A rare blend of talent combines remarkable creativity with far-reaching vision and practical business sense. A Texas native son known for his larger-than-life personality, Barnett’s keen knowledge of the Entertainment, Music, and Food & Beverage industries as well as the local and national Political Field pertaining to business enhancement and problem solving opportunities has led to the development of some of the most successful entertainment venues in the Southwest United States; A few examples are Billy Bob's Texas in Ft. Worth, Texas, open for 40 years, The Cat's Meow in New Orleans, Louisiana, open for 35 years, and Dallas Alley in Dallas, Texas.
In addition to entertainment concepts, problem solving, and business enhancement consulting, throughout his career Mr. Barnett has maintained a strong local and national political presence benefitting his many projects as well as those he’s consulted on. 40 years of experience in this field has enabled him to assist his clients through governmental and legislative knowledge, organization and networking.
Texas entrepreneur Billy Bob Barnett was raised in central Texas and attended Texas A&M University. Throughout college, he was an avid basketball player and was named to the Basketball All Southwest Conference Team each year. During his college basketball career, he was awarded the achievement of Most Valuable Player, earned two Southwest Conference Championships, and remains on the Texas A&M Career 1,000+ point scorers list with 1,064 career points. Barnett also played football for one year at Texas A&M and is one of only a few players to letter in basketball and football. After attending Texas A&M, Barnett went professional and was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2nd round, 61st pick. He later went on to play for the Chicago Bears.
After his career in sports came to an end due to an injury, Billy Bob Barnett decided to start a career in the entertainment and food & beverage industry by opening The Bucket in Austin, Texas. An entertainment facility, The Bucket would become the largest Budweiser account in the college distribution system in the United States.
* FORMER CHAIRMAN & CEO - MILLER & LONE STAR BEER DISTRIBUTORSHIPS From 1975-1980 Barnett owned and operated the Miller and Lone Star Beer Distributorships for the Dallas-Fort Worth region, serving as chairman and CEO. Under his leadership Lone Star introduced the long-neck bottle to Dallas, which helped increase sales from 5,000 cases to 70,000 cases over the first year. This tremendous success caught the attention of the Miller Brewing Company, who approached Barnett and his partners for the franchise deals in both Dallas and Fort Worth, one of 3 initial test markets in the U.S. Barnett’s operation garnered the largest market share percentage of Lite beer in the state, and as a result the distributorships generated some of the highest sales of Miller Lite in the U.S., with beer sales growing from $1 Million to more than $80 million. In 1980 Mr. Barnett would sell the Miller distributorship for tremendous gain.
*FOUNDED BILLY BOB’s TEXAS
On April 1, 1981, Mr. Barnett opened his namesake establishment Billy Bob’s Texas, the World’s Largest Honkey Tonk (127,000 sq. ft.) located in the Historical Ft. Worth Stockyards. The mixed use establishment includes retail shops, restaurants, live entertainment on 2 stages, and live bull riding. While under Barnett’s leadership Billy Bob’s Texas was the number one liquor tax generator in the State of Texas. Over the 40 years they’ve been open, Billy Bob’s Texas has become a beloved icon of the state of Texas. It has been voted “Nightclub of the Year” by the Academy of Country Music 12 times, and by the Country Music Association twice. Named “Venue of the Year” 8 times by the Country Music Association, and in USA Today was named one of the “10 Great Places to Forge Fun” along with NY NY Casino in Las Vegas, and “24” in London. European Travel Weekly’s 50th Anniversary Edition also named Billy Bob’s Texas as one of their “Best 8 U.S. Music Experiences” along with the City of New Orleans’ Jazz music, the City of Nashville’s Country music, the city of New York’s Gospel music, the Residency Shows in Las Vegas, and the Motown Museum in Detroit.
Artists regularly performing at BBT include Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and George Jones. Among the artists who were virtually unknown and have received their big break at BBT include George Strait, who was the house band, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks and Travis Tritt. Other stars who have played on the BBT stage include Ringo Starr, Alabama, Toby Keith, Hank Williams Jr., Miranda Lambert, ZZ Top, .38 Special, The Go-Go’s, Steppenwolf, REO Speedwagon, Styx, The Doobie Brothers, KC and the Sunshine Band, Pat Benatar, Heart, Tina Turner, Chuck Berry, B.B.King and Bob Hope.
