Bartender Chat: Rex of Boondocks

Bartender Chat: Rex of Boondocks

Sometimes, when you have a rough week that just so happens to fall between pay periods, you need a really cheap drink.That's when happy hour at Boondocks comes to the rescue.

The vibe was pretty laid-back recently at 5 p.m., which was a major contrast with some of the rowdier nights I've spent at this Montrose dive (you know, the kind where you find really weird photo booth pictures in your purse the next morning....).

Over a couple of pints, I got to know a little bit about the friendly, dry-humored and mildly sarcastic (in a good way) ex-traveling jeans salesman, Rex, who was manning the bar (Get it? Rex Manning...*cough*).

Where are you from? I was born in Reno and grew up in Orange County, California. I've been in Houston a little over a year. I had some friends out here so I just moved for a change of pace.

What are the major differences between Houston and where you grew up? It's much more eclectic here. Every bar in California has a certain clientele; this type of person goes here, this type of person goes there. But here, every night of the week is different. We see all ages, different backgrounds...I really appreciate that.

What are some other jobs you've had besides bartending? I traveled and sold women's jeans. My friend brought me out here and we basically bought high-end women's denim wholesale from Los Angeles and went to different colleges around the country and sold them discounted. We'd do sorority parties and sell them denim at 50 to 70 percent off. I did that for about four years.

How would you describe the bar's aesthetic? It's always different. On Tuesdays we have Little Joe Washington, a classic blues legend, and he plays upstairs. He drinks more Jack than anyone I've ever seen. He's like, 90. As far as the crowd goes, we have regulars, people from our sister bar, Royal Oak, but really, whatever is happening that night will sort of dictate what kind of crowd we'll have.

Fill in the blank: To work at Boondocks, you have to be able to ______. Stand upright...? No, umm, it's like a hole-in-the-wall bar, but you have to be hardworking. You have to care. Sometimes we'll get people that stumble in here all drunk and ask for an application and it's like, yes, it's a bar, but come on.

At the end of my shift, I pour a ______. Lately, I'll just make a Bloody Mary or maybe have a little cinnamon whiskey.

What is the most absurd thing you've seen someone do in your bar? Well, it's not really "crazy" but...the people that come in here on weekends and try to sell things...I mean they'll try to sell you whatever they have, like...really old shrimp or records; we have to kind of...shoo them away sometimes.

Do you have a specialty or a drink that you pride yourself on? I make a really good $1 whiskey and Coke during happy hour.

You get three songs on the jukebox. What do you play? All Fleetwood Mac. The Chain, Dreams...and oh, no. Two Fleetwood Mac songs and My Favorite Game by The Cardigans.

Rapid Fire: Whiskey: Irish or American? Irish. Lemon or lime? Lemon. Straight up or on the rocks? Straight up. Import or domestic? Domestic. Light or dark? Dark.

Wildcard: What animal would you hate to be attacked by? Several Peregrine falcons...just like, a flock of birds. I feel like a big animal, I could take down one or two, but like, a shitload of birds? They could lift me in the air and then drop me....take my wallet...

Bartender Chat: Rex of Boondocks
Photo by Houston Press

Boondocks, located at 1417 Westheimer in Montrose is open daily from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. and there is always something happening. On Sundays starting at 5, you can enjoy free BBQ, $1 wells, $2.50 drafts and $3 Bloody Marys with music by Grrrl Parts until karaoke kicks in at 10. You can get $1 wells all night on Wednesdays and this Friday, March 9 (and every second Friday of the month) is "Plex in the City" with Go Go Garcia spinning all Dirty South tracks with an emphasis on H-Town classics.

Rex works happy hour on Fridays so if you swing by, be sure to play some Fleetwood Mac on the jukebox. It would make him very happy. For more info, visit their Facebook page.

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