Knock out two birds with one stone at these places that offer bites with a side of music
“If music be the food of love, play on,” Shakespeare wrote, but why choose? You can enjoy some great grub — from Cajun to home cookin’ to desserts — at any of these gay-friendly venues that also feature live music. All are open daily with food and performances going late.
All Good Café. This Deep Ellum eatery gets it all right, from home cooking to a hip atmosphere to a strong lineup of national acts. Owner Mike Snyder has bred his place as a music destination with tasty food. Braised short ribs or the well-seasoned rock ‘n’ roll pork chop are hard to pass up, but are better when paired with the café’s usual slate of folk, country or rockabilly acts (queer trio Girlyman has performed here). 2934 Main St. Kitchen open til 9 p.m. weekends. AllGoodCafe.com.
The Free Man Cajun Café and Lounge. Soak in the flavors of Louisiana at another Deep Ellum spot. The menu runs from apps to entrees but Cajun spices seep all the way through. Nosh on Boudin balls or have a proper dinner with the Cajun crawfish pasta. Do not pass over the cranberry wheat bread pudding, pictured below, while catching local artists like out singer SuZanne Kimbrell. 2626 Commerce St. Open til 1 a.m., 3 a.m. Fridays. FreeManDallas.com.
House of Blues. The papa of all food-and-music venues, HOB’s rich menu includes burgers, salads and their signature ribs. Don’t let the large, heavy menu deter you from enjoying a show from the local house band in the restaurant, or walk across the building to see smaller bands like Uh Huh Her in the Cambridge Room, pictured above, or headliners like Erasure in the big room. Tip: Get your drinks from the restaurant bar. 2200 N. Lamar St. Open til 10 p.m., 1 a.m. weekends. HouseOfBlues.com.
Opening Bell Coffee. Don’t let the “coffee” part fool you — this ain’t Starbucks. Drinks range from the obvious (latte!) to alcoholic, with food sticking to the sandwich-and-soup variety, though the sweet bites are awesome. The coffeehouse is a cozy, comfortable spot to lounge on a sofa or take up a tiny table for a romantic night out to see acoustic LGBT acts such as Tom Goss and Steff Mahan. 1409 S. Lamar St., Ste. 12 (at South Side on Lamar). Open til midnight weekends. OpeningBell.com.
Sundown at Granada. Although you can grab a slice and a brew inside the Granada Theater, hit up Sundown next door first. Granada owner Mike Schoder took ownership of the old M Street Bar and turned it into a complementary biergarten and resto. With more than 60 beers available and a chef driven menu focusing on local foods, Sundown rocks it for pre-show drinks and casual dining before queer acts like Brandi Carlile and CSS perform at the Granada. 3520 Greenville Ave. 4 p.m.–2 a.m. SundownDFW.com.
— Rich Lopez
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 3, 2012.