Last Friday, at the grand opening of Milo’s, a line of young folks stretched from the entrance to the sidewalk. The East Division Street bar holds 210, and in all probability all 210 spaces were accounted for.Owner Will Thorne is a 24-year-old graduate of the University of Texas-Arlington who’s in the development business. Milo’s marks his first entrepreneurial venture. Along with friend and general manager Brian McAdow, another UTA grad, Thorne is setting out to offer something other than the “sports-dive, dive-bar”-type atmospheres in the area. The result is a classy but not snobby and modern but not fussy hang-out. Whatever you do, don’t call it a “club” – a simple “bar” or “lounge” will do.
Appropriately. There’s not a lot of smoke or noise, the walls are dark and moody, and there are pool tables, flat-screen TVs, some contemporary paintings, and a small back-lit stage with a red velvet curtain. (Though patently averse to the thought of becoming a “rock club,” Thorne says he might turn over his stage area to a band now and then.)
The music on the juke is typical hipster-indie fare: The Killers and Jimmy Eat World are two favorites. Which stands to reason: Milo’s is about five minutes from the UTA campus. Milo’s also manages to straddle the fine line between “fancy lounge” and “club.” College students historically don’t have a lot of disposable income, but, while some of them might not be able to afford a bottle of Grey Goose, they still would like to feel cosmopolitan. Enter: Milo’s gi-normous beer selection. “When people walk through the door, they see we’ve got over 70-plus varieties of bottled beer,” said general manager McAdow. “And we’ve got beers [that other bars don’t have] on tap, like Kirin. We’ve got brands for people who know what they want when they order beer.”
McAdow and owner Thorne hope to turn one international spirit in particular into an Arlington staple: the Japanese rice-wine sake. Naturally, Milo’s plans to focus on the libation on Sundays, a.k.a. karaoke night.
“No other [Arlington] bar has made Sunday night a night for socializing,” Thorne said. “We want to change that.” – Jimmy Fowler
I’m not a big fan of Austin – at all. Too many snobby hipsters and felonious dirt-balls for me. But the state capital, like most dens of forced coolness (Boston, New York, Seattle), has its pluses. The biggest one I can think of is the food. The second biggest: rooftop patios. Other than Houston, there isn’t another Texas town where the roofs are as laid-out and plentiful. Plus, if a curmudgeon like me gets trapped in Austink, he can always repair to a nearby rooftop patio, gaze up at the nighttime sky, and pretend he’s somewhere else, like Houston St. Bar & Patio downtown.
Simply put, there’s no other spot in Fort Worth that compares to the sports bar’s new rooftop patio. With rich wood flooring, full bar, slick tables, dim lighting, and two gigantic television screens, downtown’s crown jewel lends the imprimatur of “bona fide destination” to what was once an otherwise cool, clean, and friendly but largely unexceptional hang-out. Walled in on three sides by taller structures, the patio graciously limits your view to the sky above and the empty rooftops across the street.
But – and there’s always a “but,” isn’t there? – you may want to hit Houston St.’s rooftop patio now before it goes downhill, which, based on my visit last Friday, is a distinct possibility. For one thing, there’s the stage. Well, not the stage per se but its inhabitants. As my wife and I chilled on the roof, drinking casually, chatting, and feeling way cooler than we actually are, a band began to set up, and by “band” I mean young white guys with electric guitars and some serious rock ‘n’ roll ‘tude. A space as gorgeous and classy as Houston St.’s rooftop patio demands gorgeous, classy music, like some local jazz-funk (Liquid Bounce, Top Secret … Shhh, Sleeplab) or local singer-songwriter stuff (Calhoun’s Tim Locke, Flickerstick’s Brandin Lea, Collin Herring, Dove Hunter, Carey Wolff). Not hard rock, damnit!
Luckily, my gal and I got outta there before the first few notes began to thunder into the otherwise perfect evening. Boding even worse for Houston St. is the fact that the rooftop patio – hands down, the classiest-looking, most comfortable, most awesome spot in Fort Worth – also has, that’s right, a stripper pole.
Sigh! Houston St., we hardly knew ye.
501 E Division St, Arlington. 817-275-4011.
Houston St. Bar and Patio
902 Houston St, FW. 817-877-4727