Dallas is known for its flashy atmosphere, glamorous population, and rowdy bar scene. While everything is bigger and better in the Big D, we also like to crack a cold one at the original neighborhood hangout known as City Tavern.
While Dallasites flock to glitzy nightclubs and lush lounges for ear-piercing electro music and overpriced vodka sodas, City Tavern is the foundation, free of frills, where locals gather for a good time.
Dallas entrepreneur Josh Florence took over Downtown Dallas’ City Tavern in 2006 and has watched his communal pub grow over the past 11 years.
Florence explained that City Tavern is an all encompassing space, which is of utmost importance to him.
“I genuinely and sincerely love people and love bringing people together,” said Florence. “This is the most welcoming, open-arms bar I’ve ever seen or been a part of. Gay, straight, ethnicity, it doesn’t matter… race, color, creed, political preference, or college football team doesn’t matter. As long as you love the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers, I think we’ll be good.”
Florence landed his first job in the hospitality business at Hula Hut in Austin and explained he was hooked on the business ever since.
“I like being in a business where the overall goal is to make people feel good,” said Florence. “Whether that be through food, or through music, or through service, I like that people choose to come where I work when they get off of work.
While City Tavern is beloved by the Dallas community, the bartenders and staff add to the welcoming aesthetic.
When questioning if the Tavern should open on Christmas and Thanksgiving, his staff volunteered to work holidays and it hit a special place in Florence’s heart. He explained that City Tavern is the place where Dallasites gather to celebrate with their family, whether they’re blood-related or not.
“This is where they meet up and it’s a special deal,” said Florence.
Not only does City Tavern have a unique charm that attracts locals and visitors, the neighborhood hot spot serves as one of the prime places to enjoy live music. Before Dallas earned a marker on the music map, City Tavern was a magnet for guests who wanted to come rock out.
“The music scene speaks to me,” said Florence.
Florence, who appeared on the MTV reality show Road Rules respects and takes pride in local talent. After buying City Tavern and booking weekly live shows featuring local musicians, Florence took ownership in Club Dada in Deep Ellum, Off the Record, Independent Bar & Kitchen, the Homegrown Music & Arts Festival, and the Old 97’s County Fair.
“All are very different but the common thread is the music, the live music” he said.
Club Dada features touring Indie shows, Off the Record sells vinyl records, Independent Bar & Kitchen showcases local jazz artists, and City Tavern gives status to the rock n’ roll bands in the city.
Florence’s favorite memory at City Tavern burns vividly in his memory. About five years ago, the Tavern was packed, rocking out to King Tuff and Natural Child, when the roof caught fire during the show. After over an hour of putting the flames to rest, the audience stayed enjoying their beers on Main Street, and doubled in size after the fire truck was long gone.
In a world where bars come and go, the success of the quaint bar known as City Tavern could rely on a number of things… Is it the positivity and energy owner Josh Florence brings to the table? Is it the staff that values each other as family? Or is it the original D-Town vibes the Tavern holds that draws eclectic crowds in a warm atmosphere? There’s no right answer, but we know where we’ll be at happy hour!
For a chance to win a $100 gift card to City Tavern, click here: City Tavern’s Downtown Giveaway and make sure you follow us (@downtown_dallas) and City Tavern (@citytaverndfw) on Instagram! For more information on City Tavern, visit www.citytaverndowntown.com.
City Tavern is located at:
1402 Main St
Dallas, TX 75202