24 Hours of Drinking in Dallas

A swing around the clock in some of our favorite places to drink.

Finally on the first floor, I get lost a few times, circling back around a makeup counter to spray a criminal amount of perfume on myself, or run my hand over lingerie and hosiery I can't afford. I finally find an exit and am thrust back into reality. But for a few hours, at least, my odor is unmistakable: Moneyfalcon.--Audra Schroeder

1618 Main St.; neimanmarcus.com

4:37 p.m.

Club Schmitz

They read the obituaries to make sure they're still alive.

The ritual is repeated at least several times a day. One of three doors is thrust open, sunlight crashes in around a withered silhouette, and a call comes out from the bar. "Who the hell is this guy?" asks anyone. "My name is Buck, and I don't give a fuck," says John, his eyes squinting as he walks into the dark room. There's already a beer waiting for him at the bar. It's a bottle of Bud.

Everyone knows Club Schmitz, the dilapidated dive bar that somehow ended up under the train tracks instead of on the wrong side, but it's the everymen who flank the worn Formica who give this bar its pulse. John hasn't visited in a while. His friends were worried. For decades they've come to swill at Peckerwood Corner, and sometimes a comrade stops showing up.

They buy their beer in rounds: "Give me a Bud and one of whatever everyone else is drinking." It doesn't matter how many bottles are already stacked in the queue. Five men have ordered 25 beers in just a half hour and only drank 10. The bartender somehow keeps track, even though two of them are named John. "This one's on John, John. Thanks, John."

They're veterans and businessmen, pilots and bricklayers: old souls, some of which outdate the furniture. None of them is sure how their group got its name; it's as old as the dust that clings to the light fixtures. "Maybe someone came in and called one of us a Peckerwood," Blackie says. Twenty years ago Club Schmitz was often packed, and he used to come early to save a few stools. Things are slower now — the Peckerwoods included.

"A lot have died," Blackie says, and others have moved, or moved on. Blackie is pulling hard on his bottle. He's got somewhere to go, but a replacement slides across the bar top just as his empty bottle lands. The Peckerwoods have a pull of their own. Besides, Vince Gill is on the jukebox now and Wess is singing.

Then all of them are singing. They tell good jokes and bad jokes and talk about fast cars, the headlamps on girls and times that most have forgotten. Club Schmitz used to be different. The burgers were thicker and the neighborhood was vibrant. Now the bar that used to be on the edge of Dallas mildews in a forgotten part of town, while the Peckerwoods hold their vigil with sweating bottles.--Scott Reitz

9661 Denton Drive

8:32 p.m.

The Tried & True

I'm 39 weeks pregnant and I need a drink like Justin Bieber needs a hard punch in the dick. I roll myself up to the bar, Violet-Beauregard-after-they-turn-her-into-a giant-blueberry-in-Willy Wonka style, and order one.

"Vodka tonic, please."

The sweet bartender laughs at me. She thinks I am kidding. I am not kidding. I rub my disgustingly huge and invaded-by-an-alien belly at her and repeat, "Vodka tonic, please." My unborn spawn gives my ribcage The People's Elbow and then dropkicks my placenta (Fetusspeak Translation: "I'mma bust outta here right now if she doesn't serve you, stat, Mom"). The bartender sees that I am, how they say, not fucking around. She pours the drink.

As the vodka tonic hits the bar in front of me, memories of sitting at this exact spot at this exact bar more than a year ago, in the olden days, when the place was completely different (it was called "Neighborhood Services Tavern," not "Tried & True"), hits me like a shitty How I Met Your Mother flashback.

"There's a line at the women's bathroom? Screw it, I'll go in the men's room. I hear James Bond reading a book to me over some speaker! That's badass! Ooh, look! Old-ass shoes and a bowling ball, just sitting there. This bathroom is just like Chili's! It has all the old random shit in it you could never need! Hell yes. James Bond, I will now try on the old-ass shoes. THE OLD-ASS SHOES FIT MY RONALD McDONALD FEET!! WOOHOOOO!! DRINKING!!! I WILL WEAR THESE OUT INTO THE BAR AND IMMEDIATELY REGRET THE LAST 10 MINUTES AND THEN I WILL PUT THEM BACK AND TRY TO DRINK AWAY THE PAIN!"

I pass the vodka tonic to a friend.

And that's when things get really sober at Tried & True for me. Too sober.

Forty-Five-Year-Old Drunk Lady new-boobs her way up to the jukebox. Moments later, "Sweet Home Alabama" starts to play. She and her eight friends sing the words and also every instrument, "DOODELEEDOOT DOOT DOODELDEE DEE!! ...Where the skaaaaaasarsuhboo!" This will not end soon.

If I can't get drunk on drinks, I decide, will at least get food drunk. I order the cheeseburger cheese fries. Thank God and Nick Badovinus for cheeseburger cheese fries. They are just what you think they are: cheese fries + a hamburger on top (hamburger meat, tomato, lettuce, three mini heart attacks). As the food coma set in, the fact that "Sweet Home Alabama" has played twice in a row, followed by "OOOOOh weerhaffwaythaaayyyr oooohAAAAWH livinnonnapraaar," "Poor SuhshugarOWNmaaay," and motherfucking Kid Rock don't even bother me. Thankfully, I leave before the Cupid Shuffle happens. Whether it's on the jukebox or not, that was next on the rotation, I'm sure of it. Because when you get eight mid-40s white women drunk on a Wednesday evening, The Cupid Shuffle always shows up around midnight. It's science.--Alice Laussade

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My Voice Nation Help
9 comments
wendy
wendy

In the UK there are a lot of places that sell alcohol 24 hours a day. Just take a look at 24 Hour Alcohol for example. I don't think that many people really drink alcohol early in the morning but it's nice to have the option. We are all adults after all!

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

You have to get up early in the morning to drink all day.

Steve
Steve

Drinking between 2AM and 4PM is gross.  People who use the word "daydrinking" are fucking scum.

JustSaying
JustSaying

Actually, that rave shit happens at the Fare Room which is an all nude BYOB strip club next door to Cabaret Royale. I have always wondered how they handle the switch. Do a bunch of bouncers come in at 2am and round up the horny old drunks like the Polish Jews in Schindler's List? Or do they allow them to stay while the place gets filled up with scantily clad 18 year old girls on molly? And just how can you tell the difference between an old drunk having a heart attack/seizure and an old drunk dancing to that music? I guess no blowpops or glowsticks means you leave in an ambulance.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@JustSaying This is a very important correction, and also filled my head with various unwanted early-morning images. Thanks, Kenny Powers. 


JustSaying
JustSaying

@Anna_Merlan Well you are the one that wrote the original piece that filled my head with troubling images, dearest Anna. Now I really want to know how they get the strip club patrons out and the EDM kids in or if they all just hang out together. I want to know if it looks like a law and order SVU when the black light hits the floor, walls, and chairs. I want to know what it looks like when an old guy in Bermuda shorts and black socks dances to dubstep. So. many. questions.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@JustSaying Didn't see anybody that looked like a strip club patron still hanging out, so they must have some sort of incredibly orderly procedure in which the old dudes are herded out before the girls in dayglo everything are ushered in. Just seamless. 

The walls, chairs and floors looked no worse than in any other strip club. Better than some. I sat in a an armchair at the Clubhouse one time that was just incredibly crusty all over the arms. THE ARMS. How does that -- never mind. 

 
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