Welcome to the 2017 Dallas Summer Drinking Guide, your blueprint to the best summer ever. Hang with us and we'll lead you to the city's best summer drinks, parties and hotspots.
In a city that gets as hot as Dallas, it’s cruel that our region is so short on easily accessible swimming holes. Almost equally as cruel: the proliferation of fancy hotel swimming pools, often with rooftop views and killer cocktails, that cater only to hotel guests.
Sipping a well-made drink poolside used to be an endeavor enjoyed almost exclusively by the Dallas elite or anyone willing to brave a crowded apartment complex pool. This year, that seems to be changing, with poolside events that allow people who aren’t hotel guests to sip cocktails by some of the city’s chicest pools. DJ Blake Ward runs the new pool parties at the Stoneleigh, which opens up its pool (and poolside bar) to outsiders every Saturday and Sunday.
“One of my focuses over the last year for the Stoneleigh has been bringing a luxury experience without the pretension,” Ward says. “It's a pretty cool crowd. No EDM, very little rap and chill vibes in the morning, and then turning up as the day progresses. Frozen drinks, dancing, lots of inflatables in the water — and people actually swim.”
If you’re looking for an excuse to sip cocktails by a Dallas pool this summer, you’ve got more options than you think. From weekly pool parties to the occasional sunset concert, here’s our guide to getting tipsy poolside this summer.
The Belmont's pool is a gorgeous spot to take in a concert while taking a dip.
901 Fort Worth Ave.
The Belmont’s gorgeous pool — by far the coolest but most understated pool scene in Dallas — feels more like a 1970s L.A. movie set than a West Dallas hotel pool. While mostly relegated to use among hotel guests, seemingly all of whom are far better dressed than you will ever be, there are some magic occasions when any Dallasite can sip a frozen rosemary cocktail by the pool: during the Belmont's sunset concerts.
There’s no regular schedule, nor does the Belmont make a big deal out of it (it's way too chill for that), but when the hotel hosts concerts by the pool, you can drink poolside just by snagging a ticket. Over Memorial Day weekend, a $20 ticket netted us stellar shows from J.P. Harris and Carson McHone, who played with the city skyline at sunset as their backdrop. Arrive early (the poolside cabana opens up with snacks and drinks two hours before each show begins), grab a lounge chair and splash around until the show starts, or, as we did, just curl up in the pool with a cocktail and take it all in while you swim. Keep an eye on the Belmont’s Facebook event page to find out when it’s hosting the next poolside show.
W Hotel's Summer Sundaze parties open up their pool to anyone with a ticket and "upscale beachwear."
2440 Victory Park Lane
Every Sunday this summer, the W Dallas at Victory Park and the Social Revolt Agency are hosting Summer Sundaze, a weekly pool party that takes over the W’s pool, 16 stories above Dallas, with DJs, bottle service, cocktails and a small menu of poolside eats. From noon to 6 p.m. every Sunday through Labor Day, anyone can sip cocktails at the W’s pool just by buying a ticket, which typically ranges from $20 to $50. For $250, you and four guests will get a reserved table and bottle service with options ranging from Tito’s vodka to Crown Royal or Hennessy VS.
If you’re buying a regular ticket, the key is to arrive early if you want to snag lounge chairs, which are first-come, first-served. The events happen rain or shine, and you have to buy a ticket in advance; no tickets are sold at the door, and you have to show your ticket to gain access to the pool. Keep in mind that W has a pool dress code: “upscale beachwear,” which means no jeans, “basketball shorts, boots, printed shirts with offensive or aggressive graphics or inappropriate swim or athletic wear,” according to the hotel. Buy tickets at summersundaze.eventbrite.com.
The laid-back atmosphere at the Fraternal Order of Eagles' pool draws large crowds.
8500 Arturo Dr.
Perhaps the most well-known — and most laid-back — Dallas pool party option comes courtesy of Fraternal Order of Eagles 3108, which is open to the public every day and will only set you back $7 (Tuesday through Thursday) or $9 (Friday through Monday) to get in. The concession stand is open every day with poolside eats, and the outdoor bar near the pool serves beer, wine and standard cocktails. Don’t expect any over-the-top mixology, but if you’ve been to the FOE before, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Compared with other Dallas pool bars, this one’s as come-as-you-are as they get.
There are horseshoe pits, kids’ play areas and a few picnic tables, but your best bet is to bring towels or blankets to set up shop in the grass by the pool. A few things to keep in mind: This pool gets packed, so get there early to snag a spot, and parking is seriously hairy. If you’re not carpooling, your best bet is to use Uber or Lyft, especially if you’re imbibing or trying to get poolside during peak hours on a sunny Saturday or Sunday afternoon. This is a family-friendly spot, so mind your manners.
Pool side at Stoneleigh/Le Meridien in Uptown
2927 Maple Ave.
This chic Uptown Dallas hotel pool has been guests-only until this summer, when the Stoneleigh launched a weekend pool party series from noon to 5 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday when the weather’s right. Expect frozen cocktails, poolside eats and music from Ward, who describes the Stoneleigh’s new series as “somewhere in between the laid-back nature of FOE and the over-the-top rager at a place like SISU.”
Even better: The parties are free to attend. Ward also recently launched night swims, which means nighttime swimming, music and drinks from 8 p.m. to 11ish certain weekend nights. (Keep an eye on the Stoneleigh’s Facebook events page to see what’s coming up.) Ward says the hotel is planning some poolside yoga, which means the Stoneleigh could become the city’s hottest summer poolside ticket.
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SISU, the Uptown daytime night club
2508 Maple Ave.
For a certain kind of Dallasite, the infamous Uptown day-nightclub SISU is the place to be Sunday afternoons. We say “a certain kind of Dallasite” because its weekly summer Aqua party isn’t necessarily for everyone: This packed-to-the-gills outdoor club is a loud, raucous, see-and-be-seen place that’s really more EDM nightclub than swimming pool. If you want to get wet at SISU, you’ll need tickets for the Aqua series, which hosts big-name DJs from 2 to 8 p.m. every Sunday. Most shows will set you back $15 to $20, and upcoming acts include Sam Feldt (June 18) and Breathe Carolina (June 25).