View Full Version : My trip to Tulsa



Pages : [1] 2

Pete
02-29-2016, 03:28 AM
I spent most the day on Sunday in Tulsa, as some friends from California were there for a wedding. Had not been in about 10 years and was really pleased to see all the great things happening there.

My friends were staying at the downtown Aloft, which is the old converted City Hall. It's a strange 1960's concrete building surrounded by a strange concrete parking garage. The whole setting there is beyond weird and seems like an odd choice for a hotel.

We went to brunch at Dilly's in the Blue Dome district. They were busy and when we finally got a table the waitress asked us where we were from and when my friends said California and I said I had just moved to OKC, she launched into this diatribe about how Tulsa was the “much cooler brother to OKC” and how they were lucky to be in Tulsa and blah, blah, blah. I bit my lip and chalked it up to her being excited about Tulsa but found it weird and frankly, rude. Anyway... It took them forever to get us our food (like almost an hour) and then my chicken fried steak was almost inedible. My friends liked their meals and it was a cool place.

We walked around the Blue Dome... Lots of bars and restaurants but of course most were closed. Went inside Dust Bowl which is a very cool setting in an old building. Smaller than OKC but more charming IMO. Peaked inside The Max and it looked almost identical to FlashBack in OKC (or the other way around, since The Max was first).

There are absolutely tons and tons of surface parking lots all around there and really all of downtown. I suppose that makes it easy for people to drive in and bar hop, which in itself is probably a cool thing. You really notice the Elliot Nelson empire in this area, with Fassler, Dust Bowl, McNellies, Yokozuna, El Guapo and I didn't realize Dilly's was his as well until later.

Downtown Tulsa is in desperate need of something like Project 180. Lots of one-way streets in bad shape and no real streetscape that I noticed.

The other place I spent quite a bit of time was Brookside. Parked at the far north end then walked the length to the new Trader Joe's. Being a gorgeous Sunday around 2PM, the dozen or so bars and restaurants were all packed and very lively. Reminded me a great deal of OKC's Western Ave. but more dense and more places and much better use of patios and street life. BUT they really need to trim Peoria down to 2 lanes in that stretch and get people to slow down. I literally couldn't cross the street and the traffic surging through there was pretty loud and unpleasant, especially since all the places faced out to the street.

The best thing about Brookside IMO is the neighborhoods surrounding. Quaint, close to the river and all the related recreation and close to downtown. Really, all those neighborhoods between I-44 and downtown are really pretty.

I know there was a lot I didn't see like Cherry Street and more of the downtown districts, so I'll be back soon. Also need to be downtown on a weekend night in order to go into most the places I saw.

Roger S
02-29-2016, 07:39 AM
My friends were staying at the downtown Aloft, which is the old converted City Hall. It's a strange 1960's concrete building surrounded by a strange concrete parking garage. The whole setting there is beyond weird and seems like an odd choice for a hotel.

I've stayed in that Aloft and the service was incredible and it was one of the nicest rooms I've stayed in Tulsa. I wouldn't hesitate to book a room there again.

Zuplar
02-29-2016, 08:06 AM
The real question is did you go to the center of the universe? Seriously maybe one of the cooler things I saw in Tulsa. IMO there is a few things Tulsa does better than OKC, but the majority of everything isn't really in the same ballpark. I too noticed anytime I said I was from OKC, I kind of got the same spill about Tulsa being cooler, to which I usually said something like "yeah you guys got a lot going for you."

dankrutka
02-29-2016, 08:17 AM
That stinks about Dilly Deli. I've eaten there probably 10-15 times and never had a bad meal. A lot of your assessment is on point though, which is why the two new huge projects on surface lots are such game changers for Blue Dome.

stile99
02-29-2016, 08:20 AM
I said I had just moved to OKC, she launched into this diatribe about how Tulsa was the “much cooler brother to OKC” and how they were lucky to be in Tulsa and blah, blah, blah. I bit my lip and chalked it up to her being excited about Tulsa but found it weird and frankly, rude.

I have never understood the huge hard-on that Tulsa has for OKC, but this is certainly not the first time I've seen this attitude expressed. The sheer hatred Tulsa has for OKC, and the need to convince everyone (including, by my impression, themselves) of their superiority while OKC doesn't seem to care in the slightest would be of great interest to a psychologist if the two cities were human siblings. Not sure you can psychoanalyze a city though.

Tulsa: You're fine. You have a lot to offer. The inferiority complex is a little off-putting. Just be yourself, let your own beauty shine. If your beauty has to come from trying to make others look ugly, it really just makes you look ugly.

Teo9969
02-29-2016, 08:56 AM
One of the things I absolutely love about Tulsa that we are simply never going to have in OKC are the numbers of beautiful Cathedrals. There's like 4 of them in downtown Tulsa alone. OKC has First Presbyterian and past that nothing is quite as grand. City Church (Frontline) is cool, but in the Berliner Dom is a nice change of pace from the rest of the European Cathedrals kind of way.

And it wasn't just that…I noticed they have quite a few more older buildings left in their downtown.

Brookside is probably the area that I'm most impressed with. It's a great urban pocket and it's going to take a good minute for Western Avenue to catch up.

Even so, I'd still take OKC 9 times out of 10.

Pete
02-29-2016, 09:01 AM
That stinks about Dilly Deli. I've eaten there probably 10-15 times and never had a bad meal. A lot of your assessment is on point though, which is why the two new huge projects on surface lots are such game changers for Blue Dome.

My buddy also had to get up and get his own coffee refill once and as incredibly late as our food was, I'm pretty sure the order just wasn't put in because when the waitress finally checked on us, it was another 15 minutes before we got anything and even then it didn't come out at once. There were only 4 of us.


BTW, my friends loved Tulsa. They were supposed to come visit me in OKC but their schedule became compressed and so I just went up there.


