The Fort Worth Stockyards offers visitors an authentic glimpse of the city’s rich cattle and ranching history thanks to twice daily cattle drives, weekly rodeo competitions and multiple Western heritage events. But the Western experience doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Here’s a highlight of 10 popular Stockyards destinations (in no particular order) that keep the area’s nightlife vibrant.
1. Rodeo Exchange
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Rodeo Exchange puts dancing first, and the crowds have followed. Fans of Texas Shuffle and other C&W dances are quick to praise the quality of the dance floor, an employee told me on a recent visit. Friday and Saturday nights bring top-notch live music too. Rodeo Exchange also offers dancing lessons, meaning there’s no excuse for not two-stepping the night away in this venerable bar and dance hall.
2. Lil’ Red’s Longhorn Saloon
The Longhorn Saloon was brightly lit and bustling with crowds of mixed ages on a recent visit. Part of the excitement was no doubt due to the music that evening by country singer Tony Booth. Besides offering live acts, drinks, and a lively atmosphere, the saloon is home to Stumpy’s Texas Pizza, where you can order a pizza in the shape of the Lone Star State.
3. The Cantina Cadillac
Dangling above Cantina Cadillac’s modest dance floor is a disco ball set inside a massive stirrup, itself encased in rhinestones. The mashup of traditional and country images is a good metaphor for the fun bar that blends pool tables and large TVs (typical of sports bars) with great customer service and wall-to-wall images of rodeos and famous cowboys, including more than a few portraits of “The Duke.”
4. Billy Bob’s Texas
Fort Worth’s most famous destination for music is Billy Bob's Texas, crowned the world’s biggest honky-tonk. That’s not just boasting. With a capacity of 6,000, 30+ bar stations, two music stages, and an arcade and billiards tables, there’s little left to want from the Billy Bob’s experience. Nearly every big name country act has performed here, but most nights you can find local and regional acts.
5. White Elephant Saloon
The White Elephant Saloon is always lively and festive. While waiting for the band to start, you can grab a picnic table, order a beer, and enjoy a bite from Tim Love's Love Shack next door. The Saloon had one of the quirkier bar decor layouts I've ever seen with dozens of cowboy hats lining the ceiling along with the famous (former) owners' names. Get here early, though. This spot fills up quickly most evenings.
6. Whiskey Girl Saloon
Toward the west side of the Stockyard’s area is another hotspot, Whiskey Girl Saloon. Like the White Elephant Saloon, the draw here is the music. Whiskey Girl is light on decor and heavy on the dance space, which makes it one of the better spaces to boot scootin’ boogie. Whiskey Girl offers live entertainment nearly every night.
7. Thirsty Armadillo
Memorable name aside, being thirsty is the least of your problems at this popular bar thanks to a wide selection of beers and mixed drinks. Thistys, as the regulars call it, has hosted numerous famous country music acts over the years, including the Eli Young Band and Casey Donahew, and the venue is always looking for the next rising star.
8. Neon Moon Saloon
One of Fort Worth’s most popular 18-and-up nightclubs, Neon Moon Saloon, blends dance music, new country, and Top 40 hits for an unparalleled late night experience. Friday and Saturday nights you can take the stage in the Silverado Room for karaoke or enjoy the club’s three bars, DJs, and bustling dance floor.
9. Basement Bar
Basement Bar is open seven days a week, offering choice craft brews and cocktails to a loyal following of barflies and anyone who happens by the underground pub. It’s also a great place to start the weekend with happy hour prices hovering around $2 for select beers.
10. Keep exploring
This one goes to all the great bars and dancehalls (Pearl’s Dancehall, PR’s Saloon, H3 Ranch, and others) that are an equally important part of the Stockyards experience. The great thing about this area is the walkability between businesses. So next time you step out of your favorite watering hole or dance hall, don’t be afraid to mosey over to somewhere new.