Happy Hour Scene: Phil's Texas Barbecue
110 S. Heights Blvd.
The Hours: Seven days a week, 4-7 p.m.
The Deals: Domestics are $2.50, well drinks are $2.25. There are also nightly specials, which the bartender chooses. Wednesday night, for example, featured $10 buckets of beer.
The Scene: We've written a couple things this week about the Heights Walmart development -- a planned "Carnage protest" and the Ainbinder 380 application -- so after a reporting trip to the area on Wednesday afternoon, we decided to stop in at a bar and get our finger on the pulse of the neighborhood, see what the locals really think.
The closest place to the Walmart site is the Dirt Bar, but we're not sure if it has a happy hour or, at least on Wednesdays, is even open. (What is a Walmart going to do to Dirt Bar's gritty image? Would Lady Gaga show up at a place with a 24-hour Supercenter across the street?)
The Porch Swing Pub is also nearby, but instead we decided to try the newish Phil's Texas Barbecue. Granted, Phil's, which fits in great on the Washington Avenue corridor, doesn't really fit the overall image that exists, or the residents wish exists, in the Heights.
But it's only a couple blocks away from the Walmart site, so, we thought, they're probably all fired up at Phil's about a Supercenter being built within walking distance.
After ordering a happy hour domestic, we asked the bartender what he thought.
"There's a Walmart around here?" he asked us.
"No, no," we responded. "They're about to build one."
"Huh. That's the first I've heard of it. About time," the bartender said. "I live right up the street, and it sucks not having a Walmart. The one I always go to is all the way outside the Loop."
Phil's Texas Barbecue, at the corner of Heights Boulevard and Washington Avenue, has been open for about six months. It's a sprawling restaurant, but the bar area is isolated enough to make it feel like a separate space.
It's also sleek, with an interior design that features concrete and steel. "Vintage" tin signs, advertising things like Lone Star beer and Conoco, also hang on the walls, adding just enough of that honkeytonk feel. There's even the obligatory Shiner City Limit sign.
We thought the owners might be from Dallas, because we saw at least one handwritten "Go Rangers!" sign, along with a Dallas Cowboys flag, hanging above the bar.
But then we realized there were also University of Houston, University of Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Texas Christian University, New Orleans Saints and Tennessee Titans flags hanging up.
Along with our beer, we ordered the fried pickle spears, which were on special for $4.99. The batter was so thick that it could've been fried apples we were eating, but, really, it wasn't even the batter but the heavy dose of pepper or Cajun spices or whatever that killed the pickle flavor.
So, like we said, Phil's Texas Barbecue certainly fits on Washington.
But if the anti-Walmart crowd is looking for a place to mobilize, it might want to travel a little farther away.