A go-to destination during the 1920s era of jazz and blues, Dallas’s Deep Ellum neighborhood is still the loud, pounding heart of the city’s music scene. In fact, there are over 30 live music venues here alone. Fittingly, Deep Ellum is also chock-full of excellent bars, ranging from cozy neighborhood watering holes to kitschy themed bars and upscale haunts. Here’s where to get your drink on in this booze-soaked, culture-drenched, music-heavy ‘hood.
This swanky establishment is just as well-known for its friendly ambiance as it is for its epic cocktails; the bar staff, with its attentive service and personalized recommendations, will make you feel like family. Stop by during their weekly Spirited Socialism event (held every Tuesday) for a $5 shot of a high-end spirit, or head to their awesome happy hour (Sunday through Friday, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.) for half-priced small bites and $6-8 cocktails.
This intimate, endearingly gritty honky-tonk first opened its doors in the 1960s, and ever since then, Adair’s Saloon has been a beacon for the dive bar crowd. From the excellent burgers and local craft brews to the graffiti-covered walls and rollicking live country acts, Adair’s is a timeless treasure that feels a world away from the glitz and glamor of other Dallas bars.
The Twilite Lounge is a New Orleans-inspired haunt that’s unlike any other bar in Deep Ellum. With its French Quarter-style courtyard, plush décor, chandeliers, dark paneling, and blood-red leather booths, the Twilite Lounge is a cut above your average dive bar. With an enticing mix of Big Easy-themed cocktails like the Nola Pimm’s, House Sazerac, and the Black and Stormy, you certainly won’t go thirsty
Nestled on Elm Street, this unsuspecting speakeasy is pitch-dark and about as roomy as a New York City studio apartment—and it's where you go to shoot the breeze with other regulars and let the bartenders whip you up something special. Cocktails here are made with farm-fresh ingredients, house-made syrups, and crazy-cool infusions like a four-pepper tequila. Chill out to the sounds of live country and blues, or play vintage arcade games like Ms. Pac-Man and Donkey Kong while you sip your artfully constructed (and undeniably delicious) drinks.
At Armoury D.E., visitors can catch weekly free shows with all the best up-and-coming North Texas acts. While you watch, stay fortified on innovative cocktails and refined, Hungarian-themed bar snacks (think meatballs served with garlic-parm aioli and a truly decadent charcuterie plate). Add to the list a recently revamped sound system, and there’s no wonder music and cocktail lovers are always swarming around this hotspot.
Dot’s Hop House & Cocktail Courtyard is the prime spot for chilling out with a beer under the stars. The sprawling, open-air courtyard is the centerpiece, with its quirky stained glass, twinkly lights, local artwork, and massive outdoor chandelier—but the drinks (and food) are pretty special, too. There are over 100 beers on tap as well as a few craft cocktails; soak up the booze with tasty bar fare like duck fat fries and chips and queso.
This retro-modern cocktail den quickly became a buzzy Deep Ellum hangout after it opened in 2017, thanks to its soulful vibes and classics-driven drink menu (the mint juleps, French 75s, daiquiris, and Sidecars flow like water here). Come hungry—the food menu at Shoals runs the gamut from signature empanadas to fried plantains. The Nitty Gritty, their house-made bologna sandwich, has been deemed by many to be one of the best dishes in Dallas. Yes, really.
Double Wide Bar
A bar with a trailer park theme? In fancy-pants Dallas? You may have to see it to believe it, but Double Wide Bar exists, and it’s easily one of the most distinctive, fun bars in the city (much less in Deep Ellum). Belly up to the bar and order one of their most popular (and hilariously named) cocktails—the Yoohoo Yeehaw, the Old Timer (billed as a “grumpier, no B.S. version of an Old Fashioned”), and the Twisted Tang (a margarita “only a gringo could love”) are all solid choices.
Ruins has been attracting craft cocktail lovers ever since it opened in 2018. The bar specializes in mezcal-infused drinks as well as regional Oaxacan- and South American-influenced cuisine. Try delectable dishes like Fideo (soup with tomato, black garlic, vermicelli noodles, cilantro, avocado, and chilcostle dried pepper) or Roasted Chayote Salad (slow-roasted squash with caramelized mezcal onions and pomegranate) alongside their collection of agave- and cane-based spirits.