The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Winter Meeting kicks off tomorrow and after finding out the meeting was at the Sheraton Fort Worth Downtown Hotel, I was excited I’d be able to tell you about a casual and historic tavern .2 miles away.
When I first moved to Texas in late 2015, I was hanging out one night at the Sheraton with my sister-in-law Dayna, who is the catering sales manager at the hotel. We weren’t there long before we got hungry (surprise), and we searched restaurants within walking distance.
The T&P Tavern was the only dining spot within walking distance (well, what I would consider walking distance) and I’m glad we looked it up, because it’s not really a place you would stumble upon. The train depot style bar is around the back of the Trinity Railway Express (once the Texas & Pacific Railway Station), and the only thing you can see from the street is a rather dull and hidden sign.
If I wasn’t as motivated by my hunger pains and the diverse menu I viewed online, I may have talked myself out of wondering down an alleyway after dark. I was unaware of the historic significance of the establishment when I first rounded the building’s back corner that night, but right away it was clear it wasn’t just another dining spot. The old architecture and towering ceiling in the 5,000 square foot (pet friendly) patio area made me believe the tavern walls were built before my time.
It turns out the tavern was originally built in the 1930s and was first called “The Towers Diner.” Several global figures like President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Elvis Presley (whom the restaurant’s “Elvis” peanut butter banana and bacon martini is named after) were photographed at the restaurant. The station was also the main southern hub of transport in the 40s and many World War II soldiers departed from the station, making the tavern meal their last in the states before deployment.
If the history doesn’t fascinate you like it does me, the menu itself is still worth the short walk. The tavern puts a gourmet twist on typical pub fare, and I haven’t been disappointed by their version of the traditional. Recently, I ordered the half-pound meatloaf burger, which carried tons of bacon and swiss between a brioche bun. The massive sandwich paired perfectly with the beer cheese and bacon mac, but you need to come hungry to finish the heavy meal.
If you’re looking for something little less dense, the T&P Tacos are the way to go. Although they don’t come with the authentic corn tortillas many Texans are used to, the brisket, cheese, onion and roasted pablano sauce still taste great in the soft flour tortillas. You can also opt for chicken or pulled pork, or one of each (one order comes with three).
Beyond the food, the tavern is famous for their extensive beer offerings and unique cocktail list. On non-working nights, I’ve enjoyed the T&P Cherry Limeade, which has Firefly cherry moonshine, fresh lime juice, club soda and sprite. Check out the rest of their cocktail menu here, or try them for yourself when you’re in town. Only the Fort Worth Water Gardens separate the hotel and the tavern, so it’s worth the trip!
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Next stop: NRCHA Celebration of Champions
Alex Lynch is an associate editor for Quarter Horse News. After graduating from Pennsylvania State University in 2014, she spent nearly two years developing her equine photography and writing skills at dressage and jumper shows along the East Coast. In late 2015, she began her journey in the Western world at QHN. In her free time, she likes exploring new restaurants and spending time outside shooting her bow.