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Best of the Fort: It’s not (un) Usual to love this bar

Looking for a great cocktail in Fort Worth? We’ve got just the place.

A few weeks ago, I made a grievous error: I ordered an Old Fashioned at a chain restaurant.

See, I’m a bourbon/rye/whiskey girl at my heart, and there are few things I love more than a well-made Old Fashioned. I should have known that I was not going to get that at that particular establishment; were the environment to not have given it away, certainly the fact that the bartender looked up the recipe in a binder should have. Or maybe the fact that, when asked, he said he would be making it with Jim Beam (we know how that goes from twitter) or that he started the drink with a neon red cherry and a thick orange slice.

That’s not the drink I was looking for - I had a gift card, so at least it didn’t cost me anything - but it was a far cry from what an Old Fashioned can be when properly crafted. Fortunately for me, and for Fort Worthians, we have the perfect spot to get the perfect Old Fashioned and much more.

Our most recent edition of Best of the Fort keeps us in Near Southside, home to one of the best proper cocktail bars in DFW: The Usual. Located near the corner of Fairmont and Magnolia, The Usual prides itself on being one of the few Prohibition-era cocktail bars in the Fort Worth era, specializing in classics like real daiquiris (that are a far cry from the frozen ones available elsewhere), the Remember the Maine, and of course, the perfect Old Fashioned. With an impressive bourbon/rye/whiskey selection and bartenders capable of mixing anything your heart desires, it’s very easy to spend several hours in this dimly-lit, well-appointed bar.

Cocktails come made with a variety of spirits, with many showcasing bourbon, rum, and gin. Of course, the talented staff can make just about any drink you can dream up, and most have their own special concoctions as well. Beverages come served straight up, on the rocks, shaken, and stirred, with all of the ingredients fresh as can be (you won’t find anything frozen or any pre-made juices on site), and many of the mixers and bitters are made in house. Strong, sweet, classic or new-wave, you really can find anything behind the bar.

Don’t come in a hurry, as it takes time for the various bartenders to craft each cocktail. I enjoy sitting at the bar and asking for a recommendation, as each employee has their own specialties and style. During one recent visit, it was Negroni Week, and the bar was celebrating by offering several different varieties of drink made with the slightly bitter spirit. The Usual also has a Tiki Week and hosts several other specialty events throughout the year. Whether you are craving something classic for the past, a new take on an old favorite, or a modern cocktail, The Usual more than likely has something for you.

They also have beer and wine, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Non-smoking inside with two well-kept unisex bathrooms, The Usual is a classy upscale joint that remains approachable. It’s also within walking distance of several exceptional Southside eateries.

The Usual offers Happy Hour specials in addition to their regular menu. Located at 1408 W Magnolia AveFort Worth, TX 76104, they are open seven days per week. There is usually plenty of street parking, and smoking is allowed on the back patio.