New Year’s Eve Night includes good grape, cowboy cash and Peter

by The City Wire staff ( 2 views 

story by Peter Lewis

This is a special New Year’s version of the Friday Feast. Enjoy. (Each Thursday The City Wire posts a few short notes from Peter Lewis that offer at least two dining and entertainment options for the weekend.)

There is a sense of western expansion and exploration ingrained in the fabric of American society. The urge is to head west. New Years Eve will prove no different for those seeking an adventurous way to start off the approaching year.

In order to fulfill the endemic desire to move westward with the night, one must begin their evening at the Wiederkehr Village in Altus. For only $12 per person (or $20/couple) you will be granted entry to hear party tunes courtesy of  Joe B.

In addition to that enticing opportunity, you’ll also receive party favors and the requisite flute of champagne for ringing in the New Year as you watch the ball drop on a big screen. You’re in for a long evening so it is best to begin (and end) with good choices from the available beverages. As a proponent of supporting local establishments, beginning the evening with a glass of the Wiederkehr White Zinfandel would be a laudable decision.

Heading west, with your designated driver behind the wheel, make your way back towards Fort Smith. At the eastern reaches of the city there is a quality establishment that unfortunately can be neglected by those seeking libations. Ava’s Village Pub sits just off Rogers Avenue on Meandering Way. On New Year’s Eve they will be featuring the blues-rock of The Yard Dogs.

Comparatively speaking, it will be a somewhat simple affair. With the cold beers and hot songs sure to be flowing, the birth of 2009 could get lost in the shuffle. So kick back with an unfiltered Boulevard Wheat and let the band quiet your mind.

To cap the evening it is always beneficial to recoup expenses. It is natural then that one would choose to continue the quest westward and visit the Electric Cowboy on South 31st Street. At midnight there is a $500 cash drop scheduled. Skip the cliché kiss at midnight with your date, strap on some protective gear, order a few cold Budweisers, and position yourselves to scrape up as much cash as possible when the witching hour arrives. Violence is rarely an acceptable path towards monetary reward so assert yourself with discretion. With a bit of pluck and a dash of luck, money might be earned instead of lost.

As the aforementioned witching hour reaches its nadir (3 a.m.), even the most tame of revelers will find themselves craving nourishment. Unlike larger cities, locally owned establishment’s offering both 24 hours of service and quality hash are often hard to come by. Fortunately for us all, Benson’s Grill on Rogers Avenue (2515 Rogers Ave., near Northside High School) meets the vested criterion.

Settle into a booth, sip some unfermented juice for a change, and order some pancakes to help soak up your night.  According to an intimate acquaintance of the proprietor, late at night the food is free but the floor show costs $15. Though I’m not entirely sure what that means, the food is worth your time even without a floor show.

Though attendance at each of these events might be difficult for many, it would be sensible to gain entry to at least one.

Whatever cardinal directions your plans might take you, please remember to stay prudent with your decisions on New Year’s Eve. The best adventures are those from which we are able to return.

Wiederkehr’s Village — Altus
New Year’s Eve Party
7 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Admission is $12/person or $20/couple
Music by Joe B, cash bar, party favors, midnight champagne toast, and big screen ball drop.

Ava’s Village Pub
3820 Meandering Way
9 p.m. to ??
The Yard Dogs (blues, rock, R&B)

Electric Cowboy
6107 South 31st Street
7 p.m. to 5 a.m. (close)
Free party favors, $500 cash drop, champagne toast

Know your Peter
Born and raised in Fort Smith, Peter Lewis is a graduate of the University of Texas. Prior to returning to the Fort Smith area, Peter spent the past year as a bartender living abroad and traveling. He says he likes Spam, but friends say he wouldn’t know Monty Python from Monty Hall.