The Place: Marquis II
2631 Bissonnet St.
The Deals: Most drinks are $1 cheaper than normal. Cans of Pearl Light and PBR are $2.50. Also nightly drink specials.
The Hours: Monday through Friday 5-9 p.m.
The Scene: A man to our left at the bar at Marquis II, the popular dive in West University, was explaining to us and anyone who would listen the finer points of picking up women.
"You see? I just put out my trout line," he said. "Now I'm reeling in a marlin."
But the man was also in a bind. His marlin was at Marquis, but apparently he was late for a dinner date at a restaurant in west Houston. We assume the place was Yao, because he kept asking the bartender for directions to "that Rocket's restaurant."
He decided to solve the problem with a phone call to his buddy.
"Elroy, listen... I can't make it.... I can't.... I know, I know... you don't understand," the man said. "Elroy! I put out my trout line and she bit."
The man, who seemed to feel good with his problem solved, called out to the bartender with a slap of the bartop.
"Gimme a shot of that Jack. I'm feeling it tonight."
Marquis II, on the southwest corner of Kirby and Bissonnet, is known for a couple things. One is the bar's version of the Long Island Iced Tea, served in a massive glass. It's also one of the few remaining bars where smoking is allowed.
That's because Marquis is West U's only bar, and while the city did outlaw smoking in restaurants, it didn't bother to mess with bars. (The bartender claimed that if the city did decide to ban smoking at Marquis, it wouldn't hurt business, and, in fact, we didn't see anyone smoking. The man working on the marlin, however, did have a pack of Kools.)
For happy hour on Tuesday night, Marquis was packed with one of the more diverse crowds -- age, gender and ethnicity -- that we've seen at a Houston bar. Happy hour comes with a mix of drink specials, and last night's were: Texas Teas ($6), Flavored Teas ($7), Trader Vic's drinks ($3), along with the regular beer specials.
There were football games on both televisions at Marquis last night, and only a few people watched with much interest. But when a woman at one table yelled out, "Shot, shot, shot," the entire bar let out a roar.
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By the time happy hour had ended, more people had filed in. The man who put out his trout line had wandered back to the bar, and a young woman walked up next to him to order a drink. He leaned over to her and smiled.
"Did Santa bring you everything you wanted this year?" he asked.
We didn't hear the response but she got her drink and left. Disappointed but not defeated, the man walked over to us and pointed to another young woman sitting at a table.
He whispered, "Now watch me go get her."