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Bar marquee's one-liners will be missed -- no kidding

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Posted 10:42am on Friday, Jan. 25, 2013

West Seventh Street has the city's longest red light, a railroad crossing and too many pedestrians crossing haphazardly between bars.

But this driver's-ed test of a street also includes at least one guaranteed daily laugh.

For 12 years, a bar at West Seventh and Carroll streets has lifted spirits with marquee messages such as:

BAD DECISIONS

MAKE GOOD STORIES

Bar owner Jimmy Moore's one-liners will end in October, when the lease is up, and he and part-owner Brad Hensarling move their bar, the Gold Standard.

"I've just tried to get the message across that life is short and every day, you've just got to find a way to smile," Moore said this week, remembering a tradition that was the idea of a comedy club owner.

Then named 7th Haven, the bar inherited the old marquee from a 1980s Arby's.

His first message:

IF IGNORANCE

IS BLISS

WHY AREN'T THERE

MORE HAPPY PEOPLE

"Somebody asked why I don't just promote the bar," Moore said.

"That's what I'm doing."

He kept coming up with one-liners -- more than 200 of them -- as 28 competing restaurants and bars opened all around, first in Montgomery Plaza and then in the new West 7th shops.

But with the land for sale and rent going up, he and recent co-owner Hensarling expect to move after Halloween night.

"I saw this for years as a spectator," said Hensarling, also part-owner of a bar and a contemporary cocktail lounge on West Magnolia Avenue, The Usual.

"I was always happy when I hit the red light so I could read the sign."

Sometimes you just can't laugh.

After the Newtown school tragedy, the marquee went blank for a week.

Moore's favorites:

THE EARLY BIRD MAY

GET THE WORM

BUT THE SECOND

MOUSE GETS

THE CHEESE

Or the more thoughtful:

LIFE IS NOT

A COMPETITION

SLOW DOWN AND

STOP KEEPING SCORE

(Because life is short not only for us, but also for bars and signs.)

Bud Kennedy's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the Star-Telegram. 817-390-7538

Twitter: @budkennedy and @eatsbeat.

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