A couple of weeks ago, around time for the high-society social event of the year, the Bank of America Colonial Golf Tournament, the ever-reliable Star-Telegram published a list of bar-restaurants that make cool or different “cocktail creations.” To his credit, Star-T reporter (and all-around stand-up guy) Andrew Marton wrote about good, expensive libations and good, inexpensive ones. Still, those of us with only minuscule expense accounts couldn’t take Marton’s tour without dropping at least a C-note.

However, there is another option: Ocean Rock. The Bluebonnet Circle bar/seafood restaurant recently unveiled its “Caribbean specialty” cocktail menu in which the most expensive drink, The Ultimate O.R. Margarita, costs less than a dirty Hamilton. The best part is that the O.R. is as tasty as either Xouba’s Chichatini ($6) or Sam & Harry’s Silky Way ($10).

There are other good ‘uns on Ocean Rock’s menu, too. The Frozen Prickly Pear Margarita ($7.50) reminded me of that trip to the Virgin Islands I never took. The Banana Berry Mojito ($6.75) includes Whalers Banana Rum, fresh strawberries, mint, sugar cane juice, a splash of club soda, and a cab ride home (fare not included). But before you stagger into the yellow four-door limo, you gotta sample the Ciroc Grapetini. The famous vodka distilled from grapes is mixed with white grape juice, tumbled, and served in a glass whose rim is nicely coated in sugar. The price? Six-fiddy. The best part: You don’t have to wear a plaid sports-coat to drink it.


Gangs of Fort Worth

Who would have thought that in quaint ol’ Cowtown, there’d be a pitched battle for the top spot of best Gaelic-influenced bar.

Yet, lo and behold, here we have, in the Sundance Square area alone, a Gangs of New York-type throwdown among three – count ’em, three – independently owned green-themed joints: Durty Murphy’s, Rick O’Sheas, and Paddy Red’s. (The sports-bar chain, The Fox and Hound English Pub & Grille, is close enough to affect business at all three on occasion, and not in a good way.)

They all have their positive attributes. The elder statesmen of the trio, Rick O’Sheas, gets points for offering a wide selection of beer and for hosting live local original music, and Durty Murphy’s, with its mixed crowd of hipsters and frat daddies, gets points for countering the notion that Irish bars are only for old, white, alcoholic males.

But my favorite is Paddy Red’s. In the location formerly occupied by the Black Dog Tavern, Red’s is much better-looking and light years cleaner than its predecessor, and in the service department, Red’s staff is just as quick and friendly as the old Dog’s drink-slingers.

I’m still not sure about the connection between Irish people and beer bars, but if a good time is the chief criterion by which all bars – Irish and others – should be judged, then I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the three aforementioned.

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