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Wine Bar

Critic’s choice: Gran Cru Wine Bar & Boutique, 1257 W Magnolia Av

When it comes to wine, the Near Southside offers an embarrassment of riches. In a two-block radius, there’s Kent & Co. Wines, featuring a retail store with a purple Caddy and a sommelier who looks like Lou Diamond Phillips, and also Magnolia Cheese Co., offering a fantastic selection of tapas and (obviously) cheese and a small wine list. But the jewel in the Magnolia vino crown is Gran Cru, whose selection of more than 200 bottles is priced close to retail. (We’ve price-tested.) The bar also serves 2-ounce “taste” pours in addition to the by-the-glass pricing. Create your own flights, or buy by the bottle to take home.

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Hotel Bar

Critic’s choice: R Bar & Grill, 2401 E Lamar Blvd, Arl

At last, some competition for Whiskey & Rye! This spiffy new place opened this summer as part of the renovation to the Arlington Hilton Hotel, and it offers a sleek modern design that doesn’t sacrifice warmth or character. To top it off, the bar whips up innovative cocktails and has plentiful TVs and excellent food. Finally, travelers staying in A-town can unwind in style without making the drive to Fort Worth or Dallas.

 

If you pop into The Boiled Owl Tavern, our favorite bar bar, you might be able to enjoy a classic B–movie.  Lee Chastain
If you pop into The Boiled Owl Tavern, our favorite bar bar, you might be able to enjoy a classic B–movie. Lee Chastain

Sports Bar

Readers’ choice: Buffalo Bros, 3015 S University Dr

Critic’s choice: Frankie’s Sports Bar & Grill, 425 W 3rd St

Frankie’s tries hard to meet the needs of every single sports fan in the 817. You can eat, drink, and watch football, baseball, hockey, soccer, tennis, and even polo. This upscale hangout has giant projection televisions surrounded by big-screen TVs and personal-sized models. There’s even a TV in the mirror of both bathrooms. Predictably, there are all kinds of deals on drinks, and the food menu exceeds typical sports bar offerings.

 

Gentlemen’s Club

Readers’ choice: Rick’s Cabaret, 7101 Calmont Av

Critic’s choice: Rick’s Cabaret

Rick’s central location means you don’t have to take long trips to Fort Worth’s outskirts to get your fill of female eye candy. Along with Rick’s always-attractive main attractions, there are themed nights and, on Sundays and Mondays, half-price champagne.

 

Expensive Beer

Critic’s choice: World of Beers, 5005 S Cooper St, Arl

The suds are pricey at this emporium south of I-20, but an immensely knowledgeable staff will pour tiny free samples of the place’s vast selection of wheat beers, stouts, and IPAs to help you better place your order. On the off chance that nothing on the rotating menu tickles your fancy, you can also order from a variety of mixed drafts, beer cocktails, or even a beer ice cream float. The choice of beers from Texas and far-flung locales makes this an essential place for connoisseurs. WOB is noisy, but outdoor seating is available.

 

Located in the Arlington Hilton Hotel, R Bar & Grill is ideal for some grub or a faux-getaway.  Lee Chastain
Located in the Arlington Hilton Hotel, R Bar & Grill is ideal for some grub or a faux-getaway. Lee Chastain

Margarita

Readers’ choice: Yucatan Taco Stand, 909 W Magnolia Av, Ste 10

Critic’s choice: Bottlecap Alley Icehouse Grill, 843 Foch St

They’re cold and refreshing, and they come in schooners. The on-the-rocks margs here are also incredibly tasty and, during happy hour (11am-7pm Mon-Fri), eminently affordable ($5 a pop).

 

Martini

Readers’ choice: Blue Sushi Sake Grill

Critic’s choice: Scat Jazz Lounge, 111 W 4th St

Certain drinks demand a suitable ambiance, and martinis are among them. Nothing beats a smoky, New York-esque jazz lounge for sipping on a dry, well-balanced gin martini (shaken, not stirred, of course). Dirty or clean, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Bar Décor

Critic’s choice: Shipping & Receiving

Offset by the bright biergarten/performance area, S&R’s interior is small, dark, and dressed up with concert posters of days gone by, letting you know that while owner Eddie Vanston’s mind is on comfort and affordable cocktails, his heart is in music.

 

 

Bar Games

Critic’s choice: Barcadia, 816 Matisse Dr

Like the coin-op edition of Contra, Barcadia is tough to beat. Along with the recent additions of The Simpsons and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Barcadia boasts a broad selection of the top video games from the ’80s and ’90s, plus pinball, air hockey, pool, skee-ball, and Giant Jenga. Better yet, the games are free on Tuesday nights. The Golden Age of Arcades may be long gone, but Barcadia keeps the spirit alive.

 

Party Patio

Critic’s choice: Capital Bar, 3017 Morton St

Capital Bar is undoubtedly as popular as it is because of its gorgeous two-story patio. From upstairs, the view is spectacular —  the stage below, downtown to the north and east, and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth to the west. Things can get prett-tyyy rowdy if the band is rollicking or after a Horned Frogs victory.

 

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