I don’t know what the drive is like on a Sunday, but if you’re free on a Tuesday afternoon, I highly recommend heading to Eagle Mountain Lake for some lunch beers. I went last week after reading too many of those 978 Things to Do Before You Die Unless You’re OK with a Boring Life-type lists and deciding I needed to get out more.
Setting a lakefront bar called Augie’s Sunset Café as my destination, I made my way north from 820 through River Oaks and Azle before heading west on Ten Mile Bridge Road, a scenic cruise along a gently rolling two-lane patch of asphalt that threaded through grassy meadows and thickets of trees. Elms? Oaks? I think I recognized the oaks. Like I said, I need to get out more.
Ten Mile Bridge terminates in a smaller road leading into a mobile home park, and Augie’s (plus a bar I didn’t end up going to called The Spillway) is next to where that road turns into a boat launch. You can’t miss it. If the signs where the road bends left at a Little League field don’t tip you off, Augie’s is a big, pink building with a broad, enclosed deck that extends over the water for nearly a quarter mile. Or a nautical mile. Do nautical miles apply to all bodies of water?
As far as my guestimated measurements go, the deck section was huge, big enough for a stage (itself big enough for a five- or six-person band) with plenty of acreage left for cocktail tables. By contrast, the bar-and-grill side was practically cramped, endearingly cluttered with the kind of stuff you’d expect to find at a blue-collar lakefront marina –– life preservers, beer signs, drunk guys named Randy –– all packed into the corners and walls with the economy you’d use if you lived on a sailboat.
Does that make you hear Christopher Cross in your head? Don’t let your yacht rock fantasy get the better of you. While the canvas probably still does miracles no matter what body of water you’re sailing on, Eagle Mountain Lake isn’t exactly Marina del Rey, though you might see someone who looks like Kenny Loggins or Michael McDonald –– if Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald were retired aircraft mechanics who cut the sleeves off all their shirts.
The walls are covered in corrugated metal, and the room is separated into sections: a spot for two billiards tables, a foosball table, and some 8-line machines. To the right of the front door, the room steps down into a dining area that overlooks the deck. Opposite the door is the bar, a sturdy U-shape job that bends out from the kitchen, in the middle of which is an island for the booze. It was about 2 p.m. when I walked in, and the nearest sides of the bar were full of regulars, mostly men, mostly middle-aged. I sat down on the opposite side. The bartender, a friendly woman in her 50s, greeted me immediately, “We’re talking about the new Titanic,” she said. “What can I get you?”
At first I thought the Oscar-winning movie about James Cameron’s engineering fetishes was being remade, but she told me how some company has proposed to recreate the most famous ocean liner of all time. Piece by piece. In three-dimensional reality. I asked her if she would book a voyage on it.
“I think I’d let them get a few trips in first,” she said with a laugh.
I sat there a while, drinking and thinking about all the time I’ve wasted, idly whiling hours away at dive bars when I should have been crossing shit off my bucket list (which now includes “travel by ocean liner,” as it happens). Not pondering that kind of shit: Randy. Instead of gazing down all of the roads untraveled, he was spinning yarns about stuff he actually did do.
“Y’all remember that bull Buster?” he slurred. “I rode Buster for eight fuckin’… no wait … 10 or 11 seconds.”
Then someone asked him how long it took him to get over it. I wasn’t sure if they meant injuries or a life event that could never be topped. I’ll probably have more list-worthy afternoons than the one I spent at Augie’s Sunset Café. Maybe I’ll have as much fun. –– Steve Steward
Follow Steve @bryanburgertime.
Augie’s Sunset Café & Marina
6172 Park Rd, FW. 817-237-5868.