Food and Drink

The 11 Best Dive Bars in Dallas

Bottoms up.

Single Wide
Single Wide
Single Wide

In Dallas, you’ll find bars to celebrate any occasion while filling every possible niche. Want to impress your friends with bottle service and a $300 liter of booze? Big D’s has you covered. Craving some patio day drinking with your dog and a giant Jenga set? No problem. But sometimes all we want is a place we can show up in cut-off shorts and a T-shirt, slink into a booth in a dark corner, and toast the good life with friends over stiff, simple, and cheap drinks. This is the glorious allure of dive bars and all the kitsch and colorful characters that come along with them. In Dallas dives, you’re just as likely to rub elbows with a millionaire as you are to sidle up next to Mae-Mae, the barfly who’s been glued to her preferred red vinyl bar stool since time immemorial. If that sounds like heaven to you, then read on for 11 of the best dives Dallas has to offer.

The Grapevine Bar
The Grapevine Bar
The Grapevine Bar

Grapevine Bar

Oak Lawn
The moment you walk into the darkened front room of the Grapevine Bar, expectations are set. However, the experience often far exceeds what a dive bar typically promises thanks to a true everyone’s-welcome attitude that draws patrons from the nearby LGBTQ+ entertainment district, along with service industry workers, professionals, and just about anyone looking to unwind on a sofa with the springs popping out, or on the back patio after a game of hoops with total strangers. Sip an insanely strong Tangarita, a frozen margarita made with Tang, which according to Wikipedia was created by a food scientist back in the 1950s (likely the same era that birthed the mismatched glass you’re drinking from).

King’s X

Northeast Dallas
Tucked inside a nondescript strip mall, this spot has everything you could possibly want from a dive bar. There’s a jukebox, shuffleboard, a dartboard, and a pool table, plus really cheap drinks, and random snacks ranging from chips to microwave pizza in case you need to counterbalance all that bargain booze. On weekends, live music bounces off the wood-ensconced walls with an infectious energy that can’t be beat.

Barbara’s Pavilion

Oak Cliff
In a somewhat hidden, less-traveled section of Oak Cliff, Barbara’s Pavilion welcomes Dallas’ LGBTQ+ community and allies to its cozy environs. It’s one of the friendliest bars anywhere, gay or otherwise, and on any given night you’re as likely to see the pool table covered with potluck dishes in celebration of someone’s birthday as you are a bearded man in a pink wig and feather boa belting out some Whitney Houston or Dolly Parton (or the holy intersection of the two that is I Will Always Love You). And just like any good dive, the drinks are affordable, strong, and primed to make you smile.

PHOTO: SEAGRAM'S 7
PHOTO: SEAGRAM’S 7
PHOTO: SEAGRAM’S 7

The relationship between a regular and their dive bar is a sacred thing. Every dive bar lover remembers the first time they bellied up to the bar and ordered a 7-and-7 in what would soon become their new favorite spot. This July 7, head to your local in celebration of National Dive Bar Day. Raise a glass of Seagram’s 7 to all the memories you’ve made there (even the ones that look a bit fuzzy) and all the memories yet to come.

Inwood Tavern
Inwood Tavern
Inwood Tavern

Inwood Tavern

Park Cities
If daily happy hour until 7 pm sounds like your idea of a good time (and a great value with drinks starting at only $2.50), then Inwood Tavern’s bargain bevs will help you understand why this has been a staple on the edge of the Park Cities for nearly six decades. In fact, it’s the oldest continually operating bar in Dallas. The inside definitely represents the dive side of the operation, but the great dog-friendly patio complete with live entertainment forms the perfect backdrop for all sorts of al fresco shenanigans.

Milo Butterfingers

SMU
At one point this popular Southern Methodist University student hangout was-due to legal issues over the name for a brief period-renamed Dr. Beard’s Leather Ball Saloon. Kinda wish we’d been around for that era. Yet no matter what you call it, Milo’s plays a key role in introducing each new generation to the glory of the dive, something it’s been doing since 1971 (nearly 40 years in its current location). Due to its unique, lowbrow charm, it’s been featured in everything from Tom Cruise movies to Chuck Norris TV shows. Make sure to get an autograph from their signature pulled pork carnitas sandwich, a superstar in its own right.

