Bar Beat

Bartender Chat: Buck Baker of Jackson's Watering Hole

Buck Baker has been bartending around Houston for 15 years. After graduating from the University of Mississippi, he came back to Houston to work at McElroy's Irish Pub. McElroy became his mentor, and he quickly went from bar back to bartender to now bar owner of Jackson's Watering Hole (1205 Richmond), formerly Decades.

"Owning my own bar was always a goal of mine," he explains over a beer on the front patio of the recently renovated space.

Buck turned the once seedy bar into a clean, laid-back neighborhood bar with a New Orleans feel. "We have New Orleans artwork on the walls and Abita on tap."

Buck is also creating some old-school, New Orleans cocktails, such as the Sazerac, which he made for me. You wouldn't expect to be able to stop by such a casual spot and get a good Sazerac, but Buck has perfected the drink.

"I wanted a bar that everyone would feel welcome in," Buck says. "No pretension. A place I would want to drink." Judging by the Miller Light in his hand, and the table full of friends watching as he participated in karaoke night, I would say, mission accomplished.

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Geri Maria Harris