Where to drink
Where to drink in Fort Worth right now: 5 hottest new bars for December
Holiday happenings are back, and amid the clamor of festivities, five new Fort Worth bars opened whisper-quietly right under our noses. Two are part of new hotels, one doubles as a distillery, another, a wine retail shop, and the newest is a beer garden located in a familiar setting. All are worth a visit this month, whether for pre-holiday party or post-family gathering libations — or perhaps for a main event of its own.
The original early 20th century bungalow home of The Bearded Lady and the short-lived Magnolia Tree Tavern is now The Radler, a German-inspired beer garden and eatery. This one comes from a group of owners well-versed in the local bar scene; their resume includes Durty Murphy’s Irish Pub, The Winchester Tavern, Durty Crow, and The Local. While The Radler has a full bar, go for one of the 27 beers on tap, available by the pint or large stein, as preferred in Germany. There’s currently one radler — an effervescent German beer that’s made with a citrus soda — on tap, and it’s a grapefruit version. With this month’s above-average temperatures, the fizzy libation fits perfectly with sitting at a picnic table on the patio, which faces Magnolia Avenue and is adorned with twinkling lit trees. The bar is open daily until late-night.
The Curve Lounge
Southlake got a new hotel last month with the opening of the Westin Dallas Southlake, and with it came two new food and beverage destinations: Jellico’s, the latest restaurant led by former Max's Wine Dive chef Jenna Kinard, and The Curve Lounge. The latter is a cozy, 1,000-square-foot cocktail lounge featuring cushy loveseats, low-to-the-floor lounge chairs, and a curved bar adorned with hanging pendant lights. Cocktails are pricey ($12-$16) but intricately fashioned. The Illuminate Me features Plantation 3 Stars Rum, turmeric, local honey syrup, and rosemary smoke. The Billionaire Sour offers Texas Silver Star Whiskey, lemon juice, British-favored “golden syrup,” and absinthe bitters. There are also several high-end margaritas to choose from, draft and bottled beer, and a lengthy wine list. Open daily.
Dark and minimalistic furnishings combined with a lot of concrete let the vibrant, speakeasy-inspired cocktails gleam at this hotel bar, recently opened in Fort Worth’s medical district. Sugarman’s is named for an early 20th century hero — Andrew “Sugarman” Daniel — who’s recognized for rescuing victims of a washed-out highway in Mississippi in 1939. The bar is nestled inside Hotel Revel, which quietly opened in summer 2020. Patio seating with couches overlook Eighth Avenue, and inside there are TVs, a pool table, and a marble bar in speckled black. Don’t miss the Four Deuces, a version of the Old Fashioned that comes with rye whiskey, root beer syrup, and chocolate and cherry bitters, garnished with a mini playing card. Also note that happy hour with deeply discounted drinks runs daily until 7 pm.
As more folks are paying attention to what’s in their food and drink, potential additives in wine — like dyes, chemicals, and sugar — has become a hot topic. Enter The Holly, newly opened in the Near Southside and specializing in “natural wine,” or wine made without lab-grown additives or chemicals. The wine bar doubles as a bottle shop, so guests can sit-and-sip or grab-and-go. All wines are small-batch and come from all over, from France to California. They range from sparkling to red and even orange, a trending wine made with white grapes where the skins are left on during pressing. The Holly is open Wednesday through Sunday in a bright and airy corner space on West Daggett Avenue, just two blocks from busy South Main Street.
Lockwood Distilling Co.
This Richardson-based distillery is now making spirits bright in Fort Worth. Lockwood Distilling Co. opened its second location on West Magnolia Avenue late last month, bringing with it its portfolio of popular spirits, including Texas Style Gin, Straight Bourbon Whiskey, and fan favorites like Bourbon Cream Liqueur (add a splash to coffee or use in adult milkshakes) and Hibiscus Flavored Vodka. Right now, all spirits are coming in from Richardson, but expect distilling and bottling to take place at the Fort Worth outlet soon. Try the spirits straight, in cocktails from the brick-backed bar, or take them home in bottles to-go. There’s food here, too — like the Dirty South Frito Pie with poblano pimento cheese topped with brisket pastrami chili. Live music takes place on various nights throughout the week. Open Tuesday through Sunday.