"Never challenge a bartender," Sanchez tells me as we walk into Kenneally's Irish Pub (2111 S. Shepherd, 713-630-0486), "because the bartender will always win." Between beers and cigarettes, Sanchez, a former bartender, tells me about the time four frat boys challenged him to get them shit-faced, a feat they thought impossible. Long story short, five hours went by, and the frat boys were still stone sober when his shift ended. But the next morning, when he came in to open up, there was a trail of puke stretching from the front door halfway down the block. "It was then," he says, "that I knew I had indeed won. I threw my fists up into the sky and screamed in victory." Twenty-three-year-old Kenneally's turns out to be quite a surprise. Looking at it from the outside, you'd think it had a maximum capacity of ten old, drunk Irish dudes. But inside, it's actually a roomy, eclectic place filled with mostly younger college students and professionals doing the happy hour thing. All of the bartenders know how to pour you a Guinness with a shamrock drawn in the foam. As "Gouge Away" by the Pixies plays on the bar's surprisingly kick-ass jukebox, Sanchez and I court our adorable bartender Michelle, who proudly shows us photos of the most recent St. Patrick's Day at Kenneally's as if they were photos of her sister's kid. "Seventy-six kegs!" she proclaims with an ear-to-ear grin. "Now that's a freaking challenge!"
1 1/2 ounces Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey
6 ounces hot coffee (any brand)
Kenneally's Irish Pub
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1 teaspoon sugar
1 serving homemade whipped cream
Splash créme de menthe
Combine whiskey, coffee and sugar in an Irish-coffee glass. Stir. Find someone who knows how to make homemade whipped cream. Float whipped cream on top, making sure it doesn't mix. Pour créme de menthe on top of whipped cream.