Bartender Chat: PJ of PJ's Sports Bar

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This week, we stayed close to home because of the shitty weather and walked over to PJ's Sports Bar. Although it wasn't raining when we left the house, it was pouring five minutes into the 10-minute walk. We arrived with wet hair, soaked to the bone and a little raccoon-eyed...(Where were you on that one, waterproof mascara?) but you know what? It didn't matter. That's what's cool about PJ's. No judgement. You can roll up there lookin' like a mess or in your best work-suit, and no one will give you the stink eye. Looking like the former, I grabbed a spot at the bar and met the man himself, PJ Mastro, who opened the sports joint almost 18 years ago.

While sipping a pretty strong brew of PJ's recommendation (a brew that ended up requiring a side of pretzels...), I got to know a little about the Montrose sports dive and the man who runs it.

Where are you from? Originally from New Jersey. Been in Houston 34 years. I moved down here for school, I went to U of H, got into the bar business and just stayed.

What did you do before you opened PJ's? I worked at Caribana, a reggae club, in the '80s and I worked for the guys that owned Velvet Elvis. They opened up Iggy's and Royal Jelly...

How would you describe the bar's vibe? It's just laid back. It's your living room.

How would you describe the crowd? Everyone knows everyone. I see some of these people five days a week, but I mean it varies, too. During happy hour, the crowd is a little older than on, say, Friday night when we do karaoke....then it's a little younger. Or maybe on Monday night when people get sick of the crowd at Cecil's they might walk over here.

Do you have a specialty or a drink you pride yourself on? Nah, not really. I'll make whatever you want. If I get a request for something I don't know I may have to go Google it to make sure we have the ingredients.

You get three songs on your jukebox. What do you play? I'd play...Neil Diamond, some Motown and maybe something...country.

*** Wildcard question: If you were a professional bowler, what would you engrave on your bowling ball? My father owned a bowling alley when I was a kid, so I used to bowl a lot. Ha. I'd put..."Stay out of the gutter."

Good motto for bowling...and for life.

PJ's, located at 614 W. Gray 77019, is open for happy hour ($2.50 domestics and $2.75 wells) Mondays through Fridays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m and late on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, when it goes until midnight. Thursday is steak night: from 5:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. you can get two steaks, two potatoes, two salads and a pitcher of domestic beer for only $27. Don't forget karaoke every Friday at 9 p.m. Visit PJ's Facebook for more info.

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