These Places Are Just The Worst.
We’ve all been to douchey bars.
Sometimes we go by accident. Sometimes we go on purpose.
Sometimes we go for the drink specials. Sometimes it’s for the guys who are so easy to love and hate. Sometimes it’s for the girls who at once love and hate those guys right back.
Sometimes we go because that clueless person in HR decided a spot like this would make for a good place for an office Christmas party. Sometimes we go for “girls night out” because, let’s be real, these cesspools of booze, sweat and bros aren’t necessarily the worst places to visit when you’re “just looking to party.”
Sometimes they’re fun. But they can also sometimes be the absolute fucking worst, too.
Wanna find some speech-slurring drunk patrons, rude bartenders and, hey, maybe a mechanical bull? Look no further, sirs and madams! Honestly, it’s kind of remarkable that so many people still visit these types of bars. Is the allure of no one caring that you just spilled your drink that strong? Is attention-whoring all that appealing?
Depends on your viewpoint, I guess. Regardless: Dallas isn’t lacking on venues like these.
Here, we look at the worst offenders.
Sherlock’s Baker St. Pub & Grill
5100 Beltline Road
Actual quote from an actual patron: “This guy walks up behind me, puts his arm around me and starts talking to me like he’s already my boyfriend.” — K.T.
Why it’s on the list: Sherlock’s in Addison is kind of like a college dude’s dreamland — if said dude doesn’t mind the fact that he’ll mostly be hanging out with a bunch of other dudes here, too, all packed in there like sardines. Some girls, of course, are scattered about here and there — and they’re generally scantily clad, overdoing it on the cheap drinks and maybe even grabbing each others boobs. There are pool tables. There’s a live-band karaoke night. And there’s music blasting through the P.A. at a volume so loud that it’s impossible to carry on any kind of conversation. Also weird: It’s the men who actually receive the faster bar service here.
Extra douchey points for: the fact that it’s Addison, which means you can still smoke indoors and you can still come home with your Affliction shirts and bedazzled jeans reeking of Marlboro Reds at the end of the night.
On the other hand: The drinks really are pretty cheap.
2603A Routh Street
Actual quote from an actual patron: “Downstairs is not horrible. It’s the upstairs that is a constant frat party. I’m pretty sure it’s ‘required’ of dudes on the second floor to wear light-washed Wranglers, cowboy boots and tucked-in blue shirts.” — E.W.
Why it’s on the list: The spot once used for Tribeca remains a major SMU drinking destination spot in its Renfield’s Corner incarnation. And, hey, that is what it is, and that’s fine. Take Renfield’s at face value, and it really does look like a pretty great spot: There’s an outdoor patio and bar, an indoor bar with shuffleboard tables and a sweet upstairs deck. But the crowd is always so thick that the cool set-up gets overlooked and goes to waste. Seriously: Good luck getting upstairs to that deck on a weekend night. And watch out for falling females, too: Douchebagettes tend to get their heels stuck in the wooden planks of the patios here.
Extra douchey points for: the sheer number of dudes wearing oversized, short-sleeved, mesh-lined, vented collared shirts. Really, guys: Keep these at the fishing pool or golf course. You look like you’re going on a safari.
On the other hand: When it’s not crowded, this place actually kind of rules. We weren’t kidding about the bare bones of this place’s build-out. They’re great.
The Loon Bar & Grill (closed as of May 2014)
3135 McKinney Avenue
Actual quote from an actual patron: “They have the strongest drinks, but the worst crowd. It’s like you’re going into Germany in the 1970s.” — K.T.
Why it’s on the list: A drink-soaked shirt isn’t the best to have to ride back home in, and you’re almost guaranteed to get one if you visit The Loon. This place gets so overcrowded, dudes even use the women’s restroom here, nevermind that it’s usually the other way around at most places. Worse, there are no windows, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to lose track of time and end up casino-night drunk. The bartenders are known for serving up some of the strongest drinks in Dallas, though, so nobody’s really complaining. But maybe they should: People almost always drink far past their limit at The Loon, and they do it with much support from the bar’s frat-like crowd. If you’re looking to go out and forget about your worries, you might find yourself at The Loon. Just be sure to take a cab home.
Extra douchey points for: the obvious dad over in the corner, hiding his wedding ring.
On the other hand: Those strong drinks. Also, after the Dallas Mavericks won the 2011 NBA Championship, The Loon was the lone local spot that the team visited en masse, trophy in tow. So there’s that.
