The 15 Best Bars In Dallas, According To A Former Local

From whiskey on the rocks to a zesty and fresh margarita, Dallas, Texas knows how to do drinks. While dining out at some of the best Mexican restaurants in Dallas, nothing pairs better with chips and queso than a frozen margarita or crisp Paloma. But if you're a gin martini kind of person, a fancy bar in a hotel lobby might be more your vibe. When it comes to going out for a buzzy Friday or Saturday night on the town, Dallas has plenty of upbeat bars, some of which boast epic rooftop views or cool underground club vibes. However, if a more subtle and vibey scene is your groove, a moody, dim-lit bar with cozy booths and a speakeasy setting is never too far away.

Whether you're embarking on a night out in downtown Dallas or going on a first date in the popular Knox/Henderson neighborhood, these are the 15 best bars in Dallas according to a former local. Having lived in Dallas for more than 20 years, these bars were chosen based on my personal experience, recommendations from friends, and online reviews from social media.


Apothecary is a renowned speakeasy that serves the most inventive drinks and bites in Dallas' Knox/Henderson neighborhood. Given its popularity, you should definitely make a reservation before visiting, especially on the weekends. The dim lighting, vintage mirrors and decor, and cozy booths take you back in time, while the avante-garde cocktails tantalize your taste buds with unheard-of flavor combinations. The presentation is just as impressive as the drinks, so be sure to have your phone ready to snap some Instagram-worthy photos.

Even a classic like the dirty martini gets a royal refurbishing at Apothecary, with the APO dirty martini being made with Kastra Elion vodka, cold-pressed olive juice, umami, and an optional bump of caviar. One of the most interesting options is the Peanut Noir which includes brandy, salted peanut orgeat, pinot noir, and a snack mix garnish. Even if you're not super hungry, don't forget to try a couple of Apothecary's bites like the beef tartare and chef-dressed oysters.

(469) 949-4234

1922 Greenville Ave, Dallas, TX 75206


Also located in the Knox/Henderson area of Dallas, Hide is an award-winning bar and restaurant that serves more than 30 different signature libations. The downstairs dining area is spacious and open, featuring a huge bar in the center of the room where you can post up to watch the latest game or chat with a friend over one of Hide's creative cocktails. However, the upstairs rooftop is the ultimate place to sip and savor while taking in the beautiful Dallas skyline and surrounding views.

The extensive list of cocktails is split up into "spirited", "comforting", "brave", and "refreshing" categories, allowing you to navigate the menu according to the experience you're looking to have. If you like a spirit-forward drink, stick with the Blind Date or La Loba. The Melon Drama is a fresh and fruity drink made with cucumber and honeydew, while the guava-forward Black Sand Beaches makes you feel like you're living the island life.

(214) 785-0905

1928 Greenville Ave, Dallas, TX 75206

Bowen House

Located in the historic Ahab Bowen home, Bowen House is an Uptown staple that serves craft cocktails in a Victorian-style setting. This is the kind of bar where you can simply tell the mixologists your favorite flavors and spirits, and they will whip you up something totally unique and perfectly suited to your palate. That said, the signature drinks are well worth trying, and if it's your first time visiting, it's best to explore the menu to truly see what Bowen House is all about. The spirit-divided menu is easy to read and ensures that if there is a particular liquor you hate, you can easily avoid it.

The passion fruit-forward Golden Hour is a great pick for tequila lovers, but those who prefer vodka should order the tropical Public Scandal. Bowen House also serves a solid selection of bites such as fried brie and tuna tacos. Consider yourself to be a true spirit connoisseur? Check out Bowen House's list of hand-selected spirits for some of the most exclusive pours.

(214) 484-1385

2614 Boll St, Dallas, TX 75204


Parliament's red and dim-lit interior has made it a staple for couples seeking a romantic evening — complete with craft cocktails of every kind. From Champagne cocktails to high balls to old fashioneds, Parliament puts its unique spin and modern twist on the most beloved and timeless of libations. Considering that there are more than 100 cocktails on the menu, finding something that suits your taste shouldn't be too difficult. Enjoy bubbles and effervescents in the zesty Parliament Royale or branch out with the Butterscotch Flip, made with butterscotch bourbon, butterscotch Angostura, cream, Demerara, and a whole egg.

In need of a new happy hour in Dallas? Parliament hosts one Monday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and offers $6-$7 cocktails along with $5 beers and discounted wines. Keep in mind that there is a dress code and you'll want to don one of your nicer getups.

2418 Allen St, Dallas, TX 75204

Monkey Bar at Mi Cocina

Monkey Bar is a local hotspot located upstairs at the Mi Cocina in Highland Park Village. Though you won't find much about Monkey Bar online, it remains one of the busiest bars in the city on a regular basis, constantly packed with locals who are hoping to grab a Mambo Taxi margarita before sitting downstairs at the restaurant or hopping over to their next event. Once you walk up the unassuming staircase, you are greeted by a breezy patio that leads into the small but charming lounge and bar area.

