By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor
The focus of anybody heading to Tulsa, Okla. next week for the Bassmaster Classic will naturally be on fishing. Many of us who are going there to work will have little opportunity to do anything else, but those who attend on their own time and their own dime might welcome a diversion or two.
With that in mind, we asked some of the many fishing-industry people who call Tulsa home to recommend one or more of their favorite hangouts. The responses we got ranged across several categories, including food, nightlife and local culture.
For those who won't be attending the Classic, well, too bad for you. Perhaps you'll end up in Tulsa on some other occasion in the future, though, and you can use our "Search" function to pull this article from the archives.
Stay Close, Eat Well
Alan McGuckin of Dynamic Sponsorships (clients include Toyota, BoatUS Angler, Quantum and Carhartt) has lived in Tulsa for the past 18 years. He's big on one-of-a-kind eateries and offered up four good ones that are within 4 miles of the BOK Center (site of the Classic weigh-ins).
> The Brook (3401 South Peoria) – "Located inside what was once an old-time 1940s movie house, this is the ultimate in giant-sized portions of bar food. Chicken wraps and loaded cheese fries are (wife) Sheila and I’s top picks here."
> White Owl Pub (1325 E. 15th St.) – "Cozy is the first word that comes to mind. Not the biggest place ever, but then again, I’m not sure pubs are supposed to be. I dig the fish tacos here. Sheila chooses chicken quesadillas."
> McNellie's Irish Pub (409 E. 1st St.) – "This is an Irish Pub put smack in the middle of America’s heartland. They have 350 different beers available. Sheila and I both choose a patty melt with sweet potato fries. Did I mention they have 350 beers available?"
> Caz’s Chowhouse (18 E. Brady) – "Like the White Owl, table space is at a bit of a premium here, but so is ‘cozy’ – made even ‘cozier’ by a menu full of comfort foods such as pot roast, mac and cheese, meatloaf and chicken-fried steak."
If you're a hot dog connoisseur and don't mind driving a bit, you could make your way out to the Gnarley Dawg (6011 S. Mingo Road, about 20 minutes from downtown). The joint is owned by Major League Fishing commissioner Don Rucks, who describes it as a "fun, casual place" that serves large portions (including chili, if you want). The décor includes a barbed wire-topped chain-link fence bordering the inside walls and many unique junkyard items.
Scoot your Boots
Gary Dollahon of Dollahon Public Relations (Lew's, Gene Larew Lures, Plano) is a big fan of country music and was more than willing to expound on its prominent place in the Tulsa lifestyle.
He pointed out that its roots in the area stretch all the way back to the early years of the legendary Bob Wills and extend to today with current stars such as Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and Toby Keith. Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood live just a few miles north of town and sightings of the couple in the city are common.
When the Classic Expo shuts down on Friday and Saturday nights, he recommends a visit to one of the town's country-themed nightclubs.
"The time-tested Caravan Cattle Company (7901 E. 41st St.) has the largest dance floor," he said. "They teach free line-dance lessons every Friday night from 7:45 to 8:30 p.m., then open the floor for the rest of the night to a mix of great DJ-played two-step, shuffle, waltz and line-dance tunes. After about 10:30, the crowd gets bigger – and younger.
The Caravan Cattle Company, which features a huge dance floor, is one of Tulsa's hottest nightspots.
"Boots and Diamonds (8186 S. Memorial) and the Red Dirt Dancehall and Saloon (6214 S. Sheridan) are two recently opened places in Tulsa that also have dance floors and cater to the country-music crowd. And while driving in and around Tulsa, tune into legendary KVOO 98.5 FM for good country music and Bassmaster Classic updates."
If pointed-toe boots and bolo ties aren't part of your travel wardrobe, there are other options, as described by Dollahon's daughter, Crystal Myers.
"As a child of the '80s, one of my favorite nightlife spots is The Max Retropub (114 S. Elgin Ave.)," she said. "The place has a great atmosphere that takes you back to the music, TV shows and arcade games of the '80s and early '90s and combines all the fun with the option of adult beverages. The Max is part of Tulsa's Blue Dome District and isn't far from the Bassmaster Classic activities in downtown Tulsa."
A Trip Back in Time
History buffs should consider spending a few hours one morning or afternoon at the Gilcrease Museum (1400 Gilcrease Museum Road, just a bit northwest of downtown).
"I love the Old West and anything associated with it," said Ron Giudice of Blue Heron Communications, who reps the Pure Fishing companies, Ranger and Triton. "This museum holds a treasure of Western art and artifacts.
"The Charles M. Russell paintings on display are my favorite, but there are paintings by Catlan and Moran, too, all original, and Remington bronze (statues)."
> Any BassFans have Tulsa attractions to recommend? If so, click here to tell us about them.