I thought it was about time to write up one of my most frequented spots in Dallas… I’ve been afraid I wouldn’t do it justice – but here it goes.

Barcadia is a formerly-hipster hangout that has been invaded by the usual Dallasites. You can still find some tattooed, plaid-clad, bearded/pink-haired people, but I am afraid to say most of them have moved on … except for on a Wednesday when they return to Barcadia to play Street Fighter II and Skee Ball with a PBR in hand.

If you haven’t yet been to Barcadia and live in Dallas, shame on you. This bar has so much character and even offers free games on a Tuesday … that’s right … free 80s arcade games. They have a bevy of game choices: Astroids, Mario Brothers (both original and new), Donkey Kong Junion, Ms. Pac Man, Q*Bert, Millipede, Star Wars, Spy Hunter, Robotron, Phoenix, Joust, Galaga, Defender, Tempest, pinball, and, not to be outdone, three giant jenga sets with entertaining graffiti.

I can only think of one bad night I had at Barcadia and it wasn’t the bar’s fault at ALL. The drinks are strong, induce a fun party atmosphere, and inspire irresponsible behavior. The music is fanTAStic along with the fun bar art, TVs are HD and easily seen, and the porch is HUGE and encourages you to meet your table neighbors.

Barcadia tips: watch your feet when playing Jenga in sandals, never give the bartender a hard time but DO flirt, don’t talk to strangers in the bathroom, drink PBR

Drink strength: 4 
Overall: 4.8 (I can’t give up the 5 yet!)

1917 North Henderson Avenue | (214) 821-7300

happy hour | Monday-Saturday | til 8 p.m.

Monday | 1/2 price food, happy hour all night
Tuesday | $3 Texas beers, FREE GAMES!
Wednesday | most pints $3 
Sunday | 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. | $12 bottomless mimosas (or $4 each), $4 bloody marys, $5 fresh fruit mojitos | 3 p.m. – 2 a.m. | $4 you-call-its

a capital idea

Great food?  A great beer selection?  Head into Capitol Pub …

We only caught the hind end of happy hour, which, as it turns out, wasn’t much of a loss.  Drink “specials” wouldn’t really describe what they offer during happy hour.  I can pay $4.50 a lot of places and get a stronger well than they serve.  I guess yesterday I actually drank 2 of the 8 required glasses of water because water is about all that my cocktail consisted of.

The food at Capitol Pub is what one would expect from one of the people responsible for Old Monk, Idle Rich, and the like, Peter Kenny.  All have great food and know how to serve it hot (mine was piping!).  The pizza is pretty darn good, as is most of the menu – and all of the selections come in hearty portions.  See their delightful food selections here.

There was a good number of people happy houring – most were on the enclosed porch enjoying the nice heaters and fireplace (which is always nice to gather around).  The location is fantastic – we enjoyed dinner and a couple of drinks and then strolled into Veritas for a glass of vino.

I’ve always enjoyed this place because it doesn’t get too crowded on the weekends and I’ve never been disappointed with the amount of people during the week.  They have darts and TVs … something for everyone.  My only hangup is their meager happy hour specials.  But, as I said before, head into Capitol Pub … but only if you have the capital.  (not a bad pun if I do say so myself!)

Drink strength: 2.5 
Overall: 4

Capitol Pub
2401 North Henderson Avenue | (214) 887-9330

Monday – Friday | 4-7 p.m. | $1 off all drafts, domestic bottles, and wells

Lemon Bar (Closed)

Thanks to a reader’s urging, I finally got my butt into Lemon Bar.  Walking in, I was delighted to see how many people were happy houring at the newest watering hole in West Village.  A few restaurants have tried this spot but none have succeeded as Lemon Bar already has seemed to do after only a few months being open.

While the specials are somewhat limited, the drinks are pretty darn great … and not too overwhelming.  I had to cut happy hour short to get to dinner and I wish I didn’t have to have done so … and I would have given my left ear lobe to have whatever food’s smell was wafting from the kitchen.

The crowd is very “West Village” – in a good way – and seemed to be a fun place to meet a new friend or two.  However, returning to Lemon Bar at night is a different story.  People begin to trickle in for the night shift around 8:30 and bring the party.  Friday and Saturday nights it’s almost impossible to move let alone get a drink.

Thanks for getting me into Lemon Bar, @tgospel!

Drink strength: 3.5
Overall: 4

Lemon Bar
3699 McKinney Avenue Dallas, TX 75204 | (214) 443-6043

Monday & Wednesday | all day | $2 domestic drafts
Tuesday & Thursday | all day | $3 wells
Friday | til 8 p.m. | $3 wells
Saturday & Sunday | 11 a.m.-3 p.m. | $8 bottomless mimosas and bellinis

get stone-d with an elephant

For months on the way to my gym, I saw the promise of a new sports bar.  The large sign that stated Stone Elephant would soon open was exciting beyond belief … and I hate to say that it was mostly because I loved the name.  So I ventured in.

