Frank Sinatra’s “Young at Heart” wafted through the air as I walked into Steve Fields’ Steak and Lobster Lounge, foregoing the white tablecloths of the dining room for the dimly lit lounge. I’ve spent so much time at trendy Dallas gastropubs, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this 10-year-old Plano bar.
I noticed immediately that the Sinatra song was quite appropriate. The bar was lined with gray-haired men. I settled near a pair of old-timers in pressed dress shirts and looked around. The cool, cave-like lounge has a lava-red bar top that matches lobster-shaped lights on the walls. The interior is red and black, illuminated on the night I visited by baseball playing on a TV overhead. A piano sat empty near the entrance. I studied the drink menu and strained to overhear patrons’ conversations. I picked up references to money and talk of years long past.
Most days, the Lobster Lounge features a $2 discount on different specialty drinks. Today was Martini Monday. The dark-haired bartender—the regulars call her Mama Jack—whipped me up a Cherry Lemon Drop. The martini was refreshingly sour.
Meanwhile, a pianist shuffled in and claimed his spot on the bench. Soon he and his guitar-strumming accompanist began a pleasant rendition of “The Boxer.” Fritz, a stooped man at the end of the bar, tapped his fingers loudly to the music. When he ordered another drink, he called the bartender Sugar.
When Mama Jack came by to check on me, I asked her a vague question about the bar’s clientele. I didn’t mention all the Cadillacs I’d seen parked out front.
“The average age is 50 to 75.” She smiled. “My husband never worries about me running off with someone I met here.”
“I was told this is kind of a hookup bar for … older people.”
“This place gets people dancing and making out in the corner,” she said.
She told me a story about a guy who was dating one woman but soon began bringing a different lady to the bar. When the first woman came looking for him, Mama Jack pretended she hadn’t seen him. “You can have drama at any age,” she told me.
She was quick with another story about a couple who’d grabbed seats near the piano to enjoy the music. After a moment, a single guy strode up and whisked the lady away for a dance. It seemed dashing—until he dipped her too low and dropped her. And then fell. On top of her.
“She was so embarrassed, she never came back,” Mama Jack said, speculating that perhaps the poor woman hit her head and forgot the incident entirely.
I sipped my martini and thought about all of it. The idea of seniors behaving like teenagers wasn’t just amusing, it was hopeful. A sign that life doesn’t end once your hair goes gray.
The least chronologically advanced person in the bar was a young woman in a booth with her parents. They seemed like regulars, so I asked them if they had any interesting stories. The mother knew what I meant. Her daughter looked preemptively embarrassed.
“Some nights the piano groupies will crowd around and dance,” the lady said. “You’ll see people old enough to be grandparents, and you’ll think, ‘Get a room!’ ” She took a sip of her drink. “More power to them.”
I agreed. And not only do I know where I’ll be hanging out in a few decades, but the Sinatra song was stuck in my head: And here is the best part. You have a head start, if you are among the very young at heart.
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