With the advent of the new Dallas Cowboys stadium, Arlington is set to boom. We Fort Worthians hope the town’s nightlife develops its own identity rather than taking the quick-money route and emulating Dallas’ fancy-schmancy tendencies. One white-bread area full of cooler-than-thou, nose-in-the-air, wannabe famous, $20,000-a-year “millionaires” is enough.
Arlington’s latest major club screams “Big D” but not in the way you’d think. Let’s just say that the patrons aren’t the problem at Xouba Restaurant Lounge. In all fairness, the North Collins spot hasn’t been around long enough to develop a following; on a recent visit, the place was sort of empty. (Amazing how comfortable a Dallas-type club can feel when the Dallas-type people aren’t there.)
The joint is located in the former home of meat-market bar Moose & Vinny’s. The inside of Xouba (pronounced zo-ba) is cool and dark – low ceiling, lots of blacks, lots of hyper-modern lighting fixtures, and a lot of minimalist decorative touches. The cuisine is Japanese-Peruvian, and the cocktail menu includes the Saketini (sake, vodka, and a dash of ginger), the Bellatini (vodka, champagne, orange liqueur, and peach juice), and the club’s signature ‘tini, the Xoubatini (Grey Goose vodka, blue corn juice, and lime).
While the crowd may not have been big enough to give the place a snooty vibe, the small staff did its best to pick up the slack. You sort of expect poor service when a joint is jumpin’ – definitely not when you’re essentially the only person there. At my Xouba visit, I took a seat at the bar as I would have at any other hangout and waited.
Not only did I never receive a drink, I was never even acknowledged. Maybe I wasn’t as well-dressed as the suits in the house, but I for sure wasn’t slovenly – and I’m absolutely certain that I wasn’t wearing my Fort Worth mailing address on my sleeve.
Then I finally figured it out: All of those too-cool-for-school, twenty-thousandaires that pack the swanky clubs in Dallas gotta work somewhere, right? Well, we’re guessing Xouba is where some of them have been hired.
Like all blue-blooded Americans, Last Call is a football fanatic, and, like all fanatics, Last Call enjoys bitching about stuff.
My current complaint: Fantasy football is killing sports bars. It’s not killing their bar receipts – no way – but it is destroying their souls. As little as two or three years ago, you could visit your local sports bar on Sunday and have a good time, raising hell over the sturm und drang of your favorite team’s progress (or lack thereof) on the gridiron. Spending time in a sports bar on the Lord’s Day these days, however, is a wholly different, miserable experience: Usually, you see a cluster of four-tops, each taken up by a lone occupant. Spread out in front of him is a small stack of newspapers, assorted pens and pencils, bottles of beer, and occasionally even laptops. You thought vespers was quiet? Just check out any local sports bar on Sunday – the mood there will be somber enough to make you think you actually were in church.
Not that Last Call is some sort of raging anti-capitalist, but the cut-throat economy of professional sports is really to blame. The concept of fantasy sports is merely a reflection of the real sports world, where every player truly cares only about himself, his billfold, and his celebritydom. “Team loyalty” is a dirty term.
Trust me. Last Call still gets a kick out of watching football in the smoky confines of a sports bar – but only on Saturdays.
Contact Last Call at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Xouba Restaurant Lounge
2301 N Collins St, Arlington.