Open Jukebox Night at Fitzgerald's: Mixing New Wave Tunes With No-Nonsense Cocktails

561_CMC_8566.jpg
Chuck Cook Photography
Justin Burrow pours a craft cocktail on a quiet night at non-pretentious Fitzgerald's.
Justin Burrow, who recently received the Favorite Mixologist nod for the My Table Houston Culinary Awards in October, is using his experience to create a casual and accessible cocktail night every Tuesday evening at Fitzgerald's.

Fitzgerald's has been around for 34 years and is a Houston live-music institution. Burrow has early memories from here and is fond of the place. "I remember my dad bringing me to Fitzgerald's when I was four years old to watch his friend's band. Being able to do something cool in this building is an honor."

561_CMC_8585.jpg
Chuck Cook Photography
Fitzgerald's has hosted countless live bands since 1977
It's an easygoing, come-as-you-are atmosphere. There are no fancy glasses. Burrow's concoctions go into cheap plastic cups and cost a mere $7.

That is not to say that the cocktails are not high-quality. A recent menu sported Manhattans, Negronis, Sazeracs and Tailspins. Still, Burrow seems to blow off the idea that he's doing anything special. "It's just drinks," he says, while scooping housemade batter for the classic (and hard to find) wintertime cocktail called Tom and Jerry into a paper cup. When asked how he comes up with the menu, he replied, "I just put what I feel like drinking myself. I used to overthink it, but then I realized it didn't matter."

Lone Stars are $2 until 9 p.m., and a craft beer on tap is featured for a mere $3 all night.

Food-industry types often congregate. It's easy to relax here after the restaurants close for the night. The jukebox seems to never stop, cranking out music from the past five decades. New Wave is a favorite, possibly since it's another of Burrow's passions, and he keeps the selections fresh.

fitz_jukebox_250.jpg
Chuck Cook Photography
Justin is making cocktails, but the real star might be this colorful jukebox on free play all night.
Burrow is often the lone bartender and still manages to keep crowds of 20 or 30 people happy. Compared to the Friday-and Saturday-night crowds he used to deal with while working at Anvil, Open Jukebox Night is probably a cakewalk.

How long will this go on? "Until it's not fun anymore." As long as the tunes keep playing, the cocktails keep coming and the crowd stays friendly, Open Jukebox Night at Fitzgerald's will be a good time.

There's virtually no marketing for the event, other than what Burrow posts on his Twitter account (@beardandbitters). Sometimes he surprises a few lucky attendees with giveaways (this past week was for "of Montreal" concert tickets for the upcoming show on March 12, 2012), so you might want to keep an eye on his feed.

Catch Open Jukebox Night from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Tuesdays, and check out what else is going on at Fitzgerald's via the schedule on their web site.



Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords

Location Info

Map

Fitzgerald's

2706 White Oak, Houston, TX

Category: Music

My Voice Nation Help
10 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Josh
Josh

He gave away Free Press Summerfest tix a couple weeks ago. Definitely a must check out I you like a good indie jukebox and great drinks.

Justin T Burrow
Justin T Burrow

I did. And I'll be giving away lots of other stuff too.

Stanleyiverson
Stanleyiverson

LOL, My Table readers converging en masse at Fitz for lovely award-winning cocktails.

With the Youngbloods playing "cmon people now/smile on your brother/everybody get together/and try to love one another right now

H_e_x
H_e_x

Thank god they finally got a bartender who knows what they're doing.

GL
GL

No kidding. I don't expect strong pours everywhere, but for whatever reason they're really into half-second counts at Fitzgerald's. It's frustrating. And since it's nearly every bartender who's served me there, I'm guessing it comes from management.

H_e_x
H_e_x

The half second pours is bad, but being ignored as they serve their friends at the other end of the bar might have been worse. I don't expect stiff as hell drinks everywhere too, but they had some piss pour bartenders there for a good while. Glad they decided to step it up a bit.

Poop
Poop

Why doesn't he work at Anvil anymore? I remember once, I was at Fitz, and I recognized him from Anvil (I figured he worked at both), so I asked, "Oh hey, don't you work at Anvil, too?" And he gave me a curt, "Nope" and walked off. I felt bad because it sounded like I hit a nerve : / But I only remembered him from Anvil because he was a great bartender there!

Justin Burrow
Justin Burrow

Sorry, Poop.  Come by on a Tuesday, and I'll tell you all about it.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...