Because every city needs an early morning dive bar stop.
The mingling of alcohol and live music is one of history’s great pairings and The Goat, in the Lakewood area of east Dallas, follows in those footsteps, a blues dive bar with a profoundly neighborhood vibe. Part of a small strip mall, The Goat embodies another great dive bar trope as a hole-in-the-wall, have to experience it to understand it destination. That the owner of The Goat happens to own the pizza place next door only adds to the allure, a one-stop shop of sorts in a part of town perfect for a place like this one.
Opened in the 1970s as the Office Club, the names and owners have evolved over time, but the dive bar’s devotion to live music, specifically blues, has been a staple of its existence. Today, the stream of bands that cycles through The Goat hits the polka dotted stage every Friday and Saturday with a karaoke night on Wednesdays thrown in for good measure. Outside, a rock façade and metal grate over the door provide all the external character a hole in the wall really needs, providing welcome contrast to the other businesses located along the strip. Over the front door, no mistake can be made about the purpose of The Goat, the sign reading, “Your Neighborhood Blues Bar.”
The rock wall out front blends into what feels a lot like drinking in a dive bar cave inside, the stone theme carried through to the walls that surround the space. Like any self-respecting blues bar, The Goat is dimly lit by a mixture of beer signs, string lights over the bar and a few overhead lights turned way, way down. In that kind of environment, the stage in one corner fits perfectly with the space, polka dots giving way to a pair of barred windows that are of course no lighting issue during the evening hours when bands take the stage.
But evening hours aren’t the only happening times here as The Goat is one of the few dive bars left in Dallas catering to third-shift schedules (or early risers) with its daily 7 AM opening time (aside from a late noon start on Sunday for everyone to recover). Any dive bar that runs 7 AM to 2 AM almost every day is going to attract its share of locals and regulars from all walks of life and that’s the kind of dive bar melting pot vibe created here and cultivated over the decades this location has operated. Throw a little next door pizza, welcomed here at The Goat, on top of that mixture and the attraction is pretty clear.
The space is punctuated by a few high top tables to the left of the entrance, some fixed in place and some not, with lower tables to the right that can be moved out of the way to create a dance floor in front of the stage. Less movable is the pool table nestled into one corner of the space, surrounded by neon beer signs that gives the alcove a red-pink hue.
The action though can be found at the bar, a curved, meandering contraption that covers the corner of the space opposite the stage. The ceiling here dips a little lower, reinforcing that cave drinking vibe, the lip of the ceiling that drops down covered in string lights. Of course, what would a Dallas dive bar be without a little gaming in the equation, one corner off the bar covered by three gaming machines, a digital jukebox and an old school cigarette vending machine, providing all of life’s necessities in one convenient location.
Overall, the feeling here is a classic neighborhood bar, locals-on-their-usual-stools type vibe, the Lakewood location providing east Dallas with its dive bar focal point. The deep history of live music here is certainly one of the primary calling cards, a blues bar through and through that happens to have some affordable drinking and friendly hours on top.