New on the scene in FW’s West Seventh area
Revelers in Fort Worth’s West Seventh neighborhood will notice a few newcomers to the scene, including a huge sports bar, a club that plays nonstop old-school hip-hop and, soon, a spot for late-night pizza.
After searching for locations in Dallas, Houston and Austin, entrepreneurs Josh Reagan, James Hoffman and Micah McDonald settled on West Seventh as home for four venues. A year and $4.5 million later, they have opened two, sports bar Varsity Tavern and hip-hop joint Funky Sound, with hopes of finishing the others, pizza place the American Pub and nightclub El Capitan, by the spring.
Hoffman is a hospitality industry veteran with nearly two decades of experience, while for Reagan and McDonald, these new ventures will be their first foray into ownership. So why open four businesses simultaneously? The short answer: Go big or go home.
Varsity Tavern alone was a $2 million project, says Reagan. “If we’re going to spend a lot of money and invest in Fort Worth, we’re investing in the area ... essentially competing against ourselves,” he says.
Here’s a quick look at the newcomers:
This massive bar and restaurant — it’s 8,000 square feet in two stories, in a refurbished auto body shop at 1005 Norwood St. — seems to have a split personality.
The ground floor is all sports all the time. There are plenty of TVs for game watching, including a grouping of several 90-inch flat screens next to a section of sideline bleachers for those who really want to feel like part of the action. Walk outside through the 13-foot garage doors and you’ ll be in what Reagan calls “the playground,” a dog-friendly patio area with giant Jenga, pingpong and ladder golf.
Upstairs, patrons will find more of an upscale lounge vibe, Reagan says, complete with fire pits, a cocktail program and private event spaces for rent.
Food service here is quick — just grab and go from a cafeteria-style line featuring Philly cheese steaks and other ballpark items such as popcorn and nachos.
Say you need a change of scenery. Reagan, Hoffman and McDonald acquired the property next door to Varsity Tavern on Norwood and converted it into a hip-hop-focused club in hopes you won’t go too far.
DJs play exclusively old-school hip-hop. Local artist Jerod Davies was enlisted to cover the walls in murals of the genre’s legends, such as Missy Elliott and Notorious B.I.G., as well as other musicians, including Willie Nelson — “people who are ‘funky’ and go against the grain in their music,” Reagan says. Davies overlaid the murals with fluorescent black-light paint.
The American Pub
Expected by February, T.A.P., as it’s being called, will offer late-night pizza on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with service until 4 a.m. This is one concept McDonald believes Fort Worth is truly missing — after-hours pizza is a staple among bar scenes in Austin and New York, he says.
The pizza will be New York-style, and the venue itself, at 2800 Bledsoe St., will have a dine-in area as well as a walk-up window for passers-by. Reagan hopes to eventually offer delivery. Until that happens, T.A.P. promises a full bar with drink service until 2 a.m.
The owners hope to bring a Las Vegas-style party to Fort Worth with this concept. Details are limited, but El Capitan will be a small nightclub, also at 2800 Bledsoe, with a debut targeted for this spring.
Varsity Tavern is a massive venue that’s part sports bar, with plenty of big flat-screen TVs, and part upscale lounge.
Philly cheese steaks and other items are served from a cafeteria-style line at Varsity Tavern.