Along a quiet stretch of road among a mixture of commercial structures and a middle-class neighborhood near the Naval air station is where you’ll find a unique drinking establishment that would be more fitting in someplace hip and trendy like Austin.
However, this is where married co-owners Casey and Kelsy Smith decided to plant their newest venture, McFly’s Pub, a Back to the Future-themed bar that collectively gathers from all things eclectic and eccentric, location be damned. And as Emmett “Doc” Brown proclaimed to Marty McFly after traveling into the future, “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”
Like many bar owners, the Smiths were set back in time pertaining to their opening date and ultimately softly opened in August.
Many features hark back to the ’50s, such as the attention-grabbing neon sign on the roof announcing the bar’s existence[,] which shares space with a mannequin that, if you squint like Clint Eastwood, somewhat resembles Marty. Murals painted by Fort Worth/New York City artist Jay Wilkinson round out the exterior, everything relating to the Back to the Future trilogy, which, in this author’s opinion, is the greatest trilogy of all time. That’s heavy. But do not allow this theme to form your only opinion as the entire bar embraces several decades of pure vintage eye candy.
Stepping into the teal-colored building triggers a little sensory overload. Opposite the bar on the right, a chandelier hangs over a stage anchored by three vinyl upholstered booths. Along the wall behind them are painted portraits of characters from the movie franchise. If this appears familiar, it is due to the resemblance to the fictional ’50s-era diner named Lou’s Cafe featured in the movies. With a massive painting of Doc Brown, a giant framed Back to the Future poster, and tables in the middle of the room, the bar is decked out with many more movie references.
Searching for them is best enjoyed with a cocktail, and the Great Scott is an appropriate starting point. Titled after Doc Brown’s catchphrase, it’s a smooth drink, albeit not spirit-forward. Johnnie Walker Black is glossed over with simple syrup before being joined by orange juice, limes, and lemons. Pulling back on the amount of these acidic varietals would allow the scotch’s objective to be more pronounced and be complementary to the overall drink.
No matter. While turning this beverage up, the ample number of clocks lining the ceiling beams comes into view. This is an important callback to Back to the Future as the opening scene of Part 1 is filled with differing clocks. Hung antique suitcases and trunks counter the timepieces as a nod to traveling.
When you are ready for your next cocktail, admire the custom-made tables with the McFly’s logo etched in them. Those familiar with the Smiths know they own a company that specializes in the restoration and renovation of historic properties around Fort Worth, primarily on the Near Southside. Being their handiwork, these tables show the power of love that went into designing the entire bar — even down to the upholstered bar stools and personal photographs taken by Casey bordering the walls.
The Lorraine, another cocktail that borrows its title from a character by the same name, eases on the side of tropicalia. Rum and guava make for a good pairing with orange and lime before a splash of Topo Chico. If the weather cooperates, this is best enjoyed on the expansive patio, which, along with the inside, is dog-friendly. Fanned palm trees are potted throughout with a covered sitting area lit by crisscrossed party bulbs.
Once it gets too cold for outdoor revelry, there’s plenty of gaming entertainment to keep you occupied. A pool table is available along with three arcade games and a couple of TVs, although they’re unnecessary when the décor offers much more conversational pieces. The jukebox isn’t too darn loud as The Cramps, The Sonics, and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins produce a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack vibe. Sipping a rye-based Martini McFly on the plush Victorian couches under the shimmer of the chandelier, with an original Nintendo console and controllers beside you, is the kind of whimsy that makes this place downright fun.
There isn’t much to dislike about McFly’s. In fact, nothing was found to be disliked. The cocktail menu will hopefully continue to evolve, finding the same balance of concentrated cool seen throughout the bar. Already adding more funk to Funkytown, in lightning time will this destination become as enchanting as the Enchantment Under the … well, go watch the movie, then head to McFly’s in your DeLorean. Time’s a-tickin’.
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