Double Wide
Double Wide
Double Wide

Double Wide

Expo Park
Kitsch rules at Double Wide, a trailer-themed bar complete with a spinning tornado on the roof. Sandwiched between Deep Ellum and Expo Park, it brings to life every cliché about the rural south-all with a healthy dose of humor and a little self-deprecation. Live music goes down every Friday and Saturday, but the eclectic playlist on other nights will always put you in a happy place. Try their signature drink, the Yoo-Hoo Yee-Haw, which recreates a White Russian with the cocktail’s namesake synthetic chocolate milk, before moving on to something a little less, well, let’s face it: trashy.

Cosmo’s

Lakewood
At the edge of luxury-minded Lakewood, there’s an intersection that’s home to not one, but two fantastic dive bars making it easy to create your own mini pub crawl between Lakewood Landing and this joint boasting a faux fireplace and vintage furnishings. What truly makes the brother/sister-owned Cosmo’s stand apart from the rest of the homespun pack is the chef-driven Vietnamese dishes sharing menu space with fried chicken skins and pizza by the quarter-pie (because, of course). Cocktails tilt classic with prices that veer closer to those in non-dive bars, but they’re so well made that the higher price can be forgiven-especially after a bowl of chef Tran’s oxtail pho.

Lakewood Landing
Lakewood Landing
Lakewood Landing

Lakewood Landing

Lakewood
Stationed a few doors down from Cosmo’s, the Lakewood Landing has been living up to its “upscale dive” claim for more than 50 years and counting. Honestly, we’re still not sure where the upscale designation factors in, but it sure looks great on a sign. Grab a spot at the bar or cozy up inside one of the booths for a pitcher of beer, a mixed drink (two ingredients only, please), and one of the best burgers in town accompanied by onion rings or loaded cheese fries. Filled with mostly locals, many of whom opt to walk over so they can stumble home later, the bar gives off a friendly vibe via the patrons and no-nonsense, efficient bartender often found pouring drinks solo for a packed house.

The Goat

Lakewood
By night, the Goat’s an energetic blues bar with live music every Saturday, karaoke hosted by a guy named Snake on Wednesdays, and jukebox nights the rest of the week. By day (except on Sundays), however, you can belly up to the bar starting at 7 am for what could easily be the coldest bottled beer in town or a gin and juice (because those are breakfast hours, after all). Wake up and smell anything but the coffee.

Single Wide
Single Wide
Single Wide

Single Wide

Lowest Greenville
When you’re in the Lowest Greenville Avenue entertainment district, you’ll find lots of bars and restaurants, but the diviest spot among them is Single Wide, a tiny hole-in-the-wall and rowdy little sister of Double Wide. The signature cocktail list, like any younger sibling, mimics that of its older kin, including a standout spinoff of the classics to end all classics, the Old Fashioned. One sip of their Old Timer, and you’ll start contemplating adding Tang powdered orange drink to all your craft cocktails-the surest way to prevent taking anything too seriously.

Lee Harvey's
Lee Harvey’s
Lee Harvey’s

Lee Harvey’s

The Cedars
Dallas hasn’t been able to shake its connection to the JFK assassination for nearly 60 years, so we might as well embrace it, right? Named for our 35th president’s murderer who was arrested at nearby Texas Theater in Oak Cliff, this wood-paneled watering hole beckons passersby with the warming glow of neon beer signs and other similarly unflattering lighting. Grab a picnic table on the patio near a fire pit (though not during Texas summers for obvious reasons) and kick back with a rib-eye steak, some hotter-than-hell chicken wings, and a tall cocktail to quench your thirst while discussing all your favorite conspiracy theories.

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Steven Lindsey is a contributor for Thrillist.

Food and Drink

We Tried 22 Trader Joe's Dips and Here's How They Stack Up

From vegan tzatziki to fiery Zhoug sauce to classic spinach, these deserve a spot in your cart.

Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist
Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist
Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist

With football season looming over us, that only means one thing: dip season is back. Whether you’re gathering for an end-of-summer bash, watching the game, or in dire need of a snack to indulge in while binge watching the latest Netflix series to drop, dips are the perfect option. And at Trader Joe’s, there are a lot of dips to choose from.

That’s why we decided to write this guide to dips, with helpful pairing ideas for each. So whether you’re interested in something spicy and don’t know what to eat with Zhoug sauce, or you want a classic spinach dip, these are almost all the dips at Trader Joe’s reviewed for your needs (we’ve excluded hummus and salsas, otherwise it’d be miles long and your heartburn would be even worse).

