Photo by Carlos Bonilla

Animal Rescue Group

Readers’ Top 5: Allies Haven Pet Rescue, @AlliesHaven, • Apollo Support & Rescue, 1170 Dove Hill Rd, Justin, 817-658-9738 • Good Neighbors Animal Rescue (GNAR), @GoodNeighborsAnimalRescue, 682-207-7467 • Humane Society of North Texas, 1840 E Lancaster Av, 817-332-4768 • Saving Hope Animal Rescue, @SavingHopeTX


Art Gallery

Critic’s Choice: Bale Creek Allen Gallery, 400 Houston St, 512-633-0545

Hurst G&S Web Ad (300 x 250 px)

The eponymously named gallery owned by a former Austinite represents a transition and probably no small amount of culture shock for the California-born artist who uses sculpture, painting, photography, woodwork, music, and theater in his work. After five years in the state capital, Allen brought this mixture of contemporary art and music to a repurposed corner storefront in Sundance Square in 2021. So far, exhibits have included paintings and poetry performances by John Doe (of the seminal American punk band X) and, more recently, the three-woman show Felininity, Folk Art and Fabric Works –– a staggering mix of textures, fiber, and folk art.


By bringing the cosmos to us, our critic’s choice for best artist, Adam Fung, shines.


Critic’s Choice: Adam Fung

We all love J.T. Grant and his ability to paint skyscapes and other “empty” places with transportive power, but there’s another Fort Worth painter able to render the seemingly limitless with a kind of precision and joy that really are, um, moving. Earlier this year at Fort Works Art, TCU prof Fung displayed his painterly reactions to his expedition to the Arctic Circle and “XnatureX,” a new body of work documenting the launch of the most powerful rocket in history, 2018’s Space X. Next time you see a Fung (or a Grant), just stop to imagine how much he spent shaping that cloud or dotting that nighttime sky with stars. His meditation is our celebration.


Arts & Crafts Class

Readers’ Choice: Maven’s Moon Apothecary, 1111 Roberts Cut Off Rd, River Oaks, 817- 367-9235

Critic’s Choice: Catalyst Creative, 400 E Division St, Ste 100, Arl, 972-446-0444

If you’ve found yourself telling someone “I’m not artistic — I can’t even draw a straight line,” Catalyst Creative has a class that can prove to you that you’re more left-brained than you thought and that there are tons of other ways to express yourself creatively than drawing. Offering classes in a wide range of media from fused glass art, pottery, and printmaking to water marbling on silk and, yes, acrylic painting, Catalyst Creative’s emphasis on crafts makes it a fun, hands-on educational experience that everyone can enjoy.



Readers’ Choice: Cowtown Cabaret, Red Goose Saloon, 306 N Houston St, 817-332-4745


Culinary Class

Readers’ Choice: The Cookery Fort Worth, 710 S Main St, Ste 130, 682-888-8901

Critic’s Choice: Spiced Lavender,, 682-622-9644

“Food shared is happiness multiplied.” This is the foundational tenet of executive chef/owner Nina Sagoo’s business. With time spent in kitchens ranging from entry-level work at Mi Cocina to pastry chef at Bonnell’s Waters, catering specialist at Nonna Tata, and a culinary instructor at Sur La Table, Sagoo thrived to realize her primary gig is catering and meal prep, but her culinary classes will turn up your kitchen game. From foundational courses like basic knife skills and creating pasta, pizza, and sauces to fancier options like paella that will dazzle your friends, you can have individual instruction or go in with a group of friends. The chefs at Spiced Lavender can customize for dietary preferences (gluten-free, vegan, and Keto options are available), and you can learn in your kitchen or in one of several kitchens in Fort Worth. In June, Sagoo became the latest Fort Worth chef to participate in the Food Network’s pantheon of chef-challenge shows, where she competed in the oddly addictive Supermarket Stakeout.


Cultural Event

Readers’ Choice: Arts Goggle

Critic’s Choice: Trinity Pride Fest

If you weren’t at this year’s Trinity Pride Fest, well, where the hell were you? After a two-year hiatus (thanks, COVID) and in the midst of a politically devastating year (thanks, Texas), the festival felt especially needed. Director Tyler Long presided over the daylong kickback. More than 800 people came and went at Magnolia Green Park, enjoying food, drinks, a market, music, and, best of all, the feeling of being themselves, loud and proud. The festival culminated in a drag show chock-full of North Texas talent.


