24 Hours of Drinking in Dallas

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

2405 North Henderson Ave.; neighborhoodservicesdallas.wordpress.com

9:46 p.m.

Los Dos Reales

The parking lot at Los Dos Reales can only fit maybe 15 cars. But on most days, it's vacant enough that you could set up a taco truck in it. On most days someone does, in fact, but not tonight. Tonight the pickup trucks are double-parked, two-by-two, around the small building. There's a $5 cover charge at the door and there must be a hundred people inside, enough that not everyone can have a seat.

Fortunately, there's still space on the dance floor. The Tejano band plays a waltz and well-dressed couples move in stately time with the music.

One two three Four five six ...

Orders are coming fast, and one straight-faced server handles them all. She moves through the tables as gracefully as the dancers, bringing bottles of Topo Chico and buckets of Bud Light to the people sitting down, the ones without dance partners. She brings Dixie cups full of lime wedges and shakers full of salt. The bartender fills up another bucket with beer, five around the edges and one upside-down in the middle.

One two three Four five six ...

A woman named Albina has been coming here since '96. Back then she lived in the neighborhood. She doesn't any more, but she's willing to drive a little out of her way for her favorite bar. Behind her on the wall hangs a framed cloth with images hand-sewn into it. There's a bottle of Jack Daniel's, a mug of beer, roses and the words "Los Dos Reales" inside a heart.

If you're driving up Columbia Avenue, Los Dos Reales is easy to miss. It's just past the strip mall with the head shop and the cell phone store and the Save Mart Furniture. If you hit the Auto Zone on the other side of Fitzhugh, you've passed it. It's the little green building with the red roof. Come on a weekday after work and it'll be quiet enough to talk to the people who've been regulars for nearly all of the bar's 29 years. But right now the band is a solid mass of accordion and trumpet and brash vocals, and the longest sentences you can get across are two words long.

One two three Four five six ...

A middle-aged duo takes the dance floor. He's wearing blue slacks and a green polo shirt. She's taller than him by an inch or two and wearing a cream-colored blouse with a brown skirt. They do not smile. He puts one arm on the small of her back, pulls her toward him and stares with great focus at the wall. They wait to catch the rhythm of the song.

One two three Four five six ...

The band reaches the end of a phrase and together the two dancers join the rest, making star shapes with their feet in perfect time.--Kiernan Maletsky

108 N. Fitzhugh Ave.

10:52 p.m.

Tradewinds Social Club

On a marginally benighted stretch of Davis Street west of Hampton Road in Oak Cliff, the frame of my Honda shudders as I bottom out on broken asphalt in the spillover lot. I leave my car next to the billboard that all but obscures this white concrete building from westbound passersby and walk past the palm trees crudely painted on its plywood-sealed windows. Its name connotes seafaring exclusivity. But truly, Tradewinds Social Club welcomes all, be they "slumming" urban explorers or the regulars — a friendly, well-meaning gaggle of drunks and weirdos and tipplers for whom this dimly lit dive serves as an extended living room.

I open the door, step into its dark recesses, order a Maker's on the rocks and breathe in the random. It's karaoke night, and the soundtrack for the evening is an incoherent assortment of songs performed drunkenly, cheerfully and in keys not at all intended by their composers. Everyone, that is, except for the boy in the blue Dallas Mavericks T-shirt, who can't be a day over 9. I've seen him before, sharking the pool table with cunning, cupidity and a steady hand. Now he stands before a mural of a log raft at sea, crooning "1994" by Jason Aldean, the chorus of which is literally the name "Joe Diffie" sung repeatedly. Patrons raise their glasses to him and cheer. It's difficult to imagine another watering hole as degenerate-seeming as Tradewinds (note the 12-inch closed-circuit television hanging next to the bar, streaming grainy gray footage of the parking lot; behold, the cramped men's room, all aglow with blue Christmas lights). Yet it feels safe, familiar, as though you know every patron, even though you've never met a single one of them.

It's a place that defies categorization. It's the little boy everyone at the bar watches over, dotes on, loses at pool to. It's the three black ladies bobbing expertly to "Cupid Shuffle." It's the warped shuffleboard table whose curves you have to know, or you'll get hosed by someone who does. It's the man in a Budweiser button-up, who looks vaguely like Art Alexakis' hardbitten doppelganger, alternately emitting guttural sounds and speaking in a bad, gutter-snipey British accent. And it's especially that time, shortly before last call, when he raises a red Solo cup to you and exclaims sloppily: "Welcome to Tradewinds!"--Brantley Hargrove

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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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