Get Fabulously Festive On Your Social Media Feed This Year With These Decked-Out Dallas-Area Bars’ Made-For-Instagram Holiday Decorations.
We’re living in the digital age, and any business that aims to thrive successfully in the 21st century knows this well. There’s a reason why, after all, that so many bars around the region are so willing to take the time to convert their places and spaces into totally Instagrammable watering holes at every possible turn.
But, in this day and age, it needs to be said: During the holiday season, a few half-assed strung lights and a limpy Santa hat placed on a barstool just won’t cut it anymore. Listen, nobody wants to upload a picture of themselves at what looks like the reading wallboard inside of a second grade classroom. People want the lights, twinkles and sparkles. They want seasonal cocktails, and all the kitschy ridiculousness that comes with some well-efforted holiday decor.
Because, even in a still-ongoing pandemic, the people who are still choosing to hit the town — for better or worse — still need to show off on social media, right?
- EVERY DFW INSTAGRAM EXPERIENCE, RANKED.
- TEN DALLAS LANDMARKS WE LOVE BUT NEED TO STOP SEEING EVERY SINGLE DAY IN OUR INSTAGRAM FEEDS.
- THE DESIGN TEAM BEHIND DALLAS’ MOST INSTAGRAM-WORTHY RESTAURANT SPACES.
The formula is obvious at this point: Pretty-looking things make people look around longer, which means they linger longer and, in turn, drink longer.
For in an industry impacted so severely by this immensely difficult year, that is more helpful than you probably even realize.
While you should support whatever your local watering hole does all the time, but especially so during these times, here are the Dallas-area spots that are really taking things that extra step forward this holiday season, creating visually appealing spaces that make us truly jolly.
Las Almas Rotas
Las Almas Rotas already stands proudly as one of the premiere mezcalerias in the United States, and we’re so lucky to have them right here in our backyard. (Full disclosure: I worked there for a while.) Aside from the extensive back bar featuring different mezcal and sotol varietals, this Exposition Park destination also boasts an impressive visual direction, what with the incredible vintage furniture pieces and wall decorations that make up the bar’s unique Oaxacan-inspired aesthetic. It’s no surprise, then, that Las Alma Rotas’ Navidad decor is nothing short of dazzling. Here, a futuristic and festive disco ball is altered to look like a giant Mexican star pinata, and it rotates around in a room illuminated by hundreds of tiny colorful Christmas lights — ones that start to multiply after three ranch waters and a few generous Gracias a Dios house pours.
The Tipsy Elf at Good Companion
Over in Bishop Arts — when it comes to Christmas or just about anything, really — the general rule of thumb is the gaudier, the better. That’s exactly why Good Companion has introduced this year a fabulously ridiculous pop-up holiday bar called The Tipsy Elf. The best part? If you’re uncomfortable with smaller spaces during a pandemic, this pop-up spot also shares a patio with its massive (and similarly visually enticing) sister bars Paradiso and Botanist. Plus, lurking inside of The Tipsy Elf are a few special guests — like the naughty Larry the Elf and Ms. Clause, who is played by drag queen Gloria Devine.
Sippin’ Santa at Royal 38
We can’t mention gaudy without treading close to tacky waters. But enhancing a building’s visual appeal by way of maximalism is not always a bad thing! It’s actually kind of the whole idea behind Instagrammable holiday galore — and it’s what make the haters obsess even more. Here, you get that in the form of the caricature-like nature of tiki culture and the spirit of Christmas all in one. If the spirit of Christmas you seek is also beloved by Tommy Bahama and Jimmy Buffett, you’ll find it here.
Miracle at Nickel City Fort Worth
Fort Worth’s Nickel City is one of a number of Miracle pop-ups appearing all over various parts of the United States this year, and you can rest assured that this spot’s already highly anticipated opening arrives all decked the hell out for Christmas — complete with upside down trees, falling Christmas presents and rows upon rows of tinsel. Plus, there’s a fun letterboard carefully arranged to read, “Do It For The Ho Ho Hos,” and the numerous frames scattered across the bar displaying awkward Santas with crying babies on their laps are a nice touch, too.
Not into the whole Christmas thing? Part of a very specific kind of alternative Christmas fandom that seems to only exist in mythical places like Hot Topic and Tim Burton message boards? No worries. You don’t have to be the Pumpkin King to celebrate the holidays a different way. Just head on down to Lower Greenville, where ABV Establishment is proudly showing off some Nightmare Before Christmas-themed holiday decor — like their pals over at the Ill Minster before them.
The Double Wide
Posing for a photo on the empty toilets in the Double Wide’s courtyard is a rite of passage for thirsty Dallasites of all ages, and at any time of the year. But owner Kim Finch, for all her rough-around-the-edges posturing, is also a known softie when it comes to the holidays. No, she’s not even a little bit like the noted Christmas boo-bird with whom her last name rhymes. Every year, she decorates the hell out of her Deep Ellum drinking destination, cramming trees and lights and tinsel into every nook and cranny around her nook- and cranny-filled establishment. If that alone isn’t worth the trip, then the spot’s annual specialty holiday cocktails definitely are.
Two words, y’all: artificial snow. We’re not really quite sure how Deep Ellum’s newest watering hole has set it up to have snow falling inside of their establishment, but we know we’re about as giddy as schoolchildren at the notion of seeing snow there. I mean, c’mon: While other bars have made fantastic use of different lighting techniques and various tinsel types, have you heard of other Texas bars that have snow inside their spots? We haven’t. So cool!
OK, so: Maybe your nonna doesn’t want to take a picture on old toilets or with Jack Skellington. But maybe she nonetheless still wants to launch her career as a 95-year-old Instagram baddie this holiday season. What to do in such a scenario? Well, take her to the Harwood District and reserve some time for a visit to The Henry, the Gatsby-style upscale bar that’s guaranteed to make her feel young again. Truly, she’ll be in disbelief that they ever ended prohibition. She also might dig the young Uptown sugar hotties that roam the neighborhood. Regardless, The Henry welcomes all to take some pictures and indulge a cocktail within it festive decor — which we really wouldn’t mind seeing in this condition all year long, actually.
Campo Verde Mexican Restaurant
Dude, are you seeing what we’re seeing? Just look at this kaladeoscopic Christmas hallway at Campo Verde Mexican Restaurant. Out in Arlington, this unique Mexican restaurant proudly displays over 120,000 Christmas lights, thousands of yards of garland, some 50 Santa Clauses and over 30 Christmas trees strewn about. This is holiday Christmas kitsch on acid, or whatever they’re adding to Santa’s cookies these days. It’s a total holiday dreamscape — or a nightmare, depending on how you feel about these kinds of things. One thing is for sure: This is a place built to be shown off.
Photo by Michael Gorsky.