Fort Worth Swing Dance Syndicate’s fleet feet are the main reason they’re our critic’s favorite dance troupe.
Courtesy Facebook

Dance Troupe

Readers’ Choice: Texas Ballet Theater

Critic’s Choice: Fort Worth Swing Dance Syndicate

Swing dance? Yes, swing dance. The fine folks at the Fort Worth Swing Dance Syndicate know how to hold it down. The group lets anyone join in on the fun, hosting a weekly social dance 8pm Fridays at Arts 5th Avenue. The night ($12 for non-members) includes beginner lessons so that by the end, even the clumsiest can jump, jive, and wail. If watching feels more your speed, members perform around town periodically at places like Sundance Square.


Day Trip

Readers’ Choice: Granbury

Critic’s Choice: Dallas

Don’t laugh. As much as we love to scoff at our big sister, we secretly, y’know, want to be her. Or more like her. For those times when you just crave a real, old, big-city vibe — and when you feel you’ve seen and done just about everything there is to see and do here — Big D is only about 45 minutes away. Our favorite stops include the Bishop Arts District and Uptown. For an overnight stay, the allegedly haunted but incredibly charming Daisy Polk Inn (2917 Reagan St, 214-522-4692) in the Gayborhood (Oak Lawn) is a must.


Dog Park

Readers’ Choice: Hurst Dog Park, 900 TCC Rd, Hurst, 817-788-7229

Critic’s Choice: ZBonz Dog Park, 6950 Camp Bowie West

What do you do with an older, city-owned golf course? Turn it into a dog park, of course. The 10 acres of ZBonz on the West Side boast plenty of room for puppers to roam. There are 3 acres for small dogs and 7 acres where large dogs can gallop. The park also offers two picnic shelters, several agility items if your pet likes to do something besides zoomies, pet fountains, a walk/jog trail, and a couple of aerated ponds. The park is open from 5am to 11pm except on Mondays and after heavy rains, when the area is deemed too muddy by the city.


Critic’s choice for best drag performer, Kiana Lee is full of sass and sashays.
Photo courtesy of Tucker Taylor

Drag Performer

Readers’ Choice: Patrick Mikyles, @DragWithMe.TheShow

Critic’s Choice: Kiana Lee

This year’s queen of smoldering sass and fabulous energy is the host of drag nights at 1851 Club (931 W Division St, Arl, 817-642-5554), where her glamorous vibe is fierce, a tempest of attitude and emotion. Though 1851 is her main haunt, you’ll find her at drag brunches and dinners at other places like Trinity College (910 Currie St, 682-224-3525) and Fort Brewery (2737 Tillar St, 817-923-8000), sashaying her way into your heart.


Entertainment Spot (Top 5)

Readers’ Choice: Lola’s Fort Worth, 2000 W Berry St, 817-759-9100

Critic’s Choices: Depending on the night, Billy Bob’s Texas (2520 Rodeo Plz, 817-624-7117) serves up live music, drinks, and dancing, as well as bull riding, on both the mechanical and flesh-and-bone varieties. … If you’re looking to pull your head out of your phone and experience an IRL good time, head to Cidercade (1813 W Bowie St, 682-707-5491), where excellent pizza and various hard cider offerings from Dallas’ Bishop Cider complement an enormous collection of classic arcade games. … Free Play (1311 Lipscomb, 817-242-8487; 400 E South St, Arl, 817-242-8483) also offers a huge selection of vintage games as well as a full bar, pizza, and hot-pressed sandwiches. … For some good ol’ fashioned analog gaming, Game Theory (804 S Main St, 817-203-4217) is where you can challenge your friends and family atop board games from a library that includes some 500 titles while snacking on delicious plates like a fried buttermilk-chicken sandwiches and imbibing signature cocktails like the Drunk Uncle and Mother of Dragons. … Top Golf (2201 E 4th St, 817-349-4002) is a great spot for pros, amateurs, and amateurs who talk like they’re pros to whack buckets of balls to their hearts’ content while enjoying wings, pizzas, and other bar bites — you can also sign up for lessons, if you want to know why your drives are short and slice-y.


