By: Malcolm Mayhew
The daily grind can wear on anyone. Monotony sets in: gym, work, home, dinner, TV, bed, repeat. Nothing cures those weekday blues like cutting loose with friends or coworkers for a stress-reducing happy hour. The destinations you are going to read about offer something a step above normal happy hour spots, such as free or upscale bar food, trivia or movie nights, unbelievable drink specials or master mixologists. Now go on out and infuse some of that hard-earned money back into the local community by drinking your way through our list of the hottest happy hours in Fort Worth.
GRACE celebrates Bubble Hour every day of the week with half-off glasses of champagne from 4 – 6 p.m. On Wednesdays GRACE features Women & Wine, which offers three preselected wines paired with canapés for $10. Best known for the modern American classic cuisine created by award-winning Chef Blaine Staniford, GRACE is one of the most elegantly designed restaurants in Fort Worth. An impressive bar features house-made seasonal cocktails and a delightful separate menu with elevated bar snacks such as Toasted Pistachio Guacamole, King Salmon Crudo, Sweet Prawns and Chorizo Stuffed Dates. Service at the bar is stellar, and the handsome outdoor terrace offers a venue to enjoy drinks al fresco.
Highlights: Modern interior, outdoor terrace, elevated bar food, impeccable bar service
What to Drink: Champagne
Happy Hours: Bubble Hour, Mon.-Sun., 4-6 p.m.; Women & Wine, Wed., 4-7 p.m.
Location: 777 Main St., 817.877.3388, gracefortworth.com
Fred’s Texas Café
Established in 1978, “Outlaw Chef” Terry Chandler has been cranking out some of the juiciest burgers in town for years. The $1.90 price tag on draft beer during happy hour draws a big crowd, and guests can always be assured that it’s going to be served ice cold. This spot also wins the unofficial award for “most unique happy hour.” Their front door reads “when it's raining...it’s happy hour,” and they stick to that promise. At the original location in West 7th, a large enclosed patio is a hot spot for listening to live music several nights a week.
Highlights: Cold-ass beer, large lively patio, happy hour prices anytime it rains
What to Drink: Icy cold schooner of your favorite beer
Happy Hours: Mon.-Fri., 3-7 p.m. and whenever it’s raining
Location: 915 Currie St., 817.332.0083
35059 Blue Bonnet Circle, 817.916.4650; 2730 Western Center Blvd., 817.232.0111, fredstexas.com
Taverna Pizzeria and Risotteria
In Italy a taverna is a special place where customers get acquainted as friends and family. The motto at Taverna Pizzeria and Risotteria in downtown Fort Worth is “Eat, Drink, Experience,” which is made easy with several happy hour drink specials paired with half-price appetizers and ultra-thin, wood-fired pizzas. Well drinks, Bellinis, house red and white wines are $3 and draft beer is $4. Consisting mostly of professionals who work downtown or groups out for a girls’ night, the crowd is relatively tame.
Highlights: Lengthy happy hour times, separate happy hour menu with half-price apps and pizzas, half-off wine on
What to Drink: Bellini
Happy Hours: Mon.-Fri., 1-8 p.m., Friday in bar area only
Location: 450 Throckmorton St., 817.885.7502, tavernabylombardi.com
Blue Sushi Sake Grill
Some might argue that Blue Sushi’s incredible happy hour put them on the map. In addition to offering more than 20 different types of maki, the separate happy hour menu features cold and hot Asian-inspired dishes. Drink specials include $7 signature martinis, $7.50 sake sangria, $3.50 Sapporo sake bombs, $3.50 Sapporo draw, $3.50 Bud Light draw, $3.50 house lime margarita, $4.50 house wines, $2 Sho Chiku Bai cold sake and $4.50 Gekkeikan hot sake. The Sake Bombers Lounge, located just to the right as guests enter, has sleek décor including bright red accents, an enormous fish tank above the bar and comfortable leather couches.
Highlights: Substantial happy hour menu (more than 20 maki offerings), sake prices and selection
What to Drink: Sapporo Sake Bomb
Happy Hours: Mon.-Sat., 3-6:30 p.m.; Sun., noon-8 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 10:30 p.m.-midnight
Location: 3131 W. 7th St., 817.332.2583, bluesushisakegrill.com
Located on the thriving Magnolia Avenue, The Usual has an ultra-modern, minimal interior. Crowds consist mainly of young professionals, and owner Brad Hensarling pushes Prohibition-era classics. Staffed with some of the most skilled bartenders in town, The Usual prides itself on perfectly concocted cocktails. Expect to find drinks you may have never heard of, such as the Bee’s Knees, Montpeller, The Parlor and the Cardigan Daiquiri. Mixologists infuse some wild ingredients too. Smoked maple syrup, bison grass infused vodka, molasses and herbs make for drinks you can’t find anywhere else. Happy hour specials include $2 off cocktails listed on the menu and $1 off all other mixed drinks, beer and wine. The bar has recurring events and theme nights, but you won’t find that on its website. You have to become a regular to find out.
