By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
8.0: This bar-meets-lounge-meets-concert stage provides great nights on the tree-shaded patio. As one of the only music venues in Fort Worth that mixes local music outdoors with a great indoor bar, it's home to cool weekend nights in the heart of Sundance Square. 111 E Third St, Fort Worth, 817-336-0880.
Aardvark: Located around the corner from Texas Christian University, it's no surprise this rock club has Greek appeal. But housed in the same historic strip that was home to The Hop and Rail, it books the best locals in the Golden Triangle, plus the occasional road show. 2905 W Berry St, Fort Worth, 817-926-7814.
Across the Street Bar: Two patios and an outdoor stage for the up-and-coming band make for a relaxed atmosphere, where drum jams and college-band nights pepper the schedule. Also, the Yale Ice House next door offers excellent pitcher specials. 5625 Yale Blvd, 214-363-0660.
Adair's: You can get a sense of this boots-buckles-and-beer bar on the live albums recorded there by Jack Ingram and Eleven Hundred Springs. But it's best to check out this Deep Ellum honky-tonk the proper way: on a barstool way too late on a weeknight, with a Lone Star longneck in one hand and a crowd of empties in front of you. 2624 Commerce St, 214-939-9900.
AllGood Café: This small cafe with a cozy atmosphere and a hometown feel offers live music every Thursday through Saturday night. And don't worry about paying cover at the door; you can make a "donation" to the band when they pass the kitty at intermission. 2934 Main St, 214-742-5362.
American Airlines Center:Shiny and new, like a freshly minted gold coin; more luxurious than a pimp's RV; more HD sets than Mark Cuban's bathroom. Where all the top-o'-pops acts play, if that's what you call the Eagles and Dave Matthews Band; also, very sportsy. Still, it's a tad too big for the little people, who sit high enough to touch jetliners. 2500 Victory Ave, 214-222-3687.
Art Bar: Progressive DJs and even more progressive art make for a nice respite for those who want a splash of culture with their cold adult beverages. Only negative: a bit bright inside. It's like drinkers' kryptonite. 2803 Main St, 214-939-0077.
Bahama Breeze: Caribbean culture shouldn't work in C&W country, but this joint gives it a solid effort, creating a candy-colored theme-park version of a trip to Jamaica. (Meaning: No weed, brah.) The jury's still out on whether the tinkling of steel drums helps digestion, but it probably doesn't hurt. Much. 857 W John Carpenter Fwy, Las Colinas, 972-402-0666.
Balcony Club: Offering live jazz every day of the week, the Balcony Club keeps it lazy and hazy, perfect for late-night drinks after a movie, especially if you've been to the Lakewood Theatre, which is located right below the club. 1825 Abrams, 214-826-8104.
Barley House: Sunday night is like a who's who of local music with acoustic (and sometimes impromptu) performances. Fridays and Saturdays usually rock, too. 2916 N Henderson, 214-824-0306.
Bar of Soap: Live bands, a bar, an arcade and a complete laundromat. What more could the pressed-for-time music fan ask for? Punk, indie and rockabilly preside here, where there's never a cover charge (but bring loads of quarters). 3615 Parry Ave, 214-823-6617.
Bass Performance Hall: Since when did downtown Fort Worth become a European transport? When the Bass Hall opened. This uniquely beautiful concert hall is like nothing else in Dallas or Fort Worth. With five levels of seating, be cautious not to sit too high in the sky (painted ceiling) or you might be airsick. 330 E Fourth St, Fort Worth, 817-212-4280.
Bath House Cultural Center: An intimate, familial locale to see live theater and assorted cultural diversions, the sort usually reserved for cities that have a soul. The nighttime patio view of White Rock Lake backlit by downtown is supah-sweet. 521 E Lawther Drive, 214-670-8749.
Ben's Half Yard House: Home of the famous half-yard glasses, Ben's offers the ultimate mix of sports, food and drink with 42 beers on tap, an all-American menu, darts, pool and constant TV sports for the less active. 7102 Greenville Ave, 214-363-1114.
Big Balls of Cowtown: Born in 1997, the self-styled "home of Western swing" is still firmly rooted in history despite its young age, from the 70-year-old bar to its relentless championing of a dying genre. Though it's located in the heart of the Fort Worth Stockyards, Big Balls' owners (and former Okies) Joyce "Bubbles" Miller and Gary "Beav" Beaver have helped it avoid becoming a tourist trap. 302 W Exchange, Fort Worth, 817-332-8190.
Billy Bob's Texas: Two-step through this enormous venue and see everything from the legendary to the unknown in country music. Western shirt optional, but the Western fare is recommended. 2520 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth, 817-624-7117.
The Blarney Stone: The friendliest of Irish pubs, the Blarney welcomes a slew of regulars whether post-rugby game or for Wednesday-night beer specials. Most of the time, the jukebox serves for musical entertainment, but the occasional DJ set or acoustic act makes for a welcome change when the juke goes stale. 2116 Greenville Ave, 214-821-7009.
The Bone: As the name suggests, this is the sort of club that cock-rocks it up. Downstairs is standard head-nodding music, and a bar adjacent to a fairly whup-ace poolroom. The rooftop patio is where you find and try to act like a cool breeze. 2724 Elm St, 214-744-2663.