5 Great Places for Jazz Music in Dallas

One of the true tests of a city is, in my opinion, great jazz. Along with excellent markets, fabulous architecture, and great food, jazz is a marker of a city I’ll return to again and again.

Luckily, I live in Dallas, where excellent jazz venues abound. Here are my five favorite places to listen to jazz.

Adam Nyugen Quintent &364;PennySadler 2013

Cafe des Artistes
– Beautiful little cafe designed after the Brasseries of the La Belle Epoque. Located in One Arts Plaza, it’s right in the middle of the Dallas Arts District. There’s a terrific jazz ensemble lead by Adam Nguyen, that plays every Saturday night, adding to the Parisian ambiance. If smoking were still allowed, I think you just might feel as though you’d stepped into a time machine.

I especially like the bartender here and feel comfortable being on my own. There are always lots of folks stopping by on their way to the theater, opera or symphony.

You can check the website for hours and directions, but there is no information on the performers.

Cafe Des Artistes, Dallas, Texas @PennySadler 2013

Cafe des Artiste
One Arts Plaza
1722 Routh St. Dallas, Texas

Chocolate Secrets, Dallas, Texas @PennySadler 2013

Chocolate Secrets, located in the Oak Lawn neighborhood, is a cozy little cafe offering wine by the glass or bottle, handmade Belgian chocolates, coffees, and desserts. It’s a romantic spot for a date night, or a small intimate group.

There is live jazz Wednesday through Saturday nights. Saturday is my favorite night, as friends Jason Bucklin and Terry Hankins play jazz guitar. Ask them to play some Beatles tunes for you.

Chocolate Secrets does have a full event calendar on their website, so check it out.

Chocolate Secrets
3926 Oak Lawn
Dallas, Texas

Gourmet chocolates at Chocolate Secrets, Dallas, Texas @PennySadler 2013

@PennySadler 2013, Chocolate Secrets, Dallas, Texas

The Amsterdam Bar is located near Fair Park and has a very casual and young vibe.
There’s a nice outdoor patio, and I hear the beer selection is amazing.

Monday night is jazz night, and you can often find legendary sax player Shelley Carrol there, with other great musicians. Definitely worth stopping in.

The Amsterdam Bar
831 Exposition Ave.
Dallas, Texas

Craft Beer @PennySadler 2013

Buzzbrews is a tiny coffee shop that is a surprising venue for great jazz.
Sunday nights, you can catch the Rebel Alliance Jazz Ensemble, an 18 piece big band, packed into this unexpected Deep Ellum location. The place is tiny so if you are sound sensitive, you may want to sit in the back or take some ear plugs – you’ll still be able to hear, believe me! This music is fun and energetic – you’ll probably want to dance, and I’m pretty sure if you can find a spot, no one would mind. At the very least, you’ll be bouncing in your seats.

Buzzbrews Kitchen
Deep Ellum
2801 Commerce St.
Dallas, Texas

Jason Bucklin on jazz guitar Dallas, Texas @PennySadler 2013

The Balcony Club , located above the Lakewood Theater in east Dallas, is a long time favorite, attracting an all ages crowd. On weekends there’s usually a bridal party or two, and always plenty of neighborhood locals. It attracts the famous and the not so famous, but it’s always friendly.

The website posts a calendar, but seriously, just go. It’s one of the coolest venues in Dallas, and they are open seven nights a week. Any night at the Balcony Club is a good night.

The Balcony Club
1825 Abrams (look for the art deco Lakewood Theater marquee)
Dallas, Texas

Do you have anything to add? What have I missed? And, if you’re in Dallas, let me know – we can go on a photowalk, and then listen to some jazz!

Adam Nyugen Quintet at Cafe des Artistes @PennySadler 2103

All materials ©PennySadler 2012-2013. All rights reserved.


Postcard: The Merc, Dallas

The Mercantile Building, Dallas, Texas @PennySadler 2013

The Merc

I discovered The Mercantile about the same time I discovered Main St.Gardens, an urban green space in downtown Dallas. Since then I’ve been drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I think it’s the neon clock tower and the fact that it is one of the few deco – inspired buildings left in Dallas. It’s especially cool at night when the neon on the clock tower is lit, as it is in this photograph. A fun note about the photo – it’s a drive by. I just rolled down my window and held up my camera while passing through downtown. I’d been out shooting all day because the sky was particularly interesting and was on my way home when I saw The Merc from this vantage point.