Home to one of our critic’s Top 5 gallery exhibits of the year, Kinfolk House in the Polytechnic neighborhood is a walk through the past and a look toward the future.
Courtesy Kinfolk House

Gallery Exhibit (Top 5)

Readers’ Choice: Sublime by Crystal Wagner, Fort Works Art, 2100 Montgomery St, 817-759-9475

Critic’s Choices: The one-night show Larry Allen: A Retrospective at Dang Good Candy (404 Houston St, 817-235-2939) downtown served up a whole lot of art — good art, too. Gallery owner, artist, and show organizer Jay Wilkinson assembled the retrospective of his stepfather and early mentor’s work to honor him as he battled a critical cancer diagnosis that recently took his life. … While not technically an exhibit, the inaugural Fort Worth Art Fair put so much high-caliber local art on display, it cannot be ignored. Eight different galleries had work up, including the Fort Worth Art Collective, Artspace 111, and Bale Creek Allen. While the event had some initial blowback for running the same weekend as the Main Street Arts Festival, the two complemented each other and brought massive crowds downtown. … An exploration of the idea of transformation, Paradigm Shift at Artspace 111 (111 Hampton St, 817-692-3228) featured the work of Texan-Venezuelan Ender Martos, who filled the gallery with his three-dimensional wall sculptures. The pieces, crafted with colored acrylic mirror among other media, directly challenge the audience’s conception of perception. … At Fort Works Art, L.A.-based Crystal Wagner built all of Sublime Enchanting on-site, using chicken wire, kite paper, and picnic table covers. Wagner drew inspiration from how technology has distanced us from nature. The result? An immersive visual marvel. … Kinfolk House (1913 Wallace St) hit the scene in a big way this year. The inaugural show at the family home-turned-gallery established what owners Letitia and Sedrick Huckaby plan to do with the space. The house, situated in the Polytechnic neighborhood, belonged to Sedrick’s grandmother, Eastside fixture Hallie Beatrice Carpenter. The show’s title Welcome, chosen both for its sentiment and because it’s Carpenter’s maiden name, featured art by the married couple which paid homage to “Big Momma,” as she was known to family, friends, and neighbors. The Huckabys filled the house with Sedrick’s paintings, mostly of people who knew Big Momma or who had lived in the house, alongside figurative newspaper pulp sculptures. Letitia’s landscape photographs, printed on fabric and displayed in oval hoops, documented the spaces from Big Momma’s hometown of Weimer to Fort Worth, where she settled with her family. The result? A multimedia masterpiece, essentially the opportunity to bear witness to the history of a family and the larger community around them.


Golf Course

Readers’ Choice: Rockwood, 1851 Jacksboro Hwy, 817-392-6560

Critic’s Choice: Meadowbrook, 1815 Jenson Rd, 817-457-4616

A course with as much of an oral lore as a written one, Meadowbrook was a former country club that folded during the Great Depression. Formerly a nine-hole course that opened in 1924 and was acquired by the city in 1938, the municipal course was upgraded to a full-championship length of more than 6,000 yards. With the most elevation changes and challenges of Fort Worth’s four public courses, it presents an affordable challenge for non-club wrenchers and is the busiest with good reason. The original layout was designed by John Bredemus (a legend in both Fort Worth and golf), who also designed Ridglea’s North Course and Z Boaz and co-designed Colonial. A new clubhouse and pavilion were added in 2005, along with new grass, and for a course with hills and history to spare, Meadowbrook is an affordable way to enjoy a challenging day on the greens.


Kids’ Activity

Readers’ Choice: Benbrook Stables, 10001 Benbrook Blvd, 817-249-1001

Critic’s Choice: Dreampark, 2001 University Dr

Kudos to the donors and the Churchill family for giving Fort Worth’s children a place to play and dream big. Urban cities often lack free public spaces and pools for children, and this 1.3-acre park is handicap-accessible with nearby parking and extra-wide sidewalks. The amenities within the park are designed to provide a sensory-rich environment where children can play larger-than-life instruments or try their luck surmounting miniature climbing walls.


Place to Take Kids

Readers’ Choice: Fort Worth Zoo, 1989 Colonial Pkwy, 817-759-7555

Critic’s Choice: The Stockyards, 131 E Exchange Av, 800-433-5747

The Stockyards are arguably Fort Worth’s ultimate destination for a staycation or outing with the family. The revamped Mule Alley has blossomed into a family-friendly development that offers a wide range of dining and entertainment options. Let your young’uns try their luck at the Cowtown Cattlepen Maze, where fun prizes await anyone who can find their way out of the wooden labyrinth. Nearby Barnyard Petting Corral brings visitors up close to familiar and exotic animals. Newly restored Downtown Cowtown at the Isis Theater boasts a wide range of movie options for the family while weekend events bring live music performances and pony rides.


Place to See Movies

Readers’ Choice: Coyote Drive-In, 223 NE 4th St, 817-717-7767

Critic’s Choice: EVO Entertainment Southlake, 1450 Plaza Pl, Southlake, 682-286-6929.

