Two longtime favorites on Magnolia Avenue, Benito’s and Spiral Diner & Bakery, have respectively served up lively Tex-Mex and vegan-friendly offerings for as long as I can remember. If you’re looking for pizza, Fort Brewery & Pizza and Cane Rosso are two of the best places to grab a slice! Chimera’s beers, brewed in house, are the perfect pairing for two of my favorite pizzas: The Brie and Speck (smoked prosciutto) and the Prosciutto, Olive and Funghi. Cane Rosso offers posh environs and a vast menu. Asian cuisine is also well represented in this neighborhood, thanks to fusion hotspot Spice and sublime Japanese restaurant, Shinjuku Station.
Two of Fort Worth’s craftiest cocktail bars cohabit the Near Southside. The Usual has several large, modern cubbies along the outer walls where you and several friends can sit at a private table and sip a superlative Old Fashioned or pretty much any mixed drink you can imagine. PRoPER’s cocktail artisans (and drinks) are a sight to behold. Each handcrafted mixed drink gets the “proper” amount of love and attention from these stalwart mixologists. One of my favorite offerings to imbibe is the Pickletini, a spicy blend of vodka, Best Maid pickle juice and various spices. If vino is your thing, nearby Kent & Co. Wines is popular upscale wine bar with affordable prices. Or, if you’re feeling more low key, you can rub elbows with locals at The Boiled Owl Tavern.
CATCH A SHOW
What would a popular district be without live entertainment? Two new music venues have garnered a lot of buzz lately. Main at South Side (MASS) is a locally run music joint and bar with an active lineup of Fort Worth and regional acts performing most nights of the week. If you’re looking to catch a show, MASS should be high on your list. Newcomer Twilight Lounge is a Dallas transplant that also aims to elevate the local music scene. Its late-night kitchen serves one of the best po’ boy sandwiches in town, and the stage and lengthy bar area are designed to comfortably accommodate large crowds. Add in the large outdoor stage at Shipping and Receiving and you can see why bands, and thousands of music fans, regularly flock to this part of town. Theater is very much alive and well thanks to two Near Southside nonprofits, Amphibian Stage Productions and Stage West. Near Southside Inc., which promotes the area, puts on monthly live outdoor music shows called Friday on the Green (April, May, June, September and October). And, tourists, you have to check out the annual Arts Goggle where West Magnolia Avenue blossoms into an open air arts festival.
If the past several years have been a renaissance for the Near Southside, then we are certainly in a new phase of growth with the recent addition of Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, Heim Barbecue, and Melt Ice Creams. For my money, a visit to Fort Worth wouldn’t be complete without a stop by this quirky, family-friendly district.