And regarding the waitress diatribe she said something like, "OKC is bigger but we have way more i terms of bars and cool restaurants and just soooo much more going on here." I doubt she had even been to OKC and I suspect this is something that gets repeated over and over again without having any real knowledge. I find it hard to imagine an OKC version of that conversation, where someone is at Kitchen No. 324 (or Pump or The Mule or anywhere else) and learns someone is visiting from Tulsa and basically rags on their city for a good 10 minutes.

bchris02
02-29-2016, 09:20 AM
OKC vs Tulsa is a matter of personal preference in my opinion and I think people in both cities have a habit of dismissing what the other has to offer as well as account for recent changes. I think Tulsa is a little more dismissive of OKC but I don't think the average person up there comes down the turnpike as often as people in OKC go to Tulsa. OKC and Tulsa are more similar than they are different, but each one has its own pluses and minuses that can sway people in one direction or the other. Tulsa does have some perks OKC doesn't and if those things are important to someone, to that person Tulsa is better. I think the better statement though would be "I like Tulsa and what it offers better" instead of "Tulsa is way cooler and has more going on than OKC".

Pete
02-29-2016, 09:33 AM
I think the better statement though would be "I like Tulsa and what it offers better" instead of "Tulsa is way cooler and has more going on than OKC".

Why get into this at all?

Let alone a waitress serving a guest and by a person who works for a restaurant group with tons of operations (with more coming) in the city they are dogging.

I was immensely insulted, if that isn't obvious. If my friends hadn't been there I would have definitely said something to her.

Pete
02-29-2016, 09:37 AM
I think Tulsa is a little more dismissive of OKC but I don't think the average person up there comes down the turnpike as often as people in OKC go to Tulsa.

No way to prove this either way but tons and tons of people from Tulsa come down for Thunder games and other events in OKC. Saw lots of Thunder apparel up there.

My friends who live up there are in OKC all the time; way more than I ever go up there.

With the shifting live music scene -- and especially with Live Nation in the picture in OKC -- I wouldn't be surprised that the net concert traffic doesn't soon fall in OKC's favor.

918Town
02-29-2016, 09:43 AM
I have never understood the huge hard-on that Tulsa has for OKC, but this is certainly not the first time I've seen this attitude expressed. The sheer hatred Tulsa has for OKC, and the need to convince everyone (including, by my impression, themselves) of their superiority while OKC doesn't seem to care in the slightest would be of great interest to a psychologist if the two cities were human siblings. Not sure you can psychoanalyze a city though.

Tulsa: You're fine. You have a lot to offer. The inferiority complex is a little off-putting. Just be yourself, let your own beauty shine. If your beauty has to come from trying to make others look ugly, it really just makes you look ugly.

I'm a long time active reader, but very seldom post anything. However, I was really eagerly waiting to hear his independant assesment and impression of my city, which I love just as much you apparently love Okc. I was also prepared to take everything with a grain of salt, realizing the undertones that run through this board. However, more of the same right off the top, for me it's very disappointing and disheartening. I guess I shouldn't have expected more this time, but I did. Am I wrong for expecting anything different?

I've been in Okc a great deal over the last several years, and I've unexpectedly learned to appreciate many great aspects and qualities that the city has to offer. Is Okc perfect, of course not. Is Okc everything you guys believe it is, of course not. But I'm not here to spew everything I hate about Okc, because believe me there are a lot of things not to like, and I believe the quality of life is superior in Tulsa (there are 1M people living up the turnpike to prove that!)

Again, I enjoy in-depth analysis of the issues facing both of the major cities in our state, along with the following discussion of potential solutions and problemsolving ideas. But more of the same Tulsa rhetoric causes me to pause and go dark or just move along. Thanks for your time.

bchris02
02-29-2016, 09:44 AM
Why get into this at all?

Let alone a waitress serving a guest and by a person who works for a restaurant group with tons of operations (with more coming) in the city they are dogging.

I was immensely insulted, if that isn't obvious. If my friends hadn't been there I would have definitely said something to her.

True. This specific instance crosses the line from simply having preference for one city over another to being rude and insulting, especially being that you didn't ask her opinion on which city was better. I would maybe complain to the management.

dankrutka
02-29-2016, 09:46 AM
And regarding the waitress diatribe she said something like, "OKC is bigger but we have way more i terms of bars and cool restaurants and just soooo much more going on here." I doubt she had even been to OKC and I suspect this is something that gets repeated over and over again without having any real knowledge. I find it hard to imagine an OKC version of that conversation, where someone is at Kitchen No. 324 (or Pump or The Mule or anywhere else) and learns someone is visiting from Tulsa and basically rags on their city for a good 10 minutes.

First, these discussions are always silly in my mind, but maybe that's just because I love both cities. However, I think we all know that narratives take time to change, and there's no question that Tulsa did have more urbanism, art, and music until the last 10-15 years. Tulsa has has vibrant and thriving urban districts in Cherry Street and Brookside since I was a little kid in the 1990s. OKC had some fledgling urban areas, but nothing comparable unless I'm just ignorant.

However, both cities are growing now, but OKC's growth has been transformational. The Blue Dome and Brady District's have really come to the life at about the same time as the Bricktown, the Plaza District, Midtown, and Deep Deuce came alive. In the last year or so Tulsa has seen new potential areas in 3rd street and the Pearl District come alive. So, any way both cities are growing their urban cores, but I don't think there's any question that Tulsa was ahead of OKC for a long time.

Maybe I'm biased since I grew up in Tulsa in the 90s and then lived in Norman/OKC in the 2000s. Thoughts?

gopokes88
02-29-2016, 09:50 AM
Top 5 cities in the world
London
Paris
NY
Tokyo
Tulsa

-90% of the Tulsa people I've met.

Pete
02-29-2016, 10:01 AM
First, these discussions are always silly in my mind, but maybe that's just because I love both cities. However, I think we all know that narratives take time to change, and there's no question that Tulsa did have more urbanism, art, and music until the last 10-15 years. Tulsa has has vibrant and thriving urban districts in Cherry Street and Brookside since I was a little kid in the 1990s. OKC had some fledgling urban areas, but nothing comparable unless I'm just ignorant.

Why or why do people always forget about Bricktown?? The canal and ballpark opened in the late 90's.

Frankly, if my friends had visited OKC as they had originally planned, we would have spent a bunch of time down there and even on a Sunday afternoon there would have been tons of people out and about. We could have taken their young son to play mini golf, walked the canal, eaten and stopped for drinks many places on the water, gotten ice cream -- could have even gone to a movie.

