Dallas-Fort Worth is a vast “Metroplex,” with each of our largest cities carving out its own, distinct personality. Dallas is flashy and fun; Fort Worth funky and informal; Arlington, well, it’s somewhere in between.
But no matter where you find yourself in DFW, there are plenty of places to hang out, chill out or act out, depending on your mood. So here are just a few suggestions. You’ll find even more at dfw.com.
The Den and Rumor Lounge (2710 McKinney Ave.): Located in the heart of Uptown, this three-floor club features a rooftop patio with a gorgeous view. Gets packed on weekends with a young, noisy crowd.
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Savor (2000 Woodall Rodgers; savor-relish.com): Situated on the fringe of Klyde Warren Park in downtown, the all-glass bar/cafe is a stunning place to grab a drink and see the city at play.
The Lizard Lounge (2424 Swiss Ave.; thelizardlounge.com): The area’s premiere electronic-dance-music club always features a solid line-up of some of the world’s best DJs.
It’ll Do (4322 Elm St.): Situated in a gritty area east of downtown that some are calling New East Elm, It’ll Do -- in an old dancehall with a wooden floor -- may be the coolest dance club in town. No velvet rope. No bottle service. Just an eclectic crowd that has come to dance.
Avenu Lounge (2912 McKinney Ave., avenulounge.com): If you want the traditional dance-club experience, doorman included, this is the place to go.
Station 4 (3911 Cedar Springs Rd., station4dallas.com): One of the largest dance clubs in the Lone Star state and a good place for techno and house music. While primarily aimed at a gay crowd, straights into dance music go as well.
Cowboys Red River (10310 Technology Blvd., cowboysdancehall.com) : Boot-scootin’ is the dance of choice at this country-and-western bar in northwest Dallas. While Fort Worth is a better place to cowboy up, this joint has free dance lessons on Thursday and Friday night and live music. There’s a sister club, Cowboys Dancehall, in Arlington.
If you want to bar crawl in Dallas without worrying about driving, there are three areas you should consider as they can be explored on foot: Uptown, Deep Ellum, and Lowest Greenville. Each offers a different vibe and different taste of what Dallas has to offer.
Uptown ( uptowndallas.net): Your best chance to see a walking parade of Dallas stereotypes -- well-groomed nightowls in flashy cars -- is here. Take the free McKinney Avenue trolley, beginning with the West Village area to the north -- where such hangouts as Union Bear and Max’s Wine Dive -- are good for people-watching. Then move south to such bars as The Idle Rich, McKinney Avenue Tavern, Vino 100 wine bar, The Ginger Man, and Christie’s Sports Bar.
Deep Ellum ( deepellumtexas.com): Sporting a more indie vibe and more tattoos, Deep Ellum -- with a deep musical history in American blues -- is a great area to explore to see an up-and-coming band. Head to such clubs as Trees, The Double Wide, and Club Dada to catch some new sounds.
Lowest Greenville: Greenville Avenue, long one of Dallas’ best-known entertainment areas, went into a downward spiral a few years back but now it’s on its way back with a new wave of bars and restaurants. This is especially true on its southernmost end, called Lowest Greenville, from Belmont Avenue to Ross. New hangouts like The Blind Butcher, H.G. Sply Co. (with an awesome second-story patio), and the Truck Yard (a food-truck park-meets-outdoor bar) are making Greenville a magnet again.
The Bearded Lady (1229 7th Ave, Fort Worth): A laid-back craft brew pub on the city’s near southside, it has a large patio with picnic tables overlooking the action on Magnolia Avenue.
Reservoir (1001 Foch St.; bar-reservoir.com): A trendy West 7th spot with tons of TVs, but the sports bar feel gives way to a club vibe as the night wears on.
Barcadia (816 Matisse Dr.; barcadiabars.com): A bar, restaurant and arcade with vintage video games like Pac Man, pinball, and giant Jenga sets.
Billy Bob’s Texas (2520 Rodeo Plaza; billybobstexas.com): The world’s largest honky tonk is a shrine to all things cowboy and country. There’s even bull riding, but you should stick to the two-steppin’.
Capital Bar (3017 Morton St.; capital-bar.com): A West 7th bar with great rooftop patio near the Cultural District and cozy “backyard” stage for live music.
The Aardvark (2905 West Berry Street; the-aardvark.com): TCU campus bar with live music and strong drinks.
Lola’s Saloon (2736 W. Sixth St. lolasfortworth.com): Where the locals go to hear hard-rocking live music.
Live Oak Music Hall (1311 Lipscomb St.; theliveoak.com): Intimate music venue with an impressive craft beer list and one of the best rooftop patios in Fort Worth.
Shipping & Receiving (201 Calhoun St., shippingandreceivingbar.com): Unique spot located in a former Supreme Golf warehouse, S&R has a strong lineup of local beers and live music.
The Usual (1408 W. Magnolia Ave.; theusualbar.com): Cool cocktail den where “mixologists” brew up Prohibition-era drinks well worth the wait and price.
Queen City Music Hall (425 Commerce St., queencitymusichall.com): Right near all the action in downtown Fort Worth, it’s part of a complex that has live music, a comedy club, dancing and karaoke.
Vice (350 W 5th St., vicefw.com): One of the few pure dance clubs in Cowtown, this underground spot doesn’t get ramped up till around midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
Scat Jazz Lounge (111 W. 4th St.; scatjazzlounge.com): Underground downtown jazz club with a hepcat vibe and sweet cocktails.
Fort Worth has four vibrant entertainment districts: downtown, West 7th, the Stockyards and the Magnolia Ave. area. For a breakdown of what each has to offer, go here.
Cowboys Dance Hall (2540 E. Abram St.; cowboysdancehall.com): Billy Bob’s gets all the headlines, but Cowboys has plenty to appeal to two-steppers and lovers of twangy music.
J Gilligan’s (400 E. Abram St.; jgilligans.com): One of the most popular bar/restaurants in Arlington, it has a gritty Irish charm and is famous for its Irish nachos.
Caves Lounge (900 W. Division St.; facebook.com/CavesLounge): A hip hangout on Division Street with an enormous patio and legendary jukebox.
Red’s Roadhouse (1170 E Kennedale Pkwy; redsroadhouse.com): Just south of Arlington in Kennedale, Red’s is a relatively new joint with an old honky tonk soul.
Humperdink’s (700 Six Flags Dr.; humperdinks.com): A sports bar near the stadium that specializes in microbrews.
Boomer Jack’s (522 Lincoln Square; boomerjack.com): A fast-expanding local chain of sports bars (11 locations), the Arlington Boomer Jack’s is not far from AT&T stadium and it’s famous for big juicy burgers and tons of TVs.
Dave & Buster’s (425 Curtis Mathes Way; daveandbusters.com): Sure it’s a national chain, but the adult arcade games are still a ton of fun.
Arlington doesn’t really have a walkable entertainment district, but there are clusters of restaurants and clubs near the sports stadiums. If you want to take a trip back in time, drive down Division Street and check out some of the classic dive bar’s like Milo’s, Stumpy’s and the Sunshine Bar.