Last Call: Wednesday, September 14, 2005
A Tale of Two Sevenths

Harmony, people. Life is all about harmony. Ask anyone who’s seen enough martial arts films: There’s always a little yin and a little yang. And what’s true for Bruce Lee’s world is also true for the Cultural District’s portion of West Seventh Street. The redevelopment of the Montgomery Ward building into pricey loft apartments and a Super Target (we love that some uppity fools’ loft windows will fall under the never-ending gaze of that dreaded red bull’s-eye) is gonna — slowly, painfully — turn hip ol’ West Seventh into suburbia. Gone will be the good-natured bohemians that normally populate the area, tippin’ ale at joints like the Wreck Room, J&J’s Hideaway, and the Torch. In their place: art-hatin’ yuppies and empty-nesters — gag!

But where some of us see death and destruction, others (thank God) see an opportunity to enlighten ... and make beaucoup bucks in the meantime.

A trifecta of ma-and-pa clubs are slated to open in the warehouse-y part of West Seventh, across the street from Monkey Ward’s and in the vicinity of Fred’s Café and Pop’s Safari Cigars & Wine Bar. One of the forthcoming hang-outs will be the new address of a longtime West Seventh establishment that was destroyed in a fire earlier this year. Keeping its name, the 7th Haven will relocate to 2929 Crockett St. What you can expect from the new Haven, according to owner Jimmy Moore, is, well, more of the same — dim lighting, intimate interior, and a patio (though instead of out back, the new one will be on the roof).

Moore’s next-door neighbor will be Tad Gaither’s Black Dog Tavern. The Throckmorton dive will retain its famous Sunday night jazz jams and spoken-word poetry slams, while adding a new dimension — food. Former My Martini chef Johndavid Bartlett has been brought in to do his magic in the kitchen. BTW, the move was first reported a couple of weeks ago in the Star-T. Apparently, someone at the Dog tipped off one of the daily paper’s “reporters,” which makes sense — the Startlegram does so much to support the alternative culture that the Black Dog allegedly espouses. (Yeah, right.)

Is Gaither excited about being one of the first in line to tap a potentially lucrative market? “I don’t know,” he said. “Call me back in a year.” If the new Black Dog’s successful, he said, “I’ll sell it to you.”

Two streets over from all the coolness on Crockett will be a martini bar. Ten, helmed by Poop Deck Lounge bartender October Pennington, is scheduled to open in November. Pennington describes her inaugural Clubland venture as a little “higher quality” than what can currently be found in the boys’ tree house-ish ’hood of West Seventh. She thinks that Ten will work well with Monkey Ward, whose developers, she said, are “going for more of a Highland Park feel and not Bryant-Irvin.” (Um, we’re not too sure what the hell — or where the hell — Highland Park is, but ... )

Yes, no amount of fancy furniture, gourmet food, or Dallas ’tude will ever be able to replace the experience of taking in an old-school punk show at the Wreck or waking up late on a weekday and drinking an eye-opener at JJ’s or partying ’til the wee hours of the morn at the Torch. But as long as there are ma-and-pa owners, there will be hope.

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