Previously known as The Firkin & Phoenix Pub, The Phoenix on Westheimer didn't necessarily rise from the ashes as much as it transformed into its current incarnation under the watchful eyes of the original owners and management. The cozy tavern maintains the same neighborhood-friendly spirit that made the original pub an inviting stop for regulars and passersby hoping to enjoy a quick meal and a pint. The menu, while updated, also preserves the feel of a traditional pub with favorites ranging from fish 'n' chips to bangers and mash.
Complete with weathered floorboards, dark wooden trim, and chairs and banquettes upholstered with lipstick-red fabric, the decor continues the across-the-pond ambience. 12 LCD televisions hang throughout the space, and five projectors are available for especially important games or marathons of Antiques Roadshow. That's only the regular entertainment, though—the proprietors love to throw special events, including regular trivia nights and viewings for popular TV shows such as The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. The Phoenix also earned a spot on CBS Houston's list of the Top 2014 St. Patrick’s Day Bars In Houston for the St. Patrick's Day party it hosts in its parking lot.
Amid GameTown Pizza's mélange of arcade consoles and analog challenges, chefs sculpt dough for New York–style pizzas and ensconce zesty ingredients within calzones and strombolis before baking them golden on sizzling pizza stones. The bustling game room challenges competitors to bouts of air hockey, basketball, and invigorating redemption games, whose ribbons of tickets garner well-earned trips to the prize counter. Party planners can host savory shindigs within the arcade's private party room, whose whimsical yellow walls display flat-screen TVs ideal for celebratory slideshows and virtual-reality birthday cakes alike.
Since 1977, The San Francisco Rose's neon flower has cut a bright profile in the dark night, serving as a beacon that attracts diners in search of laid-back pub grub and a place to watch big games or belt out weekend karaoke. Each day, the kitchen churns out burgers slathered in barbecue sauce and cheesy pizzas, complemented by shareable starters such as nachos and cheese fries or baskets of wings doused in one of five sauces. 30 flat-screen TVs stream HD broadcasts of NBA, MLB, NFL, and NCAA contests for viewing while at the bar, on the pet-friendly outdoor patio, or from across the street with binoculars. In addition to reasonably sized screens, the restaurant also fills its Thorn Room’s 10-foot screen with larger-than-life flickers emanating from an HD projector.
The sandwich at the center of Big Daddy's Burgers & Bar’s monster burger challenge certainly earns its title. Atop a three-pound beef patty, Chef Justin Trapani adds a pound of fries or hand-breaded onion and poblano rings, cheese, and three sauces. A place on the wall of fame, a T-shirt, and free meal awaits anyone who can devour the beastly burger in 33 minutes or fewer.
Though not as intimidating as the monster, Justin’s other 24 gourmet burgers likewise cater to hearty appetites. For the Big Lebowski burger, for instance, he stuffs a half-pound of beef with cheddar and pork belly before topping it with wasabi mayo and, upon request, dressing it in sandals and a bathrobe. A fried egg crowns another half-pounder served between two grilled cheese sandwiches. Diners can bolster these already loaded burgers with toppings such as house-cured pickled jalapenos or plum-ginger sauce. They can even customize patties and buns; Justin happily switches either with options such as a panko-crusted shrimp patty or a jalapeno-cheddar bun.
To complement Justin’s impressive burgers, which continuously emerge from grills until 1:30 a.m., bartenders serve myriad wines and beers, including 11 Texas brews. Specialty drinks include flights of frozen beverages such as screwdrivers, as well as adult shakes such as Strawberry Fields Forever, a blend of strawberry puree and strawberry-flavored vodka. The bar stays open until 2 a.m. every night, giving patrons ample time to savor libations while enjoying the flat-screen TVs or weekly live entertainment.
The Bottom has plenty of Fort Worth pride. The multiple flat-screen TVs attract flocks of TCU students and fans on game days, and the menu itself has items that pay homage to the fearsome Horned Frogs. There are the purple beer and the Polliwog: a frozen concoction named after the Old English term for a tadpole and made with secret ingredients that can only be revealed if the blender is kissed by a princess. Also in the bar, 35 taps represent breweries from nearby and afar, including Rahr & Sons, Shiner, Saint Arnold, and Stone.
In addition to the bar, this family-owned, community-oriented restaurant offers something for everyone. Saturday and Sunday brunch entice local families to stop by this neighborhood eatery. Outside, guests can unwind on the spacious patio and enjoy gigantic burgers and Southwestern apps and entrees amid leafy palms at tables in both the shade and the sun.
Mexican-style street food populates the tables at Cabo Joe’s, a relaxed eatery inspired by the atmosphere and cuisine of Mexico and the Caribbean. Inside a vibrant space designed to evoke a cantina-like feel, waiters unload trays filled with tortas, tacos, and wood-fired burgers, and set down helpings of freshly made salsas and guacamole.