A couple of Saturday nights ago, a co-worker had her wedding reception downtown at Bass Performance Hall’s McDavid Studio, which gave my wife and me an excuse to dress like grown-ups and get out of the house, with the chance that we might go out afterward.
Downtown doesn’t spring to mind when I think of party ‘hoods – I’m more of a West Seventh/TCU/Magnolia Av kind of guy: casual and extremely cheap. But post-wedding, seeing as I was in a suit and tie – and showered and shaven! – and already buzzing from a ton of free booze, I let my wife and some friends talk me into staying downtown and going upscale, starting with The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium. Not to hang out, unfortunately, but to hit the ATM – we were on our way to the Scat Lounge jazz club and expecting to pay a small cover. Because I’m made of money, I was chosen to float the cash. The Saucer was packed, and, as we soon discovered, so was the Scat. The line to get into the club in the basement of the Burkburnett Building was out the door. Who knew Fort Worth had so many jazz lovers? (Quick – name three local jazz musicians!)
Our backup plan, Houston Street Bar & Patio, is decidedly less snazzy (and jazzy) than the Scat but was no less crowded. Apparently, the Houston Street bosses hate me because of a good-bad review I gave them a while back. Whatever. They can’t stop me from hanging out there, and I proved it by downing six beers in about 30 minutes. Ha!
At one point, I stole away and popped into Bar 9, a fancy club a few storefronts down. The door guy asked me for $5, which sent me into a u-turn, only to be brought back around by the magic words “don’t worry about it – go on inside.”
The guy wasn’t just being cool. The place was kind of empty, and maybe he thought I looked like someone who could bring the party, what with my fine threads and all.
But, as usual, I brought nothing but my sunshiny, broke self, which started no parties (that I know of) but earned me a free ice-cold bottle of domestic beer from Jem Rodriguez, a buddy of mine and one of a couple really awesome barkeeps there, if not one of the awesomest in the entire city. Rodriguez also pours at Embargo, where you can happily drown in his signature invention, the pomojito, a mojito made with pomegranate juice instead of the regular limejuice. Best. Cocktail. Ever.
I eventually split and went back to Houston Street, where the first face to greet me at the door was that of none other than Jarrett Joslin, the owner of Bar 9 and, across the street, Bent Lounge and SoDo Grill. I thanked him for the special treatment at Bar 9, which made him tilt his head like a puppy. Oh, never mind, bro. Enjoy your free time while you can. In a few months, the Omni Hotel will open up nearby, and some of the first things Omni guests will see outside the lobby will be Joslin’s three joints. The only free time he’s going to have will be between the hours of about 3 a.m., after Bar 9 and Bent close and are swept up, and 10:30 a.m., when the Grill opens.
Last weekend was much less fancy and, save for my Bar 9 visit, way cheaper. I had the best time at Lola’s (formerly 6th Street Live), where an excellent show by the Whiskey Folk Ramblers with Telegraph Canyon went down. Telegraph Canyon is a folk-rock band in the best sense of the term: a lot of flannel shirts and jeans, beards, and tons of electric and acoustic instruments. During one song, a band member had strapped on one of those big round bass drums that you see in marching bands, and he played the hell out of it. The Whiskey Folk Ramblers’ set was just as kick-ass.
The Ramblers themselves looked like reformed rude boys, in their bowler caps and old-man clothes. I guess that at some point, young punks grow up and trade in their angst for (sigh!) resignation. Case in point: Lola’s itself, whose owner, Brian Forella, started the club not long after his beloved Wreck Room was closed to make room for urban redevelopment. As mature as Lola’s is, though, I still wouldn’t go there in a suit and tie.
Contact Last Call at firstname.lastname@example.org.