Where to drink
Where to drink in Fort Worth right now: 7 best bars for romantic date-night cocktails
Celebrate love with luxurious cocktails all month long at these seven bars that just ooze elegance. Some offer dimly lit nooks for intimate seating while others present drinks whipped, shaken, and stirred with a flamboyant show. Most are in Fort Worth proper, and two are worth the drive to one of Tarrant’s ritziest neighborhoods. Date night definitely warrants the extra effort.
Brand new in downtown, just across from Burnett Park, 61 Osteria is the latest concept from restaurateur Adam Jones (Grace, Little Red Wasp) and chef Blaine Staniford. This one is high-end Italian - think house-made semolina flour pastas, Atlantic swordfish, and olive oil cake. The spacious bar, with its sunny palette of yellow stools and chairs and floor-to-ceiling windows, seats 50. It’s where guests will find a sophisticated list of drinks, like the Bergamot Spritz with Prosecco from Italy, bergamot liqueur, lime, and mint. But don’t miss the Sexy Italian, a lovely lemon-colored sorbet of house-made limoncello whipped with more of that nice Prosecco in a copper bowl to order. The stylish cocktails are sure to kick off an evening of amore.
Chef Tim Love generated lots of buzz when he opened Caterina’s, his Italian fine dining establishment in the Fort Worth Stockyards, last summer with some big restrictions: jackets required for gentlemen, and no cell phones allowed. The restaurant has loosened its collar a bit – only for the fourth Friday of the month. That’s when they're open for a more laid-back lunch, one where the dress is casual and guests are free to take all the cell phone photos they wish. Ordering a cocktail in the dining room (which only seats about 40) is a must. A red-vested, bowtie-clad server will wheel a bar cart to your table for a truly entertaining experience. With glassware, cocktail shaker, ice bucket, and ingredients in tow, servers whip up libations tableside with a show. Try the Hugo, made with elderflower liqueur, rose Prosecco, soda water, mint, and lime; or the blue-hued, limoncello-infused Angelo Azzura. Patrons can also snag a seat at the six-person bar. Note that during the fourth Friday lunch, there is live music from a jazz ensemble and martinis are half-off.
The intimate downtown bar was one of the first craft cocktail destinations in town, having opened in 2015. The drinks, prepared with great precision, take time here, so don’t be in a hurry. Instead, find a plush velvet loveseat and take in the scenery. The building dates back to 1910 and formerly housed a pharmacy, an actual bookstore, and maybe even a brothel at one point in time. (Note the underground speakeasy is currently under renovation for a new look to be debuted later this year.) If you visit from February 11-14, take advantage of Thompson’s sweet and spirited Valentine’s package, which includes two glass of sparkling rose, any four cocktails, two cheesecakes from Sweetie’s, chocolates, and a long-stemmed rose. The deal is $100 and includes gratuity. Or visit anytime for The Saint, made with vodka, Aperol, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, and sparkling brut. It’s the perfect nod to St. Valentine himself.
Take love to new heights with a visit to this sky-high bar on the 24th floor of the Kimpton Harper hotel downtown. The sweeping 360-degree views are enough to take your date’s breath away, setting the tone for a romantic time. While whiskey is big here (the list runs deep), don’t miss the pretty little Lilac Lover. This gin-based cocktail is lavender in color and made simply with lemon juice, simple syrup, and lavender bitters. If you go on a Wednesday, you'll get to enjoy live music and a whiskey tasting from a local distiller starting at 7 pm.
The Amber Room
Date night done right is easy with a visit the Amber Room, the not-so-secret speakeasy tucked inside Wishbone & Flynt in the Near Southside. Enter through the unmarked door on Bryan Avenue or inside the restaurant through the gold door dotted with multiple doorknobs. Once your eyes adjust to the dimly lit interior, jewel-toned drapery, retro lounge chairs, imported rugs, twinkling chandeliers, and exposed brick walls will be revealed. The vibe is lavish with drinks to match. Cocktails are categorized by spirit and the menu is lengthy. Luxurious fan favorites include the Lavender Nuptials with vodka, honey lavender syrup, crème de violette, and whipped egg whites; and the smoking hot Strait Spice, made with George Strait’s Codigo Blanco tequila, pineapple, jalapeno simple syrup, lime, and honey. Note the bar is open late on Friday and Saturday nights.
Leela’s Wine Bar
Take a trip to Trophy Club for this pretty neighborhood wine and cocktail bar, which is connected to its sister concept, HG Sply Co. With emerald green booth seating, feathered chandeliers, and candlelit tables, the boutique bar serves libations and a small menu of pizzas and salads. Leela’s is extra lovey-dovey this month with a Valentine’s-themed pop-up that will run through February 26. Go for photo ops galore with floral backdrops and red and pink cocktails, some served with a fiery sparkler. Try the Buy Myself Flowers, made with strawberry and hibiscus infused gin, elderflower liqueur, guava, lime, rhubarb bitters, and served with a positive affirmation card.
Yet another reason to trek to Trophy Club is Social Oak, a wine and whiskey lounge opened late last summer that features a unique self-pour dispensing system with more than 50 wines and nearly 30 whiskeys. Guests can navigate their own tasting experience with pours ranging from one to two ounces for whiskeys and one to five ounces for wine. There’s also a cocktail menu for those who prefer to sit back in a leather booth and not lift a finger. Try the Daiquiri made with rum and key lime juice, or the Trophy Wife shaken with passion fruit and vanilla vodka. On Sundays happy hour starts at 4 pm with discounted self-pours and half-price select cocktails and bites.