Little Haus on Upper Kirby
The immediate thought is fun: This is an article about a place called Hans' Bierhaus (2523 Quenby), and the main bad guy in Die Hard was named Hans. Die Hard was amazing, so let's make a bunch of references to that and go from there.
Alas, it does not work.
Hans' Bierhaus is nothing like Die Hard. Nothing. The two probably couldn't be more different. Bruce Willis killed, like, 12 terrorists in the movie, and as far as we can tell, there aren't any terrorists at Hans'.
It's mostly a swath of people from various backgrounds (estimated median age: 27) talking about various things and drinking various beers. On this particular night — or any other night, we assume — everyone seems perfectly amicable and not intent on taking any hostages or blowing up anything.
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Hans' does have some Christmas lights wrapped around a tree on the large backyard patio, but that's not the same as an explosion. Still, despite these deficiencies, or perhaps because of them, it's a most enjoyable bar.
Hans' has been around for nearly 16 years, in the same location, doing the same thing (providing its patrons with a leisurely drinking/hangout experience), which should be proof enough of its merit.
Six years ago, it was purchased in full by Bill Cave, an enjoyable man with an affinity for smoking cigars and watching Sons of Anarchy. Smartly, Cave opted to only streamline the existing Upper Kirby tavern a little bit.
The interior is still quaint and cozy, with an occupancy of about 40. It contains a couple of dartboards, a tucked-in bar, some seating and a bicycle mounted in a window ledge. The expansive back patio, complete with a regulation-size bocce court and a curious campaign sign for State Representative Ellen Cohen (which may or may not have been placed there ironically), remains Hans' key component.
The visitors, many of whom are regulars, have stayed pleased.
"What I like most about the place is the patio and the beer selection," says Brian Finch, 31, a law student at the University Houston.
As small as the building actually is, they've somehow managed to squeeze 125 different types of beer inside.
"It's hard to find such a large selection of beer on tap — it's a big selection without the douchiness," adds Finch, comparing Hans' to The Ginger Man (5607 Morningside), in his opinion a slightly more self-important venue also with a large selection of beer.
Others occasionally opt to name other reasons why they like Hans' — Josh Taylor, a 29-year-old Rice alumnus, makes mention of the bar's dog-friendly attitude, for example — but the general ease of an evening there, weekend or otherwise, is a sentiment many of the Bierhausers reiterate in various ways. Lots of places preach that type of thing, but Hans' seems fully consumed with making sure it's the case.
"It's not ever real hectic here,"says Cave, his cigar doing its darndest to fill the soft evening air.
"We can get really crowded, but even when we get crowded nobody ever bothers you. It's been here for almost 16 years," he continues. "We plan on being another 15 years, too."
Yippee ki yay, motherfucker.
Sorry. It seemed appropriate.
Remember Fedora Lounge (2726 Bissonnet), that early-evening hangout spot down Kirby a bit from Hans' that managed to be anachronistic even though it was in a strip center? Cave and a partner recently purchased that place, too. He's already begun tuning Fedora up, with designs on making it a prime gathering place for the coming holiday months. The most interesting changes in the works include a proper covered patio and a real live piano.
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