As it was in downtown Tulsa, we ate at Dilly's and walked around for a good hour and almost nothing else was open and there was nothing for us to do. We ended up jumping in the car and driving around south Tulsa.


There is absolutely nothing in Tulsa that even sniffs Bricktown and yet somehow that is always left out of these comparison discussions and I just don't understand it. People visiting from other cities absolutely rave about Bricktown and it's the only place in the entire state where you can be out at any time and see crowds of people congregating and walking around.

dankrutka
02-29-2016, 10:09 AM
Why or why do people always forget about Bricktown?? The canal and ballpark opened in the late 90's.

I certainly didn't forget Bricktown, which started to really emerge in the late 1990s. I was talking about the entire and most of the 1990s, in which OKC lagged behind Tulsa without urban districts comparable to Cherry Street and Brookside. I visited those areas often when I was young. Again, OKC's changes have been transformational with numerous urban districts that -- for the most part -- still have a lot of room for growth. Everything is trending in the right direction for the urban areas in both cities.

gopokes88
02-29-2016, 10:12 AM
Why or why do people always forget about Bricktown?? The canal and ballpark opened in the late 90's.

Frankly, if my friends had visited OKC as they had originally planned, we would have spent a bunch of time down there and even on a Sunday afternoon there would have been tons of people out and about. We could have taken their young son to play mini golf, walked the canal, eaten and stopped for drinks many places on the water, gotten ice cream -- could have even gone to a movie.

As it was in downtown Tulsa, we ate at Dilly's and walked around for a good hour and almost nothing else was open and there was nothing for us to do. We ended up jumping in the car and driving around south Tulsa.


There is absolutely nothing in Tulsa that even sniffs Bricktown and yet somehow that is always left out of these comparison discussions and I just don't understand it. People visiting from other cities absolutely rave about Bricktown and it's the only place in the entire state where you can be out at any time and see crowds of people congregating and walking around.

Because as locals we see it as tourist town. That isn't a bad thing but it's full of chains (Zio's, yucatan, hooters, abuelos, melting pot) the local places are higher end and not every week eating (The Mantel, West) so outside of a thunder game there isn't really a compelling reason to go down there.

Pete
02-29-2016, 10:20 AM
Because as locals we see it as tourist town. That isn't a bad thing but it's full of chains (Zio's, yucatan, hooters, abuelos, melting pot) the local places are higher end and not every week eating (The Mantel, West) so outside of a thunder game there isn't really a compelling reason to go down there.

I am down there all the time and there are lots of places that aren't chains.

And I assure you it's not just tourists as the area is always churning with people.


This is becoming a hot button issue for me because everyone just completely discounts Bricktown and it's 3x the size of any other urban district in the state with far, far more to offer.

There will soon be TEN hotels in Bricktown alone, ACM @ UCO, along with a movie theater, canal, boat rides, live music, clubs, AAA ballpark, all types of places to eat and drink on the water and a ton of other things to do.

The area is also adding a bunch of office tenants and will soon have 350 housing units with more planned, and already has a fully-sold mid-rise condo project.

There is nothing that is even remotely close to this in the state.

bchris02
02-29-2016, 10:26 AM
However, both cities are growing now, but OKC's growth has been transformational. The Blue Dome and Brady District's have really come to the life at about the same time as the Bricktown, the Plaza District, Midtown, and Deep Deuce came alive. In the last year or so Tulsa has seen new potential areas in 3rd street and the Pearl District come alive. So, any way both cities are growing their urban cores, but I don't think there's any question that Tulsa was ahead of OKC for a long time.


Most of the great, cool bars/restaurants in neighborhoods like Midtown, the Plaza, Uptown/23rd have only come into their own in the last three years. OKC had Bricktown but its a very different experience compared to the lower-key neighborhood bar atmosphere you historically had in Tulsa and now have in OKC. I agree narratives and perceptions take some time to change. If somebody from Tulsa's last time going out in OKC was 5+ years ago, I am sure they have a very different perception than somebody who has been here recently.

In regards to Tulsa, here are the things I really like about it.

-Greenery and tall trees
-Compact urban fabric
-Great beautification in the urban core
-Parks/sidewalks
-Retail/grocery stores
-Philanthropic investment

Here is what I don't like about it.

-Condition of streets downtown
-Still too much surface parking near the CBD
-Tulsa's suburbs; don't care for Broken Arrow, Owasso, Jenks, etc
-Economic growth and population growth underperforming

Mike_M
02-29-2016, 10:26 AM
I just think the conversation needs to change. In OKC, the first thing you'll here about is cost of living and disposable income. Which is great information for an economist. But in Tulsa, you'll instantly hear about all the things to do there. Thus the perception is that OKC is the cheap boring town to live in, and Tulsa is this underrated cultural hotbed that only the cool people know about. I think if you started the conversation mentioning Bricktown, Midtown, Uptown, and Automobile Alley, not to mention the Criterion and the soon-coming OKC music scene boom, people would see that it's probably just as good, if not better, of a place to be entertained as Tulsa.

Bellaboo
02-29-2016, 10:27 AM
^^^ And the new Riversport Rapids can be accessed from Bricktown by walking starting in May.

Pete
02-29-2016, 10:31 AM
I just think the conversation needs to change. In OKC, the first thing you'll here about is cost of living and disposable income. Which is great information for an economist. But in Tulsa, you'll instantly hear about all the things to do there. Thus the perception is that OKC is the cheap boring town to live in, and Tulsa is this underrated cultural hotbed that only the cool people know about. I think if you started the conversation mentioning Bricktown, Midtown, Uptown, and Automobile Alley, not to mention the Criterion and the soon-coming OKC music scene boom, people would see that it's probably just as good, if not better, of a place to be entertained as Tulsa.

Excellent points.

But I think the conversation has already changed. Now, we mostly talk about the amazing investment in the central core: Devon, the Myriad Gardens re-do, the Thunder, Bricktown, AA, Midtown, Film Row, SoSA, Boathouses / Riversport, the coming streetcar, etc.

