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The best new Dallas bars and restaurants of 2021.


After a tough year for small businesses, we’re raising a drink at the 21 Best Bars and Restaurants that opened in Dallas in 2021.

“You win, you lose”, as the old saying goes. This year in the food and drink news, Dallas has lost a lot to the ongoing pandemic that is hitting local businesses, resulting in numerous closures. But as the year draws to a close, let’s focus on the positives – as establishments have closed, many have opened – which is a feat worth applauding at times like this.

In no particular order, we’re highlighting 21 spots that caught our attention (and our taste buds) last year. So if you haven’t looked at them yet, quickly add them to your list – you need to make sure that you have time to check out all the establishments that appear in 2022.

Murphy’s Spider

Photo via Spider Murphy’s website.

This Irish pub is less beer-focused, which may sound blasphemous to some, but we’re in it. Offering cocktails like an old-fashioned mezcal and espresso martini, the pub serves more refined versions of bar fare, including burgers, nachos, and even weekend brunch options. Dublin owner Feargal McKinney opened the joint in March and subsequently completed a trio of Irish pubs on Henderson Avenue – McKinney also owns The Old Monk and Skellig, McKinney.

Charlie’s Star Lounge

This dive bar was brought to you by our friends behind The Nines. In a location that was once known as The Star Lounge on the edge of Deep Ellum, Charlie’s Star Lounge opened in April and kept the retro vibe of its predecessor – it’s just been cleaned up a bit. With DJs, arcade games, and expanded drink offerings, this is a place where you can truly relax.

cheap

Photo via the Cheapsteaks Facebook page.

Another Deep Ellum joint, this long-awaited casual steakhouse opened in August in the space that was previously Stonedeck Pizza. Here you can get cheap steaks (duh) from Israel Fearon’s cuisine, cocktails (Smoke, Hotel St Germain, The Porch and Neighborhood Services) and live music.

Blackbird Society Speakeasy / Neon kitten

It’s a 2-in-1. Neon Kitten is a dim sum lounge that opened in October and offers sushi, dumplings, and other Asian fare. There is also a cocktail menu, and one of them is served in a glass shaped like Hello Kitty. If you want more exclusive drinks and Japanese spirits, direct your attention to the back of the restaurant where its reservations clandestine bar, Blackbird Society resides.

Atlas

Photo via Atlas menu.

Inspired by his travels, Krio owner Dan Bui opened this lounge bar at Bishop Arts that serves food and drinks from around the world. Here you can find bruschetta, gyros, and pho on the same menu, as well as spirits from Singapore, France, and Kenya, among others. It also sports a sophisticated bookcase aesthetic, so you can get drunk and feel smart. And if you want to book a private section, you can get there through a secret library.

South Roots Table

This Farmers Branch restaurant was named one of Esquire’s Top 40 New Restaurants in America. Chef Tiffany Derry’s Southern Comfort restaurant was the only Dallas restaurant on the list. We have previously quoted Esquire who called Roots “glaring proof that the black cuisine of the southern Creole coast … is both the country’s greatest culinary heritage and its way forward.”

Electric mixer

Photo via Electric Shuffle website.

Originally based in London, this Deep Ellum store is the country’s first and makes shuffleboard cool. The trendy spot, which serves both food and drink, contains 17 puck layouts. You can get Caught in The Rain – tequila infused with jalapenos, coconut, pineapple, lime, simple syrup – or Live Lav Love – vodka, lavender, lemon, simple syrup, and egg white.

Villa Azur

In November, this nightclub and restaurant opened its Dallas location at the W Hotel. During the day, it’s a Franco-Mediterranean restaurant where you can taste first-rate seafood. At night it transforms into an upscale nightclub with crazy entertainment like waders and contortionists.

Beckley 1115

Photo via Beckley’s website 1115.

In Oak Cliff you have this restaurant / wine bar which opened in October and offers comfort and fine dining for all meals of the day. They also have a burger of the month, which benefits various nonprofits. And of course, wine.

