It’s no secret that Texas harbors plenty of cities that are nationally acknowledged for their nightlife and mixology prowess.
While the fine ambience and bright lights are indeed fascinating, Chilled detected a counterpart flying under the radar, that carries the effect of a more genuine, western-engulfed experience. The city of Fort Worth boasts an eccentric scene that draws many contrasts to cities like Houston or Austin. It is home to a few rough-around-the-edges, yet lovable spots that aren’t exactly your ideal tour guide material. However, for those who are in search of an authentic western environment, and a heck of a good time, we suggest you look no further than these undiscovered dive bars of Cowtown.
The Chat Room: One of the first bars on the currently trendy Magnolia Avenue, Chat Room was one of the last bars to outlaw smoking! Patrons can sometimes still catch a whiff of tobacco on the worn (but charming) barstools. The quirky locals who inhabit the place are friendly and welcoming. If you come on the right night, you can see the bartenders making El Niño, a house made jalapeno-infused tequila. It’s important to not forget your “chat rat” t-shirt on the way out.
Sarah’s Place: Regardless of however many upscale cocktail bars open in Fort Worth, most locals will still tell visitors to head over to Sarah’s Place. Referred to as a “Fort Worth institution” in Yelp reviews, this dive attracts a great crowd any day of the week, with karaoke night as most popular by a long shot. One Facebook user quoted “Went for the first time tonight and got my first real karaoke experience. The people are so friendly. I felt like a regular (which I will be soon), and the karaoke is so low key–no pressure, no judgment. There’s also a great music selection.”
Durango Club: Who loves jamming out? If so, here’s a favorite among Fort Worth’s music industry folks. Durango provides a wide range of nightly live music, from local band “Latin Express” one night, to electronic the next.
Lil Red’s Longhorn Saloon: For those yearning to saddle up to the bar alongside real life cowboys, this is the spot. Located in the Stockyards, this honky-tonk is filled with rodeo memorabilia and draws a fair amount of well-known country musicians.
The Finish Line: A self-defined honkytonk—sports bar hybrid with a huge dance floor, The Finish Line has been around since 1978 and is perfect for people-watching. It has great food as well. A quote from their Facebook page encapsulates their vibe, “As always, we’re keeping it casual and comfortable with no frills, no fuss, and NO COVER CHARGE!”
Showdown Saloon: Following the western theme Fort Worth is know for, this dive near TCU has a regular mug program where patrons can purchase a mug, write their name on it, and come back again and again to have it refilled.
A Great Notion: Known as one of Fort Worth’s best kept secrets, this friendly neighborhood bar is guaranteed to be full of regulars. Complete with a jukebox and karaoke, this bar still looks exactly as it did in the 80s.
Even if you don’t consider yourself the adventurous type, a fresh breath of true western culture could surprise you with all its humbling subtleties in store. So, break out of your shell and get your vocal cords ready, because the microphone at Sarah’s Place doesn’t work on its own!