Last Call: Wednesday, July 16, 2008
6409 E Lancaster Av, FW.
Citizens of the World

When asked about his nationality in Casablanca, Rick Blaine replies, flatly, ďIím a drunkard.Ē So itís no surprise that a ton of bars are named after the actor who portrayed the legendary film-noir character. Thereís a Bogartís in Stockton, Calif. ó that Iíve been to, oddly enough ó and a quick Google search uncovers a Bogartís in Houston, one in Boca Raton, and another Brooklyn, and thereís probably one in the real, non-black-and-white Casablanca as well. Play it again, Sam, indeed. But even if a gin joint named Bogartís is as common as an Irish pub named Gallagherís (or Fitzgeraldís or OíBrienís), it doesnít mean itís not a good place to go to forget Paris (or wherever else your heart may lie).
The one here certainly has its charms. Out on East Lancaster Avenue in the space formerly occupied by the Sportsman, the recently opened Bogartís is a good olí-fashioned bar-bar, with Shiner, Killianís Red, and Coors on tap and a couple of big-ass flat-screen TVs on the walls. In a stark improvement upon its predecessor, the back office has been removed to make room for two pool tables. The shelves behind the bar are loaded with all manner of quality and not-so-quality hooch, and the staff is friendly but never intrusive. Though there is some Bogart-abilia scattered around, including a (not the) Maltese Falcon looming overhead, the most Bogartian thing about the place is its overall vibe: low-key, friendly, and comfortable.
You might also say the prices have been inspired not by Bogart himself but by his era. Not to say theyíre 1940s cheap, but theyíre pretty damn close. Barring nightly specials at other local haunts, Bogartís has to have the cheapest domestic bottles in town: two buckaroos for your favorite flavor, every night. As you can imagine, happy hour (weekdays, 4 to 7 p.m.) is just as refreshing, with longnecks going for $1.50 and wells for $2. I rolled in last week a little after 9 ó two hours after happy hour, as simple math would have it ó but still: Itís not like the $1.50 drafts of Coors Original put me in the poorhouse.
In short, Bogartís is a Bogartís done well, right down to the memorable personalities. While I didnít meet any analogs to Sam Spade or Charlie Allnut, I did come across a larger-than-life guy named Merlin. Holding court at the bar, he was sitting down, but I figured that at full height, he was at least 6-foot-gigantic. And his stories were just about as big. He recalled exchanging blows with Texas Christian University football players back in the í60s at the long-since dearly departed 19th Hole (now Hoffbrau Steaks), and he also talked about his run-in with the infamously colorful NFL running back Joe Don Looney. Whether Merlin was a regular or just passing through I couldnít figure out, but dropping by Bogartís for a chance to meet him or one of his brothers in arms or descendants is worth a trek to the East Side. Plus, there are those bitchiní beer bargains ó and in a neighborhood that keeps getting hipper. Hereís lookiní at you, kid, all three oí yous.

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