Spirits with Spirit

Where to drink right now: 5 most haunted bars in Fort Worth

Where to drink right now: 5 most haunted bars in Fort Worth

White Elephant Saloon
The ghosts of cowboys and outlaws live on at the White Elephant Saloon. Facebook/WhiteElephantSaloon

Random footsteps, flying wine bottles, cold breezes, and just a general feeling that someone is watching — these bars have it all. Each housed in decades-old buildings with recorded histories of raucous activity (some including murder), the watering holes are considered some of the most haunted in town. Visit now for cold beers, craft cocktails, and perhaps a paranormal encounter with a permanent guest from Fort Worth’s past.

Acre Distilling Co.
The South downtown distillery is housed in a nearly century-old brick building that sits in the heart of what was dubbed Hell’s Half Acre in the late 1800s — a rowdy time of outlaws and unruly activity. Acre Distilling is the pick-up and drop-off point for Fort Worth’s Ghost Bus Tour. Departure times are 7 pm and 9 pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, and the $31 ticket includes a beverage from the distillery’s “Ghostriders” cocktail menu. Choose from vodka and limoncello-based Apparition, the bourbon and gin-based Bad Guy with a Badge, or the Hangman’s Hooch made with peach vodka and black tea. The bar is open every day but Monday, but any spirits here likely hang out seven days a week.  

Booger Red’s Saloon
The Western-themed bar in the lobby level of the Stockyards Hotel is named for Samuel Thomas Privett Jr., a redhead more commonly known as “Booger Red” thanks to a childhood accident involving an explosion that “boogered up” his face. Red had a reputation as the most daring bronc rider of the late 1800s, and often stayed at the Stockyards Hotel during his performances at the nearby Cowtown Coliseum. He had a suite on the third floor, and word is the water faucet in the bathroom often turns on an off by itself and cold spots can be felt around the room. Saddle up on one of the barstools in the saloon (which are actual saddles), and order the signature Anna-Rita margarita — served on the rocks in an 18-ounce schooner and infused with a few secret ingredients, including Serrano peppers. Red just might make an appearance and say “Cheers.”

Bird Café
General manager Amber Davidson promises, “We definitely have a haunted bar.” Located in the historic Land Title Block building built it 1889, Bird Café is home to ghoulish guests on the regular — especially in the staircase and upstairs bar. Davidson says several employees and guests have claimed to have seen ghosts, and she’s personally witnessed wine bottles and glassware fly off the wall, as well as odd handprints that've appeared where no one has been. Her rules: “Late at night when I’m alone and locking up, I don’t look in mirrors, I don’t call out ‘hello,’ and I always hold on to the railing tightly when walking down the stairs.” Toast to the spirits with spooky selections from Bird Café’s craft cocktail menu, like the Blood & Sun with Japanese whisky, vermouth, and house-made blood orange blend; or the Jack Black, made with blackberry cordial and two kinds of liqueur, spiked with Jack Daniel’s. 

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse
Formerly a 1890s bathhouse — an upscale place where the well-to-do would stop to wash the dust off after a long trip on horseback — the high-end steakhouse is home to one restless spirit who apparently still patrols the banquet rooms and upstairs bar. According to author Rita Cook’s book Haunted Fort Worth, the gentleman was brutally murdered in the building around the turn of the century. Some say he’s appeared in late 1800s-era clothing, while others have just heard footsteps or felt a cool breeze as he passes by. Sit at the upper level bar and bid him adieu while sipping the restaurant’s signature cocktail, the potent VIP pineapple martini; or perhaps the Blood Orange Manhattan, keeping in the Halloween spirit.

White Elephant Saloon
The story of the infamous gunfight between Fort Worth sheriff “Longhair” Jim Courtright and White Elephant Saloon owner Luke Short is well known in Wild West lore, but Courtright’s killing actually took place at White Elephant’s original location in downtown Fort Worth.  The bar boasts that Courtright’s presence still haunts the saloon’s reincarnated location on East Exchange Avenue in the Stockyards. But the paranormal activity here might actually stem from three violent deaths that took place in the basement of the building in the late 1800s. According to the book Haunted Fort Worth, each murder was over some sort of game — shuffleboard, pool, and poker. Eerie incidents witnessed by employees have included moving glassware and misplaced items, they say. Visit for a cold schooner of beer and a bowl of chili (from owner Tim Love’s on-site chili parlor), or perhaps a simple shot of whiskey to shake off any jitters while there.