"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Monday, March 14, 2022

Joe's Guide to Fort Worth


After our recent podcast, I thought it might be useful to have my Fort Worth recommendations in article form. I may not be the best DFW tour guide, but considering I’ve lived here 10 years and many of you will be visiting for the first time, I can provide a few pointers to give Marquette fans an idea of what to look for.

Dickies Arena

Let’s start with the location for the game. The area immediately around Dickies doesn’t offer much. So, if you’re looking for a place a block or two from the arena, you’ll probably be disappointed. I’ll also add that food-wise, Dickies has only had the basics the few times I’ve been (granted, that was for high school games. Maybe this will be better). But, I wouldn’t expect much more than typical stadium food: chicken fingers, pizza, burgers, nachos. I’d highly suggest eating before and/or after your trip to the games. Where to do that? Allow me to offer places I like.

West 7th

Depending on your tolerance for walking, the West 7th area is either a healthy walk or a very short Uber ride from the arena. I confess I’ve never actually walked it, but it’s a little over a mile, and I’m going to imagine this is where a lot of the pregame and postgame partying will happen. This is a very popular area for the young professional crowd.

Varsity Tavern has a lot of TV’s, so if you want a game-watching spot, that should work fine. Trinity College Irish Pub will probably be very popular on St. Patrick’s Day, so that should be a good place to hang out. I’d also recommend The Social House, just a chill place for either drinks or a meal.

Rodeo Goat is a great burger spot if you’re hungry. There's not a ton of TV's in there if you want game-watching, but it'll do if your priority is to eat.


I know my audience here, so before I get to some other places to eat around Fort Worth, let’s talk beer. If you want to hit a brewery while you’re in town, there are several all over the Metroplex to check out. Here are a few I’d suggest.

Rahr & Sons - Rahr is probably the most popular brand that is from Fort Worth proper. I’d suggest their Texas Red.

Maple Branch -  a few blocks north of the West 7th area, it has a great beer garden if you just want to sit outside and enjoy some brews.

HopFusion Ale Works - Located very close to Rahr, this is a place to go if you like sour beers or fruity beers. HopFusion is one of the more creative brewers in the area. I’m personally not big on sour or fruity beers myself, but if you are, this is the spot for you. I will say, though, if you end up here and don’t want one of their unusual creations, their Feisty Blonde and Feisty Redhead will suit you just fine.

Martin House - Martin House is a fine brewery, but here's my favorite thing about it: it's right next to a Top Golf. If you know Top Golf, you know it's an awesome place to hang out, but the wait can be quite long. Putting your name in, going to Martin House and then going back to Top Golf to hit golf balls, watch sports, and eat? There are worse ways to kill an afternoon.

Revolver - Now, the brewery itself is located a long way away in Granbury, too far to make it worth your trip. However, Revolver’s Blood & Honey is my favorite beer in the DFW area. So, if you’re at a bar in Metroplex and can’t decide what to start with, order a Blood & Honey. It’s like a Blue Moon with more alcohol content. You’ll love it.

Dallas breweries – if you’re deciding to make a trip to Dallas (more on that later), there are a number of breweries over there as well that I’d recommend: Deep Ellum, Community, Oak Highlands, and Manhattan Project would all be worth a stop. Deep Ellum is one of the more popular ones in the area, especially their Dallas Blonde.

Elsewhere in Fort Worth

Okay, back to food. Sundance Square is a very nice part of downtown Fort Worth: plenty of restaurants (some local, some you've probably seen elsewhere like Mi Cocina or Texas de Brazil). There are some fine dining options if you want to break your budget and treat yourself (like The Capital Grille or Reata), but if you just want a bar to chill at, I'd suggest Buffalo Bros.

If you're looking for stereotypical Texas, a place to go wearing boots and a cowboy hat, go to the Stockyards: it's an area with cowboy bars with country music all over the place. Billy Bob's is a popular one. With a name like Billy Bob's, it has to be, right?

The number one place I'd have to recommend in the Stockyards area to eat is Joe T. Garcia's. It's a TexMex icon down here: good food, casual setting, an awesome patio. You may be in for a wait, but good things are worth waiting for. The good news about the wait: you can get a margarita pitcher from the bar, and bring it back to the line and start drinking while you wait.

