Happy Hour Scene: Royal Oak Bar & Grill

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The Place: Royal Oak Bar & Grill
1318 Westheimer
281-974-4752

The Hours: 4 to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays

The Deals:$2 domestics, $3 house wine, $4 martinis, $1 off drafts, $10 select bottles of wine

The Scene:
My friend Ethan has trouble turning down free food. He says it's because he spent a few months of his early adult life sharing the floor of his mother's one-bedroom apartment on the north side with his brother and his Polish career-criminal dad, who was actually divorced from his mom at the time. He wouldn't have been in that situation if he'd had any money; mostly he ate Ramen and Jack in the Box ("back when the Jumbo Jack was still 99 cents").

So years later, when getting full but still faced with a third of a thin-crust pepperoni pizza and half a plate of hand-grenade-size stuffed jalapenos that I bought for us, he consumes like a desert island castaway who just discovered a washed-up crate of pornography and Hostess cupcakes. It's kind of impressive.

"If I die, it's going to be because of a buffet or a woman," Ethan says. Other than the "if" part, I'd say that's accurate.

Both of these items went for five bucks at Royal Oak's happy hour. The pizza wasn't bad, especially for the price. The three large jalapenos weren't greasy, but they did feel overstuffed with spicy cream cheese and bacon. Other $5 happy hour dishes include spring rolls and fried pickles. (We ordered at the bar, and didn't experience any of the problems that my friend Katharine Shilcutt wrote about a couple months ago.)

Ethan and I sat on the front patio, and I drank a couple of discounted Fat Tires while he drank a $4 dry martini. The well gin explains the price. I'm not drinking a well-gin martini, but he didn't complain.

Though the inside is dramatic looking, with dark wood and chandeliers, the weather was perfect for sitting outside. The sun was setting on a part of Westheimer that attracts a good amount of interesting foot traffic. There were a few full tables out there, mostly people who looked to be in their 30s. A homeless guy came up to the fence to ask for change, and a casually dressed middle-aged patron wearing an expensive watch and smoking cigarettes alone politely declined.

In the bathroom a few minutes later, the same guy (watch, not homeless) was at the urinal next to me while I washed my hands.

"The guy before me had blood in his urine," he said, smiling.

I poker-faced him and said, "Yeah," for some reason, then dried my hands and went to finish my beer outside. I told Ethan about the exchange.

"No one can make you feel embarrassed without your permission," he said, picking up a large piece of fried jalapeno with his hand. "Some president's wife said that."

Good advice.



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Location Info

Map

Royal Oak Bar & Grill

1318 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: Music


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13 comments
Crackers
Crackers

That pizza looks pretty good. I wish one of you EOW types would find the best cracker thin crust pizza in town. I love the stuff. I thought La Griglia was best (that was before...well you know) and now I like the $5 cracker thin pizza at Brio's great happy hour. What I'd like though is one with more than the sparse toppings the Italians use. Say...like the one pictured.

khoww
khoww

Went there last Saturday and sat on the back patio with a party of eight. Watched both basketball games and had great service. I thought the fried pickles were fantastic, good beer selection (happy hour prices on the weekend), and was overwhelmed by the bahn mi burger. I like the idea of the flavor combo, but the patty was a huge ball of beef and dominated everything else. In summary, I'll be back, will probably order the pickles each time and will try some of the other menu items.

Furious Jam
Furious Jam

I've always had great service at Royal Oak. Maybe folks like Katharine received inconsistent service when it had just opened, but this review has no complaints about the current service.

OK
OK

It sounds like they are keeping the right people away. The beloved Kat Cutt hates it, so it has to be good!

Finneganwakeman
Finneganwakeman

There a new Venetian Happy Hour up the street at Poscol...has anyone been to this? Are there Venetian women there? I hope so!

J. Britt Alexander
J. Britt Alexander

it's so nice to see Happy Hours coming back. Between this article, the new F-Bar on a mission to bring back Happy Hour, and a few other spots getting a fair amount of traffic after work instead of the gym.

More please... more ! !

MF
MF

This place has terrible service, bottom line. I have stood at the bar multiple times, on separate occasions, waiting for a drink while multiple bartenders enter and exit the area, chat, or fumble with the computer for no reason. They decide for themselves when they want to make a drink or get you a beer.Best luck is to sit on the patio where the quality of the service is compromised not so much by the attitude of the staff but by how many tables they are being asked to attend to, each.Funny because it always looks like there is a number of people dressed like employees hanging out inside.Great venue with great TVs and a nice back patio. It's a shame they aren't more professional in their execution.

Cirronharedresser
Cirronharedresser

Try Dolce Vita if you like minimal, but if you load a cracker crust with oily cheese and sauce and pepperoni, you soon have a soggy cracker

John Seaborn Gray
John Seaborn Gray

Ha! Yeah, you stick with that policy, let us all know how it works out for you.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I have to agree with MT and Kyle; it stands out as the worst service I've ever encountered in a Houston bar or restaurant. I do like the chandeliers, though.

iMidget
iMidget

I didn't know Brian O'neill's was franchising!?!?!?

Kyle
Kyle

The food is middling to above-average for bar food, the tap selection is very nice, and they have a lot of whiskey, but I have to agree. I've only ever encountered one decent bartender there. (Brett? Brent? Can't remember.) The main problems with Royal Oak are service and the behaviors and attitudes of some of the customers.

GL
GL

Didn't have a problem when I went, but then again, I'm really handsome. No, just kidding.

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