Pearland has always been viewed as unhip by inner-Loopers. And it makes sense, really.
For one thing, its name is centered around pears. Pears. A pear isn't cool. Nobody's ever been handed a present and been like, "Oooh, I hope this box is filled with pears." "Pearland" sounds like a place you'd try to avoid when playing Candy Land.
But Badfish Bar and Grill (9719 W. Broadway) has been working around the clock to change that perception. Actually, working Mondays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., but you get the point.
Ranking the suburb's nightlife coolness on the traditional scale, Pearland native Tauras Scroggins, one of Badfish's owners, gives his hometown a five. Scroggins went to Pearland High School and spent much of his early adult life wishing the city could sustain a more vibrant music scene.
"Growing up, there wasn't much for us to do — much for anybody to do," he says. "You'd have to drive 30 minutes into Houston if you wanted to see live music."
Scroggins left Pearland to pursue his own musical career, a decision that led to his working with national names such as LL Cool J, John Mayer and Akon.
When he returned, he returned inspired. And he and a partner decided to open Badfish Bar and Grill, with the intention of giving Pearland the type of venue he'd always wanted it to have: a relaxed, well-kept spot that not only attracts bigger acts but cultivates local talent as well.
Within a few months, Badfish was doing just that.
Lil' Flip performed there. Devin the Dude performed there. But so did artists like Alvin's Footpie, a three-man reggae band and recent HPMA nominee; Handsome Beast, an indie-rock quartet every bit as eccentric and idiosyncratic as the name suggests; and up-and-coming young Pearland musician Adrian Michael.
Just as things were looking up, though, Badfish's good fortune was temporarily reeled in when Scroggins's then-partner had to step away from the bar due to obligations to his daytime job. Barely seven promising months in, Badfish was forced to close its doors the entire month of August as the behind-the-scenes kinks got worked out.
But it's back open now. Badfish celebrated its reopening September 4, and Scroggins, who has partnered up again, is certain that his hometown will keep the new version open for quite a bit longer this time. He plans to book more classic rock, R&B/soul and '80s and '90s music.
The city's residents seem to be enjoying Badfish.
"I like to hang out here or Clear Lake," says 25-year-old waitress Jennifer Flores. "I've been to Sherlock's (2416 Bay Area Blvd., Clear Lake) out there; this place is much more laid-back. It's cool to come to a bar with a live band."
With multiple LCD televisions, HD projectors, several draft beers, monster burgers and a come-as-you-are attitude, even people who don't typically hang out in Pearland are impressed by Badfish.
"I usually go into Houston or Webster," says Louis De Hoyos, a 36-year-old Pearland resident. "I'm just here to have a good time. Honestly, I don't do anything in Pearland 'cause I don't like Pearland police and they don't like me."
Scroggins is optimistic about the venture. "My goal is for Badfish to be the best place to eat, drink and listen to live music for Pearland, South Houston, Missouri City and surrounding areas," he says.
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Let's hope so. If not for Pearland's own hipness, then for the sake of those pears. Least cool fruit of all time.
Raging Apathy; Monte Montgomery
There are two diametrically opposed shows happening this weekend that you really should try to attend. First, former Artists of the Week Raging Apathy will be out at Scout Bar (18307 Egret Bay Blvd., Clear Lake) Friday. Please look past the inconsistency of the name; RA really is one of the city's finer modern-rock bands. Second, Monte Montgomery will be at Firehouse Saloon (5930 Southwest Fwy.) Saturday, and will almost certainly crush his live show. If you know nothing else about him, know that Guitar Player magazine listed Montgomery as one of its Top 50 All-Time Greatest Guitarists in 2004. You probably can't even score in the top 50 online on Guitar Hero.