The List

The Granada leads the way of greatness in Dallas. Photo Courtesy: Dave Hensley
The Granada leads the way of greatness in Dallas. Photo Courtesy: Dave Hensley

By Amber LaFrance

Our city is chock full of choices. Here are a few of my most cherished spots in Dallas and why I love them so:

The Granada
Live music is everything to a gal like me and a venue with fair prices, great talent and a friendly atmosphere is key. The Granada Theater staff makes you feel like you’re part of their close-knit family and continues to book the best  up-and-coming talent night after night. I adore the art deco design (straight from the Old Hollywood days) and was so thrilled to hear they opened up shop next door with their smaller 7-days-aweek free music stage and restaurant.
Where to find it: 3524 Greenville Ave., Dallas, TX 75206

This award winning “vinopub” gives you a choice of more than 300 wine labels and craft beers, served alongside tasty  cheeses and meats. If I’m in the mood for a relatively low-key Friday night, enjoying a glass (okay, maybe three) of red wine here is just awesome. It’s a great date spot and has a completely casual feel.
Where to find it: 2323 N. Henderson Ave., Suite 103, Dallas, TX 75206

Brunch holds a special place in my heart. Go for the bottomless mimosas (only $10) and be adventurous. Fantastic entrees like the eggs meurette and beef tongue hash grace the menu of this French-inspired bistro. Want something more traditional? Wrap your lips around their delectable homemade buttery biscuits.
Where to find it: 408 N Bishop Ave., Dallas, TX 75208

The Free Man
The Big Easy came to Deep Ellum in 2011 in the form of this cozy restaurant/bar/venue. Anywhere you can enjoy Cajun fare, free live jazz and cocktails at once is just plain cool. The food is spicy and delicious and the atmosphere is a nice  change from your average bar.
Where to find it: 2626 Commerce St., Dallas, TX 75226

Lulu Bs
If you’re in the mood for rummaging through old vinyl, velvet portraits of Elvis, nudie mags from the ‘60s and vintage typewriters, this is the place for you. They have two locations, but the one in the Design District is my personal favorite. It’s a wonderful way to burn an hour or two on a lazy Sunday with friends.
Where to find it: 1010 N. Riverfront Blvd., Dallas, TX 75207

Dallas Contemporary
A free contemporary art museum for all to  enjoy, this place offers a mix of regional and international art and has such a cool industrial feel. If you’re into galleries and open to daring, unique exhibits, you’ll love it.
Where to find it: 161 Glass St., Dallas, TX 75207

Crooked Tree Coffeehouse
Want to sit back and relax with your morning cup of Joe? Full of colorful mismatched tables, chairs and couches, this is a coffee shop with a living room vibe. They serve tasty Direct Trade and Organic coffees and teas; the staff is always  friendly. Rotating musicians and artists provide entertainment on the weekends.
Where to find it: 2414 Routh St., Dallas, TX 75201

Black Swan Saloon
I discovered this hidden gem of a drinking hole and fell in love. There’s no sign out front, so just head to Trees in Deep  Ellum and look across the street for an unmarked door. Inside you’ll find a wide array of infused vodkas and whiskeys, including my personal favorite: a vanilla pecan whiskey that is simply to-die-for.
Where to find it: 2708 Elm St., Dallas, TX 75226

The Angelika at Mockingbird Station
This indie cinema offers unique flicks, a refreshing change from your average movie theater. It’s a perfect date spot, with  plush interiors, great location and comfy seating. Grab yourself a beer from the bar and your lady a glass of wine up front before heading in.
Where to find it: 5321 E. Mockingbird Ln., Dallas, TX 75206

Double Wide
If you’re looking for a change of scenery, this biker-friendly bar serves up live music, a laid back atmosphere and a drink coined the “Yoohoo Yeehaw” (imagine an adult-version of a chocolate Frosty). Looking to show off your pipes? They  host Thursday night karaoke sessions for some mid-week fun.
Where to find it: 3510 Commerce St., Dallas, TX 75226

Avalon Salon
Being a lady, I’ve tried out many salons in my day. This hip salon serves you tea during your trim and even gives you a  complimentary hand massage. I go here for facials and full-body massages too. Fellas, I know many guys that frequent  this spot, so don’t be afraid. For color, visit my girl Michelle and for a great cut, go to Angela – they’re both amazing.  Where to find it: 3699 McKinney Ave., Dallas, TX 75204 (right across the street from Warehaus)

The Bottle Shop
Beer nerds, welcome to heaven. This little shop sells and fills growlers (brown jugs that fit about five pints you can refill  at the bar) and offers the widest selection of beers I’ve ever seen. Stephanie, the cute redhead bartender is a wealth of   knowledge and can put together a personalized six pack just for you.
Where to find it: 2116 Greenville Ave., Dallas, TX  75206

Fuel City Tacos

This rough-around-the-edges taco joint (equipped with a walk-up window) is housed inside a gas station, of all places. The Picadillo and Al Pastor tacos are teeny, but very flavorful, and I love coming here late at night and chowing down  outdoors in my Saturday night party dress and heels.
Where to find it: 801 S Riverfront Blvd., Dallas, TX 75207

The Prophet Bar
Nestled in the heart of Deep Ellum, this neighborhood bar and venue is one of my favorite spots to check out new music. Wednesday is soul night, where you can groove to tunes by some of the members of Erkyah Badu’s talented band. If  you’re lucky, you might even see her hop onstage for a surprise performance.
Where to find it: 2548 Elm St., Dallas, TX 75226.