Though you wouldn’t know it now by the place’s family-friendly vibe, Lucile’s Stateside Bistro used to rock: ‘tinis on Wednesday nights, Bloody Marys on the weekends, and a good-looking staff every day to help grease the party machine’s gears.
Feeling nostalgic, I decided to drop in on the way home one night a week or two ago. Without a doubt, Lucile’s no longer rocks, unless your idea of “rocking” involves a baby in a carriage or Elvis Presley. But I’ll be damned if the drinks weren’t spot on and the vibe perfect for chilling out.
David Bravo, the mustachioed barkeep who’s been slinging at Lucile’s for nine years, remembers those halcyon days. He thinks the restaurant’s change in patronage, from young fashionistas to the Cleavers, is due to the timbre of the market. Used to be that any place that served decent grub on a clean plate was a place worth getting hammered in. Nowadays, according to Bravo’s perspective, customers have been trained – by tv, advertising, Hollywood, their paychecks, whatever – to expect an experience every time they go out to spend money. Many restaurants have responded by bringing out the bells and whistles. Places that simply keep on serving decent grub on clean plates are unceremoniously passed over. “There was a time when Fort Worth dining wasn’t exploited to the degree it is today,” he said.
The good news for Bravo is that, while a lot of Lucile’s customers are a little long in the tooth, they got one thing over every other type of customer. As anyone unfortunate enough to be raised by alcoholic parents knows, what old-timers do better than everyone else is drink … hard. Who needs fickle fashionistas when you got steady spendthrifts.