By Laura Stillo

Dallas is one interesting city. We’ve got that whole respectable ‘southern charm’ thing going for us, but we are more dynamic than merely hospitable and more three-dimensional than any one label you could put on the metroplex. We have some characters among us. From the Jake Pavelka’s of Bachelor fame to our sports heroes who love to date reality TV stars, the in between – the average Dallasite and Fort Worthian – may not have a television contract, but they know how to have fun and how to let it all out like no one’s watching…but people are watching. And it’s becoming a hobby. DFW is so good at having a good time that some of us can’t help but stare. Ready your binoculars as we present you the Best of Guide to Local People Watching.

Photo Credit: Fearing's at the Ritz

The Rattlesnake Bar – the Ritz Carlton

2121 McKinney Ave (at the Ritz Carlton)
Dallas, TX 75201
Hours: Sun to Thurs Noon-Midnight; Fri to Sat Noon-2am
(214) 922-0200
Price: No Cover
Website & Reviews

I’m not really one to use the term ‘cougar.’ I don’t think that I’ve even said that word aloud, unless referring to the animal. But if you want a place to find this particular breed of women, scouting in packs, eyes darting around the room in search of their (wealthy) prey, hop a cab to the Rattlesnake Bar ASAP. Here, your peeping eyes will be met with big bags, big hair, serious bling and loud, obnoxious voices. Everyone present at the Rattlesnake Bar appears to be a bit of a caricature of his or her original selves. Like Halloween-lite. Order a Midori Martini, sit back and watch tomorrow’s epic recap unfold before your fixated stare. This is the most fun you’ll have without emptying your pockets. Unless of course, you are the prey. Then your pockets will be empty.

Who you’ll see: Sugar daddies, cougars, full-pocketed executives, your parents’ co-workers, athletes, the occasional celebrity, twenty-somethings sitting in a corner passing judgment.

Photo Credit: McKinney Avenue Tavern

McKinney Avenue Tavern (the MAT)

2822 McKinney Avenue
Dallas, TX 75204
(214) 969-1984
Hours: Daily 11am-2am
Price: No Cover
Website & Reviews

People watching in its optimal form is best observed through the art of karaoke. To go to the MAT is to have your friends secretly sign you up for Karaoke and force you onstage. You’ll act like you’re putting up a fight as you reluctantly stumble toward the microphone stand, when secretly you’re excited to bust out your showerhead-perfected rendition of …Baby One More Time. “Performers” grace the stage one after another producing a perpetual earful of 90s Pop and 60s Motown. The wells drinks are supremely strong and well priced, ergo most patrons who hop onstage are flooding with liquid courage. Bring a camera.

Who you’ll see: Owner and 106.1 KISS FM Kidd Kraddick in the Morning DJ Big Al Mack, MAT patrons one drink shy of forgetting their native language.

Photo Credit: Sfuzzi


2533 McKinney Avenue
Dallas, TX 75204
(214) 953-0300
Hours: Mon, Wed 11am-2am; Tue, Sun 10am-2am; Thu to Fri 11am-3am; Sat 10am-3am
Price: No Cover
Website & Reviews

The purpose of heading to Sfuzzi is to people watch, right? Well, at this Italian food joint, everyone is watching each other. Technically you’ll be people watching people who are already out to watch, rendering the experience more like a trip to the zoo or an afternoon spent watching the Animal Planet. Since everyone’s eyes are peeled wider than a deer hunter’s, you won’t stand out as the sole creeper peeping in the back of the room. You’ll essentially be camouflaged.

Who you’ll see: The thirty-something crowd. Almost like a stepping-stone to the Rattlesnake Bar, this is where women go to learn how to become cougars. What do you call them? Pumas? Yes. At Sfuzzi, it’s always puma season.

The Green Elephant

5627 Dyer Street
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 265-1338
Hours: Wed to Sat 5pm-2am; also open Sun
Prive: Cover $5-$10
Website & Reviews

SMU kids can get down. Yes they are very ambitious, yes they are very talented, but after a long week of hitting the books at Fondren Library, even the most studious Mustang needs to let loose. And they do it Thursday nights at the Green Elephant – referred to as “Home Bar” by the locals. If you call it by its real name to anyone between the ages of 18-22, they won’t know what you’re talking about.

The real fun hits around 1:30am when people decide that abandoning their shoes is the best idea they’ve ever had, followed by the barefoot march parading out of the bar and across 75 to respective Greek housing.

Who you’ll see: SMU Juniors and Seniors stumbling around in high heels, most likely holding a jack & coke and/or Miller Light. Potentially a fight. Always a dance party.

Photo Credit: The Grenada Theater

The Granada Theater

3524 Greenville Avenue
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 824-9933
Website & Reviews

The Best Live Music Venue in Dallas always draws incredible artists such as Neon Indian, Boyce Avenue, Pepper and Blondie, and with super cool artists comes super cool kids who know they are super cool kids who think, dress and act like the super cool kids that they obviously are. While the show is going on inside the theater, there is always a show outside the theater as well. Patrons congregate with their beers on the venue patio discussing the show, everyone’s attire and their latest tattoo.

Who you’ll see: Indie kids, hipsters, oversized glasses without corrective lenses, suspenders, perhaps the occasional mohawk, smiling faces punctuated with lip rings. A preview of Urban Outfitters’ Fall line.

So, dear readers, might I have observed you at one of these locations? Or where else can I stalk your every move from behind my martini glass?

Hailing from Southern California and living in and loving Dallas, Laura Stillo is the Creative Social Media Producer at You + Dallas.