The Best Bar Staffs in Dallas

Categories: Best Of

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Dallas Observer
The Dram made our list of the best bar staffs in Dallas
When it comes to live music venues, Dallas has polychromatic shades of bar staffs, from its draft-pouring, quietly rustic bartenders to the sophisticated mixologists with novel ways of concocting a drink. When you frequent a venue often enough, it's nice to be remembered. This could very well mean you need to take 12 urgent steps out of the bar and onto sobriety, but either way, you're memorable.

This is a city that prides itself in its great service and southern hospitality, so narrowing down the best bar staff is not easy. Nobody wants to spend half of a show in line at a bar, especially when just trying to close out, so efficiency is key. The innate quality of friendliness, overall knowledge, at least partial patience, and the strength to be unbiased in the face of patrons' hotness or spending potential, have all been taken into account.

Excluding theaters and arenas -- because you just get your overpriced drink and rush back from intermission -- the best bar staff in live music venues in Dallas are:

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7 North Texas Bands Shaping American Hardcore Music

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Gray Muncy
Vulgar Display are a North Texas hardcore band whose influence is felt across the country

With all of the space given by the local press to the nationwide impact of North Texas musicians on a variety of genres, it's shocking that so little has been written about the area's influence on the American hardcore scene. For a musical style that's all too often written off as one-dimensional, it's undeniable that North Texas has one of the most diverse and influential hardcore scenes in the nation.

The past few years have seen area bands releasing highly respected recordings and touring all over the world on a scale largely unmatched by any other local subgenre. Here are seven just such bands that are leading the pack of North Texas' hardcore surge.

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10 North Texas Albums You Should Be Excited About This Fall

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Jimmy Alford
Pageantry are prepping the release of their new album, "Spine," for the fall of 2014
Fall may be a sad time for some folks. For instance, those who have to go back to school. There are also those who relish the oppressive heat of the summer (we swear, it was milder than normal this year!). But for the rest of us, the fall is something to be excited about. It's especially true for music lovers: the fall is album release season, meaning not only lots of new records to look forward to but also every band and their brothers going on tour.

So with September under way and the prospect of loads of new music to look forward to, we went local with things and rounded up 10 albums from Dallas and the surrounding area that should have us all excited for the next few months.

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The Best Sunday Fun Days in Dallas

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Catherine Downes
If you're not sitting in the bed of a pickup, it's probably not a Fun Day

And on the seventh day, God created Fun Day. Well, okay, maybe not, but really that should have been the case. After all, what better way is there to give the workweek ahead a defiant middle finger than to spend all of Sunday drinking irresponsibly? Damn be the consequences, we say; our temple of worship bows to the unholy trinity of beer, shots and karaoke.

Like any red-blooded Americans, we start planning our weekend drinking on Wednesdays (at least), and this weekend is a special one for those who love the Sunday Fun Day: it's Labor Day weekend, meaning Monday is a vacation day. So in honor of this glorious occasion, here are the 10 best places in Dallas to celebrate the Day of Fun.


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The Best Texas Music Venues for Road Trippin'

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Megan D. via Flickr
Ballroom Marfa, one of the many music venues worth road tripping to in Texas

As you might have noticed, we're a bit obsessed with traveling here at the Observer. We've given you weekend getaways, food centered trips, and hidden road trips. So it was only a matter of time before we got in on the fun here at DC9. Being that we live and breathe Texas music, here are the 12 music venues from around the state that are worth loading up the car and making the trip from Dallas to. It's time to gas up your ride, put on some music, and hit the road, because you've got bands to see and beers to drink.


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The 10 Best Blues Clubs in Dallas-Fort Worth

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Tyler King
The one and only B.B. King playing at House of Blues last year

Texas music bleeds the blues, but finding a place to enjoy them in the Dallas-Fort Worth area seems nearly impossible these days. A younger generation of rising stars like Jason Elmore and Larry Lampkin make their guitars moan the blues like masters Lance Lopez and Stevie Ray Vaughan once did. They were baptized in Texas blues. But where to find them on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night around these parts? The blues have gone so far underground that Google Maps has a hard time locating the clubs on the map.

So until a blues lover with deep pockets opens up a five-day-a-week blues club or city leaders finally recognize Dallas' musical heritage with an annual FREE blues festival (and maybe a statue of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Freddie King and Blind Lemon Jefferson), we here at the Observer pooled together a list of blues bars/venues that still showcase these lonely blues guitar slingers.


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The 10 Best Places To Find Free Live Music In Dallas

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Nate "Igor" Smith
Sometimes, Rhett Miller plays a free show at Twilite Lounge
In some cities, free music is literally everywhere. Musicians fill the streets and small coffee shops, and a walk by any park could mean getting drawn into a gratis impromptu performance from a popular local band. Unfortunately, because Dallas' music venues are everywhere from downtown to far-flung neighborhoods, it's not as easy to walk the blocks in search of good tunes on any given night.

But free live music does exist in Dallas, and there is plenty of it. Alongside up-and-coming acts who are scratching out their first material on small stages in dark bars, you'll also find national acts that have decided to pick up an acoustic guitar and play a small show. Whatever your musical preferences, these venues have something to offer any music fan in Dallas who is too broke to buy a ticket.

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The Best Smoking Patios in Dallas

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Mike Brooks
Smokers of the world unite!

Look, fellow smokers, it's probably for the best we can't smoke indoors at shows any more. It was pretty sad for everyone, and dry ice is much less life threatening, probably. If you want to have some of the ol' tobacco, there are many solutions around Dallas, all of which involve blowing smoke into the sky.

So what makes a good smoking patio? Well, it must be roomy enough that you're not making your non-smoking friends sad when they politely accompany you outside. It must be conveniently located near the actual concert. It must be shady, because the summer is no good. It should look nice, because smokers are fickle and need shiny things to entertain them.

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The Best DJ Nights in Dallas

Categories: Best Of

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Roderick Pullum
It'll Do is consistently the place to be on Saturday nights
Pretty well any night of the week, someplace in Dallas has a DJ waiting to help you get your dancing fix. Funk, soul, hip hop, house, drum and bass -- there's something for most anyone, no matter how particular your tastes may be. Recently, we picked out the best of the local DJ residencies who stick exclusively to vinyl. But, of course, there's so much more out there. So here now are the best DJ nights in Dallas, pulled from across all formats.

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The Best Patios in Dallas That Host Live Music

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Catherine Downes
This scene + live music = polar vortex bliss
Prime patio weather might have passed us by in, oh, May, but people in Dallas still love drinking their booze outside. Fortunately for us, the weather gods have seen it fit to bless us with a respite from the heat in the form of a summertime polar vortex. That means that for one brief, shining moment local happy-hour connoisseurs have their chance to shine.

They're not alone, though: A great patio offers the comforts of your favorite bar as well as the musical stylings of the city's best bands. Dallas bars are pretty skilled at booking good up-and-coming acts, and these patios are some the best places to unwind with your favorite adult beverages and a great show.

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