Go East, Young Man
East Belknap Street has never been thought of as a party district. It’s been more like a place you desperately want to avoid.
For years, the pavement just over yonder from downtown has provided rather drab nightlife options: windowless dive bars, tiny beer barns, and a barbecue restaurant, The Smoke Pit, that’s great for lunch and dinner but not for a night out on the town. But things are picking up. And even though Race Street is getting a lion’s share of the good pub, East Belknap is the real Clubland deal. Race may be fine in a few years, but all that’s over there now is a tattoo parlor, Fuzzy’s Tacos No. 2, and a performance venue for rent.
On the other hand, Belknap has Elegance Cabaret and Club Chrome, and while they’re not new, they’re newish, they have a unique, risqué, multi-culti vibe, and last weekend, they both were packed.
At two stories, Chrome reminded me of downtown’s Red Goose Saloon in its prime (circa 1999): Dozens of twentysomethings, including attractive young ladies forcing shots down each other’s throats, hoochie mamas in Spandex straddling dance cages, and Oakley-wearin’ good ol’ boys posing by the pool tables.
The strip club Elegance was also packed, and with boys and girls. And like at Chrome, the crowd was incredibly diverse: Asians, African-Americans, Hispanics, Caucasians, you name it.
Funny that everyone’s raving about a part of town called Race Street, when East Belknap is the place that’s wholeheartedly stirring the melting pot.
The last time we had more than one comedy club in town was when, I think, FDR busted out his New Deal. Which is why I’m happy as hell to report that Temple, Texas, native Rodney Duckett is opening his Comedy Corner Café in a totally random spot, just south of Hulen Mall and about a block away from the Hobby Lobby in the space previously and briefly occupied by the Octagon Pub & Grill.
Duckett said he isn’t trying to take over the local comedy empire built by Hyena’s Comedy Night Club and Sports Bar “I’m not trying to take anything away from Hyena’s,” he said. “Their location is far from where we’re at, and there’s no comedy in the [Hulen] area.”
Duckett is a veteran of the funny business. He helped run the Mirage Comedy Club in Virginia Beach, Va., for four years, and for the last two years, the 35-year-old has owned and operated the Image Comedy Club in Temple, where acts like Jimmie Roulette and Matt Sadler have performed. Expect the same caliber of comedian at the Comedy Corner, slated to open later next month. Duckett said the kitchen and the stage are just about ready. “We’re getting a lot done,” he said.
One thing, though: Why did Duckett choose Fort Worth? Why not Big D?
“Fort Worth is a bigger, growing area,” he said. “Comedy just sells here.”
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