Like, when I was growing up, the concept of the suburbs was presented to me (by tv shows, magazine ads, John Updike novels, whatever) as the apogee of the American Dream. Sure, I know the ‘burbs have given us the wonders of congested highways, irreparable environmental damage, and physical and emotional isolation. But damn if I can reprogram myself to hate ’em. Yet while my conscience won’t allow me to live in a McMansion 10 miles from work, my liver doesn’t mind if I booze beyond the city lights every once in a while.
Let’s get one thing clear: I’m talking about the suburbs, not the exurbs. The suburbs are typically right outside of inner-city areas, and thanks to overbuilding and lower housing costs, are populated by ethnically and financially diverse peoples. The exurbs are father away from metro regions and are inhabited primarily by rich crackers. I party hearty in the ‘burbs not only ’cause A.) I’m down with the working class. No, I go there ’cause B.) the exurbs don’t have much nightlife, C.) even if they did, it would be too far out to be worth the drive, and D.) rich crackers annoy me.
My favorite suburban hangout, conveniently for me, also happens to be the one closest to home. As part of Ridgmar Mall, Coconuts Night Club & Sports Bar may be last on your list of party spots, but if you like people-watching, and if the sight of racial and ethnic harmony warms your heart, then Coconuts is like Dance Fever meets the U.N.
On any given weekend, Coconuts packs low-rise-jeans-wearin’, tattoo-havin’ Latinas, good ol’ boys, hipsters in trucker caps (trés 2002), elegant MILF’s, Hasidic rabbis, you name it. (Just kidding ’bout the rabbis. I haven’t seen any … yet.)
No Jell-O wrestling, no mud wrestling, no other stupid gimmicks. No dirty rap songs, no stringent dress code, no walls of video games. Just good, clean, multicultural fun.
For some sort of explanation on my most recent visit, I asked one of the bartenders, who shrugged and said, “Word gets around.” He added that the nearby Carswell Air Force base might have something to do with the large and largely diverse crowd. Knowing a few military brats, I’d have to say that homeboy might have a point.
As I downed my vodka-and-whatever, I suddenly felt a surge of patriotism swell in my lower regions (or was it the vodka?). Gee, I thought. I’m not only drinking in the ‘burbs to satisfy my perverted domestic predilections, I’m fighting terrorism. Taking a page from “Shrill” O’Reilly, I’ll go on the record and say that if you don’t party at Coconuts, then the terrorists win.
New Cool, Cold Joint?
Now taking a page from the Bud Kennedy School of Column Writing (a.k.a. Rewriting Press Releases U.), I recently checked the TABC’s semi-weekly list of new permits and saw some great news. A shuttered storefront near Hulen and I-30 is going to turn into a nightclub. Not sure how nightclubby it’s going to be, located in the heart of Squaresville and right across the street from Arlington Heights High School, but the space formerly known for about two minutes as Big Bowl Asian Kitchen will become the 29-Degree Tavern. The place is one of three owned by Metromedia Restaurant Group. Metromedia president Charlie Morrison said he hopes to start a chain and parlay the 29-Degree name into a national brand. The names of his other two clubs, the Plano Tavern and Southlake Tavern, will not change.
“We needed a name that could carry into any city,” Morrison said in reference to 29-Degree. “But the concept is still the same.”
The 29-Degree will feature the burgeoning chain’s signature 29-Degree Beer (it’s really cold), along with what Morrison calls “American comfort food with a twist.” All of the menu’s ingredients, he said, will be made from scratch.
Opening date is early December.
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