Nightlife • Readers Voice Awards 2009

Posted on 19 Mar 2009 at 6:47pm





COWTOWN COMPANIONS: Matt, left, and Brandon buddy up at Best Friends. DANIEL A. KUSNER/Dallas Voice

BEST ALL-AROUND BAR FORT WORTH
Best Friends Club
2620 E. Lancaster Ave.
817-534-2280
BestFriendsClub.net

For many, Fort Worth’s Best Friends Club is more than just a place to drink and boot-scoot to country. It’s also a community center where owners Scott, J.R. and Marge always open their doors for a good cause.

The mirror behind the main bar is covered in flyers announcing meetings and fundraisers. And rarely a weekend goes by that there isn’t a benefit show for groups like the Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Association, the Imperial Court de Fort Worth/Arlington or the local battered women’s shelter. If there isn’t a show, then some group is set up on the patio grilling burgers to raise money.

The club always sponsors a group to walk in Tarrant County AIDS Walk — coming up on April 5 this year — and it always has a prize-winning float in the Tarrant County Gay Pride Parade in October.

Of course, there is the dancing, too. Each Friday and Saturday night, DJs pump out country while men and women in tight Wranglers and polished boots spin around the roomy dance floor.

If you’re looking for something a little quieter, then get there in the afternoon or early evening — they open at 3 p.m. — and play your favorite tunes on the jukebox while you relax with a game of pool or darts, or just some conversation with your best friends.

— Tammye Nash



ARETHA WHO? Between songs, powerhouse chanteuse Liz Mikel laughs with her coterie of diva worshipers. DANIEL A. KUSNER/Dallas Voice

BEST LOUNGE
Alexandre’s Bar
4026 Cedar Springs Rd.
Daily 2 p.m.-2 a.m.
214-559-0720

With no cover and live music six-nights-a-week, Alexandre’s is ideal for chilling out and soaking up libations. Replete with wood paneled walls, cozy banquettes and an antiqued tin ceiling, the vibe is inviting, with a splash of cocktail coolness.

You can sit around the keyboard and scat along with the likes of Liz Mikel and Paul Allen, or watch twentysomethings busily text the night away.

Tuesday nights, the side stage is busy with hunky Lil Chalupa hosting karaoke. Wednesday nights feature the vocal stylings of Anton Shaw, and Thursday nights are hopping with Vero Voz y Compania.

But the weekends are the busiest — the jazz show commences around 10 p.m. That’s when the pocket-sized bar can get good-naturedly rowdy, but not too loud for you to catch up with a girlfriend while y’all sip a dirty martini.

Just on the other side of the Nelso-Tebedo Health Resource Center from the rest of the Cedar Springs strip, Alexandre’s is a smooth and sophisticated taste of Big D’s queer nightlife.

— Truitt Ray



BEST-LAID PLANS: It’s easy to get carried away at S4. DANIEL A. KUSNER/Dallas Voice

BEST TRICK CENTRAL
Station 4
3911 Cedar Springs Rd.
Wed.-Sun. 9 p.m.-2 a.m.
After-hours dancing till 4 a.m.
214-526-7171
Caven.com

With six bars and enough space for 2,000 club goers, Station 4 serves as a massive crunky hub for beautiful strangers. The northeast corner of the mammoth dance floor can get especially randy. Like a mini circuit party, this disco enclave is where shirtless worshippers congregate and cha-cha to the latest Lady Gaga mix.

It’s the only gayborhood club where you’ll hear the pickup line, "Wanna play with my glow stick?"

Saturdays, DJ Erik Thoresen throws the joint into full-tilt-boogie while blending Alex Gaudino into Kelly Clarkson — a soundtrack for winking, grinding and nonverbal foreplay. But it never gets too nasty, although the punishing disco beats somehow becomes a license for the gym rats to flaunt their naked torsos and flash underwear waistbands.

— Truitt Ray



OFFICE OVERTIME: Randall, left, gives corporate colleague Robin his queer-eye tour of Dallas. DANIEL A. KUSNER/Dallas Voice

BEST PLACE TO TAKE
PEOPLE FROM WORK

JR.’s Bar and Grill
3923 Cedar Springs Rd.
Sun.-Mon. noon-2 a.m.
Tue.-Sat. 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
214-528-1004
Caven.com

Sometimes your fellow cubicle slave desperately craves a "Will & Grace" experience. And when it’s your pink-collar duty to show them a good time, the first lesson they’ll learn about navigating Oak Lawn is the campy reference to TV’s most famous family, those Ewing Oil barons.