Buffalo Style Chicken Dip

This Buffalo-style chicken dip is a cult favourite and with good reason. The sharp tang and heat of Buffalo sauce is present, but relatively mild in terms of spice level. That, paired with the tub of shredded chicken, makes for a filling dip ideal for watching a sports game. Although Trader Joe’s suggests eating it hot, it’s delightful cold as well.
Pair with: crostinis, golden cracker rounds, tortilla chips, celery sticks, carrots

Caramelized Onion Dip

The caramelized onion dip is one of my favourites that Trader Joe’s has produced. It’s delectably sweet, like a French onion soup, but balanced perfectly with the tang of the sour cream and mayo base. The texture of this dip is mousse-like; fluffy, light, and airy. It’s an onion dip but upgraded.
Pair with: golden rounds crackers, potato chips, toasted baguette

Chimichurri Sauce

Although this chimichurri sauce lives in the dip section, we think of it more as a condiment. It’s lovely topped on meats or slathered in sandwiches. The ingredients are simple-parsley and cilantro are the defining items here-but you’re left with a very flavorful and aromatic olive oil-based sauce. If you really want to use it as a dip for crostinis, that would work, too.
Pair with: eggs, steak, shrimp, rice

Chunky Artichoke & JalapeƱo Dip

This dip can be heated up or eaten straight from the fridge-both versions remain creamy, piquant, and spectacularly chunky, as advertised. The main flavour takeaway is the artichoke, which this dip is loaded with, but you will feel a tingle of spice from the jalapeƱos, too. It reminds me of schmear and would definitely make a great spread for a bagel.
Pair with: bagels or bagel chips, tortilla chips, pretzels

Cauliflower JalapeƱo Dip

Of all the dips, this one took me the most by surprise. I associate cauliflower with blandness, but this is far from that. It has a smooth texture (which surprised me because cauliflower can also be gritty), and a subtle heat from the jalapeƱos. I would prefer a bit more jalapeƱo, but it’s mild enough that anyone can enjoy this at a party.
Pair with: Veggie tray, potato chips, strawberry & jalapeƱo crisps

Everything and the Elote

Maybe it’s the fact that fresh elote is so amazing that renders this dip a little bit disappointing in comparison. It’s seasoned well with chipotle, cumin, and chili powder. But what it’s really lacking is in the name. There’s not enough sweet corn kernels in this dip to balance out the other spices and the cheese. Perhaps if you added this fresh corn, you could make a large batch of esquites.
Pair with: organic corn dippers, corn salad

Everything But the Bagel

I do feel like it was a misstep to use a Greek yogurt base rather than a sour cream and cream cheese blend for this dip to really give the vibe of breakfast bagels. Sure, the Greek yogurt is still sharp and smooth, but the dip feels runnier than it should be. That being said, if you’re a fan of everything bagels and the seasoning blend Trader Joe’s makes, this will fulfil you: poppy seeds, dehydrated onion, dried garlic, and black sesame seeds galore.
Pair with: bagel chips, Everything But the Bagel crackers

Garlic Spread Dip

It’s obscene how delicious this garlic spread dip tastes on just about everything. Personally, I can eat it by the spoonful. It’s smooth and creamy, with just the right amount of lemon juice and the unmistakable aroma of garlic. Yes, it’s delicious by the spoonful, but would also be delicious in a thousand other applications.
Pair with: pita bread, rotisserie chicken, tortillas, sandwiches, honestly everything

Green Goddess Dip

Like the titular salad, this dip is bright, very green, and refreshingly herbaceous. The avocado and green onion are strengthened by garlic, shallots, chives, and basil. Unlike homemade versions, this dip contains both eggs and sour cream, so keep that in mind for plant-based friends.
Pair with: sandwiches, salads, veggie trays, multigrain crackers

Herbed Tahini Sauce

I was expecting a stronger nuttiness from this herbed tahini sauce, but the dominating flavour is garlic and a tartness from the citric acid. It’s still refreshing and a great partner to falafel and sandwiches, but the tahini flavour is in the background. I can really envision this as a successful sauce for a cold noodle salad, spruced up with additional sesame seeds and perhaps a dollop of chilli crisp.
Pair with: dill pickle falafel, garlic pita chips, cold noodles

Olive Tapenade

If you’re an olive fan, this Trader Joe’s tapenade will hit the spot. Crafted from a blend of black olives, green olives, and pimentos, it’s the right amount of saltiness and perfect chunky consistency for scooping. It would fare well atop hummus, scooped into a pasta salad, or just eaten straight.
Pair with: a charcuterie board, fig & olive crisps, pasta salad