2120 McKinney Avenue
Actual quote from an actual patron: “I know its hot outside. But, ladies, there is no need to dress like you’re working at a strip club.” — S.C.
Why it’s on the list: Cougars. Cougars. Cougars. Sambuca is Cougar Central, with a few early- to mid-twenties men sprinkled about, looking to hook up with these foxy older females. The line is roped off with a red carpet, and it can seem difficult to get into from the outside. But, once inside, you’ll have a hard time figuring out what all that exclusivity is about. It’s not that the Sambuca interior is dingy or anything — actually, it’s quite nice and maybe the best part of this place with its red velvet chairs, nice tables and dim lighting — but the food, the watered down drinks and the service just aren’t up to par.
Extra douchey points for: the unapologetic, six-foot-tall bro who is always blocking your view of the cover bands; those self-important doormen; the non-complimentary valet that you’re forced to pay on top of a $10 entrance cover.
On the other hand: One of the resident cover bands, The Craig Spence Project, is actually pretty good!
3014 Throckmorton Street
Actual quote from an actual patron: “Ugggggh, we’re going to Sue’s?” — H.A.
Why it’s on the list: The gay bar scene definitely has it’s douchey bars, too. And Sue Ellen’s, which caters mostly to lesbians, allied straight couples and a few creepy guys looking to, well, look at lesbians, is proof positive of this fact. Sue’s is the type of bar where they won’t let you wear sunglasses inside — not because it’s a bad look, which it is, but because people were wearing them to avoid over-the-limit eye contact with the bartenders. Also, pretty much every group here rolls deep, which makes it damn near impossible to meet anybody new. And, oftentimes, the dancefloor looks just like the one found in any hetero club — a bunch of bros (lesbros, in this case) rocking flat-billed fitted caps and sagging jeans, hanging around a bunch of femmes like a protective pack. Also, the lack of testosterone in the club doesn’t mean there aren’t any fights. There are plenty.
Extra douchey points for: the obnoxious amount of straight girls saying things like “Aren’t they so nice?” and “They’re so fun!” as if these are things gay people can’t be.
On the other hand: The Tuesday Tease drag king shows, which are free to attend, are totally legit.
2332 Leonard Street
Actual quote from an actual patron: “Be prepared to take in the pleasure of absurdly old men hanging out with women young enough to be their daughters.” — R.C.
Why it’s on the list: Dragonfly is a mega-trendy lounge inside of Hotel ZaZa. The meals are pricey, but, hey, at least the patrons are pretty! Don’t come here donning your Chucks; Dragonfly is too high-society for your O.G. basketball shoes. The interior decor is swankily themed, all black-and-white, with art decorating the walls. After 10 p.m., the crowd is strictly 21-and-up, and the music turns up. Also, there is a red-roped entrance to make thing oh-so-“Hollywood.”
Extra douchey points for: whatever the phrase for a male cougar is.
On the other hand: Hotel ZaZa is actually a very nice stay. And, hey, the steaks at Dragonfly, albeit pricey, are damned good.
2512 Cedar Springs Road
Actual quote from an actual patron: “This tiny woman crawled up the pole to the top, spread eagle, and then shimmied her way down in her little shorts and crop top. We were like, ‘She has got to do this professionally.'” — K.S.
Why it’s on the list: Did Coyote Ugly appeal to you? Then, Concrete Cowboy is your place! This place was created by the same people behind Teddy’s Room, which also sucked, but which closed back in April. At Concrete Cowboy, girls are allowed — and also encouraged — to dance above the ground. Above the ground meaning on top of the bar. While the girls are doing so, the bartenders will even shoot confetti cannons from out behind them. For those more-than-intermediate dancers, there are also poles. Just don’t go dancing on your own table. It’s the bar top or the poles only, OK?
Extra douchey points for: I mean, the stripper poles, right?
On the other hand: It’s good enough for Michael Phelps.
The Trophy Room
2714 McKinney Avenue
Actual quote from an actual patron: “It always smells like vomit. Always.” — T.M.
Why it’s on the list: The Trophy Room is not a place to grab a drink with a friend. It’s a place to devour cheap drinks with a large group before the whole group falls all over its members. The management will allow up to three people at a time to hop on the mechanical bull, which can make for great “people-watching,” but, really, it’s just asking for a hot mess. It’s not that the place is lacking in hot messes of other sorts, though. The restrooms are a nightmare, but that’s only the fault of the patrons themselves; a lot of over-boozing and vomiting goes on here. That may account for the overall acrid smell of Trophy Room. If you go, just stick to the patio. But don’t be surprised when it’s just as crowded and gross as the indoor bar.
