Open Tab: Feed Your Belly And Your Head

Pull up a chair, start a tab and order a round of shots, because this is Rocks Off's weekly roundup of the goings-on in the Houston bar scene. Ups and downs, openings and closings, we will cover it all. Hit us up with any hot tips at craig.hlavaty@houstonpress.com.

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Craig Hlavaty
Under the Volcano
Maybe it's age catching up with us, or just our inner fat kid coming out to play, but lately Open Tab has been trying to find bars with decent food to jam in our gullet before we drink. If it's not enough to go cover bars alone and drink in the corner watching the goings-on, we now get to eat alone. Hell, there is even a Tumblr site for it.

To that end we finally got to step up to the plate at Under The Volcano this past Monday night for their steak night, along with two or three Saint Arnold's pints. UTV's steak nights are a storied affair, and we were more than happy to belly up to a table solo to get down with a rib eye. After all, it did win "Best Steak Night" in last year's Best of Houston awards.

Sadly we had to forgo the free hot dogs that KC from Kay's Lounge had promised he would be having at his Bissonnet dive across the street. What do you think, a steak, mashed pots, salad, and flan or some free chili dogs? Open Tab can't answer that, honestly. KC, see you this Monday night.

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Katharine Shilcutt
Things over at Grand Prize off Banks and Montrose (above) are still going strong almost two months into its reign. There's always a grainy black-and-white flick playing next to the bar, some drunk guy is trying to play Elvis pinball, and Kesha and Motorhead continue to leak out of the jukebox. That's a mash-up we need to hear.

The opening of Grand Prize's back patio means that when meeting friends here, you have to ask for their exact whereabouts and coordinates. Are you upstairs on the patio, upstairs next to the bar, sitting on first-floor patio, drinking at the main bar, hanging out in the booths by the main bar or out on the back patio? A simple text conversation is now a Charlie Rose interview.

Grand Prize is also melding foodie culture in Houston, that den of Web-hit iniquity, with the bar's drink menu and relaxed vibe. Just because you have neck tattoos and jorts doesn't mean you can't eat well. Owner Brad Moore and his staff are bringing in local chefs Adam Dorris and Will Walsh to feed the masses with a new dish every Monday night. Follow them on Twitter at @ghettodinner to see what will be filling your plate each week.

As the the days leading up to the re-opening of Fitzgerald's grow shorter, Open Tab has been thinking about your best watering-hole options surrounding the Heights club. Obviously you won't always want to get to a show early, or may need somewhere to wind down after the last song is still ringing in your ears. Luckily, you have at least three bars to choose from across the street .

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Craig Hlavaty

  • Sixth Street Bar & Grill is directly across White Oak from Fitz, and is a relaxed, quiet haunt with leather couches to sink into and a huge patio out front. They like their martinis here too, and make a good burger.
  • Jimmie's (right) is a bare-bones, tried-and-true icehouse. Think a dialed back West Alabama Ice House and you get the idea. No one is playing basketball out here to impress hipster chicks, and we only saw one dog lying around.
  • Beer Island is a dark-horse fan favorite and it seems we get texts from our moustachioed brethren inviting us here once a week.

In closing, we can't wait for the cooler weather, when drinking and smoking on a patio won't mean condensating as much as your bottle of beer, and waiting for her to look away to covertly rub sweat off your forehead.

Sweaty and drunk is no way to go through life, Houston. Bring on the jacket weather.

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