Through the caffeine tweaks under the thick blanket of exhaustion, dull waves of relief well up in my chest. My papers are finished. My econ test is a thing of the past. My nervous system, late to respond, slowly begins to understand that it can relax. A sense of utter calm washes over me as an age-old realization once again dawns: it is the weekend. And as with the coming of any weekend, it must be celebrated.
It is Friday night, and my brain is urging me to sleep. “No brain. Sleep is for the weak. Here, enjoy this Red Bull instead.”
My brain indignantly gives in, succumbing to the injection of guarana and caffeine like a world-weary junkie resigning himself to temptation. No matter. My brain will forgive me tomorrow when I let it sleep until three in the afternoon. Newly invigorated, I open my address book in hopes of finding a designated driver. Putting my persuasion skills to good use, I quickly find a willing volunteer. With the grunt work out of the way, my thoughts turn to fortifying my stomach for the night ahead.
After a heated debate and a few whiny remarks about “this economy,” it is decided that Fuzzy’s will be the launching point for the night. This works fine for me,as I have not been there in a while. Familiar smells of “deep-fried something” drift from the kitchen as my group of friends saunter through the doors of gringo taco heaven.
Say what you will about Fuzzy’s rapid expansion and Manifest Destiny mindset. The taco shop still make a pretty great margarita. Even if you do not like their Velveeta-ish queso, you certainly can’t say that it’s not well-salted. I douse my fish tacos in hot sauce because yeah, I’m a snob, and I’ve had better. With a little help from my friends, we make quick work of our pregame meal. Now onto the real pregame.
We trudge across the grass to Old Rip’s, another possessively named Tex-Mex restaurant I haven’t been to in a long time. Except at this hour, no sub-par enchiladas are being served. The restaurant has transformed into its hard-partying alter ego with a long bar and a tableless dance floor with loud music.
My group fights its way to the bar. After accomplishing this feat, I find myself parched. Not really trusting the flat-bill, hatted 20-something with a real drink order, I fall back on my crutch of Red Bull and vodka, hoping it will be hard to mess up. I realize that I am in for a long night, and nothing could be better. With liquid courage coursing through my veins, dancing seems like an increasingly great idea. The generic bass line drops, and I can’t control myself. Oh, LMFAO, it’s like you can see into my heart and write the words within.
As my heart rate increases, some of the alcohol-induced bliss begins to fade. Most of my friends are standing by the bar, stabbing ice with their straws. I quickly scan the room and realize why. This is not really my preferred crowd. I suddenly get the distinct feeling that I am at a drunken version of Frog Camp. Gathering my wits, I rejoin my group as we head for calmer waters.
Our next spot is the decidedly more upscale bar known as The Usual on Magnolia. I love this place enough to write a full review about it. The bar specializes in Prohibition-era cocktails, which is to say they specialize at creating art in a glass.
The bartenders are ultra-knowledgeable and hyper-talented. I order something called a French 75 that has gin, champagne and deliciousness in it.
Tonight, we are here more for the refined, laid-back atmosphere rather than mulling over the dedicated, intelligent drink menu. The place is dimly lit with very modern wood paneling, but it still comes across as comfortable. We sit back with our expertly crafted beverages and let the hipster music from the jukebox lull us into temporary complacency. But this is not a night for sitting idly. It is Friday.
After rousing the troops, we almost reluctantly rise from our seats and ready ourselves for the short trip to West 7th. There is a place there called Capital Bar, and we hear it calling our names.
The Capital Bar is nestled adjacent to the West 7th development, hidden from University. It has five or six bars, an inside area with tables and huge televisions, an outside area with a great stage for live music, a second story with another beautiful patio and bar, and a backhouse with pool tables and another covered patio. It is hard to picture if you have not been, but once you go, you will be back.
The majority of the crowd seems to be university students with a good mix of local Fort Worthians as well. It should be noted that the place is usually crowded. Literally hundreds of people are there on Friday and Saturday nights, but it is big enough not to feel cramped.
Tonight, a hilariously awesome cover band is playing songs from the early 2000s that make us nostalgic for middle school. I quickly re-find my dancing shoes and fall into a familiar happy place.
Two o’clock sneaks up on me, and the bartenders frantically close tabs. Sitting on the second floor patio in the company of good friends, we stare at the skyline of downtown. No one speaks because no one needs to. The night is a success, but that is a given.
Tomorrow, we will rejoin the real world and remember that we have responsibilities. But there’s no point thinking about them now. Tonight, we are on top of our own small world, and we earned it. We got through another week in college.