Fort Worth Loves Wine

Fort Worth wine bar trades in Birkenstocks for vino on tap

Fort Worth wine bar trades in Birkenstocks for vino on tap

Glasses of red and white wine
Magnolia Avenue's 44Bootlegger offers 44 wines and 44 beers. iStock

A former boutique on Magnolia Avenue has jumped on the food-and-drink bandwagon, trading out its candles and Birkenstocks in favor of boutique wine and craft beer. At the newly renovated wine bar 44Bootlegger, guests can enjoy a glass or two in the lounge, or take a case of wine or beer home.

The menu has 44 wines and 44 beers, with wine by the glass and by the bottle, plus wine and beer on tap.

Husband and wife Tommy and Tammy Brown originally opened 44Bootlegger in 2015, with the idea of bringing a retail option to Magnolia Avenue, which had more bars and restaurants than shops.

"But then, we noticed that half the people who opened our front door thought we were a bar," Tommy says.

The idea of a wine bar means different things to different people, but the Browns keep their focus on good wine, handled correctly.

"I think for a lot of people, a wine bar is about the atmosphere, but for us, the feel of the place isn't as important as what we're serving," Tommy says. "We serve everything at the proper temperature, reds come out at 55 degrees and whites at 45 degrees. We have a good selection of varieties, and we rotate it. If you come back in six months, you won't necessarily see the same bottles on list."

And unlike many wine bars, they place equal emphasis on their beer selection. "About half of what we serve is beer, and we're not limiting ourselves to just local beers," he says.

They have eight wines and five beers on tap, plus 25 wines by the glass. Their house brand is Benziger, which they sell for a $6 glass. On the high end, they've had a bottle of Continuum that went for $450.

"But most of what we sell is $15 to $17 a bottle," he says. "We make sure to have some labels that people recognize, along with the boutiquey stuff."

They also sell a fair amount of bottles to-go and are a popular source for customers of Nonna Tata, the BYOB Italian restaurant that's just across the street.

The atmosphere is homey and relaxed, with colorful antique doors and paintings on the wall. "We don't do the grape leaves theme," Tommy says. "Part of the reason we built it was that there wasn't a place we wanted to hang out and drink. We were inspired by our own vision of what we would want."

In the past few years, Fort Worth has seen quite a few wine bars open, such as Grand Cru and Kent & Co., both also on Magnolia Avenue.

"So we're not crazy in thinking this was a good idea," Tommy says. "People come in who think we're still a store, then realize we're a bar. But then they sit down and say, 'Tell me what you got.'"

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