January 11th, 2011
Blue Moose Lodge: Washing Down Mooseballs
In 3 Words: Lodge, Microbrew, Hunting-chic,
I knew that Blue Moose Lodge was my kind of bar the minute I walked in. The vibe, which is as upscale as a hunting lodge can get while staying true to its roots, isn’t like anything else on Washington. While I’m not convinced that it will keep all the douches away, if you’re looking for Reign version 2.0, you’re in the wrong place. This isn’t the place for emasculated pretty boys and the women who love them.
The guys were still putting the finishing touches on the wood panel walls and hanging the deer heads and Texas beer signs, but the laid-back atmosphere was already apparent. And as the first chords of Uncle Tupelo’s “Moonshiner” spilled out of a top quality soundsystem, I knew that this was a place I’d throw back more than a few pints and watch many a game. It helps that they have 20 beers on tap and are featuring offerings from many Texas microbrews. For the beer connoisseurs, they’ve got you covered. And, as I learned last week, for those who like to drink on the cheap, it’s $2 Lonestar’s- all day, every day. Something for everyone.
Blue Moose, which is being opened by a vet of the Houston scene, is taking its time and getting things right. No corners have been cut here, which is refreshing to see in this day and age. As I watched the work being done and talked to the guys who were doing it, there was an obvious pride in what they were doing. Some were friends of the owner. Others just enjoyed the chance to work in a bar where they’d drink. Whatever it was, there was an obvious sense that they enjoyed what they were doing, and that carried over into the quality of work they did.
After my initial introduction to the Lodge, I wanted to wait and experience the bar after it opened before writing about it. Luckily, my girlfriend’s birthday offered as good excuse as any to get a group together and knock a few back. So, after dinner at Block 7, we made the short trek over to Blue Moose Lodge.
Their sign wasn’t up at that point, so I had to make sure that I sent everyone directions. These days, when everyone has a smart phone, it’s not difficult to GPS things, but I wanted to be as accommodating as possible. Aren’t I a great friend? If you’re going to go looking for it, just remember it’s between T.C. Jester and Durham on Washington.
As our group filtered in, we made our way up to the “living room” lounge at the corner of the bar, which had been reserved for our party. Two bottles of champagne greeted us and were immediately opened for a birthday toast. The crowd wasn’t overwhelming, but there was a nice vibe between people sitting at the bar enjoying a beer, groups scattered listening to the live music and those outside smoking. In the lounge, the fireplace and couches made for an inviting place to sit back and talk with your friends.
Throughout the night, the lounge area made for a nice base of operations and our waitress made sure that whatever we were drinking, our glasses were always full. While I lamented the fact that I wasn’t sitting at the bar so I could rest my beer on one of the beer chillers, metal discs that are set throughout the bar that keep your beer cold while it’s not in your hand, the couches in the lounge made me feel like I was in my own living room as I listened to the sounds of the live music and mingled with my friends.
For me, one of the most crucial things at a bar is music, and I was suitably impressed with the variety thereof. Whether it was Texas Country or R&B, the music flowed nicely and there wasn’t that obnoxious change of pace that plagues many country bars when they cut from Brooks and Dunn to Rumpshaker. Of course, that could just be because Blue Moose would never play either of those tunes. Even the band managed to cover everything from Pat Green to the Cure. “Just Like Heaven,” indeed.
We made a return visit this Sunday to the Lodge to watch the Eagles game. With the wealth of TV’s, there isn’t a bad seat in the house and when you’ve got an awesome waitress like Erin making sure that your ice- cold mug of Coffee Porter is full, how can you go wrong? Watching the game gave us a chance to sample the food, and like everything else, it’s on point. I had the nachos, which would give any nachos in the city a run for their money. Paul had the burger, which was good, but a little dry. Either way, it was better than anything I could have whipped up in my kitchen.
Whether it’s sitting at the bar watching the Monday Night Football game on either of their projection TV’s, or lounging in the VIP area with a group of friends, Blue Moose Lodge offers an upscale and comfortable environment that isn’t found anywhere else on Washington at the moment. If you’re not looking to fist pump your night away to the thump-thump-thump of the latest house mix, but don’t want to slum it in your flip flops and jorts, Blue Moose should be your destination. Manly enough that even the most rugged of hunters will feel at home, and polished enough that the ladies wont feel like you’ve dragged them to yet another dive bar, it’s the best of both worlds.
Where – 5306 Washington Ave., Houston, TX 77007 [Google Map]
When – Tuesday – Friday, 4PM to 2AM; Saturday – Sunday, 11AM to 2AM
What – Microbrews and good foods
How Much – Not enough to make you take out a second mortgage
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