With Valentine's Day just a few days away, the unattached are beginning to work on their attack plans, which, more often than not, include a trip to a bar. If you're going to hang out in bars on Valentine's Day, you may as well hang out in bars that have decent food.
Here's our theory: The better the food, the better the clientele. Catch our drift?
For this month's Where To Eat, we bring you the bars with the best food.
Young, hip residents of the Near Southside dig this bar and restaurant, housed in a cozy 1920s home, for craft beer, friendly vibes, and way-above-average bar food. Menu includes dishes both light and not, from flash-fried leeks to gourmet burgers. The weekend brunch game is strong, and it includes sweet corn cakes, a beautiful salmon salad, and a Bloody Mary decorated with a bacon-wrapped straw. A constantly packed patio guarantees a close encounter of some kind.
This gastropub/coffeehouse/bar combo on the Near Southside had a rough start, with iffy service and a scattershot kitchen. But it has since settled into a groovy groove. Midcentury décor is outasite, man, and a no-hurry vibe harks back to '60s-era coffeehouses, when everyone seemed to move in slow motion. Chicken and waffles, featuring a housemade fluffy Belgian, remain a super-hot dish, along with pulled pork mac and cheese and goat cheese queso. A spacious patio and cool community table make it a cinch to meet people.
Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
Downtown's reigning champ of eating, drinking, and hooking up remains the long-running Flying Saucer, where there are more than 200 beers from around the world; one of 'em's bound to make someone look better. Before you drink, eat and eat well: The housemade hummus will make you wonder if you're really in a bar, and the shepherd's pie, spiked with spicy beef, is hearty and filling.
Frankie's Sports Bar & Grill
Let's not mince words: This 8,000-square-foot bar on the west side of downtown is a sports bar through and through. Its centerpiece is a 15-foot wall of 30 HD television screens, usually showing sporting events. But Frankie's is a bit more thoughtful than it looks. There's a good selection of wine, by the bottle and glass, and the menu touts a handful of un-bar-like dishes, including New England-style corn chowder and a pecan and apple chicken salad sandwich.
Landmark Bar & Kitchen
Every inch of this cavernous West Seventh hangout is filled with something that could work to your advantage. "Hey, you wanna play skeeball?" "Betcha I'll kick your butt at Galaga." "Jenga? Oh, you're going down." Throw in 30 HD TVs, a beautiful patio, and a mechanical bull, and you've got your work cut out for you. How could you not meet someone? You can even share a housemade pizza, an order of beer queso, or a "Skittlicious" — a carafe of vodka, Red Bull, and Skittles. How romantic.
West Seventh is one bar that serves food after another, but a few stand out, including Mash'd, opened last year by the company behind Southlake's popular TruFire. It's constantly packed with well-heeled West Seventh revelers and GNO'ers who've discovered the restaurant's lightweight fruity drinks and unusually diverse menu, which includes mussels, snow crab, burgers, and, of course, mashed potatoes.
Max's Wine Dive
Fort Worth's wine- and brunch-loving crowd has fully embraced the So7 offshoot of this Texas mini-chain, which specializes in fried chicken, champagne, and wine. Sit at the bar for a ringside seat of the open kitchen, where chef Stefon Rishel dishes out high-end comfort food, like lobster mac and cheese and shrimp and grits in a spicy butter broth. Mammoth plates of fried chicken are perfect for sharing with your newfound friend.
Michael's Cuisine & Ancho Chile Bar
Open for nearly 25 years, chef Michael Thomson's ode to upscale Texana fare is the perfect place for a quiet, romantic evening. The next-door Ancho Chile Bar is equally quaint but geared more toward the bar and singles crowd, with a special menu made up of several excellent choices: chipotle meatballs, Gulf oysters baked with poblano-spinach cream, and a bacon-wrapped chicken strips served with jalapeño-goat cheese dip; bring mints.
Whiskey & Rye
Hotel restaurants are breeding grounds for on-the-fly meet-ups, and the coolest of the bunch is this American pub inside the downtown Omni. Big comfy chairs, low lights, and acoustic strums from singer-songwriters create a relaxed vibe. Food is frills-free too, consisting of Texas-themed dishes like burgers topped with pico de gallo and venison Frito pie. Nice and easy here, nice and easy.
New in West Seventh, this two-story sports bar features next-level bar food — gargantuan burgers, large hunks of meatloaf with a mountain of mashed potatoes, waffle fries doused with ground meat and cheese — and a rooftop bar with dynamite views of downtown Fort Worth. When the weather's nice, it'll be a singles gold mine.
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