Forella (right), pictured with manager Blake Parish, reopened Lola’s Trailer Park Tuesday, with the saloon to open mid-June. Photo by Lee Newquist

I talked to my wife about it, and she decided, for both of us, that I would stay home and work. The other option was to go to the bar. Since this Tuesday afternoon was breezy and shady, the thought of sipping/chugging Bud Light on the patio of Lola’s Trailer Park sounded great. My favorite spot was reopening, and as much as I wanted to be there, I didn’t want to forget I was still, y’know, on the clock. More times than I want to or can remember, “Let’s go grab a couple beers” has turned into last call. My wife and I also weren’t sure about the other customers. Lola’s itself, I wasn’t worried about. I’ve known owner Brian Forella for more than 20 years. I know that when he says his place will be spotless, his employees will be wearing protection, and that social distancing guidelines will be respected, I can’t even begin to doubt him. I also know that whatever extra security he’s hired can’t be everywhere at all times, scolding customers for approaching customers at other tables or wiping down every single piece of furniture anyone touches. For germophobes like me, now’s probably not a good time to start socializing in public. That’s me talking, not my wife. Honestly.

I certainly have no designs on being any sort of hero of late capitalism. Lee Newquist and younger brother Michael Newquist, the guys who own our paper and run the advertising side? Those dudes are local-loving supermen. They’re probably at Lola’s — or The Boiled Owl or Central Market or Poag Mahone’s — as we speak. They take great pleasure in investing in the community they love so much. I’ll just continue to show my support from at least 6 feet away. And while wearing a mask.

I got sucked into it the other day, “the social network,” that infernal cesspool whose name I can’t even bring myself to say. I had seen so many of my “friends” (and friends) post nonsense about masks that I had to leave a snippy comment: “The mask isn’t to protect you. It’s to keep you from getting other people sick if you’re asymptomatic. Wearing a mask is just a G.D. common courtesy.”


Or maybe that was the 10 Bud Lights talking.

Either way, if universal masks are going to save us, as has been suggested, then the United States will become an actual cesspool.

Here’s a story. Since 1844, my family has been ordering our groceries for pickup. Two lousy days ago, as my wife was on her way to Walgreens to grab some scripts, she noticed that the parking lot of our local Kroger was mostly empty. In need of some odds and ends around the house, she popped inside. More than three-quarters of the other customers she saw, or about three dozen of them, were not wearing masks. Note: Not wearing a mask in public does not make you a hero. Not wearing a mask only makes you a selfish asshole. It doesn’t say you’re a patriot to whom directives do not apply or to whom they loom as ominously as infringements on freedom itself. It says you don’t care if you get other people sick, because you can be asymptomatic and still pass along COVID-19. Dotards. Then again, could there be anything more American than the ability to kill other people easily and claim it as a right? Says the guy who can drink 10 Bud Lights in one sitting.

The Star-Telegram reported that most bars across West 7th Street from Lola’s had waiting lines on Friday and Saturday nights, the first full weekend of reopened bars/venues. The paper went on to say that places like Durty Crow, The Local, Reservoir, and Texas Republic appeared to be respecting social distancing and cleanliness. The Usual on the other side of town, the Near Southside, was pretty subdued, the Star-T said. Business at MASS, the progressive-music venue on the Near Southside, was “rough,” co-owner Ryan Higgs told me. “We are an event-driven space. Not too much walkup without a show going.”

As Lola’s will begin music inside in mid-June, Forella said, Higgs said MASS may start earlier. “We’re contemplating it,” Higgs added. “It will be seated/ticketed shows. It will have to be a listening room of sorts.”

If music does start at MASS, it won’t be this weekend but Friday, June 5. Like at Lola’s, MASS’ guidelines for proper venue/bar behavior are posted everywhere inside. There is also extra security to enforce the rules “for the safety of everyone,” Higgs said.

How do you drink with a mask on? Easy. You pull it down and take a sip. It’s like smoking but healthier. Like, there’s no downside to it at all. Except strangers can’t see how wholly handsome or pretty you are, I guess. — Anthony Mariani



In our coverage of the upcoming Near Southside music hall/bar/lounge Tulips (“Building Fort Worth’s Post-COVID-19 Future,” May 20), we mistakenly stated that Tulips owner Jason Suder was “excited” for bar owners who are reopening their establishments. His original statement was that he was “concerned” for them, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We regret the error.


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