A new bar in Fort Worth is a dream come true for music lovers, combining bins of vinyl bliss and beer on tap. Off The Record West, the bar and record-shop hybrid on Magnolia that opened last week, is a sister location of a unique Deep Ellum hotspot.
In an area where many of the bars are high-end or dive, Off the Record West offers a middle ground with a fresh concept and a warm vibe.
In 2010, business partners Josh Florence, Phil Coward, and Tim Daniels helped Deep Ellum regain its status as Dallas’ greatest entertainment district by reopening Club Dada. Four years later, they turned the midsize music venue’s oversized green room into an unusual booze and vinyl records concept, Off The Record.
The watering hole for vinyl junkies quickly also became a hub for the music community. With limited space, the owners used a DJ booth to create extensive live music programming. They plan to do the same thing with Off The Record West.
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“We want to see if this concept has legs further than Dallas,” Florence says. “If it goes well here, maybe something else. I feel like out of everything we do this has the most unique brand to it. It might be something we can replicate.”
The space isn’t large enough to regularly host bands, but Florence acknowledges that they will probably give it a try at least once just to see what happens. He says they are hoping to have intimate shows with local single-songwriters in addition to the cutting-edge, DJ-driven performances for which Off The Record is known.
“We definitely want to get as many Fort Worth DJs involved as possible,” Florence says. “We don’t want to just dump a bunch of Dallas on Magnolia. We’ll throw a lot of stuff at the wall and see what sticks.”
“We’ll cater to Fort Worth,” Daniels says. He admits the area is more of a neighborhood than the entertainment district he is used to: “Deep Ellum feels very big-city, but this is homey.”
Formerly occupied by Hot Damn, Tamales!, the new space is 1,500 square feet and features a gorgeous wall with plenty of exposed brick. (A smaller version of the tamale shop remains next door.) With considerably more tables and booths, Off The Record West is an upgraded version of its predecessor.
“What we loved about the space was the bones of it,” Florence says. “The brick walls, concrete floors, and tall tin ceilings. There wasn’t a whole lot we had to do to make it feel like Off The Record.”
There are 20 beers on tap, with plenty of Fort Worth options; a menu of deceptively smooth cocktails; and a full bar. Curated by Dallas’ Good Records, there are thousands of vinyl records to peruse while you imbibe — including selections from local favorites like the Toadies and Leon Bridges.
“One of the first things we talked about was which elements of Dallas do we want to bring,” Florence says. “We didn’t want it to be exactly the same, but we want it to feel like Off The Record when you walk in.”
Indeed, Off The Record West has a similar layout, the familiar logo, a wall covered with a vintage tree print, and even another photo of Christopher Walken on the walk-in cooler. It’s a nice-enough pun.
“That’s our Walken cooler,” Florence says with a laugh.
Off The Record West also has unisex bathrooms, and it is not something Florence is shy about addressing. “We want to make it clear that everybody — every race, religion, and sexual orientation on the planet, etc. — is welcome here. That is very important to us. In this day and age of turbulent times, we want it to be abundantly clear that this is a safe and welcome place for everyone.” They even made a point of putting transgender signs on the doors.
A grand-opening event is in the works for Feb. 3. Expect local DJs and discounted drinks and records. Located at 715 W. Magnolia Ave., Off The Record West opens at 2 p.m. weekdays and at noon on weekends, closing at 2 a.m. every night.
Off The Record West
- 715 Magnolia Ave.
- Fort Worth
- Hours: 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Friday, noon-2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday