Last Call: Wednesday, November 19, 2008
2525 Rodeo Plaza, the Stockyards, FW. 817-740-1533.

Finn MacCool’s Pub
1700 8th Av, FW. 817-923-2121
Go to Fubar (Just Not When I’m There, Please)

As much as I want mom-and-pop bars and restaurants to succeed, I’m also a selfish bastard who hates crowds. See, every once in a while, I’ll come across a joint that’s awesome but is having some problems, as the old saying goes, getting butts in the seats. The place is either buried in some godforsaken part of town or strip mall or is surrounded by too much competition to be able to stand out. I’m then stuck contemplating whether or not to even mention the place in a column, for fear of having my good, crowd-free times crashed by bandwagoneers who’re just going to block my heretofore untrammeled views of the TVs or delay my food and drink orders by a half-minute.
But then I think, “Well, if no one but a couple dozen other people and I know about the place and how great it is, it isn’t going to last. I should probably do as much to promote it as I can.”
Hence this valentine to Fubar, a bar/restaurant that opened a couple of months ago in Rodeo Plaza in the Stockyards, specifically in the huge windowless brick building that used to house a short-lived music venue called The Rockyard. Inside Fubar you’ll find a stage, a bar in the round, table seating, a bunch of TVs, and two dance floors, with lots of patio seating scattered around outside. The ceilings are high, the piped-in music is thankfully low, and the service is fast and friendly.
Fubar isn’t the kind of place where you’d go to get, y’know, fubar’d. The name, as you will discover, stands for “Fun, Unique Bar And Restaurant,” and on the recent Saturday night when my wife and I dropped in, there was at least one table with kids at it — I think. I’m not totally sure, because most of the time my face was buried in my food.
The menu offers haute twists on trad-American standbys, all courtesy of Jeff “Chef Jeff” Moore, who recently relocated here from the Motor City. The Shroomin’ Swiss Burger came with hearty fries, was as big as your head, and packed a lot of what I like in a mushroom-Swiss burger: ’shrooms, giving the juicy eight-ounce patty of Black Angus Beef a warm, earthy kick. The fried-pickle appetizers were lightly breaded and as pleasantly effective as fried pickles can be at whetting your appetite, and the app order of fried macaroni and cheese came with a delectable Southwest ranch dressing kissed by cilantro and bitten by mustard.
Imagine our delight, sitting there enjoying the best of Saturday nightlife (happy vibes, an acceptable level of ambient noise, snappy, smiley service) without all of the typical Saturday nightlife fuss (loud, bad music, slow service, throngs of smelly, drunk, loud, annoying people). I’m not saying Fubar would attract the unattractive types — or that most places I like do — but with its enviable location and superlative amenities, Fubar shouldn’t have a hard time getting going or at least not as hard a time as it’s apparently had.
On Saturday, the bar/restaurant is hosting Beyond Normal, a fashion show with clothes by local retailer and Rat Pack-style purveyors Dean-Kingston (821 Foch St.), lingerie by Marsha Robinson, hair and makeup by Esoterica Salon/Lounge, music by Houston’s DJ Hercules, and photography by Shea Cannon (, with a guest appearance by Edie Sedgwick-looking model/photographer Brandon Hilton, who also just put out a line of makeup, Hard To Heel. For more info, visit — Anthony Mariani

Happy Hours
Other than cheap hooch and a nonviolent crowd, a good happy-hour spot has to have a great view. For me, the only view that really matters is of the sunset. (Lame, I know. But. Whatever.)
And I’m not talking about patios. Otherwise, any ol’ outside venue — your backyard, a park bench, a shopping cart under a bridge — would do. No, I mean places where you can comfortably bask in the lambent glow of the working day’s lazy march into evening, places where you truly can feel like an outlaw, like some sort of legendary bohemian drunkard — Ernie Hemingway, maybe, or Billy Faulkner — titans who played hooky pretty much every day but still managed to produce canonical work. (Even if you have only the hooky-playing part down, you can still feel suave, intelligent, and 10 feet tall at an apt happy-hour spot. As infamous cinematic drunk Arthur says, “Not everyone who drinks is a poet. Some of us drink because we’re not poets.”)
A big thumbs-up then to Finn MacCool’s Pub, a homey tavern on Eighth Avenue by the Hospital District, where your inner gentleman lout, as I discovered recently during happy hour, can really come out. The place is almost entirely covered in polished wood, harkening to the hallowed taverns in hallowed American cities such as Chi-Town and the Big Apple. On sunshiny afternoons, the electric light is kept to a minimum. Nonetheless, the entire room glows like Shambhala, and the front windows are vast enough to let the dozing-off sun work its magic on your psyche.
Finn’s is right by the Hospital District, close to everything, and typically draws civil happy-hour crowds. Not sure how many budding Bogarts or Bukowskis regularly make the scene, but looking the part is half the reality, no?
As Samuel Johnson said, one of the disadvantages of booze is that “it makes a man mistake words for thoughts.” Hmm. Have to give that one a t’ink. Probably over at Finn’s. — A.M.
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