I feel like I’d actually need a phone book to do this (and possibly a Spanish translator), but one of my goals in life is to visit every bar in Fort Worth. I mean, shit, I’ve been writing this column for a long time now, and it stands to reason that, setting asideall the ones I’ve already visited, I could cover a lot of the remaining ground over the course of 52 weeks. Some of that ground I’d possibly cover with vomit, true,but whatever — meeting goals is important. A guy in a tie told me that once, so it has to be true. Still, there are an awful lot of bars around here. Yellowpages.com lists 316; Yelp says there are almost 700. In order to go big, I’d have to average 13 drinking establishments a week to be as comprehensive as possible, 11 if I aimed low. Even if I half-assed it, that’s still a lot of drinks.
I guess I’m just lazy. Logistically, it’s not an impossible quest, but checking out every bar within the city limits would definitely require some planning, mostly based on happy hour specials and a driver willing to shuttle me around for 15 to 20hours every week for a year, probably for free. If you’re interested in the gig,consider that you’re also likely to become familiar with the graveyard shift at Taco Cabana and Whataburger, which is its own special sadness. You think it’s not a big deal, but Coast2Coast AM doesn’t broadcast on a clear channel anymore, and those lines get long. Never mind that the flautas you get at 3:30am aren’t nearly as good as the ones ordered when the sun is up.
Maybe a one-year timeframe is too daunting, and maybe four bars a night is too lofty a goal, but two bars in a day is pretty reasonable, and it’s easy to achieve when they’re next door to each other. I knocked a couple off the list the other day, after wisely deciding to forgo a shopping spree at Doc’s Records, opting instead for happy hour beers. Down Camp Bowie West were two places I’d never been to, Randi’s Knotty Pine and the Ole House Tavern. Both are small and serve only beer and wine, but what they lack in space and whiskey, they made up for in amiable crowds.
At the Knotty Pine, I ran into a lady named Bree who used to work at the Poop Deck, now tending the afternoon crowd of old cowboys and retired motorcycle riders. A 60-something dude told some funny stories about Vietnam, despite the fact that one included the phrase, “and I could see my guts hanging out.” He and Bree shot the shit about grizzly bears in Vancouver. I asked her how she liked her new gig. “It’s great,” she said. “I like that this place is a cool little hideaway.”
She was totally right, and the Knotty Pine’s next-door neighbor carried a similar vibe. It was a dark room lit mostly by neon and the friendly banter of a crowd of gray-haired women and white-mustached men. I felt like I’d wandered into a party in someone’s basement rec room. A nine-ball tournament was about to start, and an old biker type walked around with a to-go box of bacon-wrapped jalapeños stuffed with cheese, offering me one as if I’d been drinking there for years. I washed one down with a Coors Light before hitting the road — I would’ve stayed longer, but those 698 other beers aren’t going to drink themselves. – Steve Steward
Fight Cancer at the
Keys’ Jim Jam
If you haven’t been to the Keys Lounge in a while, Sunday’s a better day than most to make the trip to the venerable Wedgwood blues bar. Owner Danny Ross and the Keys’ staff have organized a massive jam to benefit longtime employee Jim McNeal, currently undergoing treatment for cancer. More than 20 musicians will donate their talent to the event, including Buddy Whittington, Tommy Katona, Rusty Burns, Big Mike, James Hinkle, and a ton of others on the list of Fort Worth’s finest showmen. Cancer, it goes without saying, sucks, but if there is one bright spot, it’s the way people can come together for someone they care about. You can make a donation at the door on Sunday or by contacting Heather Haynes at 817-292-8677.– SS
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