The Mercantile National Bank, founded by R.L. Thornton (one of the founders of the city of Dallas), is now a luxury residential high rise building in the Main St. Historic District.

Completed in 1942, the steel to construct the building had already been ordered when WWII began. At a time when new construction was basically at a standstill because materials were being requisitioned for the war, R.L. Thornton, was able to get an exception for the Mercantile Bank Building. The interior was apparently pretty swank and R.L. lived in a penthouse on the 31st floor.

Now called simply The Merc, the location is a dream for urban dwellers who like shopping, fine dining, and the arts. Neiman Marcus is a block away, and there are multiple options for five star dining in the area. The Dallas Arts District is also within walking distance as is the Farmers Market.

All materials ©PennySadler 2012-2013. All rights reserved.

Postcard: Juxtaposition of Art and Religion

Art installation by Steinunn Thorarinsdottir @PennySadler 2013 Arts District Dallas Texas

Arts District, Dallas, Tx

Picture this: A foggy morning in downtown Dallas – and figures, sculpted from cast iron and aluminum, by Icelandic sculptor Steinunn Thorarinsdottir. I was completely unaware that this art space even existed, and happened upon it one magical morning when the fog beckoned me outside with my camera.

I like the way the fog adds a mystical element. The standing figures seem to be looking toward the heavens (symbolized by the church), while the seated figures (arms folded, eyes closed) appear to be disconnected from everything around them.

The church in the background is Cathedrale Sanctuario de Guadalupe (Cathedral Shrine of our Lady of Guadalupe), the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas. The first cornerstone was laid in 1898. The bell tower was not completed until 2005, when the entire church received a makeover as part of the Dallas Arts District project.

The art installation called Borders and the church are both located in the Dallas Arts District.

Dallas Architecture Walk – Main Street

Pegasus, Dallas, travel

Pegasus in Dallas

The Pegasus is a landmark in Dallas. This one, across from the Kirby Building, is a replica of the original, which can now be seen at the Dallas Farmer’s Market. When I was growing up here, you could clearly see Pegasus from almost anywhere in the city but now it’s blocked by all the other buildings that have gone up. I took this shot from a bridge just east of downtown.

The Adolphus Hotel is just around the corner. It’s an elegant historic hotel, built by the beer magnate Adolphus Busch, who also built the Kirby Building. The oxidized green turret is just a detail, seen from the rooftop of the Kirby Building.

One of the great things about blogging is the people you meet. As a result of my post
Architecture Walk – Dallas, I met up with a fellow blogger and expat, Ana O’Reilly, and took her on a mini tour of Main St. I have always wanted to see the inside of the Kirby Building, and as you can see, we did! The beauty of the architectural details and materials used makes me want to tour more of these old buildings.

Adolphus Hotel, Dallas, Main St. ©pennysadler.com

Adolphus Hotel

pegasus, kirby, downtown dallas, ©pennysadler.com

Rooftop view

Kirby, Dallas, ©pennysadler.com

interior Kirby Building

kirby, adolphus, dallas, ©pennysadler.com

interior Kirby Building

Kirby, adolphus, dallas, ©pennysadler.com

Exterior Kirby Building

I took this photograph one night when a big storm was moving into the area. This was really the color of the sky.
The only editing I did, is a bit of sharpening to give the clouds more definition. There were lots of wind, lightning, and thunder, but I wasn’t able to capture it.

clouds, dallas, ©pennysadler.com

Dallas storm clouds

All materials ©pennysadler 2012 – 2013. All rights reserved.

Travel Local

I recently read a term that I think describes how I like to travel – slow travel. I like to stay in one place for a period of time, get to know the city, meet locals, and learn the language. And from what I’ve read out in the blog-o-sphere, I’m not the only one.

A great way to find out what’s going on in a city or region is to attend local markets. Markets are an especially great way to discover regional foods and art. And people are there to sell stuff, crafts, food, wine, clothing, so they are going to talk to you. At least that’s been my experience. You never know, you might go home with treasures untold, which could be friendship, honey, radishes, or big a canine kiss.

food, dallas, local market ©penny sadler 2013

local, travel, markets, dallas ©pennysadler 2013

jewelry, dallas, market ©2013 pennysadler  travel local

food, local, dallas, travel ©pennysadler 2013

local farmers markets, travel, dallas

dogs, local markets, dallas

White Rock Market, dallas, ©pennysadler 2013

White Rock Market

markets local, dallas

markets, local, crafts, ©pennysadler 2013

One Fish Two Fish planter

White Rock Market

Photos were taken at the White Rock Local Market on December 8, 2012.

