After 17 years as one of Fort Worth's favorite dive bars, the Mule Pub shut down on July 24. Owner Robby Turman says that the closure was due to one of the most obvious reasons: a conflict with the landlord.
"My landlord and I could not come to terms on a lease," he says. "This isn't the first time, but I decided it was time. The rent increase was too high and the lease wasn't long enough. So, it was both of those reasons."
He was offered a location nearby, but he feared the parking wouldn't be sufficient. He also has his hands full with his two other places, Oscar's and the Dive Oyster Bar.
"Oscar's is down the road a half a mile, and we already have some of our regulars from the Mule who are going to Oscar's," he says. "We do some of the live music we did at the Mule, but it's smaller, so we do acoustic. We also have some little flatbread pizzas we serve over there, but it's all in the same spirit of having fun with friends and guests."
The Mule space has history, home to previous bars that included the Reservoir Lounge — "I think there was some extracurricular activity going on in there," Turman says — and prior to that, the Pig & Whistle, which was there for 13 years before it moved downtown and closed.
"There was a place there called J Grumbles, and Rudy's, and before that, it was the home of my original landlord, she first built it in 1942," he says. "She was a great lady. I have pictures of it when it was her house, with a dirt road and a cow chained up."
The Mule also had an epic collection of whimsical fixtures which regulars filched as the days wound down.
"Right above the bar where people would sit, I don't know how it started, but people started putting pictures or writing things," he says.
"Another odd thing was that we had a big collection of foreign currency stapled up there," he says. "I have no idea where all that came from. And then people used to bring me golf flags from different golf courses from all over the world, everywhere from Bahrain to Hawaii, probably 100-plus of those, all filled with smoke. And those were not bought — they were 'obtained.' Somebody played the course and decided they needed the flag. You accumulate weird things throughout 17 years."
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