Sunny Days and Stiff Drinks on the Washington Crawfish Crawl
The gorgeous blond at the table next to us is concerned about eating food directly off the table, but unfortunately she has no choice. Not if she wants to eat all those crawfish, anyway.
It's mid-afternoon on a Saturday at Little J's (4218 Washington), a popular happy-hour spot on Washington Avenue, but the bar's miniscule patio is packed to the gills with people despite the relatively early hour. The tepid weather has finally signaled the end of winter, so Houston's day-drinking crawfish-boil festivities have begun in earnest.
"Wait, so how do I even eat these things?", the blond wonders. "I'm going to need another drink first."
She squeals as the laid-back server dumps the bucket out onto the table, which has been prepped for the occasion with butcher paper and a couple of empty buckets. A stray crawfish bounces off the table and lands directly in her lap. The server laughs as he watches her examine it closely. She seems puzzled, and perhaps slightly unsure of how to handle the little boiled crustacean until the burly, surprisingly patient waiter explains the whole head-sucking, tail-peeling ritual.
"Never mind. Can you bring me a shot of Fireball instead?"
The blond is now officially over the thought of eating something that requires work, which makes sense. After all, a mean shellfish allergy keeps our epi-pen at the ready, but Little J's is one of Houston's top spots to find the hard-partying folks who just can't get enough mudbugs. We're here to drink with the crawfish crowd's big dogs.
It seems we've come to the right place to do such a thing. Little J's is rockin' a full house, with tall, tanned and trendy young people dotting the seats airbrushed and flawless. Heels and short dresses are everywhere female, with tight tees and cargo pants adorning their male counterparts. It's hardly an eclectic group, but it is typical for the Washington corridor, which draws a consistent type of crowd even during daylight hours.
Fireball shots and Lone Star tallboys are being delivered at a rapid pace. The amount of cinnamon-flavored whiskey here makes us wonder if Fireball is some sort of antidote to counter the heat of the Cajun crustaceans. Or it could just make people a bit less hesitant about sucking the heads.
We are attempting to go shot for shot with a guy leaning up against the metal fence of the patio, but failing miserably. He's hanging the crawfish from his earlobes while downing beer after beer, and by now the whole patio is cheering him on. He's amusing, but the chaos draws the rest of the patrons' attention and they flock over in droves.
Story continues on the next page.