| by McKenzie Zieser |
You might not have noticed the stealthy transformation at 44 Bootlegger from fashion boutique and specialty gift shop to neighborhood bar. Located in the heart of the Near Southside on Magnolia Avenue, 44 Bootlegger now offers craft beer and fine wine – 44 of each – Tuesdays through Saturdays.
When asked about the motivation behind the recent change, owners Tommy and Tammy Brown explained that people would often come in thinking it was a bar. “It was a huge decision,” Tammy says. “We wanted to bring couples and friends together.”
Although the Browns originally wanted to open the shop as a fine wine bar, their backgrounds in sales and footwear mixed with the increasing need for retail on Magnolia led them to opening a boutique, where you could find everything from UGG shoes to candles.
“We’ve been drinking wine for close to 20 years,” explains Tommy. “We wanted to create our own atmosphere where we would want to hang out.”
Turns out, the vibe in Bootlegger was better suited for bar patrons after all. Tinted windows and a cool, rustic car door sign give it an unassuming speakeasy feel. When 44 Bootlegger reopened in April, every detail — from the beer and wine selection, to the chic glassware and unique décor — was thought out to create a welcoming atmosphere where patrons can relax. “Here, we treat you like you’re coming into our home,” Tommy says.
The interior still showcases some of the décor from the shop, including centuries-old antique doors and furniture—all made in Texas by Texans. For Tommy, whose grandmother was an actual bootlegger in Louisiana, his favorite piece of décor is the vintage boot on the bar.
Craft beer enthusiasts, wine aficionados, and novice drinkers alike are sure to find something on the menu to enjoy. Each beer and wine is chosen based on taste and quality. “The wine menu is always evolving,” says Tommy. “Ironically, the most unrecognizable item on our menu has been the best-selling item,” he says of the cabernet from Benziger Family Winery, a biodynamic vineyard from Sonoma.
The Browns plan to add a light bite food menu in the fall featuring items like charcuterie and cheese boards, nuts and chocolate to please your palate. Until then, you can BYOF (bring your own food), and all of the menu items can be purchased “to-go” as well. It’s the perfect combination for any of the BYOB restaurants on Magnolia, especially Nonna Totta across the street.
In addition to a stellar selection of beer and wines, you can also find specialty wine cocktails like the Bootlegger Mojito and 44 Mule. For a sweet deal, visit on Tuesdays (for $4 beer and wines) and Thursdays ($20 bottomless Prosecco) for happy hour from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
1411 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76104