The history of Dallas after dark is a study in evolving styles and trends. From the Roaring Twenties until its post-WWII decline, Deep Ellum, east of downtown, was a celebrated capital of vaudeville, blues and jazz. Popular from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s, the Big “D” Jamboree was a country and rock-and-roll extravaganza held at the Sportatorium arena. The ’70s saw the rise of a thriving commercial music scene and legendary clubs like Mother Blues, followed by ’80s dance temples such as the Starck Club, the Studio 54 of Dallas. Music came back to Deep Ellum in the late ’80s, only to lapse again in the late ’90s.
In the mid-2000s, the action went sky-high at clubs like Ghostbar at the W Dallas-Victory hotel, while this decade saw another renaissance for Deep Ellum, transformed by clubs like the legendary Trees into a now-flourishing entertainment district.
Today, delegates have nightlife options galore, including surprises like Frisco-based Satisfaction/The International Rolling Stones Show. As executive producer and front man Chris LeGrand explains, the group, celebrating its 15th anniversary this year as the world’s leading Stones tribute band and a rocking local (and national) option for private events, exemplifies the Metroplex “variety” show.
“The Metroplex delivers nighttime entertainment for every taste and preference, seven nights a week,” says LeGrand, a most convincing Mick Jagger. “From Deep Ellum and Greenville Avenue to the Uptown and Arts Districts, Dallas offers dozens of clubs and performing arts theaters. In Fort Worth, it’s real country music at Billy Bob’s Texas and the Stockyards District, and in the wider Metroplex, everything from tequila bars to intimate music venues.”
To borrow from the Arlington CVB, “whether you want to dress up or scoot a boot,” the stage is set for nighttime magic across the Metroplex.
Everybody’s Gotta Go
Speaking of the Stones, Midnight Rambler is a new subterranean cocktail lounge fit for rock stars at The Joule Hotel, one of many hits on the Dallas nightlife scene.
“Whether it’s enjoying live, local music in Deep Ellum, taking in a skyline view on a rooftop bar, watching an action-packed professional sports event or seeing a Broadway show, play or art exhibition in the largest urban arts district in the nation, there is an experience for everyone’s unique taste in our city,” says Phillip Jones, president and CEO of the Dallas CVB.
Founded in 1971 in Pasadena, Texas, Gilley’s was featured in the 1980 movie Urban Cowboy. Rebuilt in Dallas in 2003 after a fire, the club is hugely popular for events.