If you don't live in Fort Worth, it's all too easy to think a trek to Cowtown is "too far." It isn't, folks: It's an easy drive from Dallas or its suburbs, and it's brimming with interesting restaurants, satisfying watering holes and even a new drive-in movie theater. Hop in the car, let's head to Fort Worth.
Here are nine can't-miss spots:
Out-of-towners flock to Joe T. Garcia's, but Fort Worthians head to the Original Mexican Eats Cafe on Camp Bowie. Some say it's fresher, some say it's less hectic, but most agree it's a trusted Tex-Mex alternative. The Original is proud of its famous past patrons like FDR, whose favorite meal is still served as The Roosevelt Special. (That's a cheese enchilada with chili, a beef taco and a bean chalupa.) 4713 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth. 817-738-6226. originalmexicaneatscafe.com.
Coyote Drive-In has the nostalgia of way-back-when paired with a cool, new space and craft beer. Each ticket covers a twofer movie, so make time to stay awhile. It's one of the best places in town to go out without feeling like you have to get dressed up. 223 NE 4th St., Fort Worth. 817-717-7767. coyotedrive-in.com.
Trivia Nights at the Amon Carter
Four times a year, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art hosts public trivia night - always free and perfect for geeks who drink. Reservations should be made in advance to secure your team's table. First, second and third place winners are showered with lots of free swag and gift cards, but everyone who plays gets two complementary beer and snacks. 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth. 817-989-5033. cartermuseum.org.
The Pour House
You wouldn't expect good food at a sports tavern, but the Pour House has quality options for weekend brunching and game watching. (Or both.) We're talking 75 craft beers on tap, 45 TVs on the wall and 15 brunch entrees prepared by locally-loved chef Alfonso Figueroa. 2725 W. 7th St., Fort Worth. 817-335-2575. pourhousefw.com.
There's no shortage of olives and EVOO, gyros and ghanouj at Terra Mediterranean Grill. Dinner is delicious, but locals go at lunchtime to avoid West 7th parking problems. The modestly-priced lunch buffet lets you try a bite of everything. 2973 Crockett St., Fort Worth. 817-744-7485. terramedgrill.com.
The coolest cats in town go underground for jazz in Fort Worth's Sundance Square. Find the sign, take the elevator down and order an old-fashioned cocktail. On most Sunday nights - and some Wednesdays - there's no cover. Check the calendar. 111 W 4th St. #11, Fort Worth. 817-870-9100. scatjazzlounge.com.
Before there was Rodeo Goat, Dutch's Hamburgers was the talk of town. The menu includes of variations on classic burger patties, such as the Texana - a beef patty with avocado, shredded lettuce, tomato, pickles and ranch. Vegetarians will be pleasantly surprised when they sink their teeth into the portabello veggie burger. 3009 S. University Drive, Fort Worth. 817-927-5522. dutchshamburgers.com.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Co.
Some sunny Saturdays, Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. opens its doors to craft beer drinkers for Tour & Tasting events. Ten dollars gets you a collectible glass to be filled at least twice (sometimes thrice) with Rahr's Blonde, Texas Red, "Strawberry Blonde" (Rahr's Blonde and Texas Red mixed), a black lager called Ugly Pug and a number of seasonals. Live music, food trucks and tours are worth trying, too. 701 Galveston Ave., Fort Worth. 817-810-9266. rahrbrewing.com.
The Fort Worth Cats
When it's not football season, baseball is the next best thing. Fort Worth Cats games offer no-problem parking and an affordable afternoon for families. (Players might even sign autographs for little baseball players, as pictured here!) For most home games you can score a $5 Sunday funday price. Mark your calendars for May, when the next season is likely to begin. 301 NE 6th St., Fort Worth. 817-332-2287. fwcats.com.
Jackie Hoermann, Special Contributor