Club Schmitz A Pre-Historic Burger & Beer Joint 9661 Denton Drive, Dallas, Tx. 214-350-3607
Dallas Restaurant Review:
Club Schmitz is a step back in time. Opened in 1946, this classic neighborhood bar & grill is over 65 years old and still run by the Schmitz family -- and to their credit, they haven't changed a thing. It's got the atmosphere of old Harry Hines Blvd. and the clientele of "Cheers".
SETTING - A white-painted concrete block building 50 yards from Harry Hines Blvd., behind a gas station. The interior of Club Schmitz consists of well-aged wood paneling lit by old neon beer signs. The regulars who drop in for a brew and some talk usually settle on a stool at the bar. Diners take a booth or one of the time-worn formica-top tables. Weekday lunch draws a full house, including a lot of women. Evenings are not busy.
FOOD - Order a hamburger ($3.50) or cheeseburger. If you like an old-fashioned hamburger, they're among the best. They toast the buns, and they'll even grill the onions if you ask. The chili is good, too -- slightly hot, no beans -- chopped onions and cheese are optional. My personal favorite is the half-pound Hamburger Steak dinner (smothered in fried onions, plus fries), $6.50. They also have chicken fried steak and a whole bunch of other stuff. It's some of the most authentic bar food you'll find.
BEER - By the pitcher, mug, bottle, or can. Club Schmitz is not pretentious. And if you want wine, well, I heard a rumor - just a rumor - that they carry some now, but it's probably screw-top bottles.
PRICE - Real cheap. After the waitress tears your check off her pad and drops it on the table, you pay at the bar.
ENTERTAINMENT - There's a 6-foot pool table (50¢). Also a vintage shuffleboard table -- you check out the pucks at the bar for a dollar or two an hour. And there's a jukebox and a couple of TVs with sports.
AMBIANCE - This is the kind of place that your dad might have taken you to when you were a kid (at least, my dad did, when he wanted a beer). The bar-tending waitresses have been there forever -- I think Dorothy said she started out on the customer side of the bar when Lyndon Johnson was President and moved to the other side of the bar shortly thereafter. They treat you like an old friend. They do work hard, and with food and beer this cheap, I tip them double.
ATTIRE - You'll see customers in work boots & jeans, white shirt & tie, flowery Hawaiian shirt, or anything in between.
Downside? - Well, Club Schmitz has always been next the railroad tracks, and Harry Hines Blvd. and Denton Drive are no longer the "fashionable" addresses they once were (just kidding - they were never fashionable), but the loyal crowd at Schmitz doesn't care. The area is changing, though, and the Schmitz Club is now literally in the shadow of the new elevated DART (mass transit) rail line constructed over the old railroad bed. But -- even DART was careful not to mess with Club Schmitz.
BOTTOM LINE - Atmosphere. More atmosphere. Tasty burgers. Cold beer. Pool & shuffleboard. Friendly people. You'll feel right at home.
If Club Schmitz is your kind of place, click here to see some other "classic" Harry Hines bars from that era.
Club Schmitz ... a photo I took back in 1977. The neighborhood has changed, but the building is the same.