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The bar's advertisement in Latin Life Magazine isn't kidding when it claims, "Now looking for new members!" Longtime members of the club and friendly bartender Jose will make sure you feel like a regular too. Cooper's--featured as one of "Dallas's Most Authentic Dive Bars"--has been at its current location at the corner of West Illinois Avenue and South Cockrell Hill Road since relocating from West Davis Street in 1983. The CD jukebox reflects the diversity of the neighborhood and clientele, with a random assortment of discs from Freddy Fender, Vicente Fernandez, AC/DC, Al Green, Robert Earl Keen, Rolling Stones and Johnny Cash. Thursday-night karaoke is similarly mixed, Jose says, with regulars choosing blues, country, rock and Tejano from a comprehensive Internet playlist. The laid-back approach to repair in the men's room is evidence of the easy-going manner of the joint, with tiles missing and the toilet tank lid replaced with a whitewashed piece of plywood rather than porcelain. There are signs, however, that not everyone in the place is always so friendly, as a couple of fist-shaped holes scar the inside of the door. Above the broken wood, some anonymous wag wrote, "Don't hurt me, I'm only a door."
The bar door swings open, and orange sunlight, hazy with cigarette smoke, briefly lights the sparse, dingy environs. On the hardwood bar top, a half-dozen dice tumble from a Yahtzee cup, landing close to a smudged envelope stuffed with cash. Near... More »
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