Finding a seat can be somewhat difficult, so if you're hoping to sit and have some appetizers with your drinks, snag the first spot that you see open. Though the full Mi Cocina drink menu is not available at Monkey Bar, you can get everything from the Mambo Taxi to a tequila soda or a glass of wine, and you can also order some of the restaurant's famous chips, guacamole, and queso.

(214) 998-2438

77 Highland Park Village, Dallas, TX 75205

HG Sply Co.

Looking to experience the hottest rooftop in all of Dallas? When it comes to rooftop bars, HG Sply Co. has reigned supreme for many years since it first opened in 2013. The views of downtown Dallas in the distance are unbeatable, and there is plenty of room to walk around, explore, mingle, and sit. The tables sit under both fans and heaters, ensuring that no matter the weather, guests are comfortable and temperate. In the evenings, the string lights turn on and the music turns up, making HG Sply Co. a popular spot for sunset drinks before bar hopping.

The HG mule is simple and slightly sweet, while HG's guava marg is a fruity drink that tastes like summer. The booze-free mocktails are a great alcohol-free alternative for those wanting to socialize without a traditional cocktail, but there is also a solid selection of wine and beer to choose from.

(469) 334-0895

2008 Greenville Ave, Dallas, TX 75206


Located within the snazzy and Swiss-inspired Hotel Swexan, Babou's is one of the hottest new spots for cocktails and upscale club vibes in Dallas. This lower-level bar boasts swanky lounge decor such as animal print floors, plush leather booths, and a secret next-door "library" that features massive shelves of literary legends. Keep in mind that there is a dress code, and you'll need to show up in smart, upscale style. If you're celebrating something special with a big group, you can reserve bottle service in advance and party until 2 a.m.

In addition to craft cocktails, you can also order small bites at Babou's. Sip on a classic dirty martini alongside lobster steam buns and American sliders before hitting the dance floor. If you're a fan of jazz, be sure to visit on Thursdays for live jazz alongside a lively crowd and innovative libations.

(469) 753-3509

2598 N Harwood St, Dallas, TX 75201

The Mansion Bar

The Mansion Bar is a locally-loved jazz bar located within the historic Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. Considering this hotel is one of the most exclusive and high-end properties in the city, it's no surprise that the bar matches this energy with pricey yet delicious drinks, elevated bites, and a timeless, library-esque ambiance. Pull up a seat at the bar or snag a cozy corner booth for more privacy as you browse the extensive list of signature and classic cocktails.

The Eclipsis is a rich, bourbon-forward beverage made with Woodford Reserve bourbon, Aperol, Velvet Falernum, and Angostura bitters. If you're in the mood for something more fruit-forward and refreshing, opt for the Strawberry Roan which is topped with a delicate plant-based froth. Of course, patrons can also choose to sip on a wide selection of wines ranging from reds to whites. When it comes to food, the Wagyu beef tartare topped with caviar and the tuna cigars are both must-order bites.

(214) 443-4747

2821 Turtle Creek Blvd, Dallas, TX 75219

Tina's Continental

Embarking on a date night in Deep Ellum? Cure your nerves with a cocktail from Tina's Continental. Situated within the historic Continental Gin Building, it's only fitting to sip on a gin martini. There is an entire menu dedicated to building your own martini, ensuring that you can have it made and perfected exactly to your liking. The ambiance is sleek and swanky, with a retro bar acting as the focal point of the room. 

Though you can sip on one of the signature or designer cocktails, the customized martini is a must-try. Start by choosing gin or vodka before selecting your vermouth and olive brine preference. From extra dry to dirty to filthy, no style is off-limits. Next, opt for stirred or shaken, then choose your garnishes. 

Pro-tip: garnish your dirty martini with blue cheese-stuffed olives rather than regular ones for extra flavor and flair. Not a fan of martinis? Order a zesty Paloma or refreshing Hemingway daiquiri instead. You can also enjoy wine by the glass and ice-cold beers at Tina's Continental.

(469) 294-4011

3309 Elm St Ste. 115, Dallas, TX 75226

Atlas Bishop Arts

Despite being a decent distance away from the center of the city, Bishop Arts is one of the most unique and enticing Dallas neighborhoods. This artsy design district is home to hip restaurants and one-of-a-kind shops and galleries, but Atlas Bishop Arts is the ultimate place for explorers and locals looking to quench their thirst with something special. Between the presentation and use of innovative and unexpected ingredients, Atlas never fails to impress, but it is especially loved by cocktail aficionados who enjoy a spirit-forward beverage that showcases the versatility of liquor.

Each cocktail is inspired by different cities around the world, allowing your tastebuds to travel from country to country without leaving the bar. From the Peruvian-inspired pisco sour to the French sidecar, there really is something for everyone at Atlas. The layover section of the menu is another fun idea that includes a shot and a beer inspired by different destinations — the "Ireland" includes a shot of Irish whiskey alongside a Guinness while the "Jamaica" comes with a shot of Plantation Rum and a Red Stripe.

