Bar Beat

Bartender Chat: Denise King of The Black Labrador

What better way to spend a winter afternoon than with baked potato soup and a pint of beer? And The Black Labrador (4100 Montrose) has some of our favorite soup.

The afternoon we visited, the pub was pretty empty, so we chatted with Denise King, who's been a bartender at The Black Labrador for two-and-a-half years. Her little sister actually got her the job. "I have no plans to leave," King told us. "The girls I work with are great, and we have a lot of funny regulars. It's not really like coming to work."

Not that it's all fun all the time: Sometimes, there is singing. "We have a Christmas sing-along every year," King explained. "It's one of my least favorite nights to work. It would be fun if I was just a patron, but being the bartender, it's very crazy and hectic."

Besides the Christmas sing-along, King only has had to endure people trying to hit on her. "The most insulting one I got was a guy gave me a $200 tip, then asked me out," she laughed. Hey, at least she got the tip, even if she did turn him down. Maybe it was her martinis that won him over. "I'm not a martini drinker, but I've had people come up from their table to compliment my martinis," King told us.

So, what does King drink? "I'm a beer-and-wine girl," King said. "When I lived in Kentucky, I had Shiner Bock shipped to me. It's not the best beer, but it reminded me of home." It didn't take long for her to find her way back to Houston. She even has a State of Texas tattoo.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jane Catherine Collins