The most famous of Fort Worth ’s entertainment venues is Billy Bob’s Texas (2520 Rodeo Plaza, 817/624-7117, www.billybobstexas.com , Mon.–Sat. 11 a.m.–2 a.m., Sun. noon–2 a.m., varying cover charge), billed as “the world’s largest honky-tonk.”
Located just a block north of the main drag in the Stockyards district, Billy Bob’s has to be seen to be believed. From the outside, it looks like an enormous arena, and the three acres of interior space are reminiscent of a cavernous Las Vegas casino. There’s a bull ring for live bull riding (no me-chanical knockoffs here), a Texas-worthy oversized dance floor, a live music venue, arcade and casino games, monstrous gift shop, and 32 individual bar stations. Concerts are held on weekends, as are the bull-riding events.
Despite being a bit overboard on the over-the-top Texas atmosphere, Billy Bob’s is nevertheless worth visiting just to enjoy a cold Lone Star draft, people watching, and the distinction of experiencing the world’s largest honky-tonk.
This is a great place to spend a couple nights on the town in Fort Worth . Several area saloons are legendary turn-of-the-20th-century watering holes, where cattlemen bellied up to the bar after a long day of trail driving.
Be sure to catch a glimpse of the boot-scootin’ regulars as they two-step and waltz to traditional country and western swing music at other notable Stockyards nightlife venues such as the White Elephant Saloon (106 E. Exchange Ave., 817/624-8273, www.whiteelephantsaloon.com , Sun.–Thurs. noon–midnight, Fri.–Sat. noon–2 a.m.). This venerable watering hole is known as the district’s most historic saloon and dance hall, and features live music every night of the week. Also worth moseying into is the Long-horn Saloon (121 W. Exchange Ave., 817/386-5962), a genuine Western bar that’s hosted legendary musicians like Hank Williams and Bob Wills. Another worthy venue is Pearl’s Dance Hall & Saloon (302 W. Exchange Ave., 817/624-2800), a former bordello commissioned by Buffalo Bill Cody that’s been beautifully restored.
The Stockyards have the history, but Sundance Square has the hip. This comfortably sized area (20 blocks) has an active nightlife scene with plenty of live music venues, dance clubs, and beer joints. Among the best is the Red Goose Saloon (306 Houston St., 817/332-4343), a gently worn club with two hoppin’ areas inside. Downstairs is a traditional bar with reasonable prices and a welcoming atmosphere. Upstairs is the dance floor, with a rowdy crowd and fun beats.
For an amazing beer selection, head directly to Flying Saucer (111 E. 4th St., 817/332-5662, www.beerknurd.com/ ), a laid-back place with more than 100 beers on tap, upper and lower beer gardens, and live local music a couple nights a week. Similar in approach is 8.0 (111 E. 3rd St., 817/336-0880), which has an incredible patio, live music, and a dance floor with a live DJ.
For those intent on cutting a rug, take it to City Streets (425 Commerce St., 817/335-5400, www.citystreetsfortworth.com .), offering dance floors with rap, pop, and karaoke. If you’re looking for a roomy place to watch a ballgame with nightly drink specials, try Fox and Hound (604 Main St., 817/338-9200).