I hadn’t seen my friend Ashley, a nurse, in too long, so I called her last Monday to hang out.

“Can we go in the afternoon?” she wanted to know.

Apparently she had to be at Parkland Hospital in Dallas for her shift the next day, Tuesday, at 5:30 a.m.

Lola's Rectangle (6)

I’d only gotten to bed at about 5:30 that morning, so I was kind of coasting through the day on reserve power, but I hadn’t seen her in forever, so I agreed to meet her at Reservoir around 3 p.m. We mostly had the West 7th place to ourselves, after getting seated by one of the most affable servers I’ve ever met. Pretty and inquisitive, Rose sat us in a cushy, high-backed booth upholstered in coffee-colored leather, sort of cattycorner to the bar, itself a handsome fort of natural-finish wood and a pressed-tin ceiling, tended by an attractive young woman. Rose brought us a couple of huge glasses of water. Ashley ordered a schooner of Revolver Blood and Honey. I could handle only a pint.

“Oh, no,” Ashley said. “Are you going to be lame?”

I told her what time I’d gone to bed, and she was sort of horrified. Rose sounded kind of impressed.

“It was actually 6 a.m.,” I said, humble-bragging.

“Well, you better be fun,” Ashley said. “I don’t know how you manage to stay up that late.”

Neither do I. I’d meant to take it easy Sunday night but ended up at Lola’s Saloon to see Pinkish Black instead, which got the train rolling to points far and beyond, until I found myself crawling under the covers right before the sun came up. After Lola’s closed, I had run into a friend at Ol’ South –– we hung out shooting the shit until one of us looked at the clock and decided to be an adult.

At Reservoir, I think I was still pretty fun. Ashley and I caught up on each other’s lives. She ordered a frozen Red Bull and vodka, I nursed a second beer, and we ordered food somewhere in there. The menu was kind of pricey, full of upscale bar food and, interestingly, the option to order a Pabst Blue Ribbon as a side.

“People think we’re a restaurant,” Rose explained, “but we’re really more of a gastropub.”

I was already having enough trouble finishing the beer, so I just ordered fries along with the Reservoir Dog, a beef frank as long as my forearm, topped with beans, jalapeños, sour cream, bacon, and tomatoes.

“If you eat all that, I’ll be impressed,” Rose said.

I reasoned that I’d eaten, like, four or five hotdogs in one sitting on many occasions while drinking, and, at most, the Reservoir Dog was the equivalent of two and a quarter regular-sized hotdogs. Ashley nibbled on chicken tenders fried in a batter made with crushed-up Cap’n Crunch, and I wondered if she was making a bet with herself over whether or not I was going to polish off my monstrosity. I gave up with about two bites left, gazing glassy-eyed at the bar’s tasteful wood-and-steel design scheme, its leather accents, and the other cute servers milling around.

“This place kind of looks like a Dallas bar,” Ashley said, peering over the top of another schooner. “I like all the TVs.”

And indeed, there were TVs pretty much everywhere, all but the one directly in front of us lit up with BCS championship pre-game stuff. As if reading my thoughts, a manager came by. “Did you want this TV off?” he asked. I was indifferent — it wasn’t like I couldn’t stare at five other ones — but I said, “Sure.” Along with the subtle, stylish, modern décor, the service at Reservoir makes for a pretty relaxed experience. I don’t really know what Reservoir’s nightlife is like, but the afternoon vibe was perfectly mellow for a cloudy afternoon, with the crowd picking up as game time approached.

Weighed down by a huge, late lunch and a couple of beers, I stifled a yawn and tabbed out. Ashley followed suit, and we said our goodbyes in the parking lot.

“That was fun,” she said.

“Next time,” I said, “I’ll take you to a ’70s carpet bar.”

She smiled. “As long as you go to bed early the night before.”

Then I went home and took a massive nap. –– Steve Steward




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