Here comes another nightlife project in a seemingly cursed spot in the Stockyards. In April, veteran mover-and-shaker Spencer Taylor will take essentially an entire city block on West Exchange Street to open several clubs, including a blues bar, rock venue, and karaoke lounge. Sounds like a winner. (Not really.)
We all know that the Stockyards is, for better or worse, built around party people not quite old enough to drink and tourists. So what does Taylor think that his massive entertainment district, simply called West Exchange, will be able to offer that Stone Canyon, Longhorn’s, and other defunct clubs on that side of Main Street couldn’t and that can’t be found in every other entertainment district in Cowtown and the Stockyards?
A possible answer: size.
I can see the headline now, “Fort Worth’s Answer to Bourbon Street rises up in the Stockyards!”
The potential is there. The streets are narrow and the sidewalks wide, meaning that if a couple more clubs ride West Exchange’s coattails, customers will be able to hop from club to club without worrying about getting mowed down by speeding cars. There’s also something cool about the little incline on which part of Taylor’s huge chunk of real estate rests: I don’t know about you, but I have trouble throwing a punch in a street fight after a couple of beers – and that’s on level ground! A plus, considering how many brawls break out on Stockyards real estate every weekend.
The main problem for West Exchange may be parking. If you find a spot on Main, East Exchange, or any of the other well-lit streets in the vicinity, you’re fine. But if you have to park behind West Exchange, on any one of those dark roads back there, like North Ellis or Houston, you may think twice about heading to your car by yourself at closing time.
There’s also the problem of, well, location. Today, you have to have a pretty damn good reason to walk to West Exchange Street from all of the action on East Exchange, especially if you got a comfy seat at the White Elephant, PR’s, or some other legendary East Exchange-area joint. Worse, say you make the expedition from East to West: Once you get there and are underwhelmed, you aren’t far enough away to argue against uprooting yourself again and moseying back East. I think the old saying “between a rock and a hard place” is apropos for clubs past and present on West Exchange.
Here’s where the size factor comes in: If you’re like me and you size up potential opponents in every bar you go to, by the time you scan every inch of West Exchange, you might already have a sixer in you and be too content to go someplace else. Then you can just get on the mic, deliver your trademark rendition of Billy Dean’s “We Just Disagree,” and call it a night.
Bourbon Street Junior? Not quite, but it’s a start.
In last week’s column, I forgot to properly identify the name of the forthcoming gentlemen’s club, Jaguars Gold Club. So there you go.
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