Of all the neighborhoods in town, the Stockyards is both the best and worst place to open a big-ass dance club. Why both? Well, I’m reminded of Economics 101 and the good ol’ law of supply and demand: A new business owner naturally wants to capitalize on a proven market, but she doesn’t want to be one of, say, 900 other similar places supplying the same service. If she is, her business venture probably won’t last very long – there’s only so much demand to go around.
On the “best” side of the ledger: Fort Worth’s Wild Wild West is home to several successful, established mondo-discos – Neon Moon Saloon, Club Fusion, Stone Canyon, Krave, and Billy Bob’s Texas – and they occasionally feed off one another. No, let me rephrase that: They almost always feed off one another. I can’t recall ever going to the Stockyards and staying in the same joint all night, even though I may be stalking a hot bartender or server. (No matter what kind of mood I’m in, how much cash I have/don’t have, or how nicely a certain seat in a certain bar provides an untrammeled view of one of my drink-slingin’ crushes, a typical weekend night out in the Stockyards for me always involves a stop at Billy Bob’s – just ’cause.) If I were a potential disco owner, I’d want a piece of the Stockyards action, too.
Now here’s why the Stockyards is also the worst ‘hood in which to open a dance club: Most of the long-standing joints are, well, successful and established, and the ones that have just popped up over the past few years (Club Fusion, Stone Canyon, and, just a couple-a months ago, Krave) seem to have some staying power.
You just gotta wonder when all of these clubs are going to start looking, sounding, and feeling the same.
I got to thinking about the scene – where it’s been and where it’s headed – last weekend during the grand opening of Silver Spur Night Club, a 7,000-square-foot disco inside Rodeo Plaza, where Neon Moon and Billy Bob’s are located. Silver Spur has a lot of potential – it’s clean, the staffers are sharp and friendly, and the sound system is crisp. As I sat there, nursing a straight whiskey, I stepped back and did the numbers: Within a three-block radius of where I was sitting, I had my choice of about 15 places to get a beer chaser.
Considering that a handful of those hangouts are the aforementioned mondo-discos that must pull in a lot of customers to turn even a meager profit, a new club owner – or person interested in opening yet another disco – must have some creative ideas about separating her establishment from the pack. “It’s hard to be unique down here,” said Darren Rhea, Neon Moon owner. “You gotta be able to have the customers think, ‘Hey, we’re missing the boat by not being there.’ “
Though there weren’t many customers at Silver Spur, and the ones who were there behaved like ladies and gentlemen (pthhh!), I don’t think owner Carmine Bianco (formerly of Arlington’s swanky Blu Bar) needs to worry: If any Stockyards disco becomes the straw that breaks the camel’s back, don’t bet on it being the Silver Spur – the vibe in there is good: When I was leaving, one of the hotties behind the bar gave me a wink and a smile.
You bet your ass I’ll be back.
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