Pimento Cheese Dip

I would argue that this pimento cheese dip does the Southern classic justice. Each bite is full of sharp cheddar and studded with diced pimentos for a dip that is simultaneously chunky and creamy. Would be excellent on a pimento cheese sandwich.
Pair with: multigrain crackers, tortilla chips, bread for a sandwich

Romesco Dip

The romesco dip is like summer unlocked through a small, eight-ounce container. There’s a brightness from tomatoes, a fuller, rounder flavour from roasted red peppers, and nuttiness from almonds. I think of it as a red almond pesto, almost. It’s great with veggies, could be tossed in a pasta, or just eaten with a hefty cracker.
Pair with: pasta, veggies sticks, raisin and rosemary crisps

Smoked Salmon Dip

If you’re a fan of lox, you’ll be a fan of this dip. It’s briny and salty and pleasantly fishy but the capers work well to cut through a flavour that may otherwise feel overwhelmingly rich. There is a generous amount of fish in this dip, as well as seasoning, so it really only needs a blank canvas to let it shine.
Pair with: bagels, multigrain crackers, or even pasta (try this Trader Joe’s recipe)

Sour Cream Spinach Dip

This is perfectly acceptable. It is not the most exciting dip on this list, but it does provide that classic spinach dip flavour, albeit a bit more tart due to the sour cream base. It would benefit from some cheese, but as far as dips go, it is thick, creamy, and very scoopable.
Pair with: toasted baguettes, multigrain crackers, a cheese board

Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip

Like the other spinach dip, this dip isn’t mind-boggling, but a twist on the classic that only clocks in at 30 calories per serving. The kale adds a tiny bit more dimension to this otherwise regular dip. Put this out on game day and surely it will be consumed; there are just better dip options here.
Pair with: toasted baguette, fig & olive crisps, Everything but the Bagel crackers.

Tzatziki

Trader Joe’s does this classic condiment justice. It begins with a kefir cheese and sour cream base that’s filled with sliced cucumber, plenty of dill, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Use this dip as a side for a gyro plate.
Pair with: Dill pickle falafel, pita chips, organic naan crackers

Vegan Buffalo Dip

This is a very successful reinterpretation of Buffalo dip. It’s tangy and zesty, with all the qualities that make for a plant-based alternative to this classic. One critique is that once opened, it does tend to get watery fast, but the flavour is so good that if you bring this to a party, it likely won’t last very long.
Pair with: crostinis, golden cracker rounds, tortilla chips, celery sticks, carrots

Vegan Caramelized Onion Dip

This is not far off from the regular caramelized onion dip. The flavour is still sweet and savoury, there are large squares of perfectly browned onions in each bite, and the consistency is creamy. I would say it’s not quite as light and fluffy, like mousse, as the original-but the dairy-free cream cheese base is still a perfectly acceptable alternative.
Pair with: golden rounds crackers, potato chips, toasted baguette

Vegan Nacho Dip

Vegan cheese can be a hit or a miss, but Trader Joe’s succeeds here. This cashew-based dip is luxuriously creamy and has all the meltiness a regular nacho cheese would also possess. You won’t find grittiness here, but will find a flavour that has the desired saltiness that will impress vegans and non-vegans alike. Just make sure you don’t overheat the dip and stir constantly-like dairy cheese, it will split otherwise.
Pair with: tortilla chips, tacos, burritos, fries

Vegan Tzatziki Dip

I’m amazed at this vegan tzatziki dip. Trader Joe’s has truly found something special with its dairy-free, cream cheese base. This is just as tangy, dilly, and cucumber-filled as its yogurt counterpart, meaning it’s delicious.
Pair with: dill pickle falafel, pita chips, organic naan crackers

Zhoug Sauce

This Zhoug sauce is amazing. It’s herbaceous and fiery and flavorful-definitely the spiciest dip of the bunch. What I really love about it is how simple the ingredients are (only eight things in total!) and how they all work in tandem. Cilantro is undoubtedly the star, sure, but pops of cumin and cardamom paired with the heat of chile flakes and jalapeƱos really adds dimension to this Yemeni-inspired dip.
Pair with: eggs, garlic naan chips, organic corn dippers, or your favourite protein.

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Kat Thompson is a senior staff writer of food & drink at Thrillist. Follow her on TwitterĀ @katthompsonn.

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