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Fort Worth

The New Mule Alley Will Change How You Feel about Fort Worth

Here's why you should visit the buzzy new Cowtown development just off the Stockyards.
By Sarah Bennett |
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Elizabeth Lavin

A new mixed-use development is drawing a decidedly hipper contingent to Fort Worth’s historic Stockyards district. Dubbed Mule Alley (a nod to the converted mule bars that now house shops, restaurants, and live entertainment venues), the development has helped make the once-touristy area a revitalized destination—”not just for when your cousin comes to town,” as Kayla Wilkie, lead of design and development for Stockyards Heritage Development Co., puts it. 

Shop

Take home a piece of Texas.

Flea Style & Wide Brim

Just as with its locations in Deep Ellum and The Star in Frisco, Flea Style’s Fort Worth outpost—and its little sister, Wide Brim, tucked inside Hotel Drover—is stocked with owner Brittany Cobb’s signature mix of jewelry, apparel, home decor, and locally made goods. But perhaps the biggest draw—particularly for hotel guests looking to take home a piece of Texas—are the in-store hat bars, where you can custom design a Stetson hat with scarves, feathers, and charms.

Cobb jumped at the chance to be a part of Mule Alley, saying, “When I toured the development, I instantly understood the magic.” Look for an Heirloom Haul to open inside Flea Style next year with beer, wine, and a “rainbow of frozés.” Flea Style: 128 E. Exchange Ave., Fort Worth; Wide Brim: 200 Mule Alley, Fort Worth.

Stay

Kick off your boots and stay awhile.

Hotel Drover

Anchoring the development is Hotel Drover, an Autograph Collection western luxury hotel that opened in March 2021 and “looks like it’s always been there,” says Tiffany DiPasquale, the property’s executive director for sales and marketing. Designed by HKS, the hotel features a barn as its event space, with ranch-style architecture wrapping the rest of the building. “We really wanted this to feel more like an estate, like someone’s home,” says managing developer Craig Cavileer, who, together with Wilke, sourced furniture and art for the property—70 percent of which, he estimates, was made by Texas leatherworkers and metalsmiths. (The rest was sourced from major western cities such as Aspen, Park City, and Santa Fe.) The result is a stunning feat. 200 Mule Alley, Fort Worth. 817-755-5557

Dine & Drink

Get a taste of the new Cowtown.

Sweet ‘n’ Flaky 

The Biscuit Bar

You might work up an appetite while exploring the Stockyards, so stop into The Biscuit Bar for some refreshment. “When you think of the rodeo, you think of Old Cowtown and Texas and drovers and barbecue, but biscuits are in there, as well,” says owner Janie Burkett. With a few other locations already open through Dallas-Fort Worth, the Stockyards edition opened its doors in August 2020—still during the height of the pandemic. But despite some debut nerves, “it just keeps getting better and better,” Burkett says. She recommends The Hoss—named after her late father—which includes fried chicken, bacon, jack cheese, gravy, and honey butter. The biscuit nuggets (edges of biscuits that are deep fried and dipped in caramel and sugar) are good any time of the year, but in November, all proceeds from nuggets go to March of Dimes, in honor of Bryce, Janie’s late daughter. 128 E. Exchange Ave., Ste. 640, Fort Worth. 817-912-5922

Saddle Up 

Sidesaddle Saloon

Though Sidesaddle Saloon celebrates cowboys and cowgirls alike, there’s definitely an emphasis on the ladies; cocktails are named after famous cowgirls, and a weekend visitor might bump into a bachelorette party or two. But that doesn’t mean you can’t stop in for a cozy drink with your beau. Amid all the antlers and neon signs, you’ll find quiet banquettes with tabletop lamps. “We wanted it to have that rustic, old-timey saloon feel but … something the female eye would enjoy,” says Marc McBride, director of front of house operations for Neon Light District Hospitality, the group behind the concept. 122 E. Exchange Ave., Ste. 240, Fort Worth. 817-862-7952

Pour Me Somethin’ Tall and Strong 

Second Rodeo Brewing

Fans of Truck Yard will love Jason Boso’s newest concept, Second Rodeo Brewing. Stop in for a drink crafted by brewmaster Dennis Wehrmann (of Franconia Brewing Company fame) or a bite to eat, then pick a spot on the upper balcony or the covered “bar garden” to listen to some live music. Zoning in on the heritage of “outlaw country,” Boso books local talent as well as touring musicians from Austin, Oklahoma, or Louisiana. As you ascend the stairs to the upper level, you’ll see the brewing process taking place to your left. Want to know more? Book a tour or a tasting. Because, as the t-shirts say, “This sure as hell ain’t my first rodeo.” 122 E Exchange Ave., Ste. 340, Fort Worth. (817) 240-4959

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