I hadn’t been to the Horseman Club in years, but I remembered the spacious nightspot in Cityview Shopping Center as being close enough to the Air Force base formerly known as Carswell to attract an interesting mix of flyboys, along with the odd trust-fund baby with Daddy’s credit card and also, of course, rednecks of both the refined and rugged varieties. And on most nights there was live Texas Music, and it was almost always homegrown. Yup, on pretty much any given Saturdee night, the Horseman was one helluva sweaty, loud, rowdy, one-Jell-O-shot-too-many kind of place.
Times change. The hubby and I popped in last Thursday night, and for reasons not entirely the Horseman’s own, the place seemed rather subdued. “Mature” might be a better word, even though most of the folks there were as young as I remembered ’em. And there were folks there, spread out and lined up on the two bar counters, no doubt taking advantage of the Thursday special “Ladies’ Night”: no cover, $1.25 wells, and – get this – 75-cent drafts.
Sipping on a rum-and-Coke, I remembered that for a minute not too long ago, the Horseman closed – but only to reopen shortly thereafter. Curious, I asked my friendly bartender for an explanation.
“Housekeeping,” he said.
“Yeah,” butted in Mr. Bouncer Guy, seated nearby. “See those lights up there?” he said, pointing to a string of bright, Christmas-y looking bulbs over the bar. I nodded.
“I put those up,” he went on. “That’s what we did when we closed.”
Ohhh, I get it. House. Keeping. As in, “We’re not gonna talk to you about it, lady.”
Whatever. The Horseman is up and running, has been for months now, with special emphasis on the word “running.” Fridays are for big Texas Music shows by the likes of Roger Creager, No Justice, local Justin Ross, and other well-knowns, Saturdays are for DJ dancin’, and on Sundays, local musos play acoustic. (And not just any local musos – Flickerstick’s Brandin Lea and Calhoun’s Tim Locke are two past participants.)
There isn’t anything as fancy on Thursdays, but the night still kicks. Not like old times, of course, but still pretty decently. At around 7:30 p.m., all of the guys and gals at the bar – many, no doubt fortified by the drink specials – got off their rumps and lined up on the dance floor. Guys on one side, gals on the other. Into that affable gauntlet of humanity sprang Blake Elder, a good-natured professional dancer who teaches dance at the University of Texas-Arlington and also has his own Blake Elder Dance studio on White Settlement Road.
Now, my rhythmically challenged husband accompanied me to the Horseman because I reminded him that when I’ve had a few too many – dances and/or cheap well drinks – the last thing I wanna do is sit down, especially not behind the wheel of a moving death machine. He grudgingly agreed to dance but was none too pleased to find out that we were not always dancin’ with the ones whut brung us. Elder, who has been tripping the light fantastic as a pro for more than 20 years, is convinced that dancing with different partners is key to pelv-tastic, feet-jivin’ success. (Mad props to Dakota from Mansfield. Keep up the good work.)
Elder led us through an hour of basic steps, starting with the traditional two-step and ending with considerably more difficult moves. Am I ready for So You Think You Can Dance? That’s a big hell naw. But even my husband – he of the two left feet and weird aversion to, um, swinging – had to admit that Elder’s class made cutting the rug not seem so potentially traumatizing, in the emotional sense and also quite possibly, considering my husband, the physical sense. The cheap booze only helped.
Speaking of which, drafts are one cold, crisp American dollar on Fridays 7-9 p.m. and on Saturdays 6-10 p.m. Wells and domestic longnecks are $1.75 on Fridays and Saturdays during happy hour, and on Saturdays, the Horseman has $2 “Everything Else.”
Just remember: Copious amounts of cheap hooch make everyone a better dancer. Just ask the people who saw me there last Thursday. – Laurie Barker James
Contact Last Call at firstname.lastname@example.org.