Having heard tales about Marfreless (2006 Peden St, 713-528-0083) involving scandal, exhibitionism and hedonism, I head to the 35-year-old bar to see if they're true. This is the side of Houston's upper class that I've been wanting to observe for years: the inevitable yang to River Oaks' glossy, bleached-teeth yin. I bring along a smoking-hot brunette with bangs who drinks and cusses like a sailor, thinking our date's a surefire one-way ticket to home base. But what I find when we arrive is closer to an episode of Cheers than a Marilyn Chambers film. We sit down at the bar next to five friendly regulars who seem to have known each other for decades. Unfazed, I press on and begin to interrogate Adam, the bartender and son of the bar's legendary former owner, searching for some sordid details. "So the story about the lesbian couple that got it on in front of a bunch of people in the red room upstairs, how did all that go down?" I ask. "It didn't. Never happened," Adam replies. "Okay, so what about the story about the woman who performed 'You Make Me Feel' for the upstairs crowd using a guy's dick as a microphone?" "Total bullshit. Never happened. Maybe in the '80s, when oil company executives would bring their secretaries here to get it on, but definitely not in recent past." Disappointed in the lack of crazy stories but entertained by the super-chilled-out vibe of the place nonetheless, the brunette and I retreat to one of the couches to...work on our taxes. Turns out the only deep dark secret Marfreless holds comes in the form of a drink. You may have won this time, River Oaks, but we'll meet again.
1 ounce Bacardi Select rum
1 ounce Kahlúa
Cream or Half & Half
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Combine rum and Kahlúa in rocks glass. Stir and top off with cream. Add ice, serve and commence tonsil hockey.