(972) 970-9663

408 N Bishop Ave #101, Dallas, TX 75208

The Tipsy Alchemist

Enjoy live piano music in a sultry lounge setting when you sit down for a drink at The Tipsy Alchemist. One of the coolest things about The Tipsy Alchemist is the fact that the bartenders and curators are always using the latest and greatest mixology inventions to craft creative cocktails that defy expectations. Though you are welcome to walk in for a casual drink, reservations are recommended; evenings get pretty busy with locals looking to post up for a while as they chat over quality cocktails in a cool and immersive setting.

The "Boozy Bites" menu features a fun list of Jello shots with flavors that range from margarita to lemon drop. Most of the cocktails are divided by liquor, allowing you to easily choose a drink that is made with your preferred spirit. The watermelon and vodka Mad Hatter is fresh and fruity, while the hibiscus margarita tastes like summer in every sip.

(214) 600-8913

2101 Cedar Springs Rd R125, Dallas, TX 75201

The Rustic

The Rustic is without a doubt one of the most famous places to drink in Dallas. Its massive outdoor area and larger-than-life bar scream Texas, and it's the perfect place for locals to take first-time visitors who want to know what Dallas nightlife is all about. Whether you're hoping to day drink or sip under the stars, The Rustic is open all day except on Saturdays, when it is open from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. The outdoor patio tends to host live musical performances, creating an upbeat atmosphere to match the friendly service. If you're looking to meet new people and make new friends, this is the place to be.

The house frozen margaritas are always a hit, especially on hot summer days. Plus, you can always up the ante by adding a Coronita to your frozen marg. The legendary Rustic Rita is topped with a house-made mango popsicle made with Jalisco 1562, but the Rustic Water is great for those who prefer less sugar.

(214) 730-0596

3656 Howell St, Dallas, TX 75204


Ruins is an Oaxacan-style bar located in the Dallas Deep Ellum neighborhood. The eccentric decor is met with a rustic brick wall behind the bar, and since Ruins is open until 2 a.m. daily, locals can stop by for their favorite late-night drinks and Caribbean-inspired bites. Most of the cocktails are one-of-a-kind, utilizing ingredients like white cacao, walnut liqueur, egg white, and more. The Scorpion Bowls are perfect for sharing and can serve up to three people, but the shooters are a fun and flavorful way to get the party started.

When it comes to margaritas, expect an array of fresh flavors such as passion fruit, coconut, guava, and chile. If you need some food to pair with your drinks, order some carnitas tacos and elote. The birria plate is a wonderful dish if you need something more hearty, and unlike most bars, the kitchen is open until close, allowing you to get your fix late at night.

(972) 707-0607

2653 Commerce St, Dallas, TX 75226

Rattlesnake Bar

Rattlesnake Bar at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas is a popular spot for hotel guests and locals alike. The elegant and sultry bar features warm wood-paneled walls and dim backlighting, creating a romantic ambiance for diners looking for pre or post-dinner drinks at Fearing's Restaurant. Though you might be torn between the classic and signature cocktails, you truly can't go wrong with any of the drinks. Dean's signature margarita is made with chef Dean Fearing's hand-selected Aguasol reposado, Damiana liqueur, agave, and fresh lime juice, while the carajillo is a Mexican classic that gives you the perfect espresso boost.

The signature cocktails are divided by spirit type, making the menu super easy to navigate. Those who stick to tequila will love the spicy Ancho Maria, but the Rum Pum Pum is a unique and sweet drink that can be served hot or chilled. Enhance your drinking experience with a cigar and chocolate pairing or some hand-made nachos and Wagyu empanadas.

(214) 922-4848

2121 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75201

Midnight Rambler

Between the Art Deco-inspired bar, chic furniture, and checkered floors, Midnight Rambler is one of the most stylish places to drink and mingle in the city. Located at The Joule Hotel, this underground cocktail lounge takes patrons on a cocktail adventure that suits a variety of palates. On the weekend, Midnight Rambler turns things up a notch with live DJ performances that pair perfectly with the zesty and creative cocktails.

The Samoan War Club is an aromatic libation made with 12-year Jamaican rum, Rhum Agricole VSOP, bay rum falernum, and gula jawa (palm sugar). If you need a digestif after dinner, the Komodo Dragon is a house creation that includes coconut milk and pandan, offering a creamy and decadent post-dinner sipper. Though cocktails are the focus at Midnight Rambler, the lounge also serves shareable plates such as carrot and peanut hummus, chicken liver mousse, and a house-made charcuterie board.

(214) 261-4601

1530 Main St, Dallas, TX 75201


As a former local who grew up and lived in Dallas for more than 20 years, I have had the pleasure of visiting most of the spots on this list in person. Since craft cocktails have become increasingly popular, creativity and the use of high-quality spirits and ingredients were the primary deciding factors for each bar. No one wants to feel hungover or ill after a night of leisurely sipping, and while a sweet and sugary drink is ok every once in a while, quality cocktails use high-end ingredients to create robust flavors without the need for extra sugar or flavor masking. I also feel that the setting in which you drink and dine plays a huge role in your overall experience, so I selected places that maintain an enticing ambiance and design-forward setting.

For the few spots that I have not been able to visit personally, recommendations from trusted friends within the food and beverage industry were taken into account, along with online reviews from social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.