It's exciting to think about being able to take the streetcar through most the core and actually show off everything that is happening in town, and within 2-3 years there will be much more infill along that line.

Pete
02-29-2016, 12:36 PM
Anyway.... :)

Tulsa really has sooo much going for it.

Those beautiful neighborhoods just south of downtown, the more affordable but still very nice neighborhoods around Brookside, downtown coming up quickly, the Gathering Place project as well as the river dams...

There are a lot of very desirable places to live very near downtown while the 'hoods to the south have access to nice parks, good shopping and restaurants in the direct vicinity, great grocery choices and then the recreation along the river.

If their economy ever kicks it up a notch or two, you could see how all of that could come together pretty quickly and make a nice city downright awesome.

And really, apart from being not too happy with that waitress, she was really coming from a place of loving Tulsa and said she had considered moving away but now really wants to be a part of what is happening there. I'm sure that attitude is reflected by many in Tulsa and just like OKC, that sort of thing just wasn't heard from young hipsters 5 years ago.

BG918
02-29-2016, 01:01 PM
Peoria through Brookside is a very busy thoroughfare and even more so right now because Riverside is closed to build the Gathering Place. I think you will see continued development of Brookside due to its location near the park especially once the Crow Creek trail is built to connect it directly to the park and new children's museum.

On your next visit you should check out Cherry Street and the Pearl. Cherry St is more eclectic than Brookside and is slated to get a streetscape project that will help make the pedestrian environment much better. The surrounding neighborhood is interesting: old bungalows on the south side in the Swan Lake historic district and modern townhouses to the north. The Pearl around 6th & Peoria is still developing and is similar to what the Plaza District was like 5 years ago. The park next to it has a great view of the skyline.

gopokes88
02-29-2016, 01:06 PM
I am down there all the time and there are lots of places that aren't chains.

And I assure you it's not just tourists as the area is always churning with people.


This is becoming a hot button issue for me because everyone just completely discounts Bricktown and it's 3x the size of any other urban district in the state with far, far more to offer.

There will soon be TEN hotels in Bricktown alone, ACM @ UCO, along with a movie theater, canal, boat rides, live music, clubs, AAA ballpark, all types of places to eat and drink on the water and a ton of other things to do.

The area is also adding a bunch of office tenants and will soon have 350 housing units with more planned, and already has a fully-sold mid-rise condo project.

There is nothing that is even remotely close to this in the state.
I agree 100% but perception can be reality. It is perceived as touristy.

The Criterion opening could be huge towards turning the corner.

PhiAlpha
02-29-2016, 01:22 PM
I'm a long time active reader, but very seldom post anything. However, I was really eagerly waiting to hear his independant assesment and impression of my city, which I love just as much you apparently love Okc. I was also prepared to take everything with a grain of salt, realizing the undertones that run through this board. However, more of the same right off the top, for me it's very disappointing and disheartening. I guess I shouldn't have expected more this time, but I did. Am I wrong for expecting anything different?

I've been in Okc a great deal over the last several years, and I've unexpectedly learned to appreciate many great aspects and qualities that the city has to offer. Is Okc perfect, of course not. Is Okc everything you guys believe it is, of course not. But I'm not here to spew everything I hate about Okc, because believe me there are a lot of things not to like, and I believe the quality of life is superior in Tulsa (there are 1M people living up the turnpike to prove that!)

Again, I enjoy in-depth analysis of the issues facing both of the major cities in our state, along with the following discussion of potential solutions and problemsolving ideas. But more of the same Tulsa rhetoric causes me to pause and go dark or just move along. Thanks for your time.

I'm not really sure why you picked that post to avidly disagree with. I'm in Tulsa very often and when I mention that I live in OKC...I inexplicably get similar responses, even from friends. I don't think I've ever heard that type of derogatory commentary thrown in the other direction. It does seem like a large portion of the Tulsa population has a major inferiority complex when it comes to OKC.

To counter your point, there is a lot that I love about Tulsa, is Tulsa perfect...not even close. Is Tulsa everything that it's unabashed supporters think it is...NO, and I would argue that Tulsans have much larger delusions of grandeur about the state of Tulsa than the majority of OKCTalk participants do about OKC. There are plenty of things not to like about Tulsa as well, but unlike many residents of your city in their opinions about OKC, I choose to keep those comments to myself as opposed to spewing them every time someone says they are from Tulsa.

Pete
02-29-2016, 01:22 PM
And I think that perception is held by many here in disproportion to the general populous of OKC.

Otherwise, there wouldn't be so many people down there all day, every day. No way the majority of those people (or even close to it) are from out of town.

PhiAlpha
02-29-2016, 01:27 PM
Why or why do people always forget about Bricktown?? The canal and ballpark opened in the late 90's.

I always wonder about this as well. I actually just got into an argument with friends about Bricktown last weekend. For whatever reason, it has some major perception issues with the young professional crowd here.

Urbanized
02-29-2016, 01:54 PM
The chain thing is straight garbage. I'm tired of fighting that fight on here. More than 30 bars and restaurants in Bricktown are local. That's more local places than just about any two other districts put together. And oh, by the way, as long as we are talking about other districts, they have chains too. Midtown, for instance, has a far greater proportion of chains than Bricktown does, with Louie's, Garage, Fassler, Dust Bowl, McNellies, 1492 and Irma's - off the top of my head - ALL falling in that category. Yet somehow other districts get a complete pass in this discussion. This isn't a knock on Midtown - where I probably spend more of my own personal time than anyplace else - it's just an illustration of how one-sided this discussion always is. It is total and complete horse ****.

And if you think Midtown, Uptown, Automobile Alley and Plaza don't also have a significant number of tourist and non-local business, you are delusional. People are sent to these places daily by hotel staff, by people working in attractions, by people working in other restaurants, by friends and family, by work colleagues, by the Convention and Vistors Bureau, by social media, by vistors' guides, by Google...and don't kid yourselves, the merchants in those districts LOVE that business. They CRAVE that business. It's good for them, it is good for the economy, and it is good for your quality of life as a local, since those places don't have to depend on just you and your cheap friends to keep the place going.

