Last Call: Wednesday, May 17, 2006
The Station\r\n600 W Magnolia, FW. \r\n817-348-8660.\r\n\r\nStampede\r\n621 Hemphill St, FW.\r\n817-335-0196.\r\n\r\n7th Haven\r\n2929 Crockett St, FW.\r\n817-335-0470.

Clubland’s a fickle creature — what may be Viagra to one joint is Kryptonite to another.

Case in point: The recent re-openings of two Fort Worth establishments, the 7th Haven in the Cultural District and the place formerly known as Magnolia Station on the South Side. Both hang-outs go to great lengths to recreate their original looks. One works. One doesn’t.

Back in the day, the grungy Magnolia Station was pretty much the only gay game in town. Then a couple of years ago, as it was on its deathbed, a few other decent gay joints miraculously popped up, including Changes, Club Vivid, and, even though it’s now temporarily closed, Hot Shots. The return of Magnolia Station should have been a momentous occasion, a reminder of Fort Worth’s not-so-great gay past and how far we’ve come, and a message to all of North Texas that our city isn’t as backward as everybody thinks. Instead, The Station, as the reincarnation is now simply known, is, well, a little haggard. The hardwood dance-floor, the low-lit bar counter, the pool tables — even if you’ve never been to the original, you’ll easily be able to tell that most of the Station’s stuff has been around for ages.

You also don’t get the sense that the new owners are trying to commemorate the bar’s former existence. You either think: “Boy, whoever took over this place must not yet be able to afford some cool new furniture and Windex” or “Boy, whoever took over this place is lazy.”

The Station was totally dead when I swung by last weekend. In the joint’s defense, the parking situation over there is screwed up. James Dernehl, the owner of the adjacent property, Operating Tech Electronics, keeps his commodious parking lot off limits. For him, it’s a liability issue. “I don’t want the headache,” Dernehl said. “And I don’t need the money.”

One of the universal gay community’s most winning attributes is its ability to constantly push forward. I don’t think any local gays would mind if the new take on their beloved and long-lost Magnolia Station was paid a visit by the Fab Five.

On the other side of town, where the parking is plentiful and anti-social electronics store proprietors are rare, the deja-vu approach is working wonders for the 7th Haven. Co-owner Jimmy Moore has done a nice job of replicating the original Haven’s laid-back vibe and French Quarter look but without sacrificing a touch of newness.

Then again, maybe his tack works because most of his regulars, unlike The Station’s and moi, don’t equate creaky furniture with a lack of social progress.

Mornin’, Marys!

You know what I love about being a professional booze-hound? The occasional eye-opener. Starting today (Wednesday), the Southside gay joint Stampede will begin opening its doors at 7 a.m. every Wednesday through Friday.

“We’ve got roughly 4,000 hospital employees close to us,” said Stampede owner James Allen. “A lot of them are gay. If they’re working the graveyard shift, to them, 7 o’clock is the afternoon.”

To sweeten the deal, Allen will be serving $1 Bloody Marys. Apparently, eye-openers are great, but cheap ones are even better.

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