Bottled Blonde sells a lot of booze. Based on TABC data compiled by bar supplier Bar Mart, the West 7th newcomer ranked No. 6 in Fort Worth this month, which puts its monthly liquor sales of around $750,000 comfortably ahead of marquee venues like Joe T. Garcia’s, Hotel Drover, and Omni Fort Worth Hotel.
Considering Bottled Blonde’s comparatively smaller size, those figures can be accounted for only by packed nights and lots of imbibing. A recent weekday evening found the venue to indeed be bustling with folks of all ages ordering shots, cocktails, and Neapolitan-style pizzas. Bottled Blonde, the Fort Worth outpost of the Houston-based chain, offers patio seating, large lounge tables that can easily seat 20, and a wraparound bar. On the night of my visit, large TVs showed sports while country music blared from speakers.
The Cactus Flower, my only drink that night, was a citrusy delight accentuated by hibiscus notes and agave. The fruity, floral flavors covered up the ample tequila that left me buzzed.
Bottled Blonde sells several appetizers that lean toward Italian cuisine (mozzarella sticks, pizza rolls, balsamic-glazed Brussels sprouts), and I sprung for the fried calamari and shrimp. Generous portions of thickly battered squid mingled with plump crustaceans. Both benefited from a squeeze of lemon and a dunk in the accompanying rich tomato sauce. The seafood was fresh, firm, and delicious.
My waitress recommended the boneless wings with a mix of Buffalo and lemon pepper seasonings. Around a dozen plump and deep red chunks of breast meat came with celery, carrot slices, and a side of ranch. The results were a flavor overload with the initial zing coming from the lemon pepper before the heat of the Buffalo sauce caught up.
After watching the first season of The Bear on Hulu, which is about a chef in the Windy City, I was excited to finally try an Italian beef sandwich. The enormous sammy required steady hands to navigate. Between the slices of a hefty, toasted bun was about a pound of dense and thinly cut roast beef topped with a spicy and vinegary giardiniera. The mix of savory and acidic did not disappoint, and I could see why Illinoisans rave about this popular Chicago treat.
The Forager Pizza was laden with juicy roasted mushrooms, crisp and mildly bitter arugula, gobs of rich and creamy Fontina, and generous sprinkles of thickly shaved parmesan. The crust was thick, chewy, and lightly charred. For $16, I was expecting a larger pie, though. The personal size could serve two if they weren’t too hungry.
Every bite of the Pesto Pizza was a delight. Ripe cherries burst with fruity juices that complemented the herbaceous pesto and sweet caramelized onions.
It was early evening, and I didn’t stay to see the booze-filled party that night. My waitress said weekday afternoons are slow. Maybe that will change as word of Bottled Blonde’s well-crafted noshes spreads.