January 24th, 2012
Shepherd Park Draught House: Out of the Loop, Into our Hearts
In 5 Words: CBGB, Burger, Adventure, Bombshell, ...DUDE
Sometimes when I’m being an obnoxious prick, I will pretend that being located outside of the loop and in a strip center are two very big strikes against a place. Really, I’m just too lazy and cheap to burn the gas to get there, and enjoy my little comfort zone of Montrose/south Heights. Prompted by a friend’s recommendation though, I begrudgingly got off my lazy ass and ventured forth to parts unknown, to brave the mysteries of the night. Adventure awaited. Whatever.
Nestled between a Pink’s and a drycleaners at 3402 N. Shepherd, Shepherd Park Draught House is just another neon sign. On the inside though, the place has more surprises than the internet has cat photos. A narrow space with exposed brick and ductwork up-top, you get the feeling you’ve jumped into the Narnia wardrobe and been spit out in the alley between Graceland and CBGB. Geographically impossible you might say? Well…you’re right, but you need to see the homage this place pays to the greats.
Punk-promoting posters, newspaper clippings and a worldly soundtrack playing everything from Bowie, The Boss and Dylan to The Pixies and Primus bring the ‘tude (Do people still say that?). Top it off with some Soft Pack and Lana Del Ray, and Shepherd Park Draft House rocks out just like you do at home without the embarrassing, laptop-recorded rendition of Funky Dope Lovin’.
Despite the trappings of a New York punk venue, Shepherd Park Draught House is all Houston. They offer suds on tap from Karbach, St. Arnold’s and Leprechaun Cider just to name a few, and at least one of the tv’s is always tuned to the latest Astros/Rockets game. Texas Tuesday was a hit because I really like Bombshell Blonde and alliteration. Said brew, along with Lonestar and Shiner drafts are on for $2 on what was previously known as the second shittiest day of the work week. Taking in their selection, I promised myself I would make the trek back out to enjoy their happy hour (M-F, 3-7, $1 off almost everything) or their brunch.
The food experience is straight forward. The kitchen is gray. The plates are white. They don’t use the word “frites”. But it’s the kind of grindage that makes you put down your burger, stop mid-chew, look at the person across from you in the red pleather booth and say “……….DUDE”. I dove into the El Chito Burger. A half-pound of fresh beef topped with a fried egg, gorgonzola, gouda and cranberry preserves, cushioned by a subtly sweet, buttered bun so good it gives Hubcap a solid run for its money.
The wifey had The Bandera Burger which involved onions two-ways, cheddar, jalapenos and bbq sauce. I think she said it was good, but at that point I wasn’t really listening as I had already entered attack mode. I get tunnel senses when I wage war on a burger. My eyes roll back in my head and I tear and slash at my prey like a Great White Shark. The wait staff is attentive and genuinely friendly enough to avoid “Whoa-where’d it go?!” or ironic “That must’ve been horrible!” remarks. Knowing not to tease one of Earth’s most efficient predators is a sign of strong brain function. We polished everything off with the triple chocolate cake that left us needing an intervention and a 12-step program.
So I guess the pretentious little litmus test I use as an excuse to just order a pizza on a Friday night doesn’t hold up. A new place has expanded my sissy little comfort zone. It’s proven that the planet doesn’t drop off outside of 610 like one of those maps Columbus used with the stupid looking sea monsters painted on it. Shepherd Park Draught House—it’s delicious! (Sorry…I couldn’t think of a good ending.)
Where – 3402 N Shepherd Dr., Houston, TX 77018
What – Burgers, beer, valour, happy hour, rock and roll
Wear – Casual; sunglasses at night optional
How much – $5-12; alliterative drink deals dominate
When – M-W: 11 a.m.-Midnight; Th/F: 11 a.m.-2 a.m.; Sat: 9 a.m.-2 a.m.; Sun: 10 a.m.-Midnight
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