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Or, how is the admin_bar displayed at all? I'm looking to display a similarly styled menu, but for all users who visit.

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Please clarify what a "dashboard" front end is to you. – kaiser Dec 2 '12 at 17:36
The Dashboard menu on the front end is aka the admin_bar. – Nicholas Pickering Dec 3 '12 at 5:47
Then please rework your title and the tags to read "Admin Bar". Currently your question is filed under the wrong tag archive and targets the wrong audience. – kaiser Dec 3 '12 at 14:35
Ok, I changed the question wording. – Nicholas Pickering Dec 4 '12 at 1:59
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I believe you are talking about the admin_bar which has many hooks. You can read more about

in codex and actually wp source.

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