Billy Bob’s Texas has also played host to many Hollywood movies and T.V. shows, including “Over the Top” with Sylvester Stallone, “Baja Oklahoma” with Willie Nelson, “Pure Country” starring George Strait and many episodes of “Walker Texas Ranger” with Chuck Norris, “Dallas” with Larry Hagman as JR Ewing, and Brett Michael’s hit reality TV show “Rock of Love”.
*FORT WORTH STOCKYARDS-FORT WORTH NATIONAL HISTORIC DISTRICT In 1983, Mr. Barnett purchased the Stockyards from a New York Company to bring ownership back to Texas. While Operating Billy Bob’s Texas, Mr. Barnett and his partners conceived, developed, and operated The Stockyards in Fort Worth as it’s known today, and helped to secure close to $100 Million dollars in public funding from Washington D.C., to preserve and develop the vital, historical piece of Texas’ history, the Fort Worth Stockyards.
The “Stockyards” is a 200 acre mixed-use project which includes restaurants, saloons, retail shops, a major arena for livestock events and rodeos, entertainment shows, and convention & visitor oriented events, with Billy Bob’s Texas as it’s acclaimed centerpiece. In doing so they were able to renovate, operate and preserve the city’s legendary Cowtown Coliseum, bringing the historic landmark where indoor rodeo was founded back to life for the first time in more than 40 years. The Stockyards project preserved a vital part of Texas’ history, which dates back to 1893 after the railroad arrived, and it is still enjoyed by millions of people from around the world today.
*DALLAS ALLEY-DOWNTOWN DALLAS TEXAS
In 1985 Mr. Barnett added Dallas Alley to his portfolio. Designed and developed by Mr. Barnett and his partner, Dallas Alley included food and entertainment venues consisting of 8 different concepts, including Rock & Roll, Blues, live shows and attractions. Under Barnett’s creative leadership it quickly became one of the most popular tourist attractions in the North Texas region.
*THE CAT’s MEOW-NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
In 1989 Barnett created and developed the “Cat’s Meow”, located in the heart of the Historic French Quarter District of New Orleans. A high energy nightclub, the Cat’s Meow is still one of the nation’s most popular and profitable tourist destinations, and in the first year became the largest account for Miller and Budweiser in New Orleans, as well as the original destination for the “3 for 1” drink concept conceived by Mr. Barnett. Now open for almost 35 years, it has kept the title of “The Best Karaoke Bar in the World” by Pioneer, which brought karaoke to the U.S. Among the notable musicians and singers to visit the Cat’s Meow are Miley Cyrus, Seal, Brooks and Dunn, Weird Al Yankovic, Smashing Pumpkins, Depeche Mode, and N’Sync. In addition to these, Bill Gates of Microsoft, Charles Barkley, actors Tori Spelling and Mario Lopez, Julie and Doria of Playboy’s Night Calls, and adult film star Stormy Daniels have stopped in to sing.
Aside from the more famous people that have visited, several national television shows filmed on-site broadcasts from the club. The festive atmosphere has provided wonderful backdrop and ambiance for such popular TV programs like “The Regis and Kelly Show”, MTV’s “Road Rules”, and “The Grind”. Mr. Barnett also went on to develop two other food & beverage entertainment venues in the district, Wild Bar and Lucky Pierre’s.
In the height of his achievement and career spanning over 40 years, Mr. Barnett has distinguished himself not only as a visionary but as an iconic leader and expert in the Entertainment, Music, and Food & Beverage industries, as well as the Political field pertaining to business enhancement and problem solving opportunities.
With his accomplishments and expertise he has garnered much respect from his industry peers, as well as the general public. Patrons and guests have enjoyed his venues for 40 years and will continue to do so for many years to come. Billy Bob Barnett was inducted into the Texas Trail of Fame in 2017 and has his star in the sidewalk next to the front entrance of Billy Bob’s Texas.
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Pictured Below from Left to Right: Billy Bob Barnett with Senator Peyton McKnight; Billy Bob Barnett, U.S. Speaker of the House Jim Wright, and Texas Speaker of the House Gib Lewis riding into the Stockyards; Original Artwork for Billy Bob's Texas Logo. .