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Dinner and a Show

Houston's 10 best restaurants for pre-theater dining.

6. 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 expat 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.

5. The Richmond Arms

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Former Ruggles employees protested outside Corner Table last Wednesday, February 13. The new restaurant hired chef Bruce Molzan, who protesters claim owes them back wages and tips.
Katharine Shilcutt
Former Ruggles employees protested outside Corner Table last Wednesday, February 13. The new restaurant hired chef Bruce Molzan, who protesters claim owes them back wages and tips.

The Richmond Arms is where you and half of Houston's expat 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 vs. 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 to 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.

4. The Bull & Bear

A location in the expat-dense west suburbs of Houston means that The Bull & Bear is often packed with Englishmen, Irishmen, Scots and Welshmen — all likely there for the massive selection of sporting matches The Bull & Bear screens daily. When a match is on, settle in at your table — if you can find one — and indulge in comforting pub dishes like chicken curry and a mound of chips or the best cottage pie in town. No tables? Score a seat at the long, well-tended mahogany bar.

3. The Black Lab

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 nontraditional 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 ivy-covered brick walls and a UK-style red telephone box on the corner of Montrose and West Main.

2. The Queen Vic

A bit of Britain in Houston — and a bit of India, too — keeps us coming back to The Queen Vic Pub & Kitchen in Upper Kirby. Indeed, it's the kind of place where you can get so cozy with a craft beer and a curry with chips, you might never want to leave. As with the No. 1 entry on our list, Indian food and British pubs go hand in hand. The Queen Vic is not only one of the best pubs in town, it's also one of the best Indian restaurants, although its menu offers the best of many worlds: Goan curries and samosas keep company with mulligatawny stew and fresh Gulf oysters.

1. The Red Lion

Craig Mallinson's pub is the one that all my British friends swear is the "most authentic" in Houston — authentic being a bit of an arbitrary term in the Bayou City. But it's hard to find fault with the homey feel of the booths and tables under Tudor timbers, the red telephone box near the entrance, the roaring fireplace, the half-Indian-half-English menu, the friendly bar staff and the Sunday roasts each week (making The Red Lion the only place in town you'll also get a perfect Yorkshire pudding).
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Restaurant News

Openings and Closings
More Americana, headed your way.

Katharine Shilcutt

Bush Intercontinental Airport must have finally gotten the memo that its dining options were sorely limited considering Houston's rich culinary offerings, because it looks like something's finally being done about it.

Earlier this month, there was the news that chef Johnny Hernandez is opening The Fruteria — Botano in the airport this spring. And earlier this week, CultureMap reported that Bryan Caswell and Bill Floyd will be opening 3rd Bar Eating House in Terminal B.

"The 142-seat restaurant will be open every day from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., offering a breakfast reminiscent of the pair's El Real Tex-Mex Cafe, with sliders à la Little Bigs on the lunch menu alongside fresh seafood," wrote Whitney Radley, "and a 'more Reef-oriented' dinner — and all at a price point that's refreshingly reasonable for airport fare."

Opening soon in the vacated West Ave space that housed Ava and Alto Pizzeria — the two Schiller-Del Grande concepts that never found their footing in the swanky mixed-use development — is another location of Del Frisco's Grille. The steakhouse will be open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch as of March 16.

Two recent profiles shed light on a couple of upcoming projects from Houston restaurateurs. First was Sarah Rufca's article in the Houston Chronicle spotlighting the new downtown development along Main Street. Aside from the impending openings of Goro & Gun, "Bad News Bar" and Batanga, Rufca says to watch for Clutch City Squire at 410 Main, "in a building rumored to have been a brothel." Owner Steve Hannigan describes Clutch City Squire as "an industrial-modern take on the saloon."

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