Ever notice how Texas Christian University seems to go through athletic conferences the way linebackers go through socks? Now, as TCU’s teams proudly (and perhaps bravely) scratch out a niche in the Big 12, Frog fans hope their school has found a permanent home. The same might be said of Whiskey XII, the latest joint to court the Horned Frog princes and princesses.
Whiskey XII has taken over the spot formerly occupied by Hammerhead Sushi, and the new atmosphere is pretty much purple, gray, and TVs. When packed, it’s a lively place to watch sports, guzzle draft beer, and shoot the breeze in between shots of whiskey. Eating ranks somewhere after that. Horned Frogs are obviously the target audience, but the XII in the name isn’t for nothing: High-end photos of the conference’s various football stadiums are due for installation soon, though at present there’s not much to look at –– except, well, the 40-plus whiskeys and scotches behind the bar.
Honestly, this is a bar first and restaurant second. The variety of brown liquors is captivating, as is the prospect of whiskey tastings every other Wednesday. But even if the focus is on hooch, that doesn’t mean Whiskey XII’s grub isn’t worth a look.
The menu has plenty of pub grub with which to sop up suds. XII really shines in totally bad-for-you goodness, primarily in the appetizer department. Start with the armadillo eggs: cheddar-stuffed jalapeños coated in breakfast sausage, battered, deep fried, and served with queso. It’s the kind of thing that grows on the bushes in Paula Dean’s dreams. And like so many unhealthy things, the eggs were incredible. The peppers and sausage were strident and distinct, while the fried batter made them delightfully crunchy.
Two entrées, however, weren’t as popping. The club wrap ––ham and turkey in a spinach tortilla with bacon, lettuce, and tomato –– was a nice nosh carried mainly by the thick, crunchy slabs of bacon, but the cold cuts could’ve used some mayo to punch them up. Every bite was pretty dry.
The plate of brisket was another letdown. If you’re the kind of person who has to investigate for smoke rings, a discernible crust, and a conspicuous smoky flavor (or really, any flavor), don’t bother with XII’s, unless you also like a lot of barbecue sauce. Mine wasn’t exactly drenched, but I probably should have gotten some of their tangy, piquant stuff on the side. The side of bourbon baked beans, though, was miraculous. Where the brisket wasn’t at all memorable, the beans were sugary and zippy with spice and were thick with — you guessed it — chunks of fatty bacon.
Equally marvelous was Whiskey XII’s take on a bacon burger, a delicious, double-patty monster that could probably win the Grim Reaper’s seal of approval. As if one juicy, flavorful half-pound patty wasn’t enough, the burger also includes a one-third-pound bacon patty. This is exactly what it sounds like: freshly ground bacon pressed together and grilled into a glistening disc of crunchy, salty ecstasy. I wouldn’t make a habit of eating this thing, but it’s definitely a must-try-before-you-die kind of burger. Perhaps, very shortly before you die.
For a college sports fan, Whiskey XII is pretty choice. Like the future of Horned Frog football in TCU’s new conference, this bar/restaurant can probably kick a lot of ass if given a chance, especially if its booze and bacon lead the way.
Of course, it should be ready for a name-change if, you know, another conference comes a-callin’.
2858 W Berry St, FW. 817-927-0822. 11am-11pm Sun, 3-11pm Mon-Wed, 3pm-2am Thu-Fri, 11am-2am Fri-Sat.
Beer, liquor. MasterCard, Visa accepted.
Armadillo eggs ………………… $7.99
Club wrap ………………………. $7.99
Big Beef & Bacon Burger …. $9.99