Table at a restaurant decorated for the winter holiday season

Experience holiday magic at these 7 DFW restaurants and bars

It’s impossible not to feel charmed at these destinations that go all out for the holidays.

The holiday season is all about making memories, and what better way to do that than by visiting restaurants and bars that have truly embraced the holiday magic? These bars and restaurants in the DFW area offer a range of experiences, from holiday-themed cocktails to festive desserts, and winter wonderlands that will leave you feeling merry and bright. So, gather your loved ones and enjoy this special time of year at these delightful spots.

Whiskey Ranch 

2601 Whiskey Ranch Rd. Fort Worth, TX 76119

If you’re in the mood for holiday-themed fun, look no further than TX Whiskey at Whiskey Ranch. The distillery and venue space host multiple events to kick off the holiday season. Enjoy cozy movie nights under the stars with special screenings of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Friday, Dec. 15) and Elf (Saturday, Dec. 16). 

Those who prefer to get spirited with, well, spirits won’t want to miss the special holiday edition cocktail class led by TX Whiskey’s resident mixologist Jason Shelly. Learn how to impress your guests this year with tips and tricks to make the perfect cocktail.

Leela’s Wine Bar

1914 Greenville Ave, Dallas, TX 75206

Step into a winter wonderland at Leela’s Wine Bar in Lower Greenville. Its “holiday house” pop-up offers a cozy atmosphere to escape holiday chaos and celebrate with loved ones. Get ready for some Instagram-worthy holiday candids as you enjoy specialty pop-up cocktails like the Ornamint, which includes strawberry and hibiscus infused gin, Italicus, strawberry, lemon, and tonic; or the Polar Espresso, with espresso-infused vodka, Mr. Black, Frangelico, cream, and cinnamon.

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The Grapevine Bar

2213 Butler St, Dallas, TX 75235

Looking for a unique holiday experience? (Or to hide from your family this holiday season?) Head to The Grapevine Bar, where the drinks are stiff, and the atmosphere is always festive. This quirky spot may have moved locations, but it kept the same charm that earned it fans for years. Enjoy the relaxed patio, pool tables, and some of the jolliest regulars in Dallas. With friendly staff, delicious drinks, and colorful lights, it feels like a year-round gift.

Campo Verde

2918 W Pioneer Pkwy Arlington, TX 76013

This beloved Mexican food restaurant in Arlington is internet-famous for its festive holiday decorations. Upon entering, you will be dazzled by the overabundance of lights, tinsel, snowflakes, miniature Santa Claus figurines, Christmas trees, and more. This year, there’s even a Disney-inspired ice palace. Make your experience extra merry with house-made salsa verde and a sangria swirl margarita.

Mercat Bistro

2501 N Harwood St., Suite 225 Harwood, Dallas, TX 75201

The Harwood District restaurant undergoes a magical transformation during the holiday season, turning into a winter wonderland for all the senses. You can enjoy a one-of-a-kind dining experience surrounded by dancing polar bears (not real ones, of course). Reserve the Polar Bear Table for a two-hour dining experience that is sure to become one of your cherished holiday traditions. Reservations are available from Nov. 20 to Jan. 5.

Rise 

Address: 5360 W Lovers Ln, Suite 220. Dallas, TX 75209

Inwood Village’s Rise is a cozy and magical spot year-round, but it’s especially enchanting during the holidays – perfect for celebrating with loved ones. The twinkling decor and classic French menu make Rise a truly intimate experience this season and throughout the year. Indulge in Rise’s infamous marshmallow soup and savor a warm and comforting souffle.

Tiff’s Treats 

Multiple DFW Locations

If you are unable to make it out this year, you can create your own holiday magic at home. What better way to do this than by gifting yourself (or those you love) freshly baked cookies? 

Tiff’s Treats, the experts in cookie delivery, have got you covered with a range of seasonal sweets that are perfect for the occasion. Each year, you’ll find specialty cookies, festive packaging, and even the opportunity to send Kendra Scott jewelry as an extra-sweet surprise. 

For those with kids, ordering a pack to leave out for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve is the surest way to make a family memory without ever having to leave home.

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Couple with cat drinking a catpuccino sitting and laughing at a table

5 activities in Phoenix that are perfect for first dates

Wanting to impress a date? Here’s where to take them around town.

First dates are inherently stressful. A good first date — a really good first date — depends on several variables: exploring common interests, making each other laugh, and finding some time to simply get to know each other (so skip the bass-thumping clubs and crowded cocktail bars at first). We know that planning that perfect first date can be nerve-wracking, so we’ve rounded up some of the best activities that Phoenix offers, from tried-and-true attractions to irresistible icebreakers guaranteed to keep you entertained — and wanting a second.