JR.’s Bar and Grill is absolutely hetero-safe without being boring.

Established in 1980, it’s like the Lido Deck of the gayborhood. At some point in the evening, almost everybody makes a JR.’s pit stop.

True to the "Big D" ethos, the two-story tavern is spacious — but not so big that your skittish intern can’t keep an eye on the exits.

Occasionally a country boy or leather daddy will wander in, but most of the clientele are the kind of mainstream gays you can bring home to mom.

You can have fun, too. If you get sidetracked cruising cute boys in Pumas, your corporate guest could easily strike up a conversation with another mojito-drinking hetero, who might know if Wikipedia finally updated Mike Modano’s goal record.

— Truitt Ray



SHAKE IT, BOYS: John, left, and Michael team up and double the fun. DANIEL A. KUSNER/Dallas Voice

BEST DICK DANCERS
Zipper’s
Dancers nightly 5 p.m.-2 a.m.
3333 N. Fitzhugh Ave.
Daily, noon-2 a.m.
214-526-9519

Dirty muscle men, twinks and chickens. Whatever brand of thong-dancers you like stuffing with cash, they are all represented at Zippers. Like Johan from South Africa, Josh the Peruvian and Mid-Cities Mike — the boys come in all races, sizes and every shade of hot.

This is the second year in a row that Zippers’ hot-mess posse has won the Best Dick Dancers trophy. And with three side stages and a main stud stage, it’s no wonder. Zippers is a wall-to-wall drool fest.

For a club nestled in such an exclusive section of Uptown, Zippers keeps it real … slutty. Tuesday nights are especially jammed, packed butt-to-crotch with one of the most ethnically diverse crowds in the queer Metroplex. This club thumps to bootie-bumpin’ jams — splicing Kelis’ "Bossy" into Flo-Rida’s "Right Round."

The dancers — often six or more working at once — are especially friendly. And cute. Because this venue is so "intimate," there’s not much room for Dallitude.

And why have an attitude?

A hot Zippers boy can make you feel like you’re holding the world’s most important dollar bill.

— Truitt Ray



SENSUAL SHOWGIRLS: From left, Ronna, Linda and Gina electrify the Buddies II crowd. BRYAN AMANN/Dallas Voice

BEST CHICK DANCERS
Buddies II
4025 Maple Ave.
Tue.-Fri. 1 p.m.-2 a.m.
Sat.-Sun. noon-2 a.m.
Barely Legal Girls dance
the second Friday every
month. Show at 10:30 p.m.
214-526-0887
Buddiesii.com

If radical feminist Andrea Dworkin caught the monthly Barely Legal Girls performance at Buddies II, she’d have to modify her rage about the "objectification of women."

There’s something empowering about women dancing for their Sapphic sisters. First, there’s no gender imbalance, so most of the "victim hood" argument crumbles. And instead, the similarities of appreciating ballet and Georgia O’Keeffe emerge.

Yes, Barely Legal Girls — Linda, Ronna and Gina — are erotic and sensual. But it’s their magnetic connection that’s built their word-of-mouth following. While busting slithery moves to hip-hop beats, they can shower the most awkward wallflower in the club with a silent rainstorm of intense flattery.

While it’s polite to tip the beauties, The Barely Legal Girls don’t appear to be working the room. Instead, the dancers make the patrons feel like a million dollars — patrons who then have to go home and take an ice-cold shower.

— Daniel A. Kusner



JUST DANCE: The ladies at Sue Ellen’s kick up their heels. DANIEL A. KUSNER/Dallas Voice

BEST LESBIAN BAR
Sue Ellen’s
3014 Throckmorton St.
Mon.-Fri. 4 p.m.-2 a.m.
Sat.-Sun. 2 p.m.-2 a.m.
After-hours dancing till 4 a.m.
214-559-0707
Caven.com

If you’re looking for loads of lesbians, mucho music and super service — along with dancing, live bands and a game room — then Sue Ellen’s offers 8,500 square feet of all of the above.

