What to Wear to Fit in at Dallas’ Best Gay Bar,
the Round-Up Saloon

A few weeks ago, as I was leaving the rooftop bar at Renfield’s Corner, Roger, the employee overseeing this territory, called me by name. I’ve got a healthy dose of self-confidence, but honestly I’m a pretty forgettable person. My weekends had officially become far too predictable. This name recognition led me to accept (OK, propose) the challenge to visit the vast majority of D’s Best of Big D Nightlife honorees.

Of course, no one at the magazine specified what I needed to do at these bars, but I believe in Jane Goodall-style journalistic integrity. Immersion, if you will. And last Saturday night I ventured where I’d never gone before: Cedar Springs Road. But what to wear?

Would it be outfit No. 1 or No. 2 when I dressed for a night at the Round-up?

As part of this assignment, I needed to look the part for the Round-Up Saloon. I considered a sundress (bold colors, big floral pattern), but I feel like the bar’s gay clientele appreciate a tad more sex appeal than that, so I opted for the little black dress with red cowboy boots. A quality pair of boots (and I spent way too much on those, considering I’m being compensated for this internship in resume experience and free coffee from the communal Keurig) can make any ensemble western without being hokey.

Of course, no one at the bar cared what I was wearing, though one of the straight guys I dragged along with me seemed to do pretty well for himself in a short-sleeve $3 navy button-up. Where he found a $3 shirt or why he still purchases such dirt-cheap clothing while on salary is beyond me. My other wingman was told people could “just smell the straight on him,” but I’m unsure whether this was the result of his red flannel and light-wash jeans combo or overall demeanor. Regardless, the beautiful thing about what you wear to D’s Best Gay Bar is that — barring terrible shot-taking form — you don’t need to worry about anyone spilling all over it. No drinks are allowed on the dance floor, which means you’re clean, and everyone is actually dancing. None of that take-a-sip-and-sway nonsense will be tolerated. You’ll dance, and if you’re going to fit in at all, you’ll dance a little dirty.

That's me, and a stranger I questioned about why he enjoys going to the Round-up. He's a regular.

Like any good adventurer, I brought along a tour guide to navigate the terrain my boring self had yet to explore; in this case, a gay best friend. When 2 a.m. hit and my carriage started turning back into a pumpkin, he led the way to Station 4, where the dancing doesn’t stop until 4 a.m. As a woman, being at a gay dance club while drinks aren’t being served is great for two reasons: 1. You sweat out beverages (read: less hangover, no morning booze belly) and 2. No creepers. If you’re a guy, well it’s the wee hours of the morning and you’re surrounded by hot, sweaty men. Enough said. Unless of course you’re a straight wingman, in which case, thank you and next round’s on me.

Now dust off your own boots. Round-Up’s Howdy Hour starts at 8 p.m. Giddy up, Dallas.

Courtney Egelston is a D Magazine intern.