For whatever reason the other night, I had the mystical ville of Grand Prairie on my mind, because I was heading east on I-30 and didn’t feel like stopping in Arlington — I’d originally planned to check out World of Beer but had forgotten to bring along my beer expert. So I hung a hard right at Hwy 161, frowning at a bunch of construction equipment hulking next to the poorly lit road.
My unfamiliarity with the area made me keenly aware of my expired registration. I pulled over on a side street — Fort Worth Street, as it turned out –– to get my bearings. Using Yelp’s app, I searched for nearby bars. At the top of the list was a place called Diamond Jim’s Saloon, a name that practically demanded a visit.
Unfortunately, Diamond Jim’s is actually in Arlington, so my exploratory foray into the wilds of the county’s eastern border would have to wait. I headed back west, Grand Prairie’s Main Street turning into Abrams Street as I crossed the Great Southwest Parkway into Arlingfun.
Diamond Jim’s is the first of three bars on the strip, housed in what looks like a giant old saloon or a giant Old San Francisco Steakhouse. Probably because Diamond Jim’s used to be an old Old San Francisco Steakhouse. I’ve never actually been in one of those, so I don’t know how it works for steaks, but for great big country dives, Old San Francisco Steakhouses seem to work just fine. The marquee advertised a Cody Jinks show from the previous Saturday; inside I saw a pretty high stage in front of parquet dance floor; later, a DJ set up and got to work. Apparently, I’d stumbled into yet another karaoke night.
The main room was filled in the middle with tables and chairs, bracketed by the bar on one side and orange, semi-circular booths on the other. Peering through the dimness, I spied more seating up some stairs. I imagine Diamond Jim’s can hold some pretty big shows. I asked the bartender, a lady named Tanya, about the Cody Jinks concert. “It was pretty big,” she said. “A lot of our regulars are fans of his.”
Beyond the main room, behind the wall backing the stage, was the pool room. Diamond Jim’s holds regular pool tournaments, and there were a dozen or more people shooting the shit as they knocked back liquids along with solids and stripes. At one point, the bar owner called out for $2 shots, so I downed another Jack. I figured I’d probably done enough damage for the night and hit the road, though I half-hoped to find another cool place where I could keep drinking, someplace hiding below the radar, waiting for me to make another hard right and run into it. — Steve Steward
Where is Whiskey Warmer?
Apparently, it’s all over — I put up a Facebook post last week, looking for Rahr’s bourbon-barrel-aged seasonal beer, and I was quickly inundated with comments telling me where to find it. In short, well, I was proud. Proud that you can get Whiskey Warmer at beer-snob-baiting places like The Ginger Man, as well as a boisterous dive like The Grotto. I got to thinking. Fort Worth is really lucky to have a brewery to brag about, especially since its beers keep getting better and better. I bring this up because our big, bossy, big-haired sister on the other side of the Trinity (and on the other side of Grand Prairie) finally has her own craft brewery, Deep Ellum Brewing Company, holding its grand opening and inaugural tour on Saturday. Why am I mentioning a Dallas beer-maker in a column whose ambit extends only to Tarrant County? Because Rahr has a potential rival/buddy now; while most of Rahr’s beers are good and brews like Whiskey Warmer and Iron Thistle are fantastic, Rahr’s brewers now have all the more reason to keep pushing the quality of their products — and to remain the best brewery in North Texas. — S.S.
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