Do you think you can just look at someone and know whether they are a local or whether they are a tourist? In most cases the answer is no. You just THINK you can. You cheat by looking at someone in Bricktown and assuming they are a tourist, and by looking at someone in Midtown or Plaza and assuming they are local. Do you bother to ask? I do, because it is my business to do so. I reiterate: there are lots of locals frequenting Bricktown, and lots of visitors frequenting other districts. Stop being such snobs, people. ****.

OK, back to Tulsa...

Pete
02-29-2016, 01:57 PM
^

You don't get off that easy! ;)

What would you say is the local / tourist percentage breakdown in Bricktown? I know it varies if there is a convention in town, but generally speaking, what would you guess?

Urbanized
02-29-2016, 02:20 PM
Pete, it depends on how you define "local." If you mean from the larger metro, (Edmondish to Normanish, Shawneeish to El Renoish), I would say (total - but educated -guess) that somewhere around half of the annual users are local. This number is fed by day-in-day-out business; lunches, drinks after work, live music, and event business (Thunder, Dodgers, concerts, circus, etc.). A huge amount of local business occurs during Downtown in December. Other than during events they aren't always here in overwhelming numbers...much like other districts. They make up a lot if not most of the weekend business at bars, clubs, etc. We also often see locals here when they are entertaining out-of-town family and guests.

The remaining 50% is probably half in-state business - which is here year-round - and half regional/national/international travelers. The last group is really visible in large numbers during the spring and summer.

Just remember, the 50% of the district's annual business that is "local" is probably still more than the annual amount of locals in any other district, owing to the massive overall number of users. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it was more than any two other districts combined. You've said it yourself, the district is generally crawling with people, especially when the weather is nice. Until just recently, people on this board were (incorrectly) saying that Bricktown was "dead" except for summer weekends, which is more of the same horse **** repeated by people who by their own admission don't frequent the place.

Now, all of that said, some people's definition of "local" is different. For lots of them, unless you live within the Grand Avenue bubble and carry a Keep it Local OK card, you don't qualify. By the way, I myself qualify on both counts. But for people who fit that (made-up) definition (I like to call them uberlocals), it is fashionable to say you don't go to Bricktown, just like it is fashionable for some people to say that they don't watch TV. Those people are an admittedly small percentage of the users of Bricktown, though places like Skinny Slim's and Tapwerks still lure them here at times, and the Criterion will DEFINITELY cause them to be here more often.

dankrutka
02-29-2016, 02:24 PM
The chain thing is straight garbage. I'm tired of fighting that fight on here. More than 30 bars and restaurants in Bricktown are local. That's more local places than just about any two other districts put together. And oh, by the way, as long as we are talking about other districts, they have chains too. Midtown, for instance, has a far greater proportion of chains than Bricktown does, with Louie's, Garage, Fassler, Dust Bowl, McNellies, 1492 and Irma's - off the top of my head - ALL falling in that category. Yet somehow other districts get a complete pass in this discussion. This isn't a knock on Midtown - where I probably spend more of my own personal time than anyplace else - it's just an illustration of how one-sided this discussion always is. It is total and complete horse ****.

First, let me say that I totally agree with your larger point that Bricktown is unfairly viewed as a place for chains and tourists. You've changed my thinking on the issue. Keep up the good fight.

Having said that, I believe a local "chain" (particularly considering many of them only have one or two locations) is very different than a national one. That Louie's started in Norman and almost exclusively exists in Oklahoma (with a few out-of-state locations) means that it is far more locally invested than, say, Hooters. Anyway, I'm sure there's something that I'm missing... ;)

Pete
02-29-2016, 02:27 PM
^

But if you apply that same standard, there are still very few chains in Bricktown.

bchris02
02-29-2016, 02:29 PM
Others can maybe give more insight into PhiAlpha's claim that Bricktown has a perception problem with young professionals, but for me, I prefer the atmosphere and crowd in Midtown, 23rd, and Plaza establishments over Bricktown. That is my personal preference. Bricktown however is still the premier urban district in the city and is very important to the city's image. I just prefer the more intimate, neighborhood feel of the establishments elsewhere.

The Steelyard and Criterion will bring more people to Bricktown who have likely left the district for the other neighborhoods as well as bring more warm bodies actually living in Bricktown. This should really help push the district in the right direction. The placemaking initiative that was posted here will also be a big help.

Something else that could really help Bricktown is better use of and more focus on the canal.

Pete
02-29-2016, 02:32 PM
Skinny Slim's in Bricktown is perhaps the most intimate, friendliest bar in town.

jerrywall
02-29-2016, 02:48 PM
Part of the problem Bricktown has is the perception that it's "inconvenient" to go to. And this is partly fair, although it's getting people used to the idea that you're not going to be able to pull right up to the bar/restaurant you're going to, park up front, and park for free. When I'm trying to get friends to meet up somewhere, I have an easier time getting them to meet up at Deep Deuce grill, or Skinny Slims, rather than say Hudson's or Tapworks. I run into similar resistance in the Plaza District.

And second on that Skinny Slim's endorsement (although I spend most of my time at the Edmond one).

HOT ROD
02-29-2016, 02:57 PM
i would guess on average MY GUESS is Bricktown would be 60% local 40% tourist, except days/nights when there is a convention or national event going on (then obviously, it likely switches to 20% local 80% tourist).

Urbanized
02-29-2016, 03:33 PM
^^^^^^
Also a reasonable breakdown I think, and doesn't really conflict with my own estimate. On a day-in-day-out, night-in-night-out basis more than half the users are locals, but when the district is really slammed (especially in summertime) it lurches a little bit more toward visitor.

This is an example of something else I often say about Bricktown; for most people Bricktown is only what it is when they themselves experience it. If they only come occasionally on late nights, Friday and Saturday, it is a club/bar district, and unless they are the type of person who frequents nightclubs they might feel REALLY out of place. If you come on a Saturday afternoon, you think it is mostly a family destination. If you visit on a Monday morning, it's a sleepy business district. If you visit on a Monday night, it's a humming business DINNER district.

The problem is that most people only experience the district during one type of time, and they think it ALWAYS is what they've experienced.