If you want barbecue, Heim gets my highest recommendation, and there are a couple in Fort Worth. I also really like Hard Eight BBQ, but there isn't one anywhere near downtown Fort Worth. There is one near the airport, though. Something to consider on the way in or way home.

There isn't a Pluckers in downtown Fort Worth, but if you're elsewhere in the Metroplex and see one, that's my favorite sports bar in the area. Wings and beer and lots of TV's. It's like BWW, but better. Try their spicy lemon pepper wings.

One more place I have to mention that's not downtown but it has a few locations around the greater DFW area: Babe's Chicken Dinner House. If you eat here, you may not eat again all weekend because it's a ton of calories but my gosh is it good. Family-style servings of mashed potatoes, gravy, biscuits, creamed corn and your choice of fried chicken or chicken fried steak. Ignore the salad when they bring it because it's just lettuce and dressing. After that though? Oh man, nothing but good southern cooking and enough calories to last you two days. Not a place for game-watching, though, and it does NOT serve alcohol. This is a place to eat and eat and eat.

Fast Food and Fast Casual

Not everybody wants to sit down and be waited on. So, if you want your food a bit quicker - but don't want McDonald's or Chick-fil-A - here are some places you may not have where you're coming from.

Whataburger is a Texas icon. Patrick Mahomes missed it so much, he opened a franchise in Kansas City himself. We also have In-n-Out Burger here. Yes, that's a California thing, but we have it. But as a Texan, I have to tell you to get Whataburger. Heck, get both and compare for yourself if you want. Burgers are fine at both places, but the fries are the tiebreaker for me. Whataburger's are far superior.

I know Raising Cane's is making its way up north, but if you've never had it and like chicken fingers, that gets it done for sure.

Taco Bueno is for when you want Taco Bell, but you want something different than Taco Bell.

As far as fast casual TexMex, I'd recommend Torchy's Tacos, and there is one not too far from Dickies Arena. Fuzzy's Taco Shop is also good.  I think Torchy's is better, but Fuzzy's will save you a few bucks. There's a Fuzzy's near TCU's campus, which is just a bit south of Dickies Arena.

Touristy Stuff

Here's the thing about DFW: there really isn't a "must see" as far as tourist stuff, but it has some things that are interesting for out-of-towners, most of of it is in Dallas though (about an hour drive). I'd recommend looking into tickets in advance if you plan on any of this, but here are some ideas:

Sixth Floor Museum - This the location where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. It is an interesting museum about that day and his presidency.

Bush Library - I'm not going to get into politics here, but regardless of what you think of George W. Bush, his presidential library is on the SMU campus and it is a piece of American history. 

Perot Museum - I've never actually been to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, but I hear kids love it. So, if you're looking to entertain kiddos on Friday, this is an idea.

Reunion Tower - It's the big green tower you see in the Dallas skyline. It offers panoramic views of the city, and there are places to eat and drink up there.

Arlington - If you don't want to go all the way to Dallas, Arlington is an option: it has Six Flags, first of all. It also has AT&T Stadium (home of the Dallas Cowboys), Globe Life Field (home of the Texas Rangers), and the new Texas Live, which is a big entertainment complex built right between the stadiums. I would imagine Texas Live would be jumping with people watching games and getting drinks all weekend.

Fort Worth Zoo - Something for the kids that's not in Dallas. It's a zoo, and kids love zoos! I do have to say the Fort Worth Zoo is a good one. It's also close to the TCU campus if you want to see that.

Finally, an FYI

There is a lot of construction on I-35W, which leads you north out of Fort Worth up towards Oklahoma. The good news is most of you probably won't have any reason to get on this for too long. I-35W takes you to Texas Motor Speedway, which has an IndyCar Series race this weekend. So, traffic in that area should be brutal if you're driving into town from Oklahoma or Kansas or north of there. You've been warned.

Okay, I think I've covered plenty here. Surely you can find plenty to entertain yourselves. If you're going to be in town, come find me in Fort Worth! Let's go Marquette!

No comments: