Hundreds of guests showed up for the grand opening party for Smoke Friday. We got there around 9 p.m., and it was like trying to take a bathroom break at the Cotton Bowl before they remodeled it — sardines in a can. But we kept pushing until we got to the Thirsty Bear, a patio area at the rear of the restaurant. The name is an homage to the adorable name of the original restaurant at the 1950s motel, The Hungry Bear. Thirsty Bear opens at 10 p.m., when Bar Belmont closes. It has a rustic, Texas beer garden look with a few modern touches. I liked it, and I expect it to become a staple of Oak Cliff nightlife.

I can’t write about the food because they ran out before we could try it. It was raining, my feet were wet, and I was hungry and cranky from drinking beer on an empty stomach. So we left and went to La Casita.

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