A few hundred miles separate Fort Worth folks from any coast, so we’re forced to rely primarily on man-made or natural bodies of water to capture our inner Jimmy Buffet. If you sulk as often as I do at the thought of this, keep in mind that we are afforded many options of recreational lakes –– and most offer a place to wet your whistle after a day on the water.
This summer, we will be introducing to you, the lucky reader, various watering holes on the water. From swashbuckling dives to yachty marinas, we aim to have you living on island time within a navigable distance from landlocked Funkytown in no time.
A short drive west of Fort Worth will land you in Hudson Oaks at Lake Weatherford, located behind the new H.E.B. Along the shoreline is the self-described “hidden treasure” known as Shipwrecked Pub & Grub (210 W Lake Dr, 817-550-6408). It’s part dive, part café. Perched above water level is a building that has been in business in one form or another since the lake was impounded in 1957.
Until recently, the building with a homely exterior still housed a bait shop and grocery store before new ownership provided a makeover. Aisles of lures, fishing gear and tackle, shelves of lake-friendly snacks, and a wall of coolers fell to the wayside to become a full-service restaurant and bar. With those changes came expansions of the kitchen and the food menu. Although their hamburgers still hold first place among customers, Shipwrecked has capitalized on a wider range of cuisine that resonates better with the atmosphere. Items such as their three po’ boys –– fried shrimp, fried cod, or chicken –– are all preceded with the adjective “HUGE!” on the menu before listing the ingredients. Beer-battered cod and hushpuppies with two sides make a plate, as do strips of cornmeal-breaded catfish and a country-fried steak with the same accompaniments.
They also created a small yet potent cocktail list that doesn’t drift far from the familiarities experienced in a Key West bar. Erring on the sweeter side for their drinks, the end goal is the same: Keeping the customer in a tropical state of mind.
Naomi Pesqueda began working here at the age of 15 when her father was the general manager. A decade later, she holds the title of bar manager. She was behind the new cocktail menu and expansion of local craft and domestic beers.
The daiquiri here may not be the same delight that Ernest Hemingway was said to have invented, but they do offer flavors such as strawberry, mango, piña, or strawberry colada delivered either frozen or on the rocks. They borrowed the touristy Hurricane from New Orleans, simplifying it to include only rum with pineapple and orange juices and grenadine. This lack of boozy complexity doesn’t necessarily negate its drinkability, though if you’re feeling froggy, ask them to add the piña colada, transforming the Hurricane into a Caribbean rum punch.
Keeping things simple, the two-ingredient Salty Dog is a finely tuned combination of vodka and grapefruit juice. And, yes, Shipwrecked Pub & Grub offers a classic margarita if you choose to stay true to form.
There is nothing fancy about this place. And that’s OK. Though spruced up, it still feels worn in. They still have their regulars –– fishermen and boatmen, blue collar and white collar, young and old, and the occasional pirate. With dark shiplap covering the bar walls, touches of random nautical décor all around, and a deck overlooking the lake, with the right attitude, one doesn’t need a change in latitude to make this dive a personal paradise. — Cody Neathery