Friends are invariably asking me for bar and restaurant recommendations by throwing out random sets of facts about a total stranger. The routine generally goes something like, “I have a Bumble date with a Mid-Cities kindergarten teacher who loves dancing, has a butterfly tattoo on her foot, and claims the last book she’s read since college is Gone Girl. Where should we go?” So I simply poll the lists I keep in my brain, and in mere seconds I can message back, “Take a Lyft to Texas Republic Bar & Kitchen on Foch Street, order the Cherry Limeaid punch bowl, and sleep with one eye open.”
Unfortunately, even I manage to occasionally stump myself. Where should we go on a chilly Sunday evening in April to celebrate two native Texan friends who are moving to Seattle? Also, we need the place to have an extensive wine list, great cocktails, craft beer, and higher-end food –– and none if us feels like getting dressed up.
With a decidedly limited pool of options late into the weekend, we opted for new-ish Houston import B&B Butchers & Restaurant in the toney Shops at Clearfork shopping center. At first glance, the split bar and dining space appears as if the designers remodeled an old warehouse in the meatpacking district of New York City and then installed it in Fort Worth. Somehow, the whole effect manages to be both warm and decidedly unstuffy, in contrast to the eye-popping prices of the Wagyu beef racks dry-aging behind windows inside. (Got a few hundred bucks for a piece of meat, anyone?)
My crew grabbed four seats at the spacious bar, and we were greeted by bartender Erin and fine-dining veteran Lee Allen. Having been on the other side of a bartop from me plenty of times, Allen understands how my gadget-loving brain works. He immediately directed my attention to the bar’s draft cocktail system. This is only the second location for B&B Butchers, and I have to guess they realized the best way to serve more cocktails in a busy restaurant with demanding patrons is to keep them flowing at warp speed.
There are six taps dispensing both a bourbon-based Derby Day Mule and a traditional vodka Trinity Mule. Carbonation addicts should check out Under a Blood Orange Sky, a margarita riff composed of Milagro silver tequila, Solerno blood orange liqueur, lime juice, and San Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa. French 77 and gimlet lovers will want the St-Germain-soaked French Diplomat. A traditional highball is also represented on the wall, and B&B pours theirs with Balvenie 12-year Doublewood single malt and sparkling water. But coming in with my vote for “drink I wish came on tap poolside, too” is The Cricket, a combination of Pimm’s No. 1, Effen cucumber vodka, lemon juice, ginger beer, and mint.
Sure, B&B Butchers isn’t really for drinkers on a budget, but during the Booze & Bites Social Hour (from 3 to 6pm Mon-Fri), the bar offers prices that won’t shatter your monocle when you get the bill. Included on this separate menu of bar- and patio-friendly food and drink is the must-order decadent appetizer Chef Tommy’s Bacon, topped with crumbled Roquefort bleu cheese and drizzled with truffle-infused honey.
During brunch, local musicians like Blake Parish, Kris Luther, and Matt Tedder have been providing entertainment while patrons toss back ponds of mimosas on the patio, further demonstrating this isn’t solely a pinkies-out kind of joint. B&B Butchers has managed to create a bar that feels wholly different from a typical fine-dining establishment while holding onto Texas decadence and sass. I’m popping it into my list of future spots to recommend when my friends come calling for advice again.
5212 Marathon Av, FW. 817-737-5212.