Today, At Least, Downtown Dallas's Super Bowl Hustle and Bustle Lacks Both Hustle, Bustle

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Somebody get on the horn to Jerry Jones (or Tom Leppert or Phillip Jones) and tell him to send in those gazillions of folks who are supposed to be handing over their wallets to downtown merchants, bar owners and restaurateurs. Dallas awaits them. As in, service industry folks, retail associates and hotel workers are literally standing around waiting for something to happen.

Patrick Michels and I popped down to the City Tavern for some pulled pork and chicken fried chicken around lunchtime, and the half-full downstairs bar appeared to be the busiest place in the neighborhood. We talked to a guy named Marty who lives across the street. We had some beers. We ate some meats. And then we set out to find the great influx of monied Midwesterners throwing cash around willy-nilly, hoarding designer shoes and high-end cocktails.

And, well, there were some people eating peanuts at the Adolphus bar. Did you know it is Wild West themed? Now you do, and now you can be properly embarrassed. Though the lone guy perched on a bar stool downing a Bloody Mary didn't seem to be bothered any by the surrounding kitsch. Across the street at the Magnolia, folks scooted in and out to grab hot coffee from Starbucks, but the upstairs lounge was as silent as a sanctuary. Not, you know, that we ever hang out in sanctuaries.

Surely Charlie Palmer at the Joule would have some action, right? After all, it's even got a fancy lunch special. But when we half-walked, half-skated in, we were greeted by a pretty hostess and an empty restaurant. The hostess told us weekend reservations are booked solid -- and they've got 101 check-ins on the books for tomorrow. But today? Nothing doing.

Down at Neiman Marcus, we were the only customers. After standing at the coffee bar for several minutes watching a couple of baristas try to figure out the espresso machine, we gave up trying to get their attention. They never even looked up. On our way out, we passed more mannequins than people. It felt like we'd accidentally stayed past mall closing time -- exciting to think about when you're a kid, real depressing to think about when your city's kinda broke and could use its share of that $202-or-however-many million.

Forecast says it'll stay colder than a titch's wit until the Super Bowl, but there's a good chance the downtown ghost town will change come tomorrow. By then, four-night minimum stays will keep folks through Sunday and air travel should pick back up to normal. I'll be out there, powering through cocktail after cocktail, bringing you Friends the latest in highfalutin daydrinking. For now, I'm back home in ultra-quiet Deep Ellum, and I'ma take my pants off, pour myself a Bloody Mary and do some hard-hitting journalism about my couch. Over and out.

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