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Happy Hour Scene: Boondocks

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The Place: Boondocks 1417 Westheimer 713-522-8500

The Hours: 5 to 8 p.m. daily

The Deals: $1 wells and $2.50 for any draft

The Scene: Boondocks has earned a dirty reputation, thanks in part to a long stretch of routine closing time fights. Also, last time I went there to see a friend play records I felt like I was a chaperone at a mixer for the Lost Boys (vampires, not Sudanese) and an underwhelming hip-hop dance crew. Shit may have been real, but sometimes reality isn't fun, even when you're drunk.

Happy hour is a different story. The booze is cheap, the hours late and the patio, though kind of blank, has plenty of tables. When I went with M. on a Tuesday, there were two people inside halfway watching a TV above the bar while Rod Stewart played on the jukebox. Outside, three middle-aged folks and a younger couple had claimed chairs.

We sat outside. Traffic noise from Westheimer was the only soundtrack going - the jukebox wasn't piped out there, so if you wanted to hear Bob Dylan or Biggie or Black Flag, you'd have to go back in.

That may sound dull, but it suited my friend and me. We had come to drink and get normal, not listen to woo-girls warming up or loose-tie former frat guys discuss college basketball. Not that there's anything wrong with college basketball or loosening a tie. Sometimes, though, you want your space.

The bar's calendar features other specials and events. Sundays is free barbecue and karaoke. On Wednesdays it's dollar wells all night. Tuesdays, local blues legend Little Joe Washington plays for free. (Unfortunately, I've known people who go for the spectacle and not the music. Of course, if you didn't want those kind of audience members showing up, maybe you shouldn't play the keyboard with your dick. Apocryphal, maybe, but at least one friend swears she bore witness. I doubt Little Joe gives half a shit either way.)

I'll still go by Boondocks next time Brett Koshkin is spinning soul 45s for his Dirty Honey night. (He's a friend and former Press music listings editor, but I'd say that if he weren't either one.) Gonna miss the space on the patio, though.

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