Fox and Hound in downtown Fort Worth closes

The Fox and Hound sports bar in downtown Fort Worth closed over the weekend, leaving one of the largest nightspots in the heart of the city vacant.

F&H Acquisition Corp., parent company of Fox and Hound, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December. At the time a spokesman said the area’s restaurants would remain open as the company restructured its finances.

F&H owns about 100 restaurants in 27 states under various names, including Fox and Hound, Champps and Bailey’s Sports Grille. The Fox and Hound in Arlington and another in Fort Worth’s Cityview area just off of Bryant Irvin Road remain open. So do Dallas and Richardson locations. A Fox and Hound in Lewisville closed last year.

Elizabeth Stamper, general manager at the Cityview Fox and Hound, confirmed the downtown Fort Worth location’s last night was Saturday. A “For Lease” sign was in the window Tuesday afternoon.

“It was a business decision. It’s such a big building,” she said regarding the two-story sports bar in the historic Kress building.

She said some of the downtown staff has moved to the Cityview location. Other downtown workers were able to transfer to restaurants within the chain, she said.

Calls to F&H corporate offices were not immediately returned Tuesday, but CEO James Zielke in December cited the recession and rising food costs as the primary factors in the decline of the chain’s business.

Mark Moran, owner of the Kress building, said “we had no idea” the sports bar had closed until he learned about it from a building manager, who saw employees emptying the space Monday.

Still, the parting was “amicable,” Moran said, and his employees accommodated the Fox and Hound staff Monday as they were vacating the building. Fox and Hound had signed a lease through January 2017, Moran said, but because its parent company is in bankruptcy, it’s able to get out of the lease.

Fox and Hound’s English-style pub and sports palace, which was started by Fort Worth restaurant developer Steve Hartnett in 1994, made a splash when it opened in downtown Fort Worth in 2001. The massive sports bar had 50 TVs, a huge bar with checker boards built into it, private party rooms downstairs, plus pool tables, couches and another bar upstairs.

In late 2010 and early 2011, Fox and Hound got some serious competition downtown with the arrivals of Frankie’s Sports Bar & Grill in Sundance Square and Ojos Locos, just across the street.

Moran, based in Wichita Falls, said there’s no word yet on what might move into the old Fox and Hound space, but he said the chance to welcome another tenant there is a “great opportunity, especially with everything that’s going on in downtown Fort Worth.”

Since F&H’s bankruptcy was announced in late 2013, Moran said his brokers have had multiple inquiries about moving into the Kress building.