DFW may be the fourth-most-populated metro area in the U.S., but its nightlife scene can sometimes feel like a high-school clique. Same faces, same clubs.
Not only do you have to know the right velvet ropes to glide past, but you have to know which evening to do it on. And it can be a learn-as-you-go proposition.
For example, a couple of years ago on my birthday, these tools from the golf course got me a "table" at a new club. It was typical Dallas: no signs, you just had to know where it was in downtown. Long story short, the VIP host that had our reservation quit/got fired that day and took her list with her, causing major drama when the door guy wouldn't let us inside without waiting. To make matters worse, my buddy Terence Newman (yes, the Pro Bowl cornerback of the Dallas Cowboys) had to sneak me into my own birthday party after he arrived on MY invitation. Once inside, you guessed it, there were like 15 people hanging out. There were more people in line than inside. Perception: Cool exclusive club. Reality: Typical nightlife nonsense.
Terence STILL gives me a hard time about that night. The roid-head who tried to deny us admission is long gone, but it taught me a lesson in how this game works. So DFW Night Life High School in now session. Professor Jay is ready with a winning strategy for the area's hot spots on the hot nights:
TUESDAY: Still recovering from the weekend, so chill out on Primo's patio, Nick & Sam's Grill patio or Lemon Bar patio (you catch the trend here?).
WEDNESDAY: Wednesday nights in DFW belong to Candleroom. Celebs in town, as well as local pro athletes, show up here on hump day because it is THE playground for the most gorgeous girls in Big D.
THURSDAY: Aura in Uptown is a guarantee for a great scene every Thursday night. The up-and-comer here is the brand-new Cameo in downtown Dallas, near Neiman Marcus. In Fort Worth, the 8.0 patio and its live music series is the best bet.
FRIDAY and SATURDAY: You can't really go wrong on either night. If you are in Tarrant County, Vice and Houston St. Bar & Patio are the downtown destinations, Glass Cactus is good if you're in Grapevine, or just about any spot in the West Seventh corridor of Fort Worth -- Pour House, Capital Bar, and the list goes on.
In Dallas, put Ghostbar, PM Nightlife Lounge, West Village and the Ritz Carlton on your menu. In Deep Ellum, check out a jewel called the Black Swan Saloon that always has a great crowd, especially after getting a write-up in The New York Times.
SUNDAY: After watching the weekly installment of Entourage on HBO, it's go time on Sunday. This is a big service-industry night out, and for years it has been owned by Mantus in Dallas. Recently, Deux at Mockingbird Station has drawn big crowds to its Vegas-style lounge.