Bartender Chat: Mimi of Shepherd Park Draught House

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This week we hopped on over to Garden Oaks to check out Shepherd Park Draught House. We had heard good things so we went in with high expectations and weren't let down. It's a pretty cool little spot with a rock & roll vibe, one long wall lined with red leather booths and retro chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Punk and rock memorabilia adorn the walls, pieces from owner Ken Bridge's own collection. We snagged a spot at the bar and the first few minutes we were there, we heard The XX, Bloc Party and The Faint. This was a good sign.

We were quickly greeted by our friendly and attentive bartender, Mimi (real name Nohemi, but goes by Mimi to make it easier for you) who served us ice cold pints of St. Arnold Santo, also her favorite on tap. The beer selection is Texas-dominated, and the menu is eclectic and surprising, not your typical pub fare, with items like Korean short rib tacos, pistachio-crusted ahi tuna salad and Shepherd Park pie with Texas Kobe, cheddar, gruyere, garlic mashed potatoes and peas.

It was a real toss-up between the crispy goat cheese ravioli and the drunk mussels with white wine and garlic butter sauce, but we were very happy with our ravioli choice, which came out of the kitchen quickly and piping-hot. Mussels next time I think, but then the sea salt pretzel with honey butter also looked very appealing, made with the pizza dough from sister-joint Pink's, next door. Mimi's a pretty big fan of the menu at Shepherd Park but her favorite is the El Chito burger with bacon, a fried egg, gorgonzola, gouda and cranberry preserves; it sounds like a killer hangover remedy. "The fried egg just seals the deal for me," she says.

Mimi's been doling out pints at Shepherd Park since they opened in October and loves the vibe there. "It's very laid-back," she tells us. "Nothing crazy goes on here." When asked about the crowd, Mimi says that age-wise, it's varied -- anywhere from 21 to 61, families having dinner, people on dates and folks taking a load off after work. It's not so much an age thing as it is a personality thing so if you're looking for a good, low-key spot to chill, have a few beers and a bite to eat, this is your place.

On her off nights, you might spot Mimi having a drink at Kung Fu Saloon, her favorite place to unwind. "The people that work there are great," she says. "It's just a fun place." We've never been to Kung Fu, so maybe we'll pop in next week so see what it's all about.

Shepherd Park Draught House is located at 3402 N. Shepherd just North of 610. Swing by, say hi to Mimi, grab a cold brew and a snack. They also offer brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. where any entree is only $8 and bellinis, mimosas and sake bloody marys are $6.

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