Highlights: Prohibition-era classic cocktails, hip and happening crowd of young professionals
What to Drink: Old Fashioned
Happy Hours: Tues.-Fri., 4 -7 p.m.; Sun. & Mon., all night
Location: 1408 W. Magnolia Ave., 817.810.0114, theusualbar.com
The vibe at Proper, a small neighborhood pub, is laid back with its cool crowd and quaint patio. Mondays are Trivia Nights, Tuesdays encourage locals in tech-related fields to meet up, and Wednesdays feature by-the-glass and bottle wine specials. While there is no food menu, guests are welcome to bring in their own food.
Highlights: Master mixologists, trivia and movie nights, laid-back patio
What to Drink: French 75
Happy Hours: Mon.-Fri., 3-8 p.m.; Sun., all day
Location: 409 W. Magnolia Ave., 817.984.1133, propermagnolia.com
While recognized for its Southwest fare, Blue Mesa is best known for its tequila bar, offering more than 100 tequilas, and an incredible happy hour that has stood the test of time. The Blue Frozen Margarita ($4) is famous at Blue Mesa, but other specials include $4 mojitos, well drinks, martinis, house wines, sangria blue swirls and sangria. Domestic drafts are $2.50, and imported draft beer is $3. Helping the hungry and budget conscious for years, guests get a free pass to the quesadilla bar with the purchase of a happy hour drink. Chicken, cheese or veggie quesadillas are made fresh on the spot, and the sweet potato chips and salsa round out the complimentary feast. Blue Mesa’s location in University Park Village and nearness to TCU draws an eclectic crowd of shoppers, students and employees from nearby businesses and the zoo. But, the restaurant will say goodbye to that spot and move to a two-story location near Montgomery Street this July.
Highlights: Free quesadilla bar until 6:30 p.m., potent margaritas and mojitos
What to Drink: Big Blue Margarita
Happy Hours: Mon.-Fri., 4-7:30 p.m.
Location: 1600 S. University Drive, 817.332.6372, bluemesagrill.com
Max’s Wine Dive
“Fried Chicken and Champagne…Why the Hell Not?” That’s the mindset at Max’s Wine Dive located in the bustling West 7th area. During happy hour, select wines-by-the-glass are $5, while a more extensive group of wines are offered for half off. Items such as Fried Chicken Poutine, Pulled Pork Sliders and Piquillo Pepper Hummus are a far cry from the greasy potato skins served elsewhere. Bartenders at Max’s are super friendly. Parking isn’t an issue either. Max’s has a valet.
Highlights: Creative bites, friendly bartenders, exceptional wine prices
What to Drink: House Red or White Wine
Happy Hours: Mon.-Fri., open-6 p.m.
Location: 2421 W. 7th St.
Landmark Bar and Grill
What do you get when you mix vintage arcade games, ice-cold beer, a large patio, free pizza and a rowdy bar? One of the hottest happy hour spots in town. Landmark also has 30 HD TVs, a mechanical bull and DJ. It’s a safe bet guests won’t get bored. Drink specials include $3 Tito’s Vodka, Crown Royal, frozen drinks and domestic beers. The crowd at Landmark is younger, so the vibe is amped up. Signature fishbowl drinks and carafe cocktails ensure guests don’t leave thirsty. Every Saturday and Sunday, Landmark offers a Yappy Hour for guests and their dogs from 2-7 p.m. Check the bar’s website for dress code details.
Highlights: Free pizza, themed happy hours (Yappy Hour), 4,000-square-foot patio, 30 HD TVs, Mechanical Bull
What to Drink: Tito’s and Favorite Mixer
Happy Hours: Mon.-Fri., 4-7 p.m.
Location: 3008 Bledsoe St., 817.984.1166, landmarkfw.com
Little Red Wasp Kitchen + Bar
Little Red Wasp, the comfortable and sleek younger sibling to nearby GRACE, now offers a killer happy hour. Chef Blaine Staniford never disappoints with his creative versions of old classics. The $4 starter menu during happy hour consists of Deviled Eggs, Popcorn Shrimp, Chicken Wings, and Chips and Dip. Drafts, well drinks and select wines are also $4, and flights of local beer (selection rotates) are $8. Handsomely designed, white subway tiles cover much of the walls, and pops of red can be seen throughout. A small patio out front is a great place to enjoy a cocktail and people-watch. Little Red Wasp has a long comfortable bar lining one side of the restaurant. The inventory of liquor is impressive, as is the beer selection.
Highlights: Valet parking, chic interior space and bar, elevated happy hour menu offerings
What to Drink: Flight of Local Beer (Selection Rotates)
Happy Hours: Mon.-Sun., 4-6 p.m.
Location: 808 Main St., 817.877.3111, littleredwasp.com
What to Know Before You Go
Social drinking is fun, and hobnobbing with the higher-ups can propel your career, as long as you do it responsibly. Here are some tips to stay safe, protect your dignity in front of coworkers and prevent that nasty hangover before heading back into the office.
By: Malcolm Mayhew