The Place: Beaucoup Bar & Grill 3102 Old Spanish Trail 713-747-5100 http://www.beaucoupbarandgrill.com
The Hours: 4 to 8 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 6 to 10 p.m. Fridays; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays; 11 a.m. to midnight Saturdays
The Deals: Lots of them. Discounts on mixed drinks, mostly - check "Bar Features" section of Beaucoup's website
The Scene: If you're giving up drinking for Lent - which, by the way, should preclude you from drinking Jesus's alcoholic blood during Mass - you've got an even better excuse to wild out on Mardi Gras.
Except in Houston, there's not much wilding out to be had on Fat Tuesday. Last year I caught Hustlers Brass Band at Big Top with about ten other people. This year, there was even less -- a couple of small bar parties and an in-name-only celebration at the House of Blues.
Next best thing is an all-day happy hour at a Creole place. Beaucoup, which the Houston Press named Best Cajun Restaurant last year, sits on a semi-isolated part of Old Spanish Trail between the Med Center and 288. You order at the bar and grab a seat in the dining area. On Tuesday, the crowd featured neighborhood families and groups of friends, lively but not loud, some drinking at the bar but not to holiday excess.
I got a shrimp po-boy, gumbo and a beer. Of course, I'm not the one giving up drinking, or I would have started an IV drip of whiskey. My dining companion, however, was facing a few dry weeks, so a hurricane was in order. For some reason, the bartender couldn't do one on the rocks, but the frozen version worked. As for the po-boy, the extra-soft bread wasn't what you'd expect from a traditional one, but it was still delicious. The chicken and sausage gumbo was smoky and tasted like it came out of some Gulf Coast grandma's kitchen.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
After eating, I downed about half of the second hurricane my friend had ordered. I was taking a bullet; I know you shouldn't mix too much sugar (which, like most hurricanes, this had plenty of) with booze. Of course, I also know you shouldn't mix too many prescription painkillers with booze, or too attractive of a second cousin at a family reunion with booze, but no one takes bullets for me. I count that as a mixed blessing.
We finished up and headed to a bar for standard Tuesday debauchery, ending precisely at midnight. There's always St. Paddy's Day, at least for those of us who avoid making real sacrifices for Lent.