Sometimes at the end of a perfectly lovely evening out, the night still feels young. That’s when a good nightcap (or two) is in order, but not at a rowdy college bar where the lines are too long and skirts are too short. We’re talking about more grown-up dives — places to carry on the conversation until the wee hours of the night, without being pestered by shot girls or bottle service boozers.
Bars open until the traditional "lights on" hour of 2 am are increasingly hard to find in Fort Worth; even the new spots in the trendiest areas of town are calling it quits at 11 pm or midnight. So for this month's Where to Drink, we order up five potential watering holes for a final, late-night stop.
Niles City Hall Saloon
Long overdue for a good craft cocktail bar, the Fort Worth Stockyards now has its own with the recent opening of this Prohibition-style speakeasy. Located just next door to Love Shack on East Exchange Avenue, the “period-correct” bar might be where cattle barons and ranchers of yesteryear would have toasted to a hard day’s work. Long banquette seating is cozy, while wooden barstools and creaky wood floors fit the saloon atmosphere. A menu of pre-Prohibition specialty classic cocktails includes the Gold Rush made simply with bourbon, lemon juice and honey: a Sazerac served with a sugar cube: and a concoction called Corpse Reviver #2 made with gin, orange liqueur, and an absinthe rinse. Expect occasional live acoustic music, but nothing too noisy. The bar is closed on Mondays but open until midnight weekdays and until 2 am on Friday and Saturday.
Off the Record West
This hybrid bar and record shop is a low-key spinoff of the Deep Ellum original, where bins of vinyl combine with beer and cocktails to create a cool vibe. The space took over Hot Damn! Tamales’ dining area in January. (The tamale shop is still open next door.) White subway tile, hanging pendant lighting, a mix of wood and metal furnishings, and historic tin ceiling tile original to the brick building provide for an industrial yet updated atmosphere. Craft beer is big here — there are around 20 or so on tap. But the cocktail menu is lengthy, too. Favorites range from the gin and champagne-based French 75 to summer refreshers like the Paloma, mixed with grapefruit soda and mezcal, and the Aperol spritz topped with prosecco and Topo Chico. Note that all cocktails are half-off on Tuesdays. The bar is open until 2 am daily.
Ye Olde Bull & Bush
There are several reasons to revisit this longtime British-inspired bar for a late-night pint: Soccer is big here and we’re in the midst of an exciting FIFA World Cup (note that the bar opens at 4 pm, so game times won’t be live.) It’s also the perfect place to cool off with a cold beer after a steamy Concerts in the Gardens performance, which take place virtually steps away in the Fort Worth Botanic Garden through July 4. And perhaps most convincing is that the formerly smoked-filled bar is now cigarette-free, thanks to an ordinance that went into effect in March. Pick a tune on the juke box, play a game of darts, and sip on an English ale. The bar is open until 2 am daily.
Finn MacCool’s Pub
Sit and socialize without the distraction of bands or karaoke at this Southside neighborhood watering hole. It's located in a 1920s-era building with its original brick walls, floors, and tin ceilings. Named for a mythical Irish warrior, the bar is home to regulars from the surrounding Ryan Place, Berkeley, and Fairmount neighborhoods, but the welcoming staff makes every guest feel at home. End the evening on a cozy note with an iced Irish coffee on the bar’s new patio porch. Open until 2 am daily.
T & P Tavern
With a 4,300-square-foot covered patio and Art Deco interior, this historic train station diner-turned modern day gastropub sits a bit off the radar in the ground floor of the Texas & Pacific Lofts. There’s a wall with several rotating craft beers and a menu of train station-themed martinis. (On Mondays, all martinis are $4 from open to close.) Fun fact: the bar was honored with a Preservation Project Award by Historic Fort Worth, Inc. in 2013. Open until 2 am daily.