The concept is simple. Pay one cover charge and get access to a bunch of different clubs in the same building. City Streets has been doing it for years, and now West Exchange, a similar complex, has opened in the Stockyards.
A buddy and I checked it out last weekend. Our first stop: G’Dub’s, a sports bar with enough plasma-screen tv’s on the wall to start a party in any sports fan’s pants. The drinks were reasonably priced, and even though we got there early, there was a decent crowd. Now, as a baby-boomer, I don’t really care what people think of my casual, sports-bar-going clothes – my 14-year-old daughter might, for whatever reason, but I sure as hell don’t. Naturally, I fit right in with most of the other customers: guys in jean shorts (upon which were fastened cell phones) and Hawaiian shirts. The women – and there were a few – were finely coiffed and attired Southlake beauty queens who no doubt had been dragged there by their Hawaiian-shirt-wearing husbands and boyfriends but didn’t seem to mind much.
The only reason we left was the music: “Sweet Melissa,” “We Are Family,” and ton of other moldy oldies that we’ve all heard nine million times. I don’t fault G’Dub’s for knowing its customers and catering to them. There’s no doubt that baby-boomers rule the marketplace. We have a lot of disposable income, and, since we like to think and act young, we tend to spend it on leisure pursuits, including hanging out at bars and clubs. I just can’t take classic rock without any new or adventurous stuff to mix it up a little.
Tricky’s Cowgirls, a Coyote Ugly-ish club, played the same kind of music. In their tiny t-shirts and tight jeans, the waitresses looked great – and I don’t blame them one second for not getting on the bar tops and dancing too much. “Back in Black” doesn’t do it for me either.
Next stop: Widgie’s Karaoke, where we encountered two middle-aged gals (that is, our age) doing “Like a Virgin.” I don’t think the door even had time to close all of the way before we were out of there and on to the next place, Pat’s Dueling Pianos. My take on Pat’s: If you’ve ever seen one group of boomers singing along to “Tiny Dancer” (“Hold me closer, Tony Danza”) and “Sweet Caroline,” you’ve pretty much seen ’em all.
Our last stop was Spinner’s Blues Bar – and what a relief. The place had a low ceiling, dim lighting, and a basement-bar vibe. Even better, the dirty blues band onstage, Second Hand Soul, complemented the vibe perfectly. Sitting there sipping on a cold one, I got the feeling that I was part of something different in the Stockyards. Hell, something different in the entire city.
West Exchange, in its first month of business, has been doing great on weekends but has been hit-or-miss on the weekdays, which is why the place will be closed Mondays through Wednesdays. No skin off our boomers’ backs. Mondays through Wednesdays is our time for swinging deals on the golf course or doing power lunches. As the classic-rock staple says, we’re just “Working for the Weekend.”
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