The 10 best bars in Fort Worth serve up good drinks and good times
Many of these 10 bars are brand new and still making waves for coming in hot to the local nightlife scene. Others are more tenured, having drawn crowds for years, establishing themselves as industry experts. All have one thing in common – good drinks and good times made possible by great service.
Follow along via a special editorial series, then find out who will win at our signature awards ceremony and tasting event, taking place April 27 at The 4 Eleven (411 S. Main St.). Emceed by Fort Worth chef Jon Bonnell, the culinary extravaganza will feature bites from the nominees and sips from sponsors. A portion of the proceeds will benefit nonprofit Cuisine for Healing.
Get your tickets here before they sell out.
Here are the 10 nominees for Bar of the Year:
Birdie's Social Club
Birdie’s debuted with a bang late last summer for its cheery open-air concept with pastel-painted patio furniture and Palms Springs vibes. It took over the former Lola’s space between 5th and 6th streets and draws mostly a young crowd for live music, game-watching, and picture-perfect cocktails served in pretty glassware. Try the Western Breeze made with TX Whiskey, strawberry puree, and pink lemonade. There’s also a recently updated food menu of tacos, nachos, quesadillas, queso, and kids’ items. Also new to Birdie’s is Bourbon & Shine, a Western-outfitted cocktail lounge hidden on site, which opened in March with darts, pool, and a back patio.
There are two locations of this popular spot for wings, pizza, and game-watching – one on the TCU campus and a much larger, newer outlet downtown in Sundance Square that opened in 2019. The original, on South University Drive, has long drawn Horned Frog fans and neighborhood locals for big games and general cold beer consumption. The Sundance Square location draws a mixed crowd of residents and out-of-towners and offers a 360-degree bar with huge TVs inside and outside the perimeter. There are more than 90 TVs at this outlet, along with a private room that has five screens and stadium seating. Owned by chef Jon Bonnell and Buffalo native Ed McGowen, Buffalo Bros. is also home to Buffalo Bills football watch parties.
Grown-up arcades are not a new concept, but this one takes things to another level. At more than 25,000 square feet, Cidercade offers a whopping 300-plus arcade games plus pool tables, shuffleboard, ping pong, air hockey, Skee-Ball, and basketball. The bar is owned by the folks behind Dallas-based Bishop Cider, so, naturally, hard cider is what’s on tap. (No liquor, beer, or wine.) Located on West Bowie Street just off Cleburne Road in South Fort Worth, not far from TCU, the bar is kid-friendly – but only until 8 pm. Admission is only $10 for all-you-can-play, or $15 a month for a membership. Save room for stone-baked thin-crust pizza, wings, and desserts.
The Richardson-based distillery opened a second location in Fort Worth's West Magnolia Avenue in late 2021, where patrons can sip its portfolio of popular spirits straight or in a cocktail. The lineup includes Texas Style Gin, Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Straight Rye Whiskey, Bourbon Cream Liqueur, the pink-hued Hibiscus Flavored Vodka, and an array of flavored rums in pineapple, vanilla, and firewood cinnamon. Bottles are also available to-go, but patrons tend to sit and stay awhile for libations like the Lockwood Latte made with coffee infused vanilla rum and Bourbon Cream Liqueur, and the Bourbon Paloma with pink grapefruit juice and rosemary. The bar also serves a sophisticated menu of shareables such roasted brussels sprouts, along with soups, salads, sandwiches, and desserts.
It’s the Horned Frog fan’s “most elevated” tailgate scene. This open-air rooftop bar is located on the sixth floor of the Hyatt Place TCU, right on campus. The indoor-outdoor terrace bar provides a bird’s-eye view of the university grounds, nearby neighborhoods, and downtown in the distance. Lounge seating and cozy nooks are plentiful on the string-lit patio, while the interior bar is more sleek and modern with high-back barstools. There’s also a virtual Top Golf Swing Suite available by reservation, and a food menu with elevated game-day fare like stadium nachos with smoked pork and cilantro lime crema. Many cocktails are TCU-themed, like the Frog 75 made with purple gin and sparkling wine.
When former lawyer-turned-distiller Markus Kypreos opened his sophisticated distillery in The Foundry District in 2019, he said he wanted to be close to the West Seventh Street nightlife, but not in the middle of it. His plan proved smart. Blackland Distillery, with its Art Deco design, club chairs, booths, and chandeliers, is now one of Fort Worth’s classiest retreats for well-crafted cocktails. Spirits distilled onsite include vodka, bourbon, rye whiskey, gin, and the popular Texas Pecan Brown Sugar Bourbon. The cocktail menu is one of the most delicious in town, with pretty concoctions like the Dreamsicle Fizz made with bourbon and the Negroni made with gin. Don’t miss the Texpresso Yourself martini on tap.
Pinky's Champagne Room & Velvet Lounge
A place to pop a cork and put your pinkies up, Pinky’s opened last year just south of downtown on South Jennings Avenue. Live jazz, booth seating, green velvet drapes, and coupe glasses add to the swanky vibe here. There are bubbles of all sorts, from champagne to spritzy cocktails, along with a full bar. While live jazz is played onstage most nights of the week, there’s never a cover charge at Pinky’s, adding to the appeal. All-day happy hour on Wednesdays is another perk.
Tannahill's Tavern & Music Hall
Three components make up this new Stockyards dining and entertainment destination: a full-service restaurant, a separate bar and lounge, and a dedicated music hall for ticketed live shows. It should be noted that there’s no in-and-out for the latter, meaning once you’re in the music venue for a concert, you can’t leave to roam and re-enter – just like Billy Bob’s Texas or Dickies Arena. So make a dinner reservation to fill up on pub fare like grilled oysters, duck confit shepherd’s pie, or baby back ribs before heading into a concert, many that feature big national acts. Or simply visit the lounge – made cozy with cush couches, rugs, and dim lighting – for cocktails live acoustic music nightly. Try one of chef-owner Tim Love’s favorite drinks, a tequila old fashioned made with Altos anejo tequila, or the Marley made with spiced rum, lime juice, pineapple juice, and coconut.
The Basement Lounge
The underground bar on Camp Bowie Boulevard has a legion of loyal fans for its craft cocktails and chill vibe. The interiors are reminiscent of a friend’s living room – inviting with curtains and couches and anchored by a brick fireplace. Seasonal cocktail specials are creative here, like the new citrusy and woodsy Vida Vernal. There’s also an array of Old Fashioneds, from a smoked version to a Oaxaca version made with tequila and mezcal. Visit for a new take on Taco Tuesday – the bar offers $2 street tacos and $5 classic margaritas all night.
Truck Yard Alliance
Dallas’ favorite “backyard bar garden” opened its fourth location in mid-January in the booming Alliance region of far north Fort Worth, at 3101 Prairie Vista Dr. Hitting its stride just in time for spring, the indoor-outdoor destination sits on almost two acres – enough space for everything from fire pits to an operational Ferris wheel. The Truck Yard is known for its food truck fare (think nachos and cheesesteaks), live music, and vintage decor – including old trucks that have bench seating in the bed. A sister concept to Second Rodeo Brewing in the Fort Worth Stockyards, the Truck Yard serves Second Rodeo draft beer along with craft cocktails on tap, frozen drinks, and even top shelf flasks. This location has debuted new technology that allows for ordering drinks by phone from any table to be delivered by a server, allowing guests to get cozy.