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Places to Go for a Casual Night Out in Grapevine, Texas

Updated on April 28, 2009

Recently I had the opportunity to spend a casual night out in the historic downtown section of Grapevine, Texas. It was a blast. If you’re traveling to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, this is a great little spot to hit with a lot of local flavor.

Getting to Grapevine, TX
Grapevine, Texas is located very near the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) airport. Chances are if you’re staying near there it’s a quick ride. Located northwest of downtown Dallas, it’s worth the trip if you want a local experience.

We (a group of ladies, but this would be just as fun as a couple) traveled by taxi van from our hotel to the historic downtown Grapevine area without a plan. (Note: The concierge at our hotel was none too keen on sending us downtown, and the complimentary hotel shuttle only went to franchise restaurants that were adjacent to the hotel property.)

We landed on Main Street and were instantly charmed. The super cute historic district was full of wine bars, restaurants, and antique shops.

Napoli’s Italian Cafe
Without any idea where to go, we wandered down the street looking in windows until someone literally came out onto the sidewalk and pulled us into Napoli’s Italian Cafe. The place was full of atmosphere and conversation, great lighting, and live mood music. The menu was simple and reasonable so we decided to stay.

What happened next was something out of the Twilight Zone. We were led all the way through the restaurant and out the back, into an adjoining antique store! While it was kind of cool sitting at a table among all the antiques, we were all alone in there and it lacked the festive atmosphere of the restaurant so we requested be moved.

In addition to the regular seating and the antique store, Napoli’s also has a few semi-private rooms that feel like you’re in someone’s dining room rather than a restaurant. If you’re more interested in drinks than dinner, there are a few seating arrangements with soft chairs as well as a bar.

The food was great and the Texas wine surprisingly good. (And I was traveling with some ladies from Napa!) My bill was just over $40 and I bought a bottle for the table.

Tolbert’s Restaurant and Bar
We hit Tolbert’s after dinner. It’s a great little spot to hear live music. The night we were there we heard some good Texas rock, but the night before they’d had a Beattles tribute band, and the next night was scheduled a Heart tribute band. That gives you some idea about the clientele and especially the age of the patrons. Being Gen X myself, it’s nice to go places and see people my age and older. One thing about these Texas bars – lots of Baby Boomers!

Check out Tolbert’s schedule of live music here.

Willhoite’s “Biker” Bar
We went to Willhoite’son a lark because I’d called a friend who told me I should check out the ‘biker bar’. Indeed Willhoite’s is a biker, and the bikers are all very nice older people with very expensive bikes who most likely work at Hewlett Packard. And again, there were all kind of people in this bar, everyone from their 20s to their 60s. The place was packed (it was Saturday night) and everyone was drinking, laughing, and dancing. The band played a lot of 80s music, everything from Devo to Rick Springfield. This place made for some of the best people watching I’ve done in ages!

After spending our first night out in Grapevine and the local greasy franchise, I was really happy I’d ventured out and explored this great little town. Even if you’re near Grapevine a very short time, historic downtown is worth the trip!

Image Credit: steevithak, Flickr


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    TXTraveler 6 years ago

    Love that Tolbert's chili

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    Joe Thomas 8 years ago

    I agree with your assesment of Tolbert's. It is a great place to hang out, listent to music, and get a good feel for historic downtown Grapevine.