Happy Hour Scene: Canyon Creek Cafe

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The Place: Canyon Creek Café 6603 Westcott 713-864-5885

The Hours: 4 to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays

The Deals: $2.75 domestic drafts, $3 domestic bottles, $4 wells, plus various all-day specials The Scene: I try not to engage in crutch-texting in awkward situations. I'm a grown-up, reasonably confident, and if I need an electronic device to feel at ease then maybe I'm better off at home with a bottle of generic Xanax and The First 48. At least that's the case until the dad-flirting starts, apparently -- then it's time to fire off unnecessary messages like an over-stimulated teenager.

Things started off easy at Canyon Creek, the new addition to the Creek family. I sat at the bar and ordered a $3 Deep Eddy sweet tea vodka (most Texas liquor is three bucks all day on Tuesdays). I'd never been before, but the Hill Country kitsch, dark wood and basic burgers-and-sandwiches menu will be familiar if you've ever been to Onion Creek, Dry Creek or Cedar Creek. The place probably gets packed, especially when the Thursday-through-Sunday partiers in the Washington Avenue crowd wake up. There were few people to fill out the dining room or large patio on a Tuesday, though.

The relative quiet was relaxing, and the drinks were cheap and strong. Some classic soul played over the PA, and I was glad I didn't have to hear Chris Berman barking about the Packers and Bears on the muted TV above the liquor shelf. A few couples in North Face jackets and track pants stopped in for post-cardio meals; two or three groups of businessmen gathered over buckets; and a shitload of empty tables, crowned with tea lights, stretched past the jukebox and toward the far wall of the dining room.

The flirting session started about halfway through my first drink. A couple of bar stools down, one of two middle-aged guys who had previously been joking about cutting out of work early to "play" (no offense, but I'm half your age, and it's called having a drink, not playing) started chatting up an employee. It wasn't salacious, there was no touching or anything like that, and she was plenty receptive. But something about the white-collar older guy flirting with the cute young waitress was trite and off-putting, like the wooden acting in a porno. I appreciate the tips-and-ego-boosts dynamic, I just don't care to witness it.

When, after a playful barb, he called her "spicy," I ordered another vodka and took out my phone. I'm sorry if you got a message asking about Super Bowl plans or how everything is up in Michigan and now you feel used. You know I'd understand if you did the same thing, darlin'.

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