OK, seriously, this is derailing the Tulsa talk.

gopokes88
02-29-2016, 03:35 PM
The chain thing is straight garbage. I'm tired of fighting that fight on here. More than 30 bars and restaurants in Bricktown are local. That's more local places than just about any two other districts put together. And oh, by the way, as long as we are talking about other districts, they have chains too. Midtown, for instance, has a far greater proportion of chains than Bricktown does, with Louie's, Garage, Fassler, Dust Bowl, McNellies, 1492 and Irma's - off the top of my head - ALL falling in that category. Yet somehow other districts get a complete pass in this discussion. This isn't a knock on Midtown - where I probably spend more of my own personal time than anyplace else - it's just an illustration of how one-sided this discussion always is. It is total and complete horse ****.

And if you think Midtown, Uptown, Automobile Alley and Plaza don't also have a significant number of tourist and non-local business, you are delusional. People are sent to these places daily by hotel staff, by people working in attractions, by people working in other restaurants, by friends and family, by work colleagues, by the Convention and Vistors Bureau, by social media, by vistors' guides, by Google...and don't kid yourselves, the merchants in those districts LOVE that business. They CRAVE that business. It's good for them, it is good for the economy, and it is good for your quality of life as a local, since those places don't have to depend on just you and your cheap friends to keep the place going.

Do you think you can just look at someone and know whether they are a local or whether they are a tourist? In most cases the answer is no. You just THINK you can. You cheat by looking at someone in Bricktown and assuming they are a tourist, and by looking at someone in Midtown or Plaza and assuming they are local. Do you bother to ask? I do, because it is my business to do so. I reiterate: there are lots of locals frequenting Bricktown, and lots of visitors frequenting other districts. Stop being such snobs, people. ****.

OK, back to Tulsa...

I'm not being a snob just answering why people forget about bricktown and the answer is that it is perceived as touristy. A major problem is the two most visible restaurants are major and national chains. Zio's and Hooters.

All the midtown places you listed are local-ish. I'd call them state level local. So it's not horsesh*t, it's a valid opinion to say Bricktown is perceived as touristy and chain filled. You could open a bomb local burger place on memorial but that isn't going to change it's dallas-esq highway feel. Same thing with Bricktown, until both of those places are gone or Bricktown grows so much their visibility shrinks, that will be the perception.

As far as AP's point about it's negative reputation it's pretty simple. Perception is that Bricktown is full of club rats and a bunch of people from the country at the wormy dog. Skinny Slims being the exception, although its location gives it an almost deep deuce feel. (It is as amazing as Pete says and if you are showing off OKC that's a bar to take people too) DD also pulls a lot of people away from Bricktown, they have a cool little area between DDG, WSKY, A loft and Slaughters Hall.

It's just a perception is reality situation. It looks touristy, it's marketed to tourists (directly, and indirectly TNT loves cutaway shots of the canal), and it some of its highest profile restaurants are national chains.

That said, The Criterion could change every bit of that.

AP
02-29-2016, 03:49 PM
As far as AP's point about it's negative reputation it's pretty simple.

Though I do agree with PhiAlpha's statement that the YP crowd in OKC has a negative perception of Bricktown, it wasn't me that first made the statement. You got us confused!

gopokes88
02-29-2016, 03:52 PM
Though I do agree with PhiAlpha's statement that the YP crowd in OKC has a negative perception of Bricktown, it wasn't me that first made the statement. You got us confused!

PA and AP, dyslexia strikes again.

bchris02
02-29-2016, 04:42 PM
Back to Tulsa, one of the most impressive things about it is what they've accomplished and what kind of developments are in the pipeline there despite a dysfunctional city government and lackluster economic growth (even during the oil boom). If the city got its act together, it could really become something special. Tulsa has so much built-in potential such as a beautiful natural setting, a real riverfront, and plenty of historic buildings to work with.

soonerfan_in_okc
02-29-2016, 06:39 PM
I grew up in OKC, went to school at OU, and moved to Tulsa 2 years ago for work. I feel like this gives me a good viewpoint to compare both cities.

To me it's pretty simple. OKC is much farther along in terms of downtown development, however where Tulsa takes the cake is in its midtown districts. Cherry street, utica square, and brookside have just been around longer and had more of a chance to develop. Okc on the other hand has had momentum downtown for decades and there is nothing like bricktown at all in Tulsa. Only now does Tulsa have something going (mostly thanks to Elliot Nelson).

Both cities rock and I always seem to catch myself playing devils advocate when talking to someone about them. I love the hills and river in Tulsa but do miss OKC's charm. It seems a bit more southern to me and not nearly as Midwestern as Tulsa. Most of all though, I miss the BBQ and johnnies burgers from okc.

PhiAlpha
02-29-2016, 06:39 PM
Though I do agree with PhiAlpha's statement that the YP crowd in OKC has a negative perception of Bricktown, it wasn't me that first made the statement. You got us confused!

Noooooo!!!!!! j/k

And just to be clear, I really like Bricktown but the negative perception (at least among some of the YP crowd) is definitely there and GoPokes' comments are right on the money as far as the sentiments I've heard expressed. It's really unfortunate because there are plenty of cool local bar options like Tapwerks, Skinny Slims, JJ's Alley, Hudson's, Drinkz (though the z is frustrating), RedPin, The Bricktown Brewery, Knuck's, the biting sow (or whatever it's called now), among others. Even the Cosmopolitan is kind of cool in non-club way. As others have said, I think a combination of the additional residential options, criterion, additional parking garages and additional retail associated with each of those will help adjust the perception. Some additional utilization of canal frontage would go a long way as well and that seems to be happening.

PhiAlpha
02-29-2016, 06:45 PM
however where Tulsa takes the cake is in its midtown districts. Cherry street, utica square, and brookside have just been around longer and had more of a chance to develop. Okc on the other hand has had momentum downtown for decades and there is nothing like bricktown at all in Tulsa. Only now does Tulsa have something going (mostly thanks to Elliot Nelson).