Competitive spirit

Who said a first date has to be a basic dinner and drinks? Axe-throwing is sure to remove any awkwardness that often comes with a first date. At LumberjAxes, you can show off your strength and aim — or laugh about your lack thereof. Located inside Tempe Marketplace, the sporting venue includes a restaurant by celebrity chef Matt Hearn and a craft cocktail bar — everything you need for the perfect night out. Of course, there’s no better way to find out if you’re compatible with someone than by working together to solve a mystery. Escapology’s immersive escape rooms, with locations in Tempe and Gilbert, put your communication skills to the test by encouraging you to find creative solutions to problems. Choose from themes such as the Indiana Jones-inspired Lost City, the “Knives Out”-reminiscent Mansion Murder, or the cartoon caper, Scooby-Doo, and the Spooky Castle Adventure, among others. More fun and games — literally — can be found at Level 1 Arcade Bar, a retro arcade bar with two locations in the East Valley; Snakes & Lattes, a game board bar and cafe; and Puttshack, a miniature golf experience. All offer a variety of fun activities that will bring out your competitive spirit, as well as food and beverages. Get to know each other over dinner and drinks before challenging each other to a rousing game of Centipede, Battleship, or beer pong, respectively.

Walk through time

Greater Phoenix has grown tremendously in the past few years, but exploring its past is always fun. Newcomers will delight in learning about the region’s unique history, while native Arizonans can play tourists in their hometown. Taliesin West, the winter home of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, ticks several great first-date boxes with its stunning mountain views, groundbreaking architecture, and plenty of quiet spots for conservation. While this modernist masterpiece is one of the most popular attractions in the Valley, there are several other historically significant buildings that even the most die-hard Phoenicians have never visited. Wrigley Mansion, built by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr., is a stunning Santa Barbara-style landmark that sits high on a hill overlooking the city. Take a docent-led tour, and if you’re feeling especially romantic and wanting to impress, dine at the upscale — and pricey — Christopher’s at Wrigley Mansion. The Rosson House Museum and Heritage Square is a reminder of the city’s Victorian past. Spend a few hours touring the 1895 home and surrounding structures before heading next door for a bite at the world-famous Pizzeria Bianco.

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View outside the Phoenix Zoo on a sunny day.

“Ameowzing” afternoon

Nothing breaks down defenses more than cute, cuddly critters, and Phoenix has plenty of “pawsome” attractions that will allow you to get up close and personal with domestic and wild animals. For a casual afternoon get-together, head to the Phoenix Zoo, where you can stroll through the lush gardens while learning about more than 400 species from around the world. Share your love of everything from lions and elephants to endearing sloths as you relax at one of the outdoor cafes. You can even take in local art at the zoo’s two galleries. If you prefer house pets over primates, check out the PHX Cat Cafe, formerly La Gattara. Refresh with coffee or a smoothie while cuddling with some of the cutest cats around. And who knows, you may even bring home a furry friend.

Perfect harmony

Everyone has a special connection to music. Whether it’s rock ’n’ roll, classical, or soul, you’ll find it all at the Musical Instrument Museum. You won’t be at a loss for words as you explore galleries filled with ancient musical artifacts from nearly 200 countries, instruments played by some of history’s greatest artists, and one-of-a-kind pieces designed to spark conversation. Bond over your favorites while enjoying a bite at the onsite cafe, and then finish off the night with a show at the museum’s intimate theater. If your date is into jazz, surprise them with tickets to a show at one of the Valley’s top venues. The Nash in downtown Phoenix is a classic old-school jazz club where you’ll sip drinks at tiny tables for two just feet from the stage. At the same time, the Ravenscroft’s first-class Jazzbird lounge showcases popular local musicians, drinks, and catered meals every Friday evening.

A couple enjoying the museum together.
Courtesy of the Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix, Arizona

Art-themed dates

Art can elicit a rainbow of emotions, from appreciation to criticism. You’ll likely learn a lot about your date simply by talking about the different pieces you see at these creative attractions. View the works of masters from Europe, Asia, and Latin America at the Phoenix Art Museum. It’s also one of the few museums worldwide with a fashion design collection. Or, browse galleries filled with paintings and sculptures by local artists during Scottsdale ArtWalk, held every Thursday evening. Meander the streets of Old Town while discussing your top pieces. In between, take advantage of some of the city’s best cuisine at area restaurants or sample the local terroir at one of the award-winning tasting rooms. One of the most unique and conversation-worthy art experiences in the Valley is Wonderspaces, located in the Scottsdale Fashion Square Food Court. You’re sure to find shared interests as you stroll through the thought-provoking, interactive, and immersive installations by renowned artists from around the globe.

