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J.R. Bentley’s serves up student-friendly vibe

By Natalie Webster

 A 5-minute walk from UTA, J.R. Bentley’s has been nestled on Abram Street in Downtown Arlington since it opened in 1979. The English-style pub boasts trivia, drink specials and a vegetarian burger patty and was voted Best Burger three years in a row by UTA students in The Shorthorn’s Reader’s Choice awards.

Katie Thomas, who has worked as a waitress at the pub for seven years, explained that what makes J.R. Bentley’s unique is the atmosphere it provides and its connection with UTA students.

“We’ve got probably 10 groups of students that are repeat groups,” Thomas said. “We get a poetry group that meets every Saturday, bunches of engineering students that study, eat and drink together. It’s just that kind of bar.”

The allure of J.R. Bentley’s isn’t just its UTA-supportive wall art and signage or proximity to campus but that it has developed over time into a space students can socialize and study at the same time.

“There’s always someone with their computer open, studying,” Thomas said. “It’s a sit-down-and-chat vibe, where you’re not uncomfortable with the level of music or the noise  people make.”

The crowd isn’t just current UTA students, though.

“We see a lot of alumni,” Thomas said. “Recent alumni, but also people that graduated a while ago. When they like where they go, they stick to it.” 

This can be no better illustrated than by the relationship the pub has with one of its long-time patrons, Dick Collier.

Collier, a UTA alumnus, has been coming to J.R. Bentley’s since he attended UTA. Although Thomas said she didn’t know the details of the story, she said Collier designed the blazer-wearing pit bull logo J.R. Bentley’s now uses.