I got this from a bar’s website, a cyber-place festooned not only with a Getty Image of people drinking martinis, which I later discovered has absolutely nothing to do with said bar’s actual interior, but also with clip art of a Wild West saloon. So I’m going to assume that Niles City Saloon is named after an actual municipality, even though I’ve never read about it in a reputable source, including Wikipedia.
Whew. According to the website, Niles City was a town of about 500 people squished into less than a square mile that included landmarks like the Cowtown Coliseum, a Gulf Oil refinery, and the Swift and Armour meat-packing plants. Due to a state law that allowed cities of 50,000 people or more to annex neighboring towns with fewer than 2,000 people, Niles became hot property to the Fort. Niles beat Fort Worth’s first attempt to absorb it in 1921 by extending its borders to encompass the necessary bodies to take it over the 2,000 mark but failed in the same maneuver two years later. These days, there’s nothing left of it (at least to me) except a name on a street in the Stockyards and a name on a bar way out on Highway 80 past Doc’s Records & Vintage.
Seriously, it’s pretty far out there, and once you get there, it’s a run-of-the mill roadside dive. Inside, blessedly darker than the glare of the afternoon sun, you’ll find a big space with the usual macrobrew signage, plus three pool tables. A large square bar dominates the center, with a TV above a rack of chips and a microwave. Fancy, this place is not, but I got a Sierra Nevada there for only $3 –– according to the bartender, my longtime favorite pale ale is that cheap all the time.
Besides history, the bar’s website advertises a happy hour from noon to 8 p.m. Before I got the Sierra, I had a Miller Lite for $2.25. And, well, like, practically every other outpost of this stripe, Niles City has karaoke. On Thursday nights, to be precise.
Among the regulars at the bar was a veteran sporting a POW motorcycle cut, an employee, and a big guy with a beard like C. Everett Koop’s. The liveliest of the bunch, the big guy sounded like Jim Backus after five scotches, but the bartender laughed at all of his jokes. All in all, a pretty nice afternoon crowd.
Since the bar opens at noon, Niles City Saloon makes a good spot to stop for a cheap drink after you’ve blown a bunch of cash on a Saturday jaunt to Doc’s. Regardless of how much you know of Fort Worth’s past, you should make a couple beers at Niles City part of your future. — Steve Steward
Bearded Lady Finally Opens
Over on the Near Southside, if there’s one question I’ve heard at least as often as “Wanna go smoke?” it’s “When’s The Bearded Lady opening?” I’ve even asked it a few times myself. The brewpub located in a former residence on the corner of West Magnolia and 7th avenues has been on a lot of people’s radars for months, my own included. Since I got a preview back in the spring, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the chance to soak up a bunch of whiskey and Lone Stars with the Lady’s menu, primarily mac ’n’ cheese served in a bowl made out of bacon, not to mention wanting another chance to goggle at the gleaming copper wall of craft beer taps and then drinking from them. It’s almost like I’ve been waiting in line to see a carnival sideshow, tantalized by the mysteries and freaks only hinted at by the wall art outside. Whatever marvels lurk inside The Bearded Lady’s walls, they will be revealed on Friday at 3 p.m. — Steve Steward
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