We never need an excuse to grab a bar stool and sink into a sea of flatscreens watching sports. Football Sundays are a given.
Then there’s Opening Day for the Rangers, the Masters, NBA playoffs, we’ll even watch the occasional soccer match or MMA fight if it means grabbing some grub at one of our favorite sports watching meccas.
But the NCAA Basketball Tournament, well, it ratchets things up another notch.
We train all year for marathon days filled with buzzer beaters, nacho stains and the heavenly sting of Buffalo sauce filling our nostrils. Fort Worth has an all-star roster of sports-watching spots, where you can fall head-first into March Madness.
Here’s our Starting Five:
1. Buffalo Bros.: The TCU hangout, co-owned by local celebrity chef Jon Bonnell, is cozy but cool, with wall-to-wall TVs flickering with your favorite sports teams, and maybe a music video or two from the MTV era.
Bottom line about Buffalo Bros.: the wings are simply the best in town. Plump and meaty, slathered in vinegary Buffalo sauce and sweet BBQ, this is pure sports bar nirvana and a true bite of Buffalo.
The pizza is primo, too, especially the meatball. There’s also the Buffalo chicken nachos, Beef on Weck and Birch Beer — that’s about as Buffalo as you’re gonna get in Fort Worth, Texas. (If you go on a Sunday when the Bills are playing, expect to see some vein-popping screams and a bar-full of unapologetically loyal fans.)
There are daily specials at Buffalo Bros., but Wednesday’s $5 for 10 wings is the most popular. Get there early, and expect a short wait, but it’ll be worth it. The servers are always cool under the pressure and manage to anticipate when you’ll need a drink refill or an extra WetNap.
A second Buffalo Bros. is slated to open in downtown Fort Worth later this year, and we have no doubt it’ll be a hit in an area that’s been sports-bar deprived since Frankie’s, Fox & Hound and Ojos Locos left town.
3015 S. University Dr., Fort Worth. (817) 386-9601. buffalobrostexas.com
2. Fred’s TCU: We’ll always love the original Fred’s on Currie Street for its authentic Fort Worthiness, but for watching games the TCU location on Bluebonnet Circle is our go-to spot. It’s huge inside, with two dining areas and bars flanked by big screens everywhere you look.
The food is classic Fred’s: big juicy burgers and hand-cut fries. The Diablo is our favorite, with the spicy chipotles that make us smile and cry just a little. You can also get a giant chicken fried steak, wings slathered in Texas Pete’s sauce, or Tinga street tacos.
There’s a pool table and Golden Tee, too, if your team is losing and you want to take your mind off the game. The Cold Ass Beer is good for that, too.
3505 Bluebonnet Circle, Fort Worth. (817) 916-4650.fredstexascafe.com
3. Boomer Jack’s: Like a team of highly touted freshman that gels come tournament time, Boomer Jack’s is finally playing like a champion. When it first opened in Fort Worth’s Montgomery Plaza about a decade ago, it felt a little too pre-fab, from the catch-all menu to the suburban Applebee’s vibe.
But over time, the food has gotten sharper and more attuned to Cowtown tastes, particularly the burgers. The atmosphere feels more lived-in, but Boomer Jack’s still touches alls the essential sports bar bases — plenty of TVs and great site lines, staples such as Super Bowl Nachos and wings at reasonable prices, and some creative drink and cocktail specials.
Somehow it feels less like a chain now, even though it has grown to 14 locations in DFW. In fact, one of our favorite Fort Worth Boomer Jack’s is one of the newest — in the Cityview area near I-20 and Bryant Irvin Road. The food is a cut above and prices are affordable.
There is lots of interior seating, a great outdoor patio and TVs in the bathroom so you can go with the flow of the game.
6001 SW Loop 820 Fort Worth. (682) 250-2121. boomerjacks.com (multiple locations in Fort Worth and DFW).
4. TopGolf: It’s not your traditional sports bar, but if you’re a golf nut and you like to multitask, this entertainment phenomenon is a great option. The two-story driving range in the shadow of downtown Fort Worth has a rooftop bar with a fire pit that overlooks the Cowtown skyline, and truth be told you never have to pick up a golf club to enjoy TopGolf.
There are 200+ high-def TVs and a menu that runs from gourmet (ahi tuna avocado toast) to get ‘er done options (wings, burgers). But if you want to work on your swing and take aim at the lighted targets on TopGolfs plush fairways, there are 100 heated hitting bays.
TopGolf is so popular, it seems perpetually crowded. And the food and drink can be a bit pricey. But if you want a place where you can watch games, hit balls and impress your significant other, TopGolf can’t be beat.