True on the Midtown Districts, though I think the Plaza, Uptown, Western, and to some extent Film Row are well on their way to catching/surpassing Cherry St. & Brookside and are all ahead of the Pearl. Also if the plans come to fruition, I think the Classen Curve + Nichols Hills Plaza + The Triangle + Glimcher's new construction will likley surpass Utica. Tulsa also doesn't have anything that really compares to the Paseo

Rover
02-29-2016, 06:50 PM
Because as locals we see it as tourist town. That isn't a bad thing but it's full of chains (Zio's, yucatan, hooters, abuelos, melting pot) the local places are higher end and not every week eating (The Mantel, West) so outside of a thunder game there isn't really a compelling reason to go down there.

You obviously don't spend time there or you would know better.

Rover
02-29-2016, 07:01 PM
I'm not being a snob just answering why people forget about bricktown and the answer is that it is perceived as touristy. A major problem is the two most visible restaurants are major and national chains. Zio's and Hooters.

All the midtown places you listed are local-ish. I'd call them state level local. So it's not horsesh*t, it's a valid opinion to say Bricktown is perceived as touristy and chain filled. You could open a bomb local burger place on memorial but that isn't going to change it's dallas-esq highway feel. Same thing with Bricktown, until both of those places are gone or Bricktown grows so much their visibility shrinks, that will be the perception.

As far as AP's point about it's negative reputation it's pretty simple. Perception is that Bricktown is full of club rats and a bunch of people from the country at the wormy dog. Skinny Slims being the exception, although its location gives it an almost deep deuce feel. (It is as amazing as Pete says and if you are showing off OKC that's a bar to take people too) DD also pulls a lot of people away from Bricktown, they have a cool little area between DDG, WSKY, A loft and Slaughters Hall.

It's just a perception is reality situation. It looks touristy, it's marketed to tourists (directly, and indirectly TNT loves cutaway shots of the canal), and it some of its highest profile restaurants are national chains.

That said, The Criterion could change every bit of that.
This is an interesting discussion because I am in Dallas and Ft. worth today working on some real estate development issues and my being from OKC sparked three different conversations about Bricktown today and I had no questions about mid town, plaza, 23rd. Others take note of the vibrancy of Bricktown and OKC is now partly defined by Bricktown.

Btw, these developers spoke very favorably about Btown as an organic place. Reading some of these comments makes you think outsiders get it better than many okcitians

918Town
02-29-2016, 08:35 PM
I'm not really sure why you picked that post to avidly disagree with. I'm in Tulsa very often and when I mention that I live in OKC...I inexplicably get similar responses, even from friends. I don't think I've ever heard that type of derogatory commentary thrown in the other direction. It does seem like a large portion of the Tulsa population has a major inferiority complex when it comes to OKC.

To counter your point, there is a lot that I love about Tulsa, is Tulsa perfect...not even close. Is Tulsa everything that it's unabashed supporters think it is...NO, and I would argue that Tulsans have much larger delusions of grandeur about the state of Tulsa than the majority of OKCTalk participants do about OKC. There are plenty of things not to like about Tulsa as well, but unlike many residents of your city in their opinions about OKC, I choose to keep those comments to myself as opposed to spewing them every time someone says they are from Tulsa.

I don't understand your questioning, Why I "picked" the post, or why I "avidly disagree with" it? If you don't see anything to disagree with or if you don't know why I chose that post out of all the "same", I'll explain. That was the first reply in the thread that lead into the usual Tulsa chant that's repeated over and over on here. And I type slow (while also being distracted with real world issues this morning. That's why my reply was posted later in the thread)

I was looking forward to reading about the things he saw and did on his visit and his impressions of the development. Anyway, I'm tiring of the same ol same ol. Just because you say it enough doesn't mean it's true. So it's known that a large portion of the close to 1M people in Tulsa have an inferiority complex? The sensitivity level is so high, that it's obvious the complex runs the other way. Believe me, Tulsans could give two f@#$ about Okc, the Thunder, or Bricktown.

I'm here as an exception, I like learning about development and other cities. The whole group think here is insane. Any dissenting opinion has to be disproved immediately. It can't be taken and used as constructive criticism. That's what a real discussion thread is about. Not cheerleading against Tulsa(ns). An opportunity for Okc will be analysed to death until it becomes a strength.

Have at it, peace out!

918Town
02-29-2016, 08:48 PM
True on the Midtown Districts, though I think the Plaza, Uptown, Western, and to some extent Film Row are well on their way to catching/surpassing Cherry St. & Brookside and are all ahead of the Pearl. Also if the plans come to fruition, I think the Classen Curve + Nichols Hills Plaza + The Triangle + Glimcher's new construction will likley surpass Utica. Tulsa also doesn't have anything that really compares to the Paseo

There it goes again. Nothing in Okc is on its way to catching Cherry St. Or Brookside. Not to mention Utica Square. You paint it as if Tulsa is standing still. There is development as we speak in both Brookside and Cherry St. And planned major development in Utica. But I don't deal in if's and but's. Currently Tulsa has the best midtown districts. Bricktown is great for what it is and for what it was created to be.

Teo9969
02-29-2016, 09:32 PM
918Town,

While I do agree that the rhetoric on here can be a bit dismissive of the qualities that Tulsa possesses and people that frequent this site are obviously fans of OKC, I think you are unfairly dismissing a qualm that has been presented by many posters through actual experiences they've had. When you're in Tulsa and you say you're from OKC, not always, but often enough that it warrants noticing, the conversation takes this awkward turn toward all the cool things about Tulsa. Perhaps it happens in OKC as well, and we don't know, and it's a relatively normal thing to happen between these 2 cities…but it doesn't seem that way.

And hey, a little bit of competition is good for both cities. It would be a shame if you left simply because people were misinformed. You'd be surprised that you could help people on this site understand your city better and help foster an appreciation for your city (even if posters remain competitive in their approach). There're several Tulsa posters here and they've made strides in helping create an interest in the 918.

Teo9969
02-29-2016, 09:40 PM
Another thing to note: Tulsa has Kilkenny's. We have no Irish Pub that comes even close.

bchris02
02-29-2016, 10:01 PM
There it goes again. Nothing in Okc is on its way to catching Cherry St. Or Brookside. Not to mention Utica Square. You paint it as if Tulsa is standing still. There is development as we speak in both Brookside and Cherry St. And planned major development in Utica. But I don't deal in if's and but's. Currently Tulsa has the best midtown districts. Bricktown is great for what it is and for what it was created to be.

