Dive bar diversity comes with the type of urban diversity that serves as one of Dallas’ signature features. The city’s neighborhoods shift from reclaimed urban cores to forgotten stretches of highway-adjacent to semi-suburban neighborhoods, all offering their own flavor of dive bar offering. Where Fireplace Lounge
looks a bit like an abandoned building on the side of the road, The Grapevine Bar
serves as the classic neighborhood dive bar hub. Where Reno’s Chop Shop Saloon
persists as a biker dive bar in a quickly evolving Deep Ellum district, The Goat
sits in a strip mall quietly cranking out great blues.
Dallas is, of course, no small city. And some of the dive bars presented here sit a fair distance away from each other, but with that distance comes unique, hyper-localized flavor. Because Dallas continues to grow, at times that growth means a dive bar gets renovated or a new concept is introduced. Normally, a revamped dive bar is a death sentence, but Ships Lounge
has persisted since 1947 despite strip mall renovations and Mike’s Gemini Twin
is only a handful of years old but might be the best cocktail dive bar in the city.
Though the Dallas sprawl is real, the result is a compelling and diverse set of dive bars that makes for good touring of the city. That one of those dive bars features a patio that resembles a prison but still makes for a fun drinking locale in the shadow of an old drive-in diner shelter (Charlie’s Star Lounge
) only underscores the strength of Dallas’ dive bar inventory.