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The Hard-Working Rich

by Kevin D. Williamson

Idle heirs are tough to find

There is in Dallas an establishment called the Idle Rich Pub, where you can find an excellent plate of fish and chips but few if any actual idle rich folk, who seem to be scarce as hen’s teeth. There are plenty of rich people in and around Dallas, as a walk down Euclid Avenue in Highland Park will confirm, but unlike in New York City’s Upper East Side or San Francisco’s Mission District, Dallas’s outdoor cafes and boutiques are deserted on a typical weekday afternoon: Dallas’s rich are in the main the working rich. Dallas is no longer the Dallas of Dallas, but it still is a city in which the very well off are not at all shy about their money — there are plenty of Bentleys parked in front of the Mansion at Turtle Creek, because Dallas is the sort of place where rich people drive Bentleys and they call their nicest hotel “the Mansion.” Those Bentleys belong to energy traders, hedge-fund geeks, restaurateurs, real-estate developers, dentists, importers, exporters — to the extent that there are trust funders, they’re keeping a relatively low profile everywhere but the charity circuit. The Idle Rich Pub is owned by a man with a classic American success story, an immigrant who launched another pub that became so successful that it was too crowded for his taste — inspiring him to open a new place partly as an act of self-indulgence, thus the self-deprecating name.

The Idle Rich Pub is not the first Dallas drinking establishment by that name. As the Dallas Observer points out, there was another bar called the Idle Rich some years back, a hangout for newspaper reporters and “cops who, once over-served, would empty their revolvers into the moose head above the bar.” In a city of up-and-comers such as Dallas, it is hard not to see the professionals drinking $21 glasses of Macallan as the cultural (and perhaps in some cases literal) heirs of the blue-collar crowd at the old Idle Rich.

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