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I’ve seen them, the humidors – I know they exist. And while I don’t spend a lot of time at the upscale nightclubs downtown, sometimes I get lost on my way to The Moon or Fred’s and end up in a joint near Sundance Square, surrounded by boom-siss-boom-siss music, fancily dressed peeps, bar counters lit up like Oz, and, often sooner than I like, rows of empty bottles of $12 Bud Light.

I won’t say I haunt the local upscale establishments often enough to qualify as any kind of regular or anything, but I think I have spent enough time in their swanky ambiance to remark on something weird I’ve noticed: There are humidors all around, and they’re all stocked with what I’ve been told is fine leaf, but I never see anyone smoking anything other than squares. WTF?!

Ten or 15 years ago was a different story, no doubt. An upscale club was not an upscale club unless stogies were aflame, everywhere and at all conceivable times. I can’t say I’m displeased that things have changed. The last time I spent any more than an hour in a cigar-friendly hangout was about four years ago, when I met with some people to talk shop – I walked out about three hours later feeling like a dry, withered paper bag. The face I saw in the mirror that night wasn’t mine, either. His was gray, streaked with more lines than a road map, and shrunken to half its regular size. I kid you not.

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But, as a dude, I do like the impression that smoking a stogie cuts. Even – or maybe especially – when you’re in your flip-flops, sweat pants, and a raggedy old t-shirt, chomping on a cigar lends your otherwise trashy, low-rent self a distinguished aura of savoir faire, like, “What? I can’t help it. I’m just a high-class mother-huncher. Sue me.”

I know a lot of people back in the day probably lit up just because everyone else was. So I guess that we can look back on that era as a sort of winnowing process. As the poseurs have moved on to other faddish gotta-haves, like martinis, bottle service, or PBR, the real cigar aficionados have been delighting in being able to enjoy their smoky, smelly, carcinogenic passion in peace and among their own classy kind.
Most of them are probably at Pop’s Safari Cigars & Fine Wines over by West Seventh. Still, I should point out that one upscale place downtown, Bar 9, has a bi-monthly scotch/cigar tasting and that the next one is tomorrow (Wed.). On tap will be Lagavullin 12, Balvenie 15, and Dalmore (they’re brands of scotches, poseurs), with cigars from nearby Tobacco Lane to be determined later. The time is 5:30 p.m., and the cost is $25 per person. Be there, but don’t be, um, square. (Ugh.) Visit www.myspace.com/barninefw. – Anthony Mariani

More Squares
As I’ve said a million times before, I’m not reflexively predisposed to hate on chain bars-restaurants. If the service is good, the prices right, and the clientele not totally over-the-hill or underage, I’m there, even though, I admit, I’d much rather be giving my hard-earned money to ma and pa than The Man. So imagine my quiet happiness last Friday when two pals and I sauntered into Dublin Square, a locally owned North-Fort Worth bar-restaurant that for months I mistakenly thought was a chain-type thing.

I was glad to learn otherwise, because the place was packed, and I’m all about ma-and-pa joints doing well, especially in the sea of chain businesses that is the nearby I-35-Western-Center intersection. The crowd was my kinda folk too: mostly mature Gen-X’ers, neither over- nor under-dressed, just casual. The service was excellent, which I’m sure had nothing to do with us being pals with the bartender. Also, don’t pass on the fish and chips. With all due respect to the local gold standard, Zeke’s, Dublin Square’s tilapia filets were flavored just right – not too fishy – and had just the right amount of coating: not much. Visit www.myspace.com/dublinsquarefw. – A.M.

Contact Last Call at lastcall@fwweekly.com.

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