Last Call: Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Duke’s Original Roadhouse\r\n2250 W Airport Fwy, Bedford. 817-354-1002.\r\n\r\nDublin Square\r\n6651 Fossil Bluff Dr, FW. 817-306-7312.

A couple weekends ago, a friend of mine dragged me to Bedford, a nice little bedroom community but not exactly my first (or ninth) choice for a night out on the town. I’m more martinis and shiny shoes than, say, beer and work-boots. But what the hey, I said to myself. It’s been a while since I made my way out thar, and I could use the change of scenery — like every other reporter in town, I’d been spending too much time near West Seventh Street. It’s where most of the Clubland news is happening, sure, but there’s only so much rock ’n’ roll and attractive, fun people a body can stand. I figured one weekend away wouldn’t hurt. (Too much.)

My friend and I were headed to a place that opened about a month ago called Duke’s Original Roadhouse. When she told me that that’s where we were going (unfortunately, I was already in the passenger seat), I cringed. I’d heard the radio spots on 93.3-FM The Bone, and to listen to them, you’d think that all young people care about is getting drunk and getting “some.” We do homework and have careers too, ya know!

The original Duke’s is in Addison, and while I’ve never been there, I’d be willing to bet that it’s not much different from the new one: clean, loaded with bubbly and efficient staffers, perfectly dimly lit, calculatedly distressed to give it an old-timey ice-house feel, aglow with shiny bottles of beer and booze, and equipped with a massive teakwood patio.

As for the new Duke’s, I don’t know where it gets its magic, but it’s got it. On the night that my friend and I visited, there were — no kidding — about 9,000 people there, inside and spilling onto the patio, and to my delight and her chagrin, girls outnumbered boys by about five to one.

The perfect touch? A little Bone music on the jukebox. Good luck finding awesome, cheesy hair metal anywhere on West Seventh!

An Irish Pub in a Dry Precinct?

In Texas, the wet/dry county thing is absurd. I mean, honestly. One club can be dry while the one right next door is wet. Voters decide, but everyone knows that the teetotalin’ goodie-two-shoes who seemingly serve no other function in life than to pray and vote on referenda usually end up getting their way. The other 4/5ths of the precinct are too busy strolling over into the wet county two blocks away to spend money — lots of it — on booze to bother with a silly referendum (typically one that goes under-publicized and is snuck onto ballots that have, like, a million other items listed).

I’ve lived in Texas for a while now, but I’d never been to a dry precinct, for honest and for true, until last week, when I ventured out into North Fort Worth to check out the newly opened Dublin Square. An Irish-themed pub true to its name, D-Square (my new nickname for it) is beautiful, with deep-reddish-brown wood all around, brand-spankin’ new flat-screen tv’s on the walls, and a fireplace behind the bar. Of course, seeing as the bar/restaurant is located in a dry part of the county, customers have to sign a “membership” form to purchase alcohol. All you have to do is let a staffer run your license through some sort of machine or whatever, and you’re good to go. (No, you don’t have to do it next time you visit.) It’s no big deal, but it’s still a little weird, and it made me feel a mite uncomfortable, like I was being watched by Big Brother or something. If there’s an argument for the law’s abolition in North Fort Worth, it’s Dublin Square. An Irish-themed bar whose patrons feel as if they’re being watched by an eye in the sky won’t ever be as fun and as genuinely Irish as it can be.

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