It's been open less than two weeks, but the newest Baker St. Pub & Grill already has nearly 3,000 likes on Facebook and a packed restaurant all hours of the day. But Baker St. isn't a new concept. It stems from the original Sherlock's Baker St. Pub, which opened in Houston in 1977 with a Sherlock Holmes theme. In 1995, HUSA Management, Inc. bought the location and set about filling Houston and the rest of Texas with more Sherlock Holmes bars.
The Baker St. Pub in Cypress is the 25th venture for HUSA Management, which also owns Local Pour, The City Oven, Sherlock's Pub and D'Amico's in Katy. It's also the start of a new, more modern design direction for the British pub.
The original pub, which was emulated by the sister bars constructed after it, resembles the typical American notion of a British pub--dark, somewhat antiquated, with lots of woodwork. The kind of place older fellows would kick back over a pint of Guinness. Baker St. Pub in Cypress is setting a new standard, though.
In response to actual British pubs (you know, the ones in England) upgrading their looks to a more modern aesthetic in an attempt to entice younger crowds, the Sherlocks and Baker Sts. pubs here are doing the same. The designers traveled to England to check out what's become the new norm for pubs there, so it could be incorporated into our local bars. It may not seem authentic for a pub, but, I'm assured, this is the new authentic.
There's much more daylight in this new Baker St., thanks to large windows lining every wall. The decorative royal knickknacks have been downplayed, replaced with sleek wallpaper and a Union Jack theme. The overall feel of the place is more American football sports bar than British football sports bar, but the crowd gathered in the place at 3 p.m. on a Friday doesn't seem to be there for the décor. They've descended upon Baker St. for good food and cold drinks.
The new bar is one of only a few in the Cypress area, hence the huge crowd. A few people who work there told me business had been either steady or slammed since the moment Baker St. opened, and indeed, when I left at 5 p.m. there was already a line out the door.
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"The community has been so excited and so welcoming," says Heather Suggitt, director of marketing for HUSA, who met me at Baker St. for a drink and to show me around. "Cypress doesn't have many downtown-style bars and restaurants, and the people who live out here don't want to drink downtown then have to drive all the way back."
Another selling point for the locals? Happy hour every day from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. and all day Sunday. There are 40 taps with about 36 different beers, including many local craft brews. Some of that beer even ends up in the food, like the batter for crispy cod strips and fish and chips, both of which are classic and familiar, but definitely delicious with a pint.
So, Cypress, enjoy your new watering hole, and drink a snakebite for me next time you're there.