Casablanca

Led by Executive Chef Nick Hurry, the Bishop Arts Lounge offers cocktails and shared platters with tropical inspirations. This is another restaurant containing a sweatshop, well, a “singeasy”. Inside are the Casanova Karaoke Lounges – six rooms with an app-based database for choosing songs and adjustable lighting.

Social green light

Photo via Green Light Social Dallas on Facebook.

We’re a little ahead of ourselves on this one, as this Austin-based venue’s second location isn’t quite open yet, but it’s coming December 31st, just in time to place it on this. listing. It’s right next to your favorite spots – Bottled Blonde, Vice Park, Citizen, The Sporting Club, and Blum.

Thunderbird pies

In the fall, Jay Jerrier’s brand new concept from Cane Rosso opened in East Dallas. It specializes in rectangular and thick Detroit-style pizzas. You can also find beer and wine on the menu, as well as pinot freezio, a special frozen blend of pinot grigio and cucumber lemonade.

Apothecary

Photo by @smariefoodtography on Instagram.

This Lower Greenville ‘avant-garde cocktail bar’ opened in July and features things you’ve never had, like a gold leaf drink that costs $ 5oo and others that ‘numb it. your tongue, have an octopus tentacle or [are] made with pasta sauce. They make drinks with scientific tools and techniques like liquid nitrogen, centrifuges, and pyrolysis. The food is just as crazy.

Harper’s

Located in The Epic in Deep Ellum, Harper’s offers global cuisine and fine cocktails. Here you can get steak, seafood, and a Trip “N” Grass cocktail that contains CBD oil. The place is Milkshake Concepts’ latest neighborhood business that also brought you Vidorra, Stirr, Serious Pizza, Sky Rocket Burger, and Dirty Bones.

Postino

Photo via @postinowinecafe on Instagram.

This Phoenix-based wine bar’s premier North Texas location, Postino opened in April in a building shared with Merit Coffee. Like Deep Ellum, the bar pays homage to the region’s music scene with concert posters and ticket stubs lining the walls.

me

The Franco-Indian restaurant opened in the spring at what was once Hattie’s in the Bishop Arts District. The menu includes lamb vindaloo and various brunch options. At the back, a champagne bar called Elephant Bar serving cocktails with a Franco-Indian touch.

Saddle lounge

Photo via @sidesaddlesaloon on Instagram.

In Fort Worth, located in the Mule Alley complex, is a Texan cocktail and tapas bar that pays homage to the vintage cowgirls of the Old West. What are some Texas tapas you can ask for? Bacon, cheddar and chive cookies, duck confit tacos and house beef jerky, to name a few. Yeah.

Saint Tacos

After BBBop Seoul Kitchen left Lower Greenville and turned into a ghost kitchen, Saint Tacos returned in the spring. The menu includes breakfast tacos, street tacos, Tex-Mex dishes, and chicken wings. No margin here, but you can get horchata and a hibiscus limeade.

Muchacho

Photo via Muchacho’s Facebook page.

If you want margaritas, head to Southlake for this Tex-Mex eatery from James Beard-nominated chef Omar Flores. The food and drink menus are both stacked. Another restaurant in Flores, Whistle Britches, also opened its third restaurant this year. Probably because he got the Flavortown Seal of Approval from Guy Fieri on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives back in 2018.

The Rabbit Hole Bar & Grill

This cozy place has taken over the old Eastbound & Down space on Ross Avenue. A perfect place to hang out with the neighbors, the place has a dog park, fire pit and patio, and offers over 20 beers on tap.

Hot Chicken

Photo by Cody Farmer.

Finally, an ode to the hot chicken craze that hit Dallas. Above is our ranking of four different spots since the start of last year. In June, Lucky’s Hot Chicken announced five new locations: Oak Lawn, Richardson, Pleasant Grove, Framers Branch, and Grand Prairie. Head to the already open locations of East Dallas and Highland Park if you haven’t already.



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Richard Dement

The author Richard Dement