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Two Citrus Cocktails on a Table

A guide to the best mocktails in Atlanta (that aren’t just juice in a fancy glass)

Mocktails are on the rise, and Atlanta hot spots are taking notice. Which unique beverage will you order on your next sober night out?

Ordering a mocktail during a night out in Atlanta is a risk. Maybe not free-climbing risky, but you’re still taking a gamble. For those expecting a specialty crafted drink, receiving a mix of fruit juices and a lime wedge grazing the rim just won’t cut it, especially when some mocktails can be only a few dollars less than the “real” thing.

With sober-curious movements gaining traction — 4 in 10 consumers closely or occasionally follow a no-drink lifestyle — mocktails are on the rise, and patrons’ choices have broadened. Bartenders agree: “There’s definitely been an uptick [in] ordering mocktails, I think because the stigma of not drinking in social situations is wearing down,” says Griffin Hudgins, bar manager of popular Upper Westside spot The Woodall.

Whether you’re looking for a bourbon-less old fashioned, virgin mojito (sometimes referred to as a no-jito) or even just a non-alcoholic beer, ATL’s got more than a few options for sober-curious and alcohol-free patrons.

Group of People Enjoying Drinks at a Local Bar

The Woodall

This upscale establishment has become the Westside neighborhood’s go-to hangout spot since opening in early 2021. It features a dog-friendly, full-service outdoor bar and warm interiors, and its welcoming environment extends to the offerings of food and drink. While The Woodall is known for its classic cocktails and delicious bar-exclusive menu (try the Durham’s fried chicken), its menu of mocktail options is sure to please — particularly with a reasonable price tag between $7 to $9.

“A few years ago, mocktails consisted of whatever juice bars had,” says Hudgins. “Now, you see a lot of restaurants bringing in zero-proof spirits to mimic the flavors of liquor.” The drink expert explains how The Woodall’s new classics also incorporate the same thoughtfulness that one would expect with a traditional alcoholic beverage. 

Take the Free Fashioned, a spirit-free take on the old fashioned, using lapsang souchong (a smoky black tea), caraway seeds, black peppercorn, and charred hickory maple syrup.

“We wanted to implement the smokiness and bite of a traditional old fashioned,” Hudgins says of the unique no-spirit drink. “We char hickory chips and then infuse those with maple syrup for 24 hours. Once that’s finished, we toast black peppercorns and caraway, give them a quick pulse in the blender, and then heat them to make a tea.”

Other Woodall standouts include the Mocking Rita, a take on a spicy margarita featuring a house-made sour mix, green tea, Fresno orange agave syrup, soda water, and fresh lime. If something sweeter is on your mind, go with the Bet Your Berries, crafted with fresh berries, lemon, agave nectar, and soda, for a perfect elevated thirst-quencher. 

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Flight Club

Nestled in West Midtown across from the iconic Northside Tavern, Flight Club offers its signature mocktail, The Midway Splash, anchored by the non-alcoholic, no-calorie, no-sugar spirit Seedlip Grove 42. The product is billed as a “sophisticated, bright, citrus blend” that fuses orange, lemon, lemongrass and ginger flavors. The spirit is mixed alongside pineapple and a lemon tonic for a balanced sweetness. Flight Club’s other offerings include The Lyre’s Spritz, a rotating virgin spritz. 

Here, you’ll also find solid non-alcoholic beers from Athletic Brewing — award-winning craft brewers offering an impressive lineup of styles that can even please your resident beer snob. At Fight Club, try either the non-alcoholic IPA or golden ale. 

Gypsy Kitchen

Gypsy Kitchen, a well-known and highly-rated Buckhead gem known for craft cocktails and unique tapas, offers excellent views and a romantic vibe. It’s perfect for a Dry January date night — or day out. In fact, Gypsy Kitchen only lists mocktails on its lunch menu. (Inside tip: they’re available for just $8 a pop all day.)

The eye-catching Razmatazz mocktail will immediately win over your tastebuds. It’s made simply with raspberries, lemon juice, and orgeat, an almond and rose water syrup, and served in a tall glass with light ice and lemon garnish. Rounding out the trio of options is the Blackberry Elixir, crafted with blackberries, lemon, basil, and honey, and the refreshing, light-tasting Pepino Fresco, using cucumber, mint, lime, and tonic water. 

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