Updated: Sep 9
It should go without saying, a night or a weekend at The Stockyards is the rootinest-tootinest best time in town. But recently, the Stockyards vibe has been elevated a notch or two, with the arrival of several new hotels and restaurants. At its core, though, the Stockyards still retains its Country-Western flair, despite all the growth around the district in North Fort Worth. Here are our favorite spots to hit in the Fort Worth Stockyards.
1. The World's Smallest Honkey Tonk — Basement bar
Dolla Dolla Bill, Y'all. Yes, that's right, at the darkest, dankest, tiniest underground bar in the Stockyards, there are signed dollar bills from customers stapled to most of the walls and ceiling, but laissez faire is just the vibe at Basement Bar. This place is very much Old Stockyards, and we love its charm! It's a beer joint that has live music from time to time and doesn't update its facebook page anymore. The DJ's here know their audience and do a good mix of country, hip-hop and line.
2. billy bobs
From the one of the smallest spots in The Stockyards to "the world's largest honky-tonk." Billy Bob's over the years has evolved into more of a Cowboy Activity Center than just a music venue, with its real bull riding arena, its expanded Honky-Tonk Kitchen, event spaces and of course the gift store. But it has always kept its eye on its more than 40-year mission: to host the boot-scootinest concerts and events Fort Worth has ever seen.
3. second rodeo brewing
Second Rodeo Brewing is the kind of brewery secure enough in its hopped and malted offerings to paint, "WE ASSURE YOU IT'S NOT HORSE PEE," on one of their side bars outside. It's the kind of place that perfectly combines that old world Fort Worth outlaw country attitude with the more recent trend of beautification in The Stockyards. And make no mistake, when you come, you're not getting any of that Nashville pop country nonsense. It's all Western Swing, Outlaw Country and Texas Blues here. The beers are good, too!
4. hotel drover
Because you're Fort Worth it! Inspired by the pioneering spirit of the West, Hotel Drover delivers true Texas hospitality. Named to honor the legendary cowboys who drove cattle to market across the plains, Hotel Drover features 200 rustic-luxe rooms and suites in the heart of The Stockyards. While you're staying, be sure and check out the onsite 97 West Kitchen and Bar, whose menu features an inventive take to Texas cuisine!
Ten years ago, we would have never thought you'd find us eating tapas in the sky in The Stockyards, but here we are! The menu is electric at Àtico — you'll want to try it all! This place is a Chef Tim Love creation, inspired by the man's visits to Barcelona through the years, so while you're ordering tapas style, the food carries that distinctly Texas taste at the same time. These are the views of Fort Worth that we have been begging for for years. We love when they do happy hour live music, too!
6. biscuit bar
Eat like a cowboy when you come to The Stockyards. Biscuits all around! The comfort food is as comfortable as it comes at Biscuit bar, the playful and open kitchen concept dreamed up by husband-and-wife duo Jake and Janie Burkett in 2018, so it fits right into the Stockyards aesthetic. Whether we're brunching or nighthawking, stopping in for something with a little meat and a little heat to it will always be on our Stockyards checklist!
7. sidesaddle saloon
Giddy up, losers. We're going to the Sidesaddle. For Texas tapas and great drink specials, this place can't be beat. The TX beef sliders are even adorned with little Texas flags — how could we say no? Do not leave without getting a slice of whatever pie ($8) they have going that day — thank us later. And the happy hour (3-6p.m. weekdays) deals are superb: among others, a $6 old fashioned that has their Instagram comment section hollering!
8. star cafe
Photo from: fortworthstockyards.org
The Star Cafe is a true Stockyards original, built in the early 1900s, exuding that old Texas charm like an sheriff's badge. You can get a bite or a meal from the traditional cafe menu that features everything from a bowl of Texas chili to sandwiches, burgers and steaks. A trip inside the Star is a trip back in time. It's family owned and dedicated to old-fashioned good food and service.
9. the railCAR
Next stop? The Fort Worth Stockyards' best lil' newish coffee shop, The Railcar! This is a really cool place to support, because they partner with local animal shelters, donating a portion of their revenue to support their life-changing initiatives. Every cup of coffee you purchase at the train-themed coffee shop makes a difference in the lives of furry friends in our area!
10. Riscky's barbecue
Photo by: @risckysbbq
Risky's Bar-B-Q is a Fort Worth tradition, and their Stockyards location has been Fort Worth's picnic table gathering place of record since long before the Stockyards once again became the darling district of Fort Worth. Enjoy a heaping helping before or after you witness the daily cattle drive down Exchange Avenue. It's the perfect jumping off point for a day of wandering all the shops!
11. The Thirsty armadillo
Photo by: Four Square City Guide
Bring your bachelorette party to the Thirsty Armadillo, and we will make you one guarantee. You will get drunk. That's just the kind of spot the Armadillo is. Straightforward live country music, cold beer, cocktails, with the occasional spontaneous breakout line dance. It's the kind of place that holds the odd Chicken Shit Bingo event (if you know, you know) every now and then. Randy Rogers, Casey Donahew and Eli Young all got their start playing at the Thirsty Armadillo, so it's not without that sense of Texas Country history, either.
12. provender hall
Mule Alley has become quite the chic little spot to be seen, hasn't it? Provender Hall is one of the area's recent achievements, with a hat tip to The Stockyards' cattle-centric history on the menu and in the look and feel of the place. The playful menu spans oysters on the half shell to chicken gumbo to steak frites. Salads and sides such as crispy okra, braised greens and cheddar cheese grits are also on offer. Don't miss the Happy Hour specials from 2-6 p.m. daily, too!
13. white elephant saloon
The White Elephant is really the only place in town fit for a game of "Whose cowboy hat is that on the wall?" No really, it's a hat museum as much as it is a worn in old honky tonk. Take a gander and pull up an old wooden chair, because you will want to stay a while. It's authentic, warm and lowkey a great place to hear a little country music without all the fuss of a bigger dancehall.
14. Paloma Suerte
Ehrmahgerrd the smothered enchiladas at Chef Tim Love's newest Stockyards venture are bomb. Paloma Suerte translates to "lucky dove," a fitting name for Love's sixth (count 'em, 6) restaurant in the neighborhood, as one of his previous entries is, of course, the Lonesome Dove. When you're in Mule Alley, remember, you're eating FTX-Mex, not Tex-Mex, ya hear?
Look the part and cowboy up as loud as you want to with new gear from Maverick Fine Western Wear. Established in 1981 in an original 1905 Stockyards building, Maverick continues to be the name in The Stockyards for the authentic and chic Western looks you need to be serving as you strut down Exchange.
16. Love Shack
Love Shack is Chef Tim Love's casual, belly-up-to-the-burger-bar option in The Stockyards. You can also order the Love Shack menu from inside the White Elephant next door. We love their Dirty Love Burger, their Heated Hot Dog and stopping by on weekend mornings for off-menu breakfast tacos and #backdough sweet and savory donuts!
17. Lonesome dove
Chef Tim Love's innovative menu at his critically acclaimed Lonesome Dove Western Bistro is influenced by the cultures of the West. We love trying things here that you just can't get anywhere else, like the elk foie-gras sliders with blueberry jam or the rabbit-rattlesnake sausage!
18. Joe T. Garcias
And last on the list, but certainly not least, is quite possibly the most famous Stockyards mainstay of them all: Joe T. Garcia's! Bring cash when you go and be prepared for strong margs and be prepared to answer the dinner conundrum that has vexed us for years: Fajitas? or Dinner? Either way, the best wait staff in Fort Worth will take care of everything from there! Cheesy tostadas for the win!