Beer joints are becoming rarer and rarer these days, though Houston retains a number of solid establishments. Here are some of the better bets:
A solid beer selection, low prices and an incredibly familiar neighborhood crowd makes this the best middle-ground on Wakefield, between Catty Corner Ice House and the beer nerd-ery of Petrol Station.
Old Brick Tavern
An Old Brick Tavern patron once remarked: “They give you a bus ticket to here when you get out of jail.” While that may be a farce, it does go some way in elucidating the sort of people who spend their time at this West Oaks spot. Whatever this bar’s regular clientele lacks in diversity is made up with a welcoming personality that goes right along with the establishment’s low-maintenance motif.
In addition to offering one of the best, most balanced beer lists in Houston, The Usual also has the potential to be a hardcore and classy pub. Things may not seem that way during one of the many karaoke-centric affairs at the bar, but during the week it’s easy to pull up a stool and throw back some pints with the folks from the area.
Everything about Ruthie’s screams “beer joint,” right down to the sign in the parking lot (how many places still advertise that they have TV?). The selection is simple, the bar is cash, the ATM is ancient, and the patrons can be a bit surly. If you want to be coddled, go to a Midtown ice house. If you want authenticity, Ruthie’s has you covered.
Rose Garden is sort of like Ruthie’s northern doppleganger, albeit with less bar space, more tables and a porch instead of a patio. Want a showy import or a fancy microbrew? Sorry, buddy. Order a Lone Star, put a dollar in the juke and don’t try to impress anyone with your bar room wisdom. They’ve heard it, and a few of them may have invented it.