©pennysadler 2012-2013. All rights reserved.

Architecture Walk – Dallas

The National Geographic post Free Things to Do in Dallas has been getting a lot of views, so I thought it would be fun to follow it with a collection of my photos from various walks around downtown Dallas.

 @PennySadler 2012 View towards Main St. Historic District

View towards Main St. Historic District

Most people think of Dallas as the land of cowboy hats, oil wells, and big hair. A brash new city, where you are tested to find culture or history. Much to my surprise, I’ve been finding all kinds of architectural gems tucked into the landscape of Dallas.

The area known as the Main Street Historic District is a great place to begin your walk. Start at the corner of Harwood St. and Main St. at the Dallas the Municipal Building. Once a jail, it’s where they took Lee Harvey Oswald when he was arrested for shooting President Kennedy. It’s also where he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby. A bit of Dallas I had forgotten, but re-learned while doing the research for this story.

Municipal Building

Municipal Building

Across the street you see Main Street Garden , Dallas’ answer to an urban park. There’s a small taco stand here where can stop for a drink or snack. Lots of people bring their dogs and kids here as well. This photograph was taken just before the Christmas holiday. If you look closely, you can see the Christmas tree in the center foreground.

Main St. Garden, Dallas @PennySadler 2012

Main St. Garden, Dallas

Mercantile Building, clock tower

Mercantile Building, clock tower

The clock tower which you see in several photographs crowns what was originally the Mercantile Bank Building. The building was completed about 1942 and the current clock tower was added in 1958. It’s a downtown landmark, and one of my favorites.

On the east side of Main St. Gardens you’ll see this outstanding example of mid-century architecture. It was originally the Dallas Statler Hilton. It’s been vacant for some time now and in typical Dallas fashion there have been repeated attempts to tear it down. However, it now appears to be in the process of a makeover and whoever bought it has lit it from the inside with those cool blue lights. An interesting bit of history of the building, Tina Turner left her abusive ex-husband Ike sleeping in this hotel, when she finally left him, forever.

originally the Dallas Hilton

originally the Dallas Hilton

From the park, walk south on Main St. The entire Main St. Historic District can be seen in about a day. It’s an easy walk and there are plenty of restaurants and bars when you feel like taking a break. When the weather is nice you can enjoy an alfresco table.

Wilson Building

Wilson Building

The Wilson Building is my favorite in the area. I’ve photographed it many times trying to find the perfect angle. I’ve always thought it had a distinctly European flavor to it. I like the rounded corners and the tall columns supporting it. Wiki says it was modeled after the famous opera house, The Palais Garnier, in Paris, France. I don’t think it’s quite as opulent but at the time of it’s completion,it was the tallest building in Dallas, and considered a premier commercial building. It was completed in 1904.

The landmark Neiman Marcus luxury retailer is across the street. I recommend stopping in at Porta di Roma, the restaurant on the ground floor of the Wilson Buildinga nd having a glass of wine, as this is a great corner for people watching.

alfresco @Porta di Roma

alfresco @Porta di Roma

The Kirby Building is sort of a sister building to the Adolphus Hotel. Completed in 1913, it is historically known as the Busch building because it was developed by Adolphus Busch of the famous Anheiuser Busch brewery. It’s now a luxury residential building.

entrance Kirby Building

entrance Kirby Building

detail of Kirby building

detail of Kirby building

One block over on Elm St. is the Majestic Theater. The interior is extremely ornate and I recommend you try to see it. It’s done in a Baroque style, with beautiful crystal chandeliers, a double marble staircase and lots of gold leaf. It is still a functioning theater, hosting live acts and cultural events, so you may have to plan a visit on the evening of a performance.

Majestic Theater

Majestic Theater

This is just a small sample of the interesting, historical buildings I’ve discovered in Dallas. I’ll be creating a future post with many more photographs of buildings I have not included here.

If you are interested in walking the area here’s a link for a google map.

I’ll finish my walk with this photograph of a big Texas sky. It’s a rare day we don’t have some good cloud action in Dallas. When I see a storm coming in, or a particularly beautiful sky, I try to go for a photo walk because, let’s face it, a good sky makes for a better photograph.

Dallas storm clouds ©pennysadler 2012

If you have any questions about any of the buildings or photographs send me an email. Love to hear your comments as always.

All materials copyright Penny Sadler 2013. All rights reserved.