Label Local Dallas

Food & Drink

Drink This: The Best Dives in East Dallas


While we love our subterranean speakeasies; our gastropubs with innumerable taps; or swanky rooftop patios, if we were given only one type of place to imbibe, it would be the dive bar. Fortunately, Dallas is lousy with them, especially if you’re east of Central. Here is a full, but by no mean’s exhaustive, list of our favorite East Dallas dive bars.

Tucked away in a shopping center in Lakewood, Cock & Bull is an unassuming pub that checks all the dive bar requirements: all-day happy hour, way-better-than-it-should-be grub and low lighting. Ignore the craft beer bar next door, you want to be here on a cold and gloomy day.

Who is Cosmo? A question that only long-time regulars will ever know the answer to, that's who. Stepping into this unassuming bar will yield two things. First, a flashback to the '80s. Second, a vast menu that runs the gamut from excellent pizza to excellent Vietnamese food. Sense a pattern?

Save for brunch, we tend to reserve drinking to the PM hours (or wee AM ones), but if a bar opens at 7 AM, then it would be rude not to go say hi, right? After all, that’s when happy hour starts at The Goat. If you wait until after dinner to head to The Goat, you won’t be disappointed either, because whether it’s karaoke or a blues band, there’s always live entertainment going on.

If you’ve been to Cosmo’s, there’s a good chance that you’ve stumbled to Lakewood Landing literally around the corner. Is Live Oak and Skillman the most blessed intersection in East Dallas? Our livers say yes, and our stomachs agree, since Lakewood Landing has a burger that’s been winning awards and topping lists for the last 20 years.

Say what you will about Guy Fieri’s personal style, but the man (or his producer) has a knack for finding the right spots. Case in point, his visit to Louie’s back in 2009 for Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Louie’s founder, Louis Canelakes, passed away in 2013, but his legacy of great drinks and pizza that many swear is the best in the city continues thanks to his brother and head pizza guy, Chris.

Even among dive bars, Ships Lounge holds a special designation as a Dallas institution. Just down from The Old Crow, Ships Lounge has been around since 1947 as an anchor for Lowest Greenville. Ships recently went under new ownership, and with that came liquor (Ships was previously BYOL) but the appeal of this classic dive remains the same.