Funkytown? Hardly

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Posted November 30, 2005 by Last Call in Clubs

On the surface, who cares whether a bar is part of a chain or not? As far as Last Call’s concerned, an able-bodied person can have a good time anywhere – Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Café, wherever. When the booze is flowing and the friends are extremely wealthy – um, I mean extremely “cool” – no amount of fake retro signage can dampen the mood. Isn’t alcohol great?!

But (and there’s always a “but,” isn’t there?) a person who loves his hometown – be it Fort Worth, Dallas, Denton, Lake Worth, or Boise, Idaho – knows that prosperous, safe, and progressive cities are the ones where the citizens are in charge. Not zillionaire CEOs who live in Manhattan high-rises, but the locals.

We’ve been talking forever about the renaissance happening here, about Fort Worth’s transition from a great town into a world-class metropolis. Well, a brave, new world is upon us, but Clubland seems to be slipping into the Dark Ages. For every ma-and-pa club that recently either went under or got priced out of a hot real estate market, it seems that five chain clubs angled to fill the void.

Sundance Square is the worst. I bet you a night’s bar tab that within a couple of years, the downtown locale will be completely devoid of hip indie hang-outs. Imagine this scenario: Your best friend from Seattle or New York City or Austin comes to town. He says he’s heard about how great Sundance Square is and wants to see it. So you take him there. He gets out of the car, looks around, and sees Chili’s, Uno Chicago Grill, P.F. Chang’s, and Razzoo’s, surrounded by outposts of smaller, regional chains, such as the 8.0/Flying Saucer operation, City Streets, Cabo Grande, The Library, Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar, and The Fox & the Hound English Pub and Grille.

Your friend’s gonna say he stopped hanging out at malls when he was in high school, and would you please take him back to the airport, where, in the ultimate triumph of homogeneity over uniqueness, he can drown his sorrows at his choice of T.G.I. Friday’s (Terminals A22, D24, E17), Chili’s Too (B19, C15), and Bennigan’s (D11).

Don’t ask me why, but somehow this past weekend I found myself in Baker Street Pub & Grill, a neighborhood-type joint that just opened and is owned by the same corporation that owns the Sherlock’s Pub in Arlington. What to say? Other than the generic uniforms that came straight from the nearest Gap sales rack and the innocuous Top 40 rock pumping through the speakers, Baker Street made for a decent night out. The service was snappy, the tables were spotless, and the worry wart in me grew smaller and smaller with every ice-cold beer – and the beer was indeed ice-cold and plentiful. The place is located on the West Side in the recently remodeled Village at Camp Bowie, where several other liquor-ish establishments are slated to break ground soon.

Now, where was I?

Wine Geek Numero Uno

Last Call’s not in the business of giving shout-outs, but cut me some slack this week. Long before Sideways made wannabe oenophiles out of functioning alcoholics everywhere, I was boozing and schmoozing with Fort Worth’s fanciest sommeliers – Grape Escape’s Paul Salazar (formerly of Blade’s Prime Chophouse), Hebraic goddess Jenny Kornblum of Sapristi!, Central Market’s resident history buff, Mark Card. They’re all pretty cool – and knowledgeable – but none of them is as officially learned in the ways of fermented grape juice as Del Frisco’s Ceferino “Cef” Zambrano. The 47-year-old Panamanian is one of only a handful of local sommeliers to pass the first of three rounds of master examinations administered by the Court of Master Sommeliers. Keep in mind that only two North Texas sommeliers (both in Dallas) have passed the second round, and only one in all of Texas has passed all three.

In other words: Party on, Cef!

Contact Last Call at lastcall@fwweekly.com.

Baker Street Pub & Grill
6115 Camp Bowie Blvd, FW. 817-738-5600.

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House
812 Main St, FW. 817-877-3999.


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