Part tourist trap, part working-class suburb, Arlington, Texas is a universe unto itself. Whether you find yourself here for an education – the University of Texas at Arlington is known for its nursing program – or a Dallas Cowboys football game, you may want to know where to get a good drink around these parts. Yes, you can stop by one of the many national chains, but the real treasure lies in the city’s independent joints. Arlington is a sports dive and beer paradise with craft breweries and neighborhood haunts that have been around since the mid-20th century. Here’s where you can get good drinks and good vibes.
Bar, Middle Eastern, $$$
This hookah lounge sits in an unassuming strip mall, but you’re completely transported from the second you step inside the doors. Egyptian-influenced murals adorn the walls, and white string lights drape the ceiling to stand out against the lounge’s purple ambient lighting. There is a live DJ on Friday and Saturday nights to get the party going, and the BYOB policy ensures that visitors are sipping exactly what they like as they swirl their hookah smoke.
This auto garage-influenced burger joint is a go-to if you’re headed to a Dallas Cowboys or Texas Rangers game. Stop in for one of its famous burgers and a beer before heading to the stadium. There’s plenty of outdoor seating to enjoy some of the beautiful Dallas weather, and there’s a live music schedule bursting with rock, soul, country and acoustic artists. Both regulars and tourists agree that the laid-back atmosphere makes the Grease Monkey a perfect sports bar.
Just another night at the Tanstaafl Pub | (c) Tanstaafl Pub / Courtesy of Tanstaafl Pub
Don’t try to pronounce it because it’s not a word. Tanstaafl stands for “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” and this epic dive bar specializes in beer, tiki drinks and amazing theme parties. The entertainment usually consists of pool, darts, live music and whatever antics the regulars come up with. Tanstaafl Pub is the perfect place to let your hair down and have a college-level good time without fear of judgement. Also, its Halloween parties are not to be missed. Smoking is allowed and exercised often, indoors.
Don’t let the name fool you, no one here will make you do burpees. This smoky dive bar is a blast from the past. It has the feel of a vintage bowling alley with its circular tables and leather club chairs on wheels. There are pool tables, video casino games, karaoke and a dance floor for when you’ve had just enough whiskey to break out those dance moves. The atmosphere, long-time staff and barbecue are just a few of the reasons guests keep coming back.
Urban Alchemy is a hybrid coffee and wine bar that is bright and inviting. The chic space sits inside what looks like a small airplane hangar, but is decked out in wood, stainless steel and glass tile. There’s plenty of lounge seating, co-working space and power outlets, accompanied by an active event calendar of live musicians. As a newcomer on the scene, UA hasn’t wasted any time partnering with local businesses and civic groups for fundraisers and other events. Stop by for a sip, and take home a bag of Urban Alchemy signature coffee beans for good measure.
This is one of the few pool bars in the Dallas/Fort-Worth area. The interior has a nightclub feel with high-top tables, TV screens and blue lights. Outside is dotted with patio umbrellas and loungers surrounding a sparkling in-ground pool. There’s a rotating schedule of live DJs and karaoke, and hookah service is also available. This urban nightlife experience is one not to be missed.
Dallas is about a 30-minute trip from Arlington, but even dive-bar connoisseurs in Dallas proper love Caves Lounge. Its patio is an unbeatable experience – it feels nearly as big as the indoor space – with plenty of seating, umbrellas and even a few projection screens. The drinks are cheap, and the nights are long at Caves. There’s karaoke, pool tables and a killer jukebox to keep the vibe going as the hours slip away while you sip a wide range of domestic and international beer.
While their digs may look new, Kool Keg has been a mainstay in Arlington since 1982. It’s a full-service growler bar and bottle shop, specializing in craft beer. There are 30 rotating beers on tap – many of them local – to taste, try and take home in your growler. The cool thing about Kool Keg is that while you can go there to experiment with new beers, you can also tap them for alcohol catering, too. They offer kegs and margarita rentals for your next big event.