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Photo by Jay Betsill

Stampede Saloon

2413 Ellis Av, FW.

817-945-2055.

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Once upon a time in the Stockyards (circa 2012-13), the Whiskey Girl Saloon was one of the area’s hottest spots, but in recent years, the bar lost its mojo, losing in excess of $6,000 per month. The popular watering hole seemed destined to permanently shutter its doors.

Following a recent visit from the Bar Rescue team led by host Jon Taffer, the Whiskey Girl has been rebranded as Stampede Saloon and will host its grand re-opening Fri-Sun. The weekend will feature performances by a George Strait tribute band starring Dusty Deaton on Friday, and Randy Brown, Brad Russell, and Andrew Sevener on Saturday, and Kaleb McIntire will play live on Texas Red Hot Radio hosted by Jim Nash 3-5pm Sunday. 

The 39th episode of Bar Rescue, Reckless Roundhouse,” showcased the Stockyards area and zeroed in on the floundering Whiskey Girl, specifically co-owners Fred Barnett, Keith Peterson, and Luke Beshara, also known by his alter-ego, party animal Rick Roundhouse.

Taffer and crew dissected the Whiskey Girl establishment, pointing out that other bars in the area (specifically the White Elephant Saloon) were drawing big and diverse crowds who were spending big money. Meanwhile, Whiskey Girl looked sleepy from the outside, unable to attract locals or the plethora of tourists staying within walking distance at Stockyards hotels.

Photo by Jay Betsill

The episode aired on the Paramount Network in July and is currently available to view on the Paramount Network app. When the closing credits rolled, all was well and everyone appeared hopeful, but now it is time for the real world to kick in and test whether or not the Stampede Saloon can stand out in an area populated with Western-themed bars.

Derek Scheler, who owns Spice Rack Sports Bar/Patio Grill in Burleson, has been added to the ownership group as an owner/operator, and he added some additional flourishes to the remodel. The new environs now include two indoor bars, a private raised VIP area, a separate back room with pool tables, and a new turf-covered back patio with tables and chairs. The back patio also has a stage for live music that will likely be used for opening acts.

The main stage has also been renovated and will now feature a garage door behind the stage that opens to the bar’s covered front patio, which will have the capability to serve as a backstage VIP section for some of the bigger acts who will perform at the bar. On the other evenings, the space will be available for group reservations or first-come-first-served seating. An added bonus for those seated on the front patio, a window on the opposite end of the entry allows them to order drinks from the bar without having to battle the crowds inside.

While it is not a sports bar, Stampede added multiple flatscreens to show live events such as TCU and Cowboys football games.

Alas, there is no barbecue – the show runners set up a kitchen, but the city refused to issue the place a permit. The back patio, however, has a driveway designed for food trucks such as Del Norte Tacos, which will be on hand Friday and Sunday during opening weekend. The bar is also partnering with neighboring restaurants, including Hookers Grill, which is directly behind the back patio area, to provide food service.

Look for the Stampede Saloon’s scene to feature a dynamic mix of locals and tourists looking for drinks and live music and for the crowds on the east side of Main Street (from Billy Bob’s, Cattleman’s, H3 Ranch, and others) to have a legitimate reason to cross the street and pay a visit to Fort Worth’s newest hot spot.

On the heels of the show’s sweeping overhaul and Scheler providing the finishing touches, it appears that the Stampede Saloon has indeed been rescued and won’t be riding off into the sunset anytime soon.

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