Movie theaters used to rely on their smorgasbord of film selections to get people through the front door, but those days seem to have passed. The Austin-based chain took over the spot in Southlake Town Center which was abandoned by Harkins Theatres during the pandemic and made it over into a one-stop entertainment place replete with a cavernous video arcade, bowling alley, and dining area, so you can pass the time while waiting for your movie to start. If only they’d show more art-house films, this place would be perfect.


Jimmy Joe Jenkins’ “Monkey Lisa,” critic’s choice for best commercial mural, can be seen at Lettuce Cook (5101 White Settlement Rd).
Photo courtesy of Jimmy Joe Jenkins

Mural (Commercial)

Readers’ Choice: The Rabbit Hole Pub, 3237 White Settlement Rd, 817-744-7160

Critic’s Choice: “Monkey Lisa” by Jimmy Joe Jenkins, Lettuce Cook, 5101 White Settlement Rd

Discerning eyes can spot the naturalistic work of muralist Jimmy Joe Jenkins all over town. You can see his photo-(sur)realistic style adorning the walls of bars or climbing bridge columns along the Trinity River. “Monkey Lisa,” a massive work that encompasses one whole side of gourmet to-go kitchen Lettuce Cook, shows both his incredible true-to-life rendering ability and his sense of humor. Three nature textbook-quality chimpanzee faces recreate the classic see/speak/hear no evil trope with farmers market-fresh produce. The mural works its intended magic by humorously compelling you inside to take part in Chefs Todd C. Brown and Katherine Wood’s elevated bistro fare.


Mural (Community)

Readers’ Choice: “Adrift” by Jana Renée in collaboration with Hillary Dohoney, Inspiration Alley, The Foundry District, 200 Carroll St

Critic’s Choice: “Adrift”

Jana Renée’s first mural, depicting a Syrian woman trying to escape the civil war in her country, is still among the most powerful, evocative large-scale paintings in North Texas. From painting murals around town, Renée now takes her talents all across the state.


Museum Exhibit (Top 5)

Reader’s Choice: Women Painting Women, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 200 Darnell St, 817-738-9215

Critic’s Choices: Slices of Black life from the past century filled the walls of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art (3501 Camp Bowie Blvd, 817-738-1933) this summer. The curators of Black Every Day: Photographs from the Carter Collection keenly avoided major historical moments, opting instead to celebrate the beauty of the day-to-day. Works from heavy hitters like Gordon Parks and Garry Winogrand shared space with unidentified photographers. … Mostly known for their exquisite portraits and watercolors of Texas birds, the Gentling brothers Scott and Stuart remain giants among Fort Worth painters, and their retrospective at the Carter, Imagined Realism, also covered the brothers’ lesser-known talents, from forays into oil painting to flirtations with capturing Aztec cultures. … This year, the Kimbell Art Museum (3333 Camp Bowie Blvd, 817-332-8451) branched off into new (“newish”?) territory with an expansive display of African art. The museum sourced the 200-plus pieces for The Language of Beauty in African Art from private and public collections across the globe. The curators wrested the pieces away from Western interpretations by placing them back in their original contexts. The array of sculptures, masks, and textiles was noteworthy for its vastness and for the respect paid to the culture that created them. … This spring, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (3200 Darnell St, 817-738-9215) rang in its 20th year in its stunning Tadao Ando-designed space with a special show. Recent Acquisitions 2002-2022 offered a glimpse of the variety of works the institution has brought in over the past two decades. From abstraction to portraits, the display showed off the diversity of modern art and, especially, modern art in Funkytown. … For the groundbreaking Women Painting Women, the Modern filled its upper galleries with 60 pieces depicting women from 46 women painters, a triumph in a traditionally male-dominated field. In Cowtown, women run the show at most of the art institutions, from Fort Worth Public Art to Artspace 111. The Modern itself has Marla Price as director and Andrea Karnes as chief curator, making the show extra fitting.


Nonprofit Organization (Top 5)

Readers’ Choice: Texas Coalition for Animal Protection (TCAP), 1856 Precinct Line Rd, Ste 108, Hurst, 817-837-4500

