Last Call: Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Jack’s Off the Wall
2731 White Settlement Rd, FW. 817-850-9955.

Club Chrome
2408 E Belknap St,
FW. 817-222-2244.
Open Letter to Off-the-Wall Jack

Dear Mr. Off-the-Wall Jack. Don’t worry. I’m not writing you now in the hope that you’ll change your name to something less disgusting. Rather, as a friend and concerned citizen, I’d like to say that, Jack, my man, I think you need a serious attitude adjustment.

On the outside, sure, you’re hot-to-trot. Fact is, I’d say every other neighborhood bar and grill in town looks like a greasy couch potato compared to you, starting with your rich rustic décor, all distressed brass trim, blonde wood, and ranchhouse feel. Then you got your plasma-screen tv’s and your fine-lookin’ waitresses dressed as cowgirls. Plus, your food ain’t bad, either.

So in the looks department, Jack, you’re the Brad Pitt of local holes-in-the-wall. But the outside isn’t what I’m worried about, buddy. You and I both know that customers don’t fall in love with places based on looks, and if they do, it’s a summer fling.

A friend of mine told me that he and his girlfriend recently paid you a visit to grab some grub and maybe hang out a little. But your hostess wouldn’t let ’em in unless they paid the cover charge. Not a steep cover, especially to see the performer at the time, legendary C&W singer-songwriter Steven Fromholz, but a cover nonetheless. Naturally, my pals refused. They don’t know their Steven Fromholz from their Stevie Wonder. Now, we all know that world-class musicians need to be paid, but here are some things for you to consider, mon ami Jack.

First: You’re just not big enough to separate your fine-dining personality from your performance personality. People who just want to eat and hang out with you shouldn’t be penalized for overhearing some live music. Plus, for a club/restaurant as young as you are, I don’t think you should be turning away customers. When a couple of friends and I paid you a visit last Tuesday, we found only five or six other folks in the place. Here’s a recommendation: Pay your marquee performers a decent guarantee and rely on bar receipts to compensate for your out-of-pocket expenses. Believe you me, had you served up Fromholz for free last weekend, I know about a dozen people who would’ve gone and done some serious damage to your booze inventory.

And second: Right down the street at Sardines Ristorante Italiano customers can sup on excellent Italian fare while listening to live music from one of Texas’ all-time great jazzmen — for free. For the past 20 years, seven days a week, Jhon Kahsen has been bringing straight-ahead jazz to the masses at Sardines, and if any musician warrants a cover, it’s him.

Jack, I know you’re a stud and all, but at some point you gotta ask yourself: Where would you be without fans?

Non-Desperate Measures

When Chrome Grill opened a couple of years ago, it was a biker bar. Now under new ownership, Club Chrome is a dance club. The leap from hogs to hip-hop isn’t as great as you might think. Men born listening to Southern-fried rock and kids raised on hip-hop have a few things in common, mainly rebelliousness. Neither group has had much success in taking down The Man, and it shows in their music — aggressive, hard-charging, punch-you-in-the-gut music. For the kids, the flavor of choice is rap and R&B. For bikers, Pantera. Different instruments and vocal deliveries; same screw-you spirit.

Biker bars and dance clubs, of course, have vastly divergent customer bases. Most bikers are older white guys, and most hip-hoppers are young and all over the racial/ethnic map. At Club Chrome last weekend, the crowd was almost an equal mix of twentysomething African-Americans, underage whites (the kind usually seen stalking the Stockyards), and Asian kids, presumably from down the road in Haltom City.

The club speaks to the youngsters, with its blacklit, ultra-urban vibe: seemingly luminescent pool tables, subwoofers everywhere, and scary meat-head bouncers in tight black t-shirts.

With DJ’s busier than ever in the Fort, especially downtown and in the Stockyards, there seems to be a more concerted effort on behalf of nightclubs to capture the dancing 18-25 demographic.

Not sure I can say the same for efforts to bring in bikers, at least until the cold weather breaks and riders start hitting the pavement again. Last week, a police officer casually mentioned that one hog-friendly outpost just got busted for what he jokingly referred to as partaking in “desperate measures”: allowing female servers to disrobe on counter-tops for cash.

Evidently, the club should’ve hired a techno DJ instead.

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