Last Call: Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Torch Jr.?

It’s about damn time.

With the outrageously wild success of the Torch, you would have thought that another equally swanky club would have opened in the Cultural District by now. In any other city, maybe. But in lovable Cowtown, where the low-rider pants fad of 1991 just took hold last week, things take a little longer to, uh, resonate.

Well, the antidote/complement to Brian Forella’s Barden Street Babylon is on its way — and not without giving Last Call a tiny case of the moody blues. Saloui’s Stage Deli and Bar, next to Sardine’s Ristorante Italiano on University Drive, is out; a new, yet-to-be-named hang-out is in. At the helm will be two Clubland veterans who — believe it or not — have yet to actually own their own joint. Rick Cashen and Cody Hickman both have lengthy resumés that include time at upper-crusty places such as Michael’s Restaurant & Ancho Chile Bar, Reflections at the Worthington Hotel, Bistro Louise, and the Mira Vista Country Club.

When the boys got the opportunity to take over Saloui’s from previous owner Louie Jacobini, they didn’t hesitate. “For forever we’ve wanted to have our own bar,” said Hickman. “We’ve always wanted a place to have wine classes, and it’s just a step forward toward opening up our dream restaurant.”

Saloui’s, just like its laid-back neighbors in nightlife — J&J’s Oyster Bar, Shrimper’s, the now-defunct Rush Street, and Sardine’s — wasn’t exactly ringing up crazy-huge bar tabs. “The kids rule the bars around here,” said Sardine’s general manager Jon Castleberry, speaking specifically of his little part of the world on University. “It’s the college and older crowd that hang out around Seventh. Louie tried to attract [the older crowd], but they’re set in their ways. They go to [J&J’s Hideaway on West Seventh Street], and it was hard to get them to go to new places.”

Damn kids — they ruin everything! Which is why Cashen and Hickman want to make their bar as kid-unfriendly and as Torch-like as possible ... and then some. Plush furniture, live jazz, original local art — it’s gonna be a slight deviation in class from the Torch’s tiki kitsch and DJ music. Cashen/Hickman are also going to serve food. No, not Saloui’s incredibly tasty and caloric Jewish-style deli sandwiches (sigh!) but hip fusion cuisine.

The bar will stay open through completion of the renovation, about three months from now. As for the name, the owners are currently soliciting options from customers as part of a contest. The winner will be announced on Mon., Oct. 31, Halloween night.

Halloween Parties

Halloween is essentially a license to misbehave, and if you’re going to dress up in Clubland this year, you have your choice of three lovely establishments to suit your various lascivious needs.

Feeling like playing the part of the creepy old man/woman? Then stop by Halo on Saturday for the TCU-area martini bar’s “Halo-ween” costume party. Just be careful: The schoolgirl outfit on that hot, young thing at the end of the bar may not be a costume.

Bringing a dead rock star to life more your style? Then you may wanna swing by Caves Lounge on Friday for the Arlington bar’s All Hallows’ Eve get-together that includes a costume contest, a Fear Factor-esque competition (in which patrons sign up to do really sick, really dumb stuff for dough and/or laughs), and “Scary-oke,” the lounge’s ghoulish take on that old bar-related pastime, karaoke.

Or maybe you’d rather spend Halloween as Arthur. As part of the Torch’s “Naughty Nites” Halloween party on Saturday, the place is serving $5.50 martinis all ... night ... long. The only problem is that when you get home and try to explain the lipstick on your tuxedo shirt collar to your significant other, the slurred speech ain’t gonna be funny — it’s just gonna be plain annoying.

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