Extra douchey points for: the shirtless girl getting body shots on the bar.
On the other hand: At least it’s fairly dive-y and casual.
Katy Trail Ice House
3127 Routh Street
Actual quote from an actual patron: “I asked a girl if the seat next to her on the bench was taken. She hesitantly said, ‘No, but you’ll have to sit right next to me.’ I took that as, ‘No, but I don’t want to sit next to you.'” — H.A.
Why it’s on the list: At Katy Trail Ice house, most patrons would rather sit next to their dog than sit next to you. We get it; pets trump strangers practically ever time. But, c’mon, bro. This place is just too crowded to not end up sitting next to a stranger, and the park bench-style seating should encourage friendliness, not heavy cliques sneering at the strangers at the other end of the table. Plus, table or not, you’re going to feel crowded here. Indoors, it can take half an hour to get a single beer. Outdoors, your waiter will be so busy keeping up with all the add-ins at the self-seated tables that you’ll wait a couple of hours just to wrap up a simple bar meal with a few drinks. Don’t bother telling your woes to management; they’ll tell you that it’s your time, not theirs. But, hey, despite the long wait time, people somehow do get drunk at Katy Trail — drunk enough to actually attempt to walk across the gravel patio in high Stilettos. All in all, it’s more of a place to be seen with friends and get frat boy wasted than a place to enjoy good service or quality food. Basically, it’s college: This place is all reputation and no depth. And the “cool” kids love it.
Extra douchey points for: trying to be an Austin-style bar in Uptown, which just isn’t happening.
On the other hand: If you live in Uptown, Katy Trail Ice House can be an easy walk to get to or an OK place to grab a beer after a leisurely bike ride with a friend. And, OK, fine, you can bring your dog.
Kung Fu Saloon
2911 Routh Street
Actual quote from an actual patron: “My experience? They told my black friend he couldn’t be let in because of the red Converses he was wearing. The bouncer was a real dick about it, too, because we asked him if he was serious, and he said, ‘You can wait here and have the guy up there come down to tell you the same thing,’ and he wouldn’t even look us in the face or have the decency to apologize. As we were walking away, I saw some white frat boy wearing red vans on the balcony.” — R.H.
Why it’s on the list: The idea here is simple. There’s a dance floor, sports on TV, and vintage arcade games for the nerds in all of us. And yet, despite these seeming positives, the actual social environment here just isn’t very fun at all. Plus, for a place that’s advertised to appear chill and casual, the bouncers sure do look the patrons up and down real hard before granting them entry. Still, people do manage their way into the place — especially if they’re caucasian and dressed the way the bouncer wants them dressed. Beyond even that, though, this place still carries the weight of douchebaggery. The usual red flags for douchiness are all here: rude bartenders; vomit in the bathrooms after a long night of brostivities; skanky ladies; you name it. Looking for a less douchey crowd that’s far more diverse in race, sexuality and style? Just hit up Barcadia on Henderson.
Extra douchey points for: Allegations of racism, obviously.
On the other hand: The games are free to play, which is something, maybe?
2918 North Henderson Avenue
Actual quote from an actual patron: “There sure are lots of those fake-looking Dallas girls who hug and act all chummy with the bouncers ’cause they know them personally…” — L.G.
Why it’s on the list: The Dram is another place that’s all about that “Hollywood” vibe. But that’s actually OK. The Dram, in all honesty, really isn’t that bad. The place looks cool enough and the people who go here are OK, so long as you don’t go here on a Friday or Saturday night, which can draw a problem-crowd night at most places. The real problem here is the staff. The bouncers are exclusive jerks and the bartenders will make a face if you don’t order something from the top shelf. Real welcoming stuff! Seriously, the bouncers and bartenders are almost always bigger douchbags than the guests here — especially when it comes to the space’s music programming. Despite management’s attempts to book some pretty decent live music and DJ acts to the room, the on-site staff here has been known to take matters into their own hands and cut the talent off from their sets mid-performance if they’re not keen on management’s tastes.
Extra douchey points for: the fact that the staff also has no problem kicking patrons out from the tables if their friends come in and “buy” the tables out.
On the other hand: If you only wanted to come and hear a band play one song, you’re all set!