The Five Best DFW Honky-Tonks

Categories: Best Of, Best Of

To call a place a honky-tonk is almost as nebulous as labeling a place a dive bar. Ask five different people what one is, and you're more than likely to get six different answers. Of course, North Texas has dozens of places that complement any of them.

The earliest published mentions of the term honky-tonk might have actually come from newspapers in the DFW area as far back as 1889. Published definitions consist of words such as "tawdry," "cheap" and "noisy." In the early days of honky-tonk culture, a piano was the single most important instrument in the building, not pedal steel, jukebox or the cigarette machine. Things have certainly changed, and to paraphrase Rangers' manager Ron Washington, that's just "how progress and country music go."

Regardless of scholarly definitions, demographics or the carpet-bagging corporate entities that have tried to wave their flag in the region, there are still a few wonderfully tawdry, cheap, sharpie-marked places that let folks dance and beer slosh around.

5. Love & War in Texas (Plano location)
This is stretching the technical terms of a honky-tonk, perhaps, but when it comes to the restaurant's weekly Shiner Sunday concerts, there are few places in our area that can out-tonk this haven just off of I-75 and Plano Parkway. There's plenty of room for dancing in front of the stage, where the you can become a part of the show.

4. Any metroplex venue in which 1100 Springs Performs
I know, this one's a bit of a stretch. Of course, anyone who's seen the reigning North Texas kings of country knows that Matt Hillyer and crew can use their pedal steel and fiddle to convert an outdoor stage of a county fair or the hallowed walls of the Granada Theater into a dance-hall.

This could be you at Southern Junction

3. Southern Junction (Rockwall)
A classic, small-town joint that boasts as much pride in its steaks as its ability to still be the primary spot for great country music and dancing east of 635. Randy Rogers and Robert Earl Keen include this spot on their tour schedules as often as they do Gruene Hall. The importance of the dance floor has been forgotten by many a large venue: Patrons need to be able to either dance or get as close to the action as possible without having to pay to sit down and shut up when up front. Southern Junction gets that.

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timetomoveon 1 Like

Really? This is the best you could come up with? Did you just buy a pair of cowboy boots this weekend or something?

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