Nearly 20 years old, Sue Ellen’s opened in its new, larger location at 3014 Throckmorton (the former site of Caven’s TMC) in mid-April last year.

In its new, remodeled digs, the bar offers 10 service wells including a draft bar, a game room with pool tables and darts, an outdoor patio on each level, seven humongous video monitors showing sports and music videos and a roomy dance floor with a thunderous sound system and LED lighting.

Up on the second floor, the Lipstick Lounge offers comfy seating and an awesome view of the dance floor below, while the Vixin Room features live music four nights a week. Just one example of what to expect from the Vixin Room was the recent all-day-and-into-the-night "GirlJam 15" with Shelley King and Flora Mae, Tiffany Shea, Robin Smith, ELR, the Chris Miller Band, Anton Shaw and Ciao Bella.

— Tammye Nash



ARE THERE WINDOWS IN HERE? The Eagle — dark. Just how it should be. DANIEL A. KUSNER/Dallas Voice

BEST LEATHER/LEVIS BAR
Dallas Eagle
2515 Inwood Rd., #107
Sun.-Thu. 4 p.m.-2 a.m.
Fri.-Sat. 4 p.m.-4 a.m.
214-357-4375
DallasEagle.com

Bears, cubs, otters and pigs — The Dallas Eagle is like a gay heavy-petting zoo. Whether you have a rubber fetish, worship hairy chests or want a spanking, this strategically lit leather bar will have you fit to be tied.

Tucked behind the Maplewood Shopping Center strip mall on Inwood Road at Maple Avenue, the Eagle has a "you’re not in Big D anymore," sexy warehouse vibe. Weekends are the busiest, and you’ll likely find its 300-space parking lot almost full up with pickups and motorcycles.

The billiards table is a great way to break the ice with a leathery local. And the upstairs houses a boutique with locally made harnesses and snug fitting chrome "O rings."

Monday is jock strap night. Tuesday nights are for the shirtless. On Wednesday, flaunt your underwear. And hairy bears gather on Thursdays.

But any night, you’ll find a parade of butchies with facial hair, who don’t wear deodorant and always go commando. If any gay bar in Dallas smells like masculinity, it’s the Eagle.

In this location for more than 15 years, the Eagle is also the leather community’s home base for service and social organizations like the Leather Knights and United Court of the Lone Star Empire, the Dallas Bears and the Lone Star Cigar Men. If getting your butt slapped by a stranger or your nipples tweaked by a bartender makes you feel warm and fuzzy, the Eagle is bound to have you begging for more.

Leave your cologne at home.

— Truitt Ray



STUDLY CLEAVAGE: Whitney Paige gets the Rush crowd to vote for the best chest. (Nope. The dude on the right didn’t win.) DANIEL A. KUSNER/Dallas Voice

BEST AMATEUR STRIP-OFF
Rush
3903 Lemmon Ave.
Daily 4 p.m.-2 a.m.
214-780-0955
ClubRushDallas.com

O pen for less than two years, Rush is still the new kid in the ‘hood. And if amateur strip night is any indicator, this kid’s got game.

Wednesday nights pack in the trendy boys, ripped-and-tattooed straight dudes and sassy gals — all celebrating hump day.

A shirtless bartender cruises the crowd, looking for exhibitionists who want to strip down to their undies. Entrants are tempted with a $100 prize for the winner and $50 for the runner-up. And at midnight, the Best Chest contest commences.

Big-haired drag mama Whitney Paige gets on the mike, brandishing scalpel-sharp wit, while leggy assistant Skye makes sure the pectoral candidates don’t get too outta hand.

Best Chest attracts a motley crew of hot messes — smooth-skinned twinks, thick-necked thugz and ‘roid ragers.

The bartenders strip down to their skivvies, too, while DJ Reggie spins the latest, from Timberlake to Timbaland. The crowd roots for the winner a little after 1 a.m. — when Rush feels a little like a raucous middle-of-the-week New Year’s Eve.

