Next week, what could be the most asinine, overtly offensive bar in Houston will open its doors. Called Fat Boots Trailer Park Bar, the establishment clearly revels in poking fun at stereotypes about people who live in trailer homes.
The bar is set to make its debut at 4218 Washington Ave. on Wednesday, May 5, inside the space that formerly housed the Pink Elephant Room. Per CultureMap, the bar will offer a “trailer park chic” vibe, a phrase that is somehow both classist and meaningless. Expect cocktails served in Spaghetti-O’s cans with names like “Porch Possum” and “Panther Piss,” alongside snacks like Twinkies, both of which are apparently supposed to signify something about the trappings of “trailer park” life.
Perhaps most egregiously, one of the bar’s cocktails is called the “First of the Month,” a date immortalized in the similarly titled 1998 Bone Thugz N Harmony song, because it has historically been when people who receive financial assistance would get their monthly checks. Considering that the bar is a project of high-end club owners, it’s unlikely that this menu will offer many budget-friendly options for people who are still trying to make ends meet while reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The self-described “experiential hospitality venue” sprung from the “trash-filled minds” of Las Vegas nightclub owners Robert Frey and Jennifer Worthington, and event producer Ned Collett. Fat Boots’s website boasts that it’s a destination for the “Tik-Tok and selfies generation,” a veritable paradise for people who are much more interested in a bar’s ‘grammability than its cocktail menu.
Not everyone is thrilled about the arrival of Fat Boots. Over at the Houston Chronicle, writer Abigail Rosenthal criticized the establishment’s flippant view of trailer parks, which have frequently been used as the punchline in jokes about people living in poverty. “Everything about it feels patronizing.” Rosenthal writes. “People’s lives and struggles aren’t for gawking at and turning into an opportunity for a colorful Instagram photo.”
And then, of course, there is the casual sexism. The bar’s employees, called “Fat Boots Flamingos,” are depicted in Fat Boots’s marketing materials dancing on the bar in skimpy outfits that look like something out of the wardrobe of Daisy Duke or Ellie Mae Clampett. The website essentially encourages its patrons to objectify the workers — apparently, the Flamingos put the “lust in wanderlust” — which isn’t a great idea considering that restaurant industry workers have continued to report increased sexual harassment throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
However tacky and ill-advised Fat Boots’s schtick may be, the bar has already made plans to open multiple locations following its Houston debut. According to its website, a New Orleans outpost is expected to open this fall, and a Nashville bar is also in the works.
Correction: A previous version of this story indicated that Fat Boots was located in the Heights. It is on Washington Avenue.