The food is pretty darn good and the drinks were alright.  I’d made the decision to give up fried food but seeing the goodies on the menu, I couldn’t pass trying some of the dee fried goodness up.  Definitely try the chips; they are made in-house and delicious.  Sadly, we didn’t venture into any drinks other than wells because … well, it’s a sports bar.  Make sure you specify what drink had when you reorder because, while the waitresses are incredibly nice and efficient, they are spread thin.

There were quite a few happy hour-goers of all types and ages (some are pretty darn attractive at that).  To tell the truth, I wouldn’t have minded meeting a few of my fellow drinkers at Stone Elephant – it seems a whole different group than I have seen around; some were older, some were younger, some had tattoos, some had suits, and some were suited up and bald.

The decor was simple and quirky; there were spots in the walls, ceiling, and bar where we were told the stone elephant ran amuck.  There is a stage for live music, plenty of televisions, and a pool table in the back.  Overall, a typical sports bar with an atypical location and plenty of fun to be had.

Drink strength: 2.86 (sometimes a girl can’t go with a multiple of .5!)
Overall: 4

Stone Elephant | @Stone_Elephant
6750 Abrams Rd. #105 | Dallas, TX 75231 

Happy Hour | Monday-Friday | 4-7 p.m. | $2.50 wells, domestic drafts, and domestic bottles, $4 house wine
Thursday | ladies night | $3 cosmos and appletinis, karaoke
Sunday | all day | $2.50 wells, domestic drafts, and domestic bottles, $4 house wine

drive into the light.

Mondays are my day off.  Monday is my day to clean.  Monday is my day to work out.  Monday is my day to buy healthy food at Central Market.  BUT this Monday somehow turned into a quick (too short) run, a button-bursting dinner at Matt’s Rancho Grande, and drinks drinks drinks at Arcade Bar.

Their recession Mondays are brilliant.  $2 for anything?  YES, PLEASE!  It’s so nice to walk up to the bar with a $5 bill and be able to buy a drink … and a drink for a friend … with tip.

The drinks were strong for $2 a throw.  After our randomly expensive Sunday night at Stan’s, a cheap night was needed and we seemed to get the same buzz for $24 for the two of us (that included dinner at Matt’s) as Sunday’s $98!!

Arcade Bar is a good place to be a regular.  When we walked in, there was a table in the back with an intense poker game going on and two dogs roaming around the tables begging for a sip of beer (yes, it’s dog friendly … and no, we didn’t give them any beer).  The restrooms are delightfully clean, the music was fully of guilty pleasures, Trivial Pursuit cards were on each table for entertainment, and there was fresh popcorn beckoning us from the back of the bar.

To top it off, we got a private tour of the Lakewood Theater which is under the same owners as Arcade Bar.  If you haven’t been inside, get there soon.  Open since 1938, everyone in Dallas knows the bright neon lights of the Lakewood Theater tower.  If you see it … drive into the light.

Drink strength: 4 
Overall: 4.2

Arcade Bar/Lakewood Theater
1825 Abrams Parkway, Dallas 75214 | (214) 821-7469

Monday | Recession Monday | ALL NIGHT | $2 you-call-its
Wednesday | Winnipeg Wednesday | $2.50 wells and domestics
Thursday & Saturday | Karaoke
Friday | live music

see ya (again), alligator

After we decided to find a last minute happy hour by my friend’s place on Tuesday, I was discouraged after calling the places I could think of in the West End that would be fun to review.  Lo, all their happy hours had ended so we resigned ourselves to the fact that discounted drinks were not in the cards for the night.  Boy, were we wrong…

Sauntering around the West End deciding where we’d settle for our full-priced drinks, we were walking up to Gators to see nothing but a chalkboard sign with “$2 you-call-it til close” scrawled in pink chalk across it.  We couldn’t believe it; the drinking gods were smiling upon us.

And it got better … all night, Crown and down, $2.  HOOOAH.  I went for their ridiculously fun frozen drinks first – try the barfly; it’s dementedly good and will get you equally as demented.  The drinks were pretty darn strong for $2 a throw and the service was great.

Our waiter was really nice and attentive and HONEST (there’s nothing better, right?).  So we ordered 4 or 5 drinks and snacked on their yummy fried pickles and fried green tomatoes (pickles were great, pass on the tomatoes).

This place will see us again; if not for another $2 Tuesday, then for a $1 Jello shot Thursday (  The crowd was fun and young for what you would think you would find in the West End.  There is live music every Friday and Saturday and a free shuttle to most American Airlines Center events (cheaper parking and cheap drinks? yes, please!)  They also have a killer patio for the warmer months.

They even have a 20% off coupon on their site!

Drink strength: 4.5 
Overall: 4

Gator’s Croc and Rock
1714 N. Market Street Dallas, Texas 75202 | (214) 748-0243 
— they just opened a new location at 18110 Midway Rd # 134, Dallas, 75287

Monday-Friday | 2-7 p.m. | HAPPY HOUR PRICES
Sunday | $5 select shots
Monday | $2.75 domestic bottles
Tuesday | $2 Crown and down
Wednesday | $7 16oz. frozen drinks
Thursday | $1 Jello shots

Susie knows all things boozy …