Live Oak Is Closing, But You Can Still Hear Live Music at These 9 Fort Worth Bars

Mac DeMarco performing at Lola's Saloon, which might be the best venue on this list.
Mac DeMarco performing at Lola's Saloon, which might be the best venue on this list.
Fort Worth’s music scene got an unexpected sock in the mouth last month with closure of the music venue Live Oak.

Sara DeMore of Sara and the Saratones, an Arlington resident, says Live Oak was the primary venue for her eclectic acoustic group. “Sometimes, a place will close down and you’re like ‘Well, I saw that one coming,’” she says. “Live Oak was a shock.”

Live Oak will reopen in downtown Arlington this fall, keeping its primary features — live music hall, lounge, rooftop bar and street level patios — and adding more seating, parking and a new menu. “For our ticketed shows, we expect a good share of our concert-going fans to make the drive [to Arlington],” entertainment director Brooks Kendall Jr. says. “For the rooftop and restaurant guests, we will be focusing on building popularity with Arlington locals.”

Don’t fret, the city’s music roots still dig deep. In the meantime, live music lovers in Fort Worth can still get their fix at any one of these worthy venues.

Boiled Owl
909 W. Magnolia Ave.
For five years, the Boiled Owl Tavern has been staging acts, and its April Fool’s Day Facebook post announcing a free, surprise show sort of sums up the local camaraderie. “Our friends at Republic Street are expecting rain tonight so they’ve moved the show to the Owl,” the post read. “Happy to have Programme, Beach Priest and Diamond Age.”

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Josh Weathers playing the Aardvark.
2905 W. Berry St.
The Aardvark, which sometimes doubles as a Sunday morning place of worship, has featured musicians such as Pat Green, the Eli Young Band, Whiskey Pistol and many others. Texas Christian University alum Taylor Kennedy, who plays rhythm guitar and vocals for Whiskey Pistol, says while the band has played in the Stockyards at places like Whiskey Girl and the Thirsty Armadillo, the Aardvark is a favored spot.

Lola’s Saloon (pictured at top)
2736 W. 6th St.
For a decade now, Lola’s has contributed to Fort Worth’s music scene by showcasing local musicians as well as touring bands. The venue had a seven-year run as Fort Worth Weekly’s “best music venue,” and according to its website the saloon is also “well known for bringing bands to Fort Worth that would normally choose to play Dallas or Austin.”

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The Grotto's marquee shows a visit from New Orleans band Roar, as well as Dallas' Nervous Curtains.
The Grotto
517 University Drive
Along with live music, the Grotto cultivates local talent by hosting open mic nights, record releases, birthday bashes and more. An upcoming show on April 9 will feature Memri along with the Schisms, ManifestiV, and Sex Regrets.

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Magnolia Motor Lounge hosts live music seven days a week.
Magnolia Motor Lounge
3005 Morton St.
The Mulligan Brothers, Lucas Bevan and Isaac Hoskins are a few names playing this weekend at Magnolia Lounge where live music, beer and food are served up seven days a week.

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The Stratoliners play Fred's Texas Cafe
915 Currie St; 3509 Bluebonnet Circle; and 2730 Western Center
At Fred’s, the focus is on food. But the restaurant’s three Fort Worth locations, including one near TCU, also offer live music with this sweet deal: no cover charge.

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Shipping and Receiving has been known to set up a pool in front of its outdoor stage during warmer months.
Shipping and Receiving
201 S. Calhoun St.
Shipping and Receiving provides a venue for those 21 and up and also hosts open mics and other events for those under 18 with a parent or guardian. The Bucket List Jazz Band will play there free Thursday, April 6, while Friday, April 7, will be Night of the Damn Birds.

Lita Ford playing the Rail Club.
Mike Brooks
The Rail Club
3101 Joyce Drive
“The Rail is the ultimate music venue,” musician Bobby Michaelides says on the venue’s Facebook page. “Great sound, great stage, and ownership who go out of the way to make sure you have a great time without killing your wallet. You get the best of local and national talent on any given weekend.”

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In addition to hearing live music, you can pick up a few records at Republic Street Bar.
Republic Street Bar
201 E. Hattie Street
This Fort Worth venue will celebrate its third anniversary with a free show Saturday, April 8, featuring Pearl Earl, Andy Pickett and War Party. Along with live music, Republic Street patrons might also come for a crawfish boil, a Walking Dead viewing or the club’s laid-back atmosphere.

Honorable Mentions
The Live Oak closure set social media abuzz with recommendations of other hotspots such as 1912 Club (1912 Hemphill St.), 515 Bar (515 S. Jennings Ave.), Keys Lounge (5677 Westcreek Drive) and Tomcats (3137 Alta Mere Drive). And there’s also 1919 Hemphill, which had some certificate of occupancy issues recently.