2201 E. 4th St., Fort Worth. (817) 349-4002. topgolf.com
5. City Works: One of the newest sports-watching meccas in Fort Worth, City Works is also one of the most upscale. Located in the tony Shops at ClearFork — home to Fort Worth’s only Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Nordstrom stores — City Works delivers plenty of style, from the finely appointed bar and booths to the massive wall of TVs over the bar.
But the menu has substance too, with some creative gourmet twists on traditional pub grub. Try the duck confit nachos , short rib poutine or the truffle Mac N Cheese. Wings are smoked and chili rubbed and the burgers are big, with a price tag to match; they start at 13 bucks.
There are also more than 90 beers on tap and an extensive cocktail menu. Traditionally, we are fans of a relaxed and somewhat lived-in atmosphere for sports viewing.
But every once in a while, we like to see how the other half lives. Pass the Grey Poupon, please!
5288 Monahans Ave., Fort Worth. (682) 207-1500. cityworksrestaurant.com/fortworth
The Second Unit
1. Pluckers: A chicken wing emporium if there ever was one, Pluckers offers 25 different options for sauces and rubs ranging from traditional Buffalo style to sweet and spicy Ginger Peach Sriracha to the oh-so-garlicky Vampire Killer.
Burgers are ostentatious, too, like the The Gut Grenade — a double meat burger slathered in queso and topped with onions, bacon and jalapeños.
There are nine Pluckers in DFW, including locations in Arlington and Grapevine. But the lone Fort Worth Pluckers is in the Alliance area.
9229 Rain Lily Trail. (817) 750-2473. pluckers.com
2. Texas Republic: Everything’s bigger at Texas Republic, especially the 162-square-foot Megatron LED TV. We could tell you about the Trash Can Nachos or the rooftop bar, which are both awesome, but if a 162-square-foot TV doesn’t spark your interest, your not a real sports fan.
945 Foch St., Fort Worth. (817) 887-9797. texasrepublicfw.com
3. Flip’s Patio Grill: A friendly suburban restaurant in the Fossil Creek area, Flip’s also doubles a sports-watching shrine. There’s the wall of TVs inside, sprawling patio outside and hand-packed burgers on the menu that are among the best in town.
6613 Fossil Bluff Dr., Fort Worth. (817) 847-4424. flipsgrill.com
4. Varsity Tavern: One of the most popular nightspots in the West 7th area, Varsity Tavern is a sports bar with a capital B. That’s because many nights it becomes more of a dance club than a casual sports watching spot.
But the rooftop bar has great views of downtown, there are giant Jenga and beer pong games on the patios and TVs everywhere. If you want to hang with the cool kids, this is the spot.
1005 Norwood St., Fort Worth. (817) 882-6699. varsitytavern.com
5. Reservoir: Another West 7th hot spot, Reservoir is equal parts gastropub, open-air restaurant and trendy nightclub where you can watch sports with the beautiful people.
They’ve got nearly 40 flatscreens and the chef likes to use some of our favorite cereals on the food. Try the Cap’n Crunch crusted chicken tenders and the Frosted Flake crusted halibut.
1001 Foch St., Fort Worth. (817) 334-0560. bar-reservoir.com
Hall of Fame Chains
1. Hooters: Sometimes you just want to be surrounded by cold beer, hot wings and hot waitresses. No judgment here. The new downtown Fort Worth Hooter’s is a hit, despite some early static from stuffy Sundance Square neighbors. The southwest Fort Worth Hooters always hits the spot, too. hooters.com
2. Buffalo Wild Wings: The two-story sports bar on South Hulen is part of the most recognizable wing chain in the world, with locations in India, Vietnam and Panama, among other countries.
That doesn’t mean it ranks among the best sport bars in Fort Worth, but if you want affordable wings in 20+ flavors, with a side of of sensory overload from all the flatscreens, Buffalo Wild Wings will get the job done. buffalowildwings.com
3. Twin Peaks: If you dream about escaping to a mountain lodge-like sports bar, operated by beautiful women dressed in low-cut red flannel, Twin Peaks is your place. The popular chain also has a creative menu — sure, we’d love some venison chili — and 29-degree beer on tap.
Locations in south Fort Worth and the Fossil Creek area. twinpeaksrestaurant.com
4. Wing Stop: Any self-respecting sports fan has a big flatscreen at home, 50 inches minimum. But you still need some grub to make your home games a hit. Wing Stop is a good choice for takeout.
The wings are fresh and full of flavor. The fries, dusted with salt and sugar, are a habit waiting to happen. And there are about dozen Wing Stops to choose from in the Fort Worth area. Order online and you just might win free wings for a year. wingstop.com
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