The coronavirus pandemic has made 2020 a particularly turbulent year for bars. They were closed, then opened, then closed again — some doing alcohol to-go, others rebranding as restaurants — and then reopened again with limited capacity. Like all local businesses, bars need customers to survive. But, with COVID-19 cases going up again around Texas, it's hard to know whether patronizing a favoring watering hole is safe.
These five local bars tick important boxes right now: they offer large outdoor spaces and keep patio seating spaced apart, with room for patrons to spread out. They also keep earlier or late-night hours to avoid the after-work, happy-hour rush. And, important for the ever-changing weather in fall, their outdoor patios are covered to protect from the elements.
Not everyone's ready to visit a bar, but if you are, these are five to consider in November. Don't forget to wear a mask any time you're not sipping or eating.
Cowtown Brewing Company
A big white tent covers the spacious downtown brewery patio deck, which is dotted with wooden picnic tables and adorned by white string lights. Located at 1301 E. Belknap St., Cowtown Brewery keeps patrons hydrated with more than a dozen beers on tap, all brewed on site. Visit now for the new bourbon barrel-aged GnarBeast, a barleywine aged eight months and available on draft and in cans. Open daily at 11 am.
This Sundance Square institution provides for one of the biggest covered outdoor patios in town; tree-shaded with picnic-table seating offering plenty of room to spread out. Visit daily starting at 11 am for more than 80 craft beers on tap and 100-plus by the bottle. Live music on the outdoor stage has been on hiatus for much of the pandemic, but look for bands to provide tunes again soon on Friday and Saturday nights, weather permitting.
Tarantula Tiki Lounge
After years of planning, the kitschy new tiki bar at 117 S. Main St. briefly opened in June before shutting down just days later after the governor implemented more COVID-19 restrictions. Now the Tarantula is back; open daily offering an island-themed retro vibe, potent libations, and a covered outdoor patio hidden from street view. Guests can sit among tropical plants and twinkly lights while sipping a pineapple-infused Painkiller. Or try co-owner Autumn Brackeen’s recommendation — the High Priestess of Funk, made with lavender and butterfly pea tea from Thailand. Open daily at 2 pm.
Trinity College Irish Pub
Dublin native Alan Kearney opened his proper Irish pub in January, filling a mostly unmet niche in Fort Worth. The stout beer destination is popular for its expansive patio, which is currently tented and takes over an entire former Currie Street parking lot. Wrought iron round tables intermingle with wooden long tables, potted foliage, and string lights. There’s also lots of open-air seating inside thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows that stay open most days. Deal seekers will find a drink special almost every day, from $5 Irish pints on Tuesdays to whiskey specials on Wednesdays. The bar is located at 910 Currie St. and is open Monday through Thursday at 3 pm, Friday at 11 am, and Saturday and Sunday at 10 am.
This Fort Worth spinoff of the Deep Ellum original has a New Orleans vibe. Drinks are inspired by Crescent City classic cocktails and include the Pimm’s Cup, Black and Stormy, and the quintessential Hurricane. Patio seating is partially covered in a shady, tree-lined open courtyard. The bar is located at 212 Lipscomb St. and is open Monday through Friday at 4 pm and Saturday and Sunday at 12 pm.