— Truitt Ray



OAK CLIFF CHILAXIN’: At lesbian-owned Jack’s Backyard, leave your Dallas pretentiousness at the Trinity River. BRYAN AMANN/Dallas Voice

BEST OFF-THE-BEATEN-PATH BAR
Jack’s Backyard
2303 Pittman St.
Daily 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
214-741-3131
JacksBackyardDallas.com

It may seem remarkable that in less than five months, Jack’s Backyard has already become our fave Oak Cliff hang, but when you have the one-two punch of power-couple Kathy Jack (former Caven bar goddess) and Susie Buck (caterer extraordinaire), is anyone really surprised?

In reality, the bar — subtitled the "Chill Grill" — looks more like a garage than a backyard, located along an industrial block between Lew Sterrett and the Hotel Belmont (how’s that for a weird juxtaposition?). But the attitude is as hospitable as a Sunday barbecue with your cool neighbors. As long as the brewskies continue to flow as freely as the smiles, we’ll happily come back again and again.

— Arnold Wayne Jones





BEST ALL-AROUND BAR-DALLAS
The Round-Up Saloon
3912 Cedar Springs Rd.
Daily 8 p.m.-2 a.m.
214-522-9611
RoundUpSaloon.com

BEST DANCE BAR
Station 4
3911 Cedar Springs Rd.
Wed.-Sun. 9 p.m.-2 a.m.
After-hours dancing till 4 a.m.
214-526-7171
Caven.com

BEST STRAIGHT BAR
The Grapevine Bar
3902 Maple Ave.
Mon.-Sat. 3 p.m.-2 a.m.
Sun. 1 p.m.-2 a.m.
214-522-8466
TheGrapevineBar.com

SEXIEST BAR STAFF
The Round-Up Saloon
3912 Cedar Springs Rd.
Daily 8 p.m.-2 a.m.
214-522-9611
RoundUpSaloon.com

BEST CABARET/PIANO BAR
Bill’s Hideaway
4144 Buena Vista Ave.
Mon.-Sat. noon-2 a.m.
Sun. 4 p.m.-2 a.m.
Back bar, noon-2 a.m.
214-559-2966
BillsHideawayDallas.com

BEST COUNTRY WESTERN BAR
The Round-Up Saloon
3912 Cedar Springs Rd.
Daily 8 p.m.-2 a.m.
214-522-9611
RoundUpSaloon.com

FRIENDLIEST BAR STAFF
Buddies II
4025 Maple Ave.
Tue.-Fri. 1 p.m.-2 a.m.
Sat.-Sun. noon-2 a.m.
214-526-0887
Buddiesii.com

BEST HAPPY HOUR
JR.’s Bar and Grill
3923 Cedar Springs Rd.
Sun.-Mon. noon-2 a.m.
Tue.-Sat. 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
214-528-1004
Caven.com

BEST DRAG SHOW
The Rose Room (at Station 4)
3911 Cedar Springs
Shows: Wed.-Sun. 11 p.m.
midnight and 1 a.m.
214-526-7171
Caven.com

BEST KARAOKE
The Round-Up Saloon
Karaoke Sun.-Fri. 9 p.m.-2 a.m.
3912 Cedar Springs Rd.
Daily 8 p.m.-2 a.m.
214-522-9611
RoundUpSaloon.com

BEST PLACE TO SHOOT POOL
The Round-Up Saloon
Three tables. $1.50 per game.
3912 Cedar Springs Rd.
Daily 8 p.m.-2 a.m.
214-522-9611
RoundUpSaloon.com

BEST AFTER-HOURS
Station 4
3911 Cedar Springs Rd.
Wed.-Sun. 9 p.m.-2 a.m.
After-hours dancing till 4 a.m.
214-526-7171
Caven.com

BEST CLUB DJ
Paul Kraft
Every third Sunday of the
month at 7 p.m.,
Kraft spins at Lift Lounge
2404 Cedar Springs Rd.
Sin-Parties.com
 
BEST THEME NIGHT
Mickey’s
Mon.: "Are You Smarter
Than a Drag Queen?"
Tue.: "Ivana’s Wheel of
Trivia Fortune Game Show."
Wed.: "Take It or Leave
It Game Show."
3851-A Cedar Springs Rd.
Daily 3 p.m.-2 a.m.
214-219-6425
MickeysDallas.com

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