I've visited Idle Rich Pub, the 14-year-old bar on McKinney Avenue in Dallas, for most of my adult life. Consider this my love letter.
On Valentine's Day 10 years ago, my now-husband Chase offered to buy me a drink at the bar at Idle Rich Pub. Sweet, right? Well.
I'd been stood up for a date, and I marched into Idle that day in 2008 looking for my girlfriends, the single ones who insisted on going out on Valentine's Day. I didn't see them. I found a guy I'd met one time before, who was a friendly-enough face on a night when I felt the universe owed me a drink. When Chase asked me out two days later, we met back at Idle Rich.
I could walk you right to the place at the bar where he paid for my cocktail on Valentine's Day in 2008. It's 10 feet from the table where we had our first real date two nights later. We ended up visiting that bar dozens of times over the next decade.
My favorite booth — that big corner one in the front — isn't there anymore, but I can still remember the black and white dress I wore when I laughed until I cried, sitting in my mid-twenties with girlfriends for hours. Then there's that big booth down the stairs where I spent New Year's Eve, wearing a silly hat and a tight dress. On another occasion, over by the patio, I had dinner with a woman I'd never met before who was looking for a roommate like I was; we signed a lease a few hours later. (We ended up being great roommates, which was lucky.)
I never spent much time at Idle on its busiest weekends, after the Texas-OU game or around St. Patrick's Day. That was for tourists, I'd tell myself.
Idle Rich closes Tuesday, Jan. 23, after which it will be bulldozed and replaced by a high-rise. There are a lot of things I'll miss about owner Feargal McKinney's great bar: I'll miss the happy din of people being too loud in a bar made for staying too long. I'll miss the bar's shockingly excellent veggie burger, one of the best in the city, made from scratch with lentils and cashews. I'll miss the Summer Beer, a cursed cocktail of vodka, Blue Moon and lemonade that's a guaranteed headache.
I ordered a Summer Beer at brunch on Jan. 21, when I went to pay my respects. This time, Chase and I took our toddler, Hayley, who sorted beer coasters while Mom and Dad told stories about two people who sat dreamy-eyed at a table over there. The bar was packed, and I could tell everybody was telling their own versions of similar stories.
I fell in love with Idle Rich, and I guess I fell in love at Idle Rich, too. I'm going to miss that place.