The month of August hasn’t been exactly kind to clubs along Camp Bowie Boulevard near the Cultural District, one joint in particular.

The problem isn’t that more nail salons, card shops, and convenience stores are popping up. It’s that city bulldozers have been messing with the street’s storied red bricks to accomplish god knows what, leaving quite a few scenesters in a panic while trying to find a decent route to – and parking spot near – Showdown Saloon.

The club’s desperation is manifest in its outdoor signage, where messages like “CONSTRUCTION SPECIALS” and “DETOUR’S THRU HERE” have been appearing regularly since the ‘dozers began churning full-steam a couple-a weeks ago.

A recent happy hour visit proved that, while Showdown may be missing out on some new business, the club can definitely count on its regulars to stay afloat. While pumping the juke for tunes from Ozzy, Floyd, and the Stones, about a dozen fortysomething dudes – blue-collar types all – kept the joint hopping and their glasses in constant need of refilling. These good ol’ boys didn’t look like sharp wits but, damn, if they didn’t crack my ass up. The guys talked shit to – and took shit from – the staffers, barkeeps Cat and Margarita who, as everyone will tell you, don’t take shit from nobody. The impromptu comedy show is reason enough to drop by Showdown sometime, if not to get hammered, then simply to observe, as if on African safari and in the middle of a pride of lions or in New York City’s East Village during a rock show.


No word on when construction will end, but something tells me that no matter what happens on this stretch of Camp Bowie – or how many Starbucks are built here – Showdown Saloon will be just fine.

From Plate to Place

There’s another Camp Bowie hang-out whose owner knows the value of regulars. The newly opened Sarah’s Place is in the space formerly known as the Pirate’s Cove. A former regular of the closed sports bar the Home Plate, Sarah’s owner Sarah Tenbrink seems to have imported her own crowd – Home Plate refugees, crew members from the nearby Mexican joint Uncle Julio’s, working-class types, and a few good-lookin’ gals. (Apparently Tenbrink is pretty smooth with the ladies.)

The place is rather plain-jane – tables, chairs, a juke, and a tv. The good news is that Sarah’s has no pretenses whatsoever, just cold beer.

As if you had to ask, yes, there is karaoke, every Wednesday and Saturday. Nothing relieves the stress of a long day better than belting out Loverboy’s “Working for the Weekend.” Just ask the bulldozer operators on Camp Bowie.

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