I do think that Brookside and Cherry St are still ahead of anything in OKC other than Bricktown, but I don't think the difference is as big as it was even just two years ago. OKC has come a long way in terms of developing neighborhood bar districts recently. I agree though, some people act like Tulsa is stagnant when that isn't the case at all. As I've said before, I think civic boosters in both cities tend to be dismissive of what the other has to offer. By and large, in my opinion it comes down to personal preference for which one is actually better as each have their pluses and minuses.

jompster
02-29-2016, 10:02 PM
Having grown up in Tulsa, and moved here at 23 for a change of scenery, I can honestly say I love both cities for different reasons. I don't find one better than the other in any way. Tulsa has more in terms of the arts, and OKC just simply has more things to do, which is why I chose to move here in the first place. But reading the comments in this thread reminds me of a few of my friends who just act disgusted any time the "which city is better" thing comes up at gatherings. It's a real headache being dragged into that kind of discussion every time. The one I hear from them the most would be that Tulsa has most of its "bad" neighborhoods north of Admiral, and that OKC has them spread all over the place. I'm always impressed by the leaps and bounds OKC has made just in the eight years that I've been here. The momentum is very nice. I wish Tulsa had more of the same momentum, but (as it has been pointed out already) their city government is just a complete mess.

soonerfan_in_okc
02-29-2016, 10:10 PM
True on the Midtown Districts, though I think the Plaza, Uptown, Western, and to some extent Film Row are well on their way to catching/surpassing Cherry St. & Brookside and are all ahead of the Pearl. Also if the plans come to fruition, I think the Classen Curve + Nichols Hills Plaza + The Triangle + Glimcher's new construction will likley surpass Utica. Tulsa also doesn't have anything that really compares to the Paseo
Okc will be hard pressed to ever develop anything like Utica. Aside from the quality of shopping the walkability of that place is top notch. It doesn't have roads like grand, Classen, or western mixed in like the curve + triangle area does, which in my eyes will keep that place from ever being quite like Utica.

soonerfan_in_okc
02-29-2016, 10:10 PM
And just to throw it out there, I rarely face any animosity from anyone about being from OKC.

Celebrator
02-29-2016, 10:19 PM
And just to throw it out there, I rarely face any animosity from anyone about being from OKC.

Not sure if animosity is the right word, but everywhere I go (especially the Pac. NW) people wonder why (and imply it TO MY FACE, which always amazes me) I would live here. And as Pete said above, it's just rude. No matter where someone tells me they are from, I always try and find something nice to say about it. But when I was from Orlando, people in, again especially the Pac. NW, would simply look at me like I was dumb for living there, and make COMMENTS putting it down. It has always just amazed me. And I wish more people brought up the Thunder as the first thing out of their mouths, but almost always it is tornadoes---like no other place ever has them. I just tell people I see them every morning as I go out to grab my paper. Many times they laugh and kind of realize that it's a bit of a narrow comment. It just gets old dealing with so much ignorance of this great place.

Thomas Vu
02-29-2016, 10:38 PM
I usually saw OKC people like Tulsa and Tulsa people like OKC. I was raised in Tulsa and came to OKC in 2006.

PhiAlpha
03-01-2016, 07:03 AM
There it goes again. Nothing in Okc is on its way to catching Cherry St. Or Brookside. Not to mention Utica Square. You paint it as if Tulsa is standing still. There is development as we speak in both Brookside and Cherry St. And planned major development in Utica. But I don't deal in if's and but's. Currently Tulsa has the best midtown districts. Bricktown is great for what it is and for what it was created to be.

I spend a lot of time in both Tulsa and OKC's districts and am aware of the development in Brookside, Cherry, and Utica. While I very much enjoy all of them, I guess I just wasn't as impressed as you are. It isn't that Tulsa is "standing still" it just seems as though the pace of development is much more rapid in some of the OKC districts than what I've seen in Tulsa's. I agree with you, that currently Tulsa has the advantage in Midtown districts, but given the speed at which OKC's are catching up (especially with how much that development has accelerated over the last 3-4 years), I just don't think districts like Cherry, Brookside and Utica will hold that advantage much longer. Regardless, that is my opinion, I wasn't speaking in absolutes.

Teo9969
03-01-2016, 09:17 AM
I wish Tulsa had more of the same momentum, but (as it has been pointed out already) their city government is just a complete mess.

To me, this is the big difference, and it's probably over magnified for us on this board. OKC pretty clearly has more momentum than Tulsa, but when you know all the development that is coming up in one city, but relatively little about the other city, that's when the rhetoric starts to go overboard a little.

This is also a forum more or less dedicated to urban development, and in that regard, while Tulsa is better established in certain areas, OKC has so much money being thrown around the urban areas by comparison…so much so that multi million dollar developments routinely receive little attention/discussion on this forum and especially outside of it.

Eric
03-01-2016, 09:24 AM
Not knowing the districts in OKC quite as well (more recently), my opinion has always been that Cherry Street is probably the most urban district in the entire state. Once efforts are made to calm traffic a bit, the district will be even more pleasant. What it has that most others don't is a variety of housing options in the immediate area, most of the necessities one would need to live on a day to day basis (Reasor's full service grocer is only a half mile away as well in addition to smaller markets on Cherry Street). The most popular farmer's market calls it home as well. It has some of the best restaurants and bars in town. Churches. School. Banks. It's a true neighborhood. To boot Utica Square is just to the south as well.

Again, this is purely from an urban area perspective. Not a best place to visit/tour. And all the knocks on Bricktown remind me of similar criticisms of Times Square New York. Locals would avoid it like the plague at times. People like to be able to claim things, and if millions of other people can do the same it somehow makes it less desirable. Whatever.

And sometime...perception is a tough thing to break out of.

Oklahoma City (as a whole) being a much larger metro obviously will continue to have more "things to do" than Tulsa ever will. Outside of moving the capital to Tulsa, I don't see how Tulsa could ever truly catch up in that respect. Both cities excel at different things. The saying "to each his own" is appropriate. My perception of both cities is this: