Friday, June 17, 2005

Graham Central Station

A week ago today, the Austin area finally got its own Graham Central Station mega-club. Located in an unsightly big box just off I-35 in Pflugerville, GCS's "six clubs for the price of one" concept is based on the mall food court school of commerce. You have the "Denim & Diamonds" country beer barn, a biker-themed classic rock bar called "Choppers," the "Alley Cats" karaoke club, an unabashed Top 40 danceteria called "Z," the Coyote Ugly-styled "Wild Cats" with tank-topped honeys dancing on the bar, and an imaginatively-monikered live music room called "The Live Room."

Several years ago, attorneys representing Graham Central Station showed up at my neighborhood association meeting to try and explain why the club would make a great tenant at ailing Northcross Mall. I love the nightlife at least as much as Alicia Bridges, but having North Korea nuke Northcross would've been better for my neighborhood than having Graham Central Station there. Their business model necessitates an extra high volume of alcohol, and their primary target market appears to be guys with just enough beer money to become a genuine public nuisance. Perhaps that sounds elitist, but who wants a bunch of drunken buffoons careening through their quiet residential streets at two in the morning?

I'm pretty sure at least one person at our association meeting said the club would be better off if they chose a more northern location and that's exactly what they would up doing. It was a smart move in more ways than one. By opening in Pflugerville, Graham Central Station will duck Austin's new smoking ordinance when it goes into effect in September. Nevertheless, I doubt we'll see the denizens of Room 710 and Beerland fleeing up I-35 to drink Coors Light and listen to Big and Rich.


jennifer said...

Remember when Barton Creek Mall had what I can only assume was one of the last outposts of the Chelsea Street Pub chain, which was a "fish-n-chips-n-beer" place meant to evoke quaint Olde English charm in a mall setting? It finally closed, but maybe it would have done gang-bustin' business at Northcross. Although if Hooters can't make it there, then NOTHING can...Now there's some other ersatz English pub called Sherlock Holmes' Baker Street Pub(or something equally silly) at the old "U R Cooks" location on the 183 frontage road. I never did understand THAT concept--if I wanted to cook a steak myself, I'd a stayed home!

I don't know why your post led me to this rambling rant/walk down memory lane, but it did.

Greg said...

I never went to the Chelsea St. Pub at Barton Creek Square, but I do remember the one at Sharpstown Mall in Houston. It was part of their food court/game room area called "Good Time Charley's."

I think Sherlock's may actually be a Houston-bred chain.

Anonymous said...

there was one of those places on richmond and 59 in houston (don't know if it's still there). we went there for happy hour after work one night, and it's the reason behind one of my most heinous drink-drive infractions. (the other one was la strada's brunch bellinis.)

Kim said...

You had me at "karaoke."

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Anonymous said...

hi. I just accidentally stumbmled onto this while surfing.

yall may know this but there actually was a Chelsea Street pub at Northcross Mall in the 1970s. There was also one at Highland Mall.

I played in a band for Chelsea Street Pubs in the late 70s and played at the Northcross location the Christmas season of 1978. it was pretty popular and packed out on most weekends.

larry (