I’ve been in something of a rut lately, going to the same three or four bars and restaurants and not deigning to try anyplace else. So last Sunday, I set out to expand my point of party reference, and, boy, did I pick the the wrong day.
It seemed like every place I went was closed. My first stop was Conlon’s Irish Pub on White Settlement Road. I had been told that the owner is a native Irishman who doesn’t drink – something I had to see for myself. But Conlon’s was the first of several locked doors I tugged on that night. The next was Halo’s on University Drive. The “open” sign was lit up, the televisions were aglow, and all of the lights were on, but the door was locked, and the phone went straight to voice mail. (Private party?) In fact, all of the bars and restaurants in that little strip across from TCU were closed. WTF?
Disheartened but not deterred, my posse and I headed to an ol’ standard nearby, Tiff & Andy’s, a place that’s so homey it’s easy to take for granted: friendly staff, solid jukebox, great specials ($2 wells and domestic drafts on Sundays). But after having a couple, I started to feel as if I’d given up on my mission. So I yanked my friends up and off we went. Destination: somewhere along Camp Bowie Boulevard.
Sarah’s Place was something of a revelation. First of all, you’re loaned a coozie to go with your bottled beer – a simple but nice and effective touch. Secondly, there’s a shuffleboard table, which is great for those of us who don’t have the temperament to suffer through another lousy game of pool. The bartender on the night we visited was friendly, and the décor is cool flea-market chic, with a dozen or so plastic hula dancers bobbling on the shelves behind the bar. The only problem I had with the place is the same one I have with other, similar neighborhood joints: When a bar has a great jukebox and business is slow, why, oh, why doesn’t someone turn off the tv?! Sarah’s would have made a mint from my friends and me, who just wanted to hear some tunes, but we didn’t want to interrupt the guys at the bar counter glued to South Park.
Oh, well. My entourage and I left Sarah’s and headed to Crossroads, at Jennings and Pennsylvania avenues, in the sadly depleted gayborhood. That bar might as well have been closed. As soon as we sat down, most of the people there left – maybe gaydar works in reverse for them, although my previous experience in gay bars has led me to believe that straight guys in gay bars are viewed as potential converts. Hmmpf.
We ended our night at Finn McCool’s, on Eighth Avenue, home of the very grumpy bartender. A little advice, Mr. Happy: A good way to greet people coming into your bar, especially on a slow night, might include saying, “How’s it going?” or “What can I get ya?” or even a simple “Hi,” whatever. Just say something. Making people feel as if they’re bothering you by ordering a drink can’t be good for business. However, the $2 Miller Lite drafts went a long way toward taking my mind off the grouch behind the bar.
To quote South Park, I learned something that day: If you’re in the mood for cheap drinks and a lot of elbow room at the bar, Sunday is your day.
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