in the Lake Highlands/Lochwood neighborhood of East Dallas and has quickly become a local favorite. No surprise since owners Peter and Cheryl Kenny have lots of experience in the genre: Peter founded the Dubliner and they previously owned Capitol Pub and The Gin Mill, both on Henderson Avenue. Lake Highlanders love their Irish comfort food including shepherd's pie, fish & chips, and a burger they promise is one of the best in town. They truly serve the needs of the neighborhood with attentive service, a dog-friendly outdoor space, and excellent weekend brunch.

Old Monk
One of Dallas' oldest and most revered Irish pubs, the Old Monk is one of a trio owned by native-of-Ireland Feargal McKinney (along with the Skellig and Spider Murphy's). It's been a pioneer in so many ways, from being on Henderson Avenue way before Henderson Avenue was cool to being one of the few places you could find good beer prior to the craft beer movement. They also have cocktails, whiskey, and food that was way better than the dreck served at other bars, setting a standard that many bars have followed. They were even early on the vegetarian front, one of the first places to serve a veggie burger that happens to be really good.

The Playwright
Authentic Irish pub in Dallas' Arts District is from Alan Kearney, native of Ireland and founder of Crafty Irishman in downtown Dallas and Cannon's Corner in Oak Cliff. With this very traditional Irish bar, Kearney has succeeded in a location where many a previous operator failed, thanks to a menu of fun, loosely Irish-themed dishes such as "Irish nachos" — potato chips topped with ground beef and Guinness cheese sauce — and reasonable prices including drink specials and a happy hour menu of $5 "Irish tacos" with fillings such as corned beer and beer-battered cod.

The Skellig
One of three Irish pubs on Henderson Avenue owned by Feargal McKinney (Old Monk, Spider Murphy's), the Skellig features Feargal trademarks such as good-quality food and a robust selection of beer. What sets it apart is its rustic ambience, with a pronounced emphasis on outdoor space. That includes two patios, one with a number of features that make it feel more like an outdoor living room than patio: wooden community tables, picnic-style benches, fire pit, crushed gravel on the ground, and a 25-foot live oak tree. In the post-pandemic era, outdoor space has become so important, giving The Skellig a less traditional, more contemporary vibe.

Spider Murphy's Pub
The third of three Irish pubs on Henderson Avenue owned by Feargal McKinney (Old Monk, Skellig), Spider Murphy's feels a bit upscale compared to its siblings. Located in the former Vickery Park space, it has Dublin-style fittings with dark woods and vintage photos on the walls. The bar menu goes past the usual pub emphasis on European beers, Irish whiskeys, and scotch, with a cocktail program that's more serious. So is the food, which eschews Irish staples in favor of Southwestern items such as fried chicken tenders, wings, elote fritters, and nachos in five varieties including fajita steak and bean & cheese.


Honorable mentions go to The Celt in McKinney, Chet's Dallas in the West End, Delaney's in McKinney, the Fillmore Pub in old downtown Plano, the Irishman Pub in North Dallas, and the Londoner in Addison.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

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."