Sometimes when you go have a drink, you don't want to worry about making an impression or being judged. That's why you choose a dive bar. And, thankfully, Fort Worth has plenty of them.
These places are worn in, devoid of pretension or even a window, in some cases. At these bars, expectations are low, as are often the drink prices, so you can easily work up the courage to sing karaoke alongside your fellow patrons. Here are five great dive bars in Fort Worth:
As dark dive bars go, you could call Anthony's a mother ship; it has been around since 1979, in a small shopping center that appears to be otherwise abandoned. The exterior tells you exactly what this place is all about: The door handle is a microphone, just in case you miss the karaoke sign in all caps. There is a very long bar with mirrors behind it, but it's so dark you won't see much of your reflection. In addition to an elevated karaoke stage, there is a dartboard, pool table, card table, and sports projected on a screen. Some particularly choice classic rock cuts come out of the speakers when there is no karaoke.
If you are looking for the Stockyards experience but not really, try the Basement Bar, which, as you might have guessed, sits below street level. Cold and dark by design, the bar calls itself the "world's smallest honky-tonk." The country music on its tiny stage is as good as anything you will hear in this touristy area, and there is a dance floor under a disco ball. Signs have slogans like "Drink Dance Cheat Fight" or warnings like "Watch for drunks," and you are welcome to hang a dollar bill from the walls or ceiling.
Fuel Bar and Grille
Near Haltom City, Fuel has the same owner as Reno's Chop Shop Saloon in Deep Ellum. The building is painted black with blue flames, and bras hang from the wall next to the vending machine, which offers potato chips and cigarettes. Fuel is a good place to play pool or throw darts; sometimes there is live music. Though known for burgers, the bar occasionally lures in drinkers with cheap barbecue on weekends.
This east Fort Worth joint is cash only, but there is an ATM. There is karaoke and even free pool with the purchase of a drink, and a sign reminds bartenders not to drink on duty. Rogue's draws a chatty, older crowd who like to sit at the bar, smoke cigarettes, and cuss; they are often greeted with the words, "Sit your ass down!" An unusual pink-brick structure, it has been open since the early '80s, and some of these folks have been regulars for just as long. If the characters in films like Barfly or Trees Lounge fascinated you, Rogue's may be your place.
Tricia's Rock House
This Sansom Park dive — which is actually made of rocks — is a great place to play pool or sing karaoke. Take comfort in knowing that no kids are allowed under any circumstances. (The sign on the door makes that abundantly clear.) Inside, it looks like a house — or, more specifically, a remodeled basement, with carpet and a low, painted-black ceiling. Some will need to watch their heads around the ceiling fan, and most will have to tip their heads to enter the restrooms, which may have been closets at some point. With the exception of a few neon beer lights and strings of tiny Christmas bulbs, it is dark in Tricia's Rock House, as it should be.