With new and trendy bars popping up all over Dallas, it can be hard to decide where to spend your time. Here are a few of the city's often overlooked gems that warrant closer attention.
St. Pete's Dancing Marlin
Often described as the "Cheers of Deep Ellum," the service here stands above the rest. The restaurant's owner Pete Zotos bartends Mondays and Tuesdays, and, like all of his staff, will chat you up like you're part of the family. Pete's is known for its tuna -- try it on a sandwich, as a steak or even chicken fried -- but everything on the menu is worth trying, from the burgers to the baklava. With not one square-inch of blank space on the walls, the venue itself is a reason to check it out. There's also a dog-friendly patio.
Where: Deep Ellum. 2730 Commerce St., Dallas.
Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House
You'd be hard-pressed to find another bar in East Dallas that has a cocktail and beer list longer than its food menu. With 16 taps and more than 60 bottled beers, including local brews, there's no reason for beer lovers to pass it up. All the burgers use grass-fed beef, and the cheesecake is made-from-scratch delicious with flavors rotating every week.
Neighborhood: East Dallas. 1154 Peavy Rd., Dallas.
Go for the pizza; it's that simple. While there are many great things about Louie's, like the Chicago décor, exposed brick, rich Dallas history and great ambiance, the pizza should be your primary reason to visit. The crust is thin, but not crispy, and piled high with toppings. A fork is definitely necessary.
Where: Lower Greenville. 1839 N. Henderson Ave., Dallas.
This bar remains a Dallas staple. The patio here is more like a yard with picnic tables scattered across the dirt. The fire pits are regularly burning and pets are always welcome. The food and drink specials are some of the best in town -- how can you beat $1 tacos (Mondays) and half-price wings (Wednesdays)? And of course, don't forget to try the award-winning onion rings.
Where: Cedars. 1807 Gould St., Dallas.
This is the ultimate neighborhood bar. The bartenders (ask for Moe or Andy) have been there for years, and regulars pack the joint. There is a patio, jukebox, pool table, and even an old-school cigarette machine. Burgers are the main menu attraction, but they offer some impressive Mexican options like nachos and enchiladas as well.
Where: Oak Lawn. 2926 Maple Ave., Dallas.
Jamie Javor is a journalism student as SMU. For more of Dallas' hidden gems visit her blog www.traveldallaslikealocal.wordpress.com or follow her on Twitter @JamieLeighAtSMU.