January 6th, 2011
Houston Bars and Clubs: More or Less
We thought we would follow up yesterday’s tough love with some more for the Houston bars and clubs. It’s a bit out of the ordinary for us. Mother always said, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” Then again, she lavishly criticized our unicorn diorama we built in a shoebox back in the 11th grade.
Without further tomfoolery, here are the bars and restaurants that we wanted to see more or less from, depending on how you look at it.
I have a personal vendetta against the bar they call Vintage. Many years ago, a friend and I had a pipe dream of opening a restaurant. The place we had picked out is the same location that Vintage calls home. A lot of my friends like the bar, so I tend to be there more than I like. The problem I have with it is that Vintage doesn’t seem to have an identity? The dance floor is too small to call it a club. The lounge area is too tiny for that label to stick. And even though it has a massive and likeable patio in the back, it doesn’t seem to fit that category either. I can’t figure out my own identity, so I would prefer to drink at places that at least have theirs hashed out.
Usually it is referred to as “urban sprawl,” but when it comes to places like Lucky’s Pub it feels like the suburbs are invading the city. The food is decent if not good. There is plenty of space for you and your friends. If you’re a sports junky you’ll find whatever it is you want to watch on one of the many TVs. Beyond all that there’s droll feeling about the place. You may as well just change the name to Sherlock’s and be done with it.
Good riddance. We didn’t like the spot when it went by “Corkscrew.” We liked it even less when they changed the concept to specialty cocktails and the name to Sugarcane. If you’re going to jump on the trends at least put some effort into it. Defining yourself as something and waiting for the hordes to jump in your wagon is kind of like giving yourself a nickname. It’s never going to stick. There is more to a specialty cocktail than the ingredients (organic or not). That ridiculous tree mural didn’t help matters. Everything about this place screamed “barely conceptualized and hurriedly slapped together.” At least that’s what I thought the screams were. Apparently they were the last gasps of life before death set in for 1919 Washington Avenue.
Rebels Honky Tonk
Look if it’s your first time in the big bad city (Tea) or you’re definition of boots are little hipster slip-ons (Paul), then you might not think this place is so bad, but you’d be wrong. Unless you are seven manhattans into the night before you stumble in and proceed to do the running man on the dance floor while rhinestone cowboys cheer you on—Rebels Honky Tonk packs all the charm of a Buc-ees gas station in Beeville, and actually that’s not giving Buc-ees the credit they deserve. Leave Texas Country to the Texans and you’ll get real man’s bar, like The Blue Moose Lodge, instead of a fake country shack that looks like it was stuck together with bubble gum and snot.
Does it surprise us that the minds behind Rebels concocted this travesty? Not in the least. Look, Cheer’s is a good, if a somewhat played out concept. But Cheerz? Why do we feel the need to add a “z”. To cheap to pay for the rights? That would make sense because they were also too cheap to pay for an actual mural. The only thing worse than the mural is… uh, actually, no… the cheesy “Cast of Cheers” mural takes the cake. If there is one thing I can do without in 2011, it’s the Cheerz mural.
Shady Tavern, we’ve written about you. We really do like you very much. We even hear that you’ve revamped your place a little. I came to you not long ago, the night of the UH/Texas State Football game to be exact. My lady and I wanted nothing more than a great patio, a big screen, a couple a cold a’ beverages and an unpretentious crowd. We got three of the four. The beers disappointed. We started off with two Lonestars, my wife’s was skunky, mine was mildly cool. No big deal. I inform you the next round. You give me a free Lonestar. Nice! It’s skunky as well. I don’t bother mentioning the second offense. Third round, we switched to Saint Arnold’s Oktoberfest. Warm and warm. We’re given one on the house. Still warm. You’re a tavern, please get on top of the quality of your beers. Thanks.
As you can probably tell, I’m not a big fan of adding letters or spelling things incorrectly. It all stems back to a traumatic childhood experience when I missed getting an A+ on my spelling test because I spelled leopard like my favorite band, Def Leppard. Thank god deaf wasn’t one of my words that week. Luckily, since then I have cut off my mullet and sewed up my jeans, but that trauma has never left me and so I’ve made it my mission to correct the egregious misspellings that permeate our society. While the extra “e” alone is enough to get Swaye put on this list, it hasn’t been opened long enough to be awful, but it’s going down a precarious path. It’s disturbing lack of character don’t spell good things for the future. Swaye is a place that I’d like to see more and less from all at the same time.