Months ago, Bohoken had asked me to accompany him to the wedding of an old NYC friend. I was excited until I found out it was in Dallas, Texas. The last and only time I’d been to Dallas was in 1997 when my father and I were flying back to South Carolina from SFO on a couple of buddy passes he’d gotten. Turns out they treat you like staff when you're flying on a buddy pass, and you have to adhere to the staff dress code. So after he’d flown a leg of the flight in shorts, they refused to let him on the next flight until he'd purchased a pair of pants in the airport (the ones he’d packed were in our checked luggage).
But my Texas experiences haven't been all bad. I had a great time visiting Houston for Black Pride a few years ago, and Dallas was apparently gay enough to have a season of The A List.
|Budweiser is the capital of Texas.|
That Friday, after a quick polish for my cowboy boots, I met Bohoken in Midtown to make the trek to LaGuardia. Everything was on time with no long lines, and we even had time for a couple of drinks (doubles, of course) before we got on the plane.
We landed in DFW around 10:30, but we had to make our way to the rental car compound on the other side of the airport. Of course, there was construction, so the ride was doubled to 10 minutes. Usually, that wouldn’t be a big deal, but I was determined to check out the Friday night scene. Did I mention bars stop serving at 2 in Dallas? Yeah.
Rental Guy: “Alright, Mr. Bohoken. I have you down for a compact economy car, which will be a Hyundai, for 2 days, returning at 3pm on Sunday. But you know, we have a really nice Camero we just got in for $79/day if you’re interested.”
Me: “Oo, nice!”
Me: “What? I have a thing for sports cars!”
Bohoken: “So you really think it’s worth it to spend $80/day on a big, gas-guzzling engine.”
Well, I was right about business class to Paris,
wasn’t I? I guess we can take the Hyundai.”
Rental Guy: “Well, since you’re from New York, how about I make it $49/day?”
Bohoken (looking at me): “Fine, we’ll take the Camero.”
We didn’t get to the hotel until about midnight. We were staying about a mile from the gay strip, which didn’t have many hotels within walking distance at all. Some college football game was going on that weekend, and every hotel in the downtown area was either full or approaching it. We figured the Holiday Inn would be close enough that a cab wouldn’t be outrageous (and it would be walkable if necessary). Plus, we’d rather navigate farther to the wedding while sober than stay at the wedding hotel and have to navigate farther back home after 8 drinks at the gay bars. By the time we’d dropped our bags off and freshened up, our cab was waiting downstairs.
Most of the gay life in Dallas is on a single strip in Oak Lawn. Our first stop was Woody’s, which must have been a happy-hour place because it was pretty dead when we showed up. But the 2-story space was downright cavernous with high ceilings and large decks on both floors. While they have cigarette vending machines in bars, I didn’t see anyone smoking inside and surprisingly few outside.
Our next stop was just down the road at Round Up Saloon. This place is a gay western playground with a large dance floor, a side room with a bar, and a surprisingly decked out arcade/game room (weirdly enough, I think every bar we went to in Dallas had one of those claw-grabs-prize games). In the main room, which was split-level with multiple bars and a balcony, a VJ played pop music videos. In the side room, drunk queens screamed out karaoke.
Of course, the staff wore cowboy hats, but the number of patrons wearing them was not insignificant! It’s actually still a style there. Another observation: everyone was so friendly! It was like all the good stereotypes about Texas were coming true!
We stayed there til about 1:30 since they closed down at 2. From what I could gather, only one club, S4, stayed open til 4. As much as I’d love to see the Round Up scene at closing time, I really didn’t want to wait in the line that was sure to form as everyone who was just getting kicked out of everywhere else all migrated to S4 at 2.
S4 was the first cover we paid that night: $7 (I later saw that the door guy had the password for the night on his Grindr profile). At first glance, it’s a typical warehouse style club with an upper balcony overlooking the large dance floor with light show. We walked up the stairs and around the balcony to the enclosed upper bar for a drink and discovered the outdoor deck. Downstairs from there was a huge patio area with its own happening scene. Bohoken isn’t much of a dancer, so it was ideal for cooling off between screaming out divas’ songs.
After we tired of the club, we were happy to find a restaurant that was still open as we approached 4am. We also had the fortunate timing of not having to wait for a table. Though the service was annoyingly slow, the food was just what we needed before making our way home.
Did I mention the wedding was at 11am on the other side of town? Yeah.
Click here to check out how I dealt with last year's Halloween blizzard in NYC.