Fort Worth’s downtown is a multi-block swath of renovated turn-of-the-century buildings anchored on one side by the historic Tarrant County Courthouse and on the other by the iconic Bass Performance Hall. Long before Dallas began revitalizing its own downtown, Sundance Square was a place to come for dining and entertainment, an eminently walkable, mixed-use blend of old and new. It was in this spirit that I parked on the district’s edge and set out to explore.
You’ll have worked up an appetite by then. A cup of duck and andouille gumbo and a cucumber-avocado sandwich at Bird Cafe off the square were the perfect interlude, and the gently Audubon-esque decor doubles as urban bird-watching. (Make a mental note to return for a cocktail.)
I pulled up a stool at the Red Goose Saloon, a dive-y bar that used to be a kids’ shoe shop—and before that a brothel, according to the bartender. “You can go down the street to the library on Lamar and see photos,” he offered.
But I was seeking the Reata Restaurant’s tumbleweed-and-tooled-leather grandeur. Eat in the vast dining room or sink into one of its leather armchairs for happy hour, but don’t forget to catch the view from the roof. You wouldn’t be out of place here in your new boots. Those gentlemen at the bar are wearing theirs—and cowboy hats.
Regardless, there’s still time to see who’s playing at Scat Jazz Lounge. Wend your way down an alley and into a basement. When the music starts playing, it feels just as it should.