Did you ever go to Monte Carlo’s? It was thisdive on South Cooper Street in Arlington that used to have occasional concerts. I played there only once, but I recall that it reminded me of The Emporium in Dazed and Confused,mostly because the show we played was 18-and-up. Thebar in that spot now is the Cooper Street Pub, but the people who owned Monte Carlo’s moved their business into the huge building across the street and renamed it The House Sports Bar & Grill.
Hidden despite its size, The House sits in a strip mall behind a bottleneck between a Spring Creek Barbecue and a two-story retail building that’s home to a Cindie’s adult toy store, a sushi restaurant, and, if I remember correctly, a hair salon. The House is next to a tattoo parlor called Da Kandy Shop. I bring up this geography because for people from Fort Worth who look down their noses at Arlington, this might sound like the most Arlington thing ever, especially given that of the 10 or 12 motorcycles parked in front of the House’s front door last Monday, half of them were crotch rockets. If you were on a reality show about professional diorama builders (and if you think that’s a stupid idea, consider that there are at least seven reality shows about making cakes, not counting any general “cook-off” shows that have cake-baking competitions), this is what your team would build if it got stuck with constructing “Quintessential South Arlington Retail Complex.” For extra detail, I suggest adding five or six miniature beer bottles lying in between the cars in the parking slots. Heineken would probably work, though when I drove over a fully loaded one, it was Bud Light Platinum.
The House’s signature characteristic is its enormity — it might cover the same square footage as the weight zone in a 24-Hour Fitness. In fact, you could probably put all of the exercise equipment in this place, and it would still look kinda empty. Imagine a hotel ballroom crossed with a private airplane hangar. I couldn’t tell how many people were hanging out, because theplace is divided up into regions — poker area, bar area, back patio, condiment station. If you painted lines on the floor, each area might qualify for its own zip code, or they might unite and secede from Texas as their own state.
One of the new state’s political subdivisions could be called Gamestown. To the right of the front door, you’ll find four pool tables arranged between shuffleboard and foosball tables. In among the pool tables, big-screen Golden Tees, and a multi-game arcade cabinet is a bunch of cocktail seating. And yet, you’d still have to have 700 people in there, even with all that stuff, for the place to feel cozy.
Despite all that, The House is still pretty welcoming. The staff was really nice, and had I not eaten my weight in barbecue chips earlier that evening, I probably would’ve ordered some pizza or nachos — The House has a good selection of bar food, in addition to 20 beers on tap. I sat at the bar, a stretch of polished concrete that might as well have gone on for a mile. Hung from the bricks above the taps and the beer coolers was the requisite row of TVs, tuned to South Park, SportsCenter, and some dystopic teen drama on MTV. I couldn’t tell what the plot was, but one character was talking about a legendary computer hacker. Later this turned into Blue Crush 2: South African Surfer Girls Crush, Too.After three drinks and an hour of squinting into the House’s middle distance, I drove back to Fort Worth, where my apartment suddenly felt a lot smaller. –– Steve Steward
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[box_info]The House Sports Bar & Grill
3610 S Cooper St, Arlington. 817-465-4747.[/box_info]