Infographic from the September 2010 Advocate

Infographic from the September 2010 Advocate

In September 2010 we covered the changing wet/dry laws in Dallas and speculated about what it might mean for neighborhood business and economic growth.

“It’s almost impossible to overstate how important next month’s wet-dry election is in Dallas’ social and cultural history,” we wrote at the time. “It’s not only the biggest wet-dry election in U.S. history since the end of Prohibition, but it’s also a landmark moment in Dallas. Since before Prohibition — for almost 100 years — most of Dallas has been dry in one form or another. It has been as much a part of Dallas as 100-degree days and the Cowboys … In this, our wet-dry boundaries affected everyone. In dry areas, of course, residents have had to drive across town to buy a bottle of wine or a six-pack and couldn’t even order a drink in a restaurant until 1971. Even today, the private club limitations in dry areas that went into affect in 1971 make it more difficult to order liquor in Oak Cliff and North Dallas than in Lakewood. And even residents in wet areas feel the difference. If you live in a wet part of town that borders a dry area, you witness the Friday night flight to the liquor stores that guard the border.

All of that changed the month after publication, when voters approved measures allowing every restaurant in the city, regardless of wet-dry status, to sell beer, wine and spirits without the private club paperwork, and retailers with the appropriate state licenses to sell beer and wine.

In that September story, we looked at the history of Dallas’ wet-dry status, our unique (and often frustrating) liquor laws, the role religion has played in keeping Dallas dry, and what new rules would probably mean to our neighborhood.

Now, with six years between us and that election, we can see the impact. Oak Cliff has dozens of new restaurants with bars and is now brunch central. Sunday Funday practitioners from Forney to Frisco stake claims on Bishop Arts and West Davis every weekend. There are sports bars, wine bars and a craft brewery. But there’s still good ol’ Barbara’s, one of the only bars in Oak Cliff for decades.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we couldn’t buy beer and wine at the grocery store; the nearest place to buy it was the city of Cockrell Hill (still the closest place to buy liquor by the bottle).

And this somewhat recent article cites changes to Dallas’ alcohol laws as a component in creating a local liquor industry on steroids. Whether that’s progress or regress is up for debate.

Check out our 2010 story here.