Brad Hensarling's New Bar The Gold Standard Opens Today in Fort Worth
It seems like choosy drinkers have plenty of cocktail bars to pick from here in Dallas (Cedars Social, Standard Pour, The Chesterfield, Tate's, People's, etc) but your place, The Usual, is really the only one in Fort Worth. Why do you think that is -- you guys like herding livestock more than you like sipping fancy dranks, or what?
Yes, we are big fans of herding cattle. It's really fun! If you haven't, then you should. Addressing the bar scene though ... a lot of the people running bars in Fort Worth don't want to go through the trouble of providing different and interesting products to their customers. Thus, only one cocktail bar. There is a "speakeasy" that is opening downtown, but they're not even able to create a cocktail menu for themselves. COME ON! Fireside Pies, Curtis at Del Frisco's, Jason at Bob's, and Grace are doing a little with it, but for the most part if you want a properly made drink hit The Usual. There are a number of ways that bars can differentiate themselves to their customers (ambiance, specials, pricing, theme, etc.), but almost no one is able or willing to differentiate themselves with their product. All I have to say about that is that it makes my life easy. I am willing to sit around all day and contemplate the best ratio of Jamaican rum to bourbon for my Montpelier cocktail, and everyone else can farm their drink list -- their most key way of communicating to their customers that they are in a special and unique place -- out to corporate "mixologists". Hopefully, the fact that I am willing to produce more interesting bar concepts than anyone else in this city will raise the "bar" (no pun intended) for what other people do. Until then, I will just enjoy my spot at the top of the liquor pyramid in Fort Worth and keep opening bars that provide a cooler, better, more desirable product.
Where are your favorite haunts to drink at on a night off, and what's your poison?
When I get finished with a shift I reach for Buffalo Trace and Fireman's 4. If I'm feeling fancy I'll have a Montpelier (bourbon, Jamaican rum, maple-wood smoked maple syrup, and sweet vermouth). It's one of my own concoctions, but just like masturbation I know what I like best better than anyone else. If it's a hot day I'll take a gin and tonic. Otherwise I'll just drink what someone else is buying.
My list of bars that I like to hang out at in Fort Worth (other than ones that I own): Lola's (cool live music), Fred's (great burgers, cheap beer), Malone's (side-of-the-road pub), Del Frisco's (Curtis keeps the bar stocked with some of the coolest booze in town), Tiff and Andi's Place (dive, all dive), Flying Saucer (beer), Wired Willie's (small pub with great craft beer selection), BJ's (my friends call it "Ruthless and Toothless," country karaoke with a twist of geriatric meth), The Poop Deck (talky bartenders and prices haven't changed since 1975), Sarah's Place (shuffleboard, and I stole a rubber chicken from there once).
The Gold Standard opens today at 11am at 2700 West 7th in Fort Worth.