There may be Irish people who don’t go to bars, but I don’t know any of them. The best thing about my Emerald-Isle pals is that they are to a man/woman the drinkingest folks I know. They definitely don’t care where they do their boozin’, but if it happens to be at any one of Fort Worth’s 942 Irish-themed bars, that’s fine. None of us is gonna remember much the following day, anyway.
As for the number of Irish-ish joints here, make that 942.5. After shutting down this past Sunday, Saffire Lounge plans on relocating from West Seventh Street to the downtown spot formerly occupied by Paddy Red’s. An Irish establishment like no duh, Paddy Red’s has just moved into larger digs and, yes, will be open in time for St. Patrick’s Day. The new location is 903 Throckmorton Ave., the former home of the Black Dog Tavern, which is now at 2933 Crockett St., near the Cultural District and, incidentally, near the building being vacated by the Saffire.
Got it? Good. Saffire co-owner Trey Floyd said that he and his partners plan on retaining Paddy Red’s green theme. “We’re going to change the name,” Floyd said. “But we’re going to stick with the Irish-bar thing. … You can’t do much to the spot without gutting it, and it just screams Irish.” (Though he failed to elaborate, I bet he’s referring specifically to, uh, the preponderance of brown wood.)
Down the street from the new Saffire, nightlife maven and restaurateur Jarrett Joslin is headed in a different direction. Which is good: A happy downtown entertainment district is a diverse downtown entertainment district. The owner of the upscale eatery Saporé is working day and night like Michael Jackson trying to get his new dance joint opened, in the prime corner location that used to house downtown’s only openly gay-friendly hang-out, Club Vivid. Jarrett’s Bar Nine should be ready by the end of spring – instead of draft Guinness and haymakers, think martinis and bathroom make-out sessions. “We’re gonna try to go for a high-end clientele,” Joslin said. Expect neither a gay bar nor a college bar, he said, though Nine will indeed be gay-friendly. The space’s multiple floors will have multiple concepts. There’ll also be V.I.P. service (a.k.a. private rooms and parties).
As he’s getting Nine up and running, Joslin also wants to spend some time trying to take advantage of the huge building in which Saporé is located. Already in full effect is the second-floor bar, a comfortable, secluded place that’s developed a healthy reputation as a get-away for off-the-clock local service industry worker bees. The third and highest floor, however, remains unused – Joslin said it’s primed for private parties.
The time is right for Joslin to start digging a little deeper into his downtown turf – he can’t afford not to, and, incidentally, he can afford to. He just sold his rock club, Axis.
Elegance Cabaret owner Darian Shanahan bought the Southside space, and he plans on revamping most of it. His inspiration? The Dallas meat market Club Blue. “We’re fluffing [Axis] up,” he said. “Everything was merely painted black.”
Shanahan said he could have opened yesterday – he’s “just waiting for the decorations to finish.” (Decorations?!) “We want to ‘wow’ everybody when they walk in.”
Though Shanahan has bagged the local Latin hip-hop and reggaeton radio station KZZA/106.7-FM Casa to broadcast live from Axis, the mogul doesn’t want to leave any segment of the party market untapped. He wants to reserve different nights of the week to celebrate different local cultures. On the docket are: “Brown Night” (which will probably feature reggaeton on the radio and specials on Mexican beer), a “Black Night” (gin ‘n’ juice, rap), and a “White Night” (reggaeton, Mexican beer – how funny?).
Even though he’s a lad with a good Irish name, Shanahan doesn’t plan on having an “Irish Night,” though – probably because every waking moment is essentially “shot o’clock” for me Irish pals and me.
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