To find the best dive bars in Dallas, locals must leave the Park Cities area. Highland Park and University Park are known for their ritzy and expensive bars, but other sections of the metroplex have authentic dive bars. These are local hangouts where the drinks are cheap and the patrons friendly. Here are the top five dive bars in Dallas.
Club Schmitz9661 Denton Drive, Dallas
As soon as you walk into Club Schmitz, you can tell that this dive bar has been around since 1946. The Budweiser signs that hung on the bar's wood-paneled walls are still there, and the bartenders are still cooking up greasy burgers. The red plastic cups in patrons' hands and yellow signs on the walls capture the atmosphere of this dive bar perfectly. The Dallas Observer voted Club Schmitz the Best Dive Bar in Dallas for 2012.
The Windmill Lounge
5320 Maple Ave., Dallas
From the time you pull into the poorly maintained parking lot at the Windmill Lounge, this place screams dive bar. As you walk through this establishment's red door, enjoy the last bright sight you will see. Inside, the bar is poorly lit, as any good dive bar should be. The black vinyl couch that runs along the back wall accentuates the darkness here. The bathrooms are scarcely large enough for a full-grown man, and the jukebox has a strange mixture of movie soundtracks and soul music. The Windmill Lounge serves up a cold, cheap Shiner near the Medical District.
Ship's Lounge1613 Greenville Ave., Dallas
The Ship's Lounge, one of Dallas' historical bars, is a quintessential dive. Don't bother asking for a mixed drink. Beer and cheap wine are the only options here. (Although they'll gladly set up your drinks if you bring in the hard liquor.) There are two rules at the Ship's Lounge: cash only and no swearing. Patrons with foul mouths have been suspended from this dive bar.
The Slip Inn1806 McMillan Ave., Dallas
For about a month after I started working in the same plaza on Henderson where The Slip Inn is located, I thought The Slip Inn was a sleazy motel with no windows. Friends corrected me, though, and I learned that The Slip Inn is one of Dallas' best dive bars. It is known for playing '80s and '90s hip-hop music, attracting a diverse variety of patrons and serving up cheap drinks. Try a vodka press.
2624 Commerce St., Dallas
Adair's Saloon is the top dive bar in Deep Ellum. The Shiners and wells are cheap, and the booths are worn. Adair's Saloon often has live country music, especially on the weekends. When you come, bring a Sharpie. Any free space on the walls or signs is fair game to leave your mark on the place.
These are my thoughts on the top five dive bars in Dallas, but there's no reason to limit this list to five. Have one to add? Suggest it in the comments below.
- Sports & Recreation
- Swimming & Diving
- Dallas Observer