For a native Yankee and hockey fan like me, there’s no more heartwarming feeling than walking into a Texas sports bar during the playoffs and seeing customers in sweaters.
Pro hockey is doing well here in the South. Not as well as baseball, basketball, or football, but still a hot ticket and a sport that, unlike women’s basketball or indoor soccer, is taken seriously by the local mainstream media and, more importantly, barstool know-it-alls.
Still, up North, pugilism-with-pucks is as large a part of youth athletics as baseball, football, and basketball. So imagine my delight on bee-bopping into Rock Star Sports Bar last week and seeing a couple of club sweaters, the Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils to be exact, on the backs of some jabloneys. Though the Wings and the Devils are easily two of the most annoying franchises in all of professional sports – right up there with the New England Patriots and the New York Yankees – seeing that winged wheel and that horned “NJ” nonetheless brought me to a spiritual place I hadn’t been in a lonnnnng time: high school up North, circa 1989.
Like just about every other young dude in my blue-collar, iced-over hometown, I liked team sports, I liked working out, and I liked heavy metal music. (‘Member that Mike Myers movie Wayne’s World? Yeah, I lived it.) The three seemed to go together, and of all the sports, hockey was the one that partnered best with metal, no doubt because both things were almost entirely the province of white, blue-collar males, my tribe so to speak.
I know. There are a lot of North Texas bars where you can find hockey on the big-screen, sweater-sporting jabloneys in the seats, and classic metal in the air. But rarely can you find all three exclusively – they’re usually surrounded by a lot of other crap, like televised golf (which is like televised long division) or bleepin’ video games. Not at Rock Star, at least based on the couple of visits I’ve made recently. There, it’s mostly just sports, sports fans, and the Crüe. Kick. Ass.
The concept of “sports bar” nowadays is largely synonymous with “locker room,” essentially a male preserve redolent of testosterone and sweaty tube socks, where women are relegated primarily to sources of danger, derision, or desire, and where yuppies go to slum. Rock Star indeed sexploits – um, I mean, appreciates – the fairer sex (evidenced by a weekly wet t-shirt contest). But the South Fort Worth joint has a strong sense of identity, one that doesn’t include yuppies and that targets male blue-collar head-bangers of all ages, races, and creeds. Not only will hockey regularly appear on the tube, but just last weekend, for example, three cool hair-metal tribute bands played: Maiden Texas (Iron Maiden), Alcohollica (Metallica), and Live Wire (Mötley Crüe). Again: Kick. Ass.
As a high-schooler back home, my buddies and I regularly worked out in a friend’s garage. It was covered in photos torn from sports magazines – of Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux, Bob Probert, and other bad-ass hockey stars – and it smelled like natural gas. From his splatter-painted boombox roared tunes from the Crüe, Deep Purple, Maiden, the Priest, and other bad-ass classic metal bands. The Rock Star, as you can imagine, kind of reminds me of that gym … minus the barbells … and plus a bar. Awesome.
Rock Star Sports Bar
7120 S Fwy, FW.