Houston's 10 Best British Pubs: Close Your Eyes and Think of England
7. Kelvin Arms
What happens in the vault stays in the vault.
Technically, this is a Scottish pub. But that just means it's got a great selection of Scotch in addition to a nice assortment of British beers. More importantly, it -- like any good pub -- is loyal to its regulars, whom the pub treats like family. There's a big screen for watching games or matches, board games if you get bored, oversized chairs and couches to sink into and a suit of armor guarding the vault, a holdover from when the Rice Village building was University Bank in the late 1920s and early '30s, so the pub -- unlike many Houston bars -- has some history to it.
6. The King's Head Pub
Photo courtesy of The King's Head Pub
This brand-new pub in the Energy Corridor may not look like much from the outside, tucked into a stucco strip center under a dentist's office, but it has a great pedigree: The King's Head Pub was recently opened by British ex-pat Michael Holliday, who also opened The Richmond Arms and The Stag's Head. And not only is everyone welcome here, dogs are too -- on the big patio. The King's Head shows nearly every footie match and even offers the occasional "Scottish night" with all the traditional Highlands tunes you can bear.
The Richmond Arms is where you and half of Houston's ex-pat community show up to watch the UEFA finals at 7 a.m. on a Saturday and order lager with your full English breakfast. It's where you go to watch Manchester United v. Liverpool matches in full stereo, with supporters from both sides deafening you as you roar at the screen. But it's also where you go to enjoy a pint by the fireplace or see old friends. You can tell the regulars; they (and their families) are the ones in all the photos and old newspaper clippings that line the walls.
More a restaurant than a bar, The Black Lab (housed in an old church office) offers a huge selection of British pub favorites on its menu. West Highland cheese soup with Bass ale is a non-traditional favorite, while the "English specials" section offers dishes you can't often find elsewhere, such as steak and kidney pie and the colorfully-named bubble and squeak, bangers and mash and sole in its coffin. If you're just there for a pint, grab a seat near the fireplace and settle in. On nice days, the patio offers a charming view of the old church building's and ivy-covered brick walls and a UK-style red telephone box on the corner of Montrose and West Main.