Critic’s Choices: Catholic Charities Fort Worth (249 Thornhill Dr, 817-534-0814) works strategically to address poverty by eradicating barriers between impoverished locals and economic freedom. The Fort Worth branch of the national charity provides immigration, dental, and transportation services to those in need. … For 23 years, the staff at the Mental Health Connection (3136 W 4th St, 817-927-5200) have helped local mental health services providers better coordinate their work. With more than 100 members that include hospitals, government institutions, and other nonprofits, the Mental Health Connection ensures that Tarrant County continues to work toward long-term changes that improve mental health care while addressing emerging needs. … Divorces, eviction fights, and other forms of litigation eventually hit a majority of Americans, but not everyone can afford pay the thousands of dollars it normally costs to retain an attorney. Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas (600 E Weatherford St, 817-336-3943) offers free legal help to individuals who meet financial aid guidelines. Legal Aid lawyers can help clients fight consumer fraud, report child abuse and civil rights violations, and deal with other important legal matters. … Newcomer The Phan Foundation ( is working to provide affordable housing and job training to those who need it with the aim of reducing and one day eliminating chronic homelessness. The idea is to hire young adults leaving the foster care system and teach them home-renovating skills. Once a house is flipped, the profits fund the nonprofit that will also manage low-cost rental homes. … The concept of The Welman Project (3950 W Vickery Blvd, 817-924-4000) is as simple as it is ingenious: create a space for businesses to send excess and unused supplies marked for disposal, then send them to bootstrapped schools. It is a sad fact that many public-school teachers subsidize their meager classroom budgets by paying for supplies out of pocket. The need for schools is great, and the tiny but mighty Welman team has proven they’re up to the challenge.


Paint Night

Readers’ Choice: Brush & Board Creative Studio, Fort Worth, Arlington, Mansfield

Critic’s Choice: Trista Morris, Art:30tx and Art of Trista Studios

Trista Morris has been hosting her mobile social paint nights for the past nine years at local homes, businesses, bars, restaurants, and even offices. Trista and Art:30tx do not charge the establishments and the cost for students is only $30 per person to cover supplies. The goal is to draw people into art and just spread some joy. Classes are two to two-and-a-half hours, depending on the pace and the difficulty of the painting.



Readers’ Choice: Trinity Park, 2401 University Dr



Readers’ Choice: The Jerry Jonestown Massacre

Critic’s Choice: Fort Worth Roots

On this 2-year-old podcast, host Andrew Turner focuses on Fort Worth creators, especially musicians, and with every guest, he tries to show the interviewees in a positive, authentic way. He asks well-researched questions and keeps the conversation light and engaging. Plus, he has a great radio voice. Fort Worth Roots airs on YouTube every Monday or anytime at


Recreational Class

Readers’ Choice: Fort Worth Academy of Music, 3327 Winthrop Av, Ste 151, 817-420-6462

Critic’s Choice: Run Club, Liberty Lounge, 515 S Jennings St, @Liberty.Lounge.FW

While Liberty Lounge’s Run Club is more a meetup than a class, the weekly gathering of people trying to get off the couch or the barstool for a couple miles is always a fun group exercise in moving your body — even if you’re more inclined to walk than jog. Held every Tuesday (weather permitting) at 7pm, the informal, ambulatory group is open to everyone, and participants receive a drink special for their effort. If you’re a recent transplant to town and looking to meet people, the Run Club’s informal “y’all means all” inclusiveness is a great atmosphere for making new friends.


Theater Production

Readers’ Choice: Waylaid at the Livery, Texas Star Dinner Theater, 816 S Main St, Grapevine, 817-310-5588

Critic’s Choice: The Pleasure Trials, Amphibian Stage, 120 S Main St, 817-923-3012

Sarah Saltwick’s comedy was a spark when it received its world premiere in Fort Worth at Amphibian Stage back in February. Director Kara-Lynn Vaeni broke out different techniques to dramatize the quest by scientists to develop a drug to enhance women’s sexual pleasure (a dance number, a fake TV commercial, a parody of porn tropes), and the quick-change act by Kelsey Milbourn as all the subjects of the medical trials was worth the price of admission in itself.


Theater Troupe

Readers’ Choice: Hip Pocket Theater, 1950 Silver Creek Rd, 817-246-9775

Critic’s Choice: Stage West, 821 W Vickery Blvd, 817-784-9378

The venerable theater troupe moved into its newly refurbished digs for its 43rd season after an itinerant existence during the pandemic. The stale old classics appeared here as in a funhouse mirror, with Into the Breeches! looking at an all-female 1940s production of Shakespeare’s Henry V and Scrooge in Rouge doing a patch on A Christmas Carol. The weighty matters of Church & State and On the Exhale were balanced by the humor of What to Send Up When It Goes Down and the Pulitzer-winning Between Riverside and Crazy. It was a season to keep our city’s theater scene fresh all by itself.


To read about more winners, go to the Best Of Night & DayGood GrubOn The Town, Sounds Of The City, Getting & Spending, and People & Places section articles on To see the Best Of 2022 special edition in a flipbook, page-by-page format, click here.