The Mezzanine Lounge hosts Texas Hold 'Em poker three days a week, and when we got there last night, the bar was just setting up for the first round of games.
Along with the daily happy hour prices at the Mezzanine, the Thursday all-day special is $3.50 Jagermeister and Tuaca shots. That special isn't incredibly special, but, hoping to hang out with just a couple poker enthusiasts loaded on Jager, we decided to stay.
This was our first trip to the Mezzanine -- at the corner of Southwest Freeway and Greenbriar Street -- and we'd kept away until now for the following reasons.
We didn't like the name. Is it a sports bar called the Mezzanine with a martini glass for a logo? Or is it a "lounge" that shows UFC fights? Something didn't seem right.
And the idea of drinking next to a huge FedEx Kinko's felt wrong. Like playing football next to a whorehouse, or something like that.
But both of those hang-ups ended up being two reasons we actually enjoyed the place.
In a city that makes it close to impossible to walk anywhere that isn't a couple blocks from your house, Mezzanine works great. The parking lot is huge -- perhaps made possible by that mammoth Kinko's next door -- and it's walking distance from a couple other bars -- Stag's Head and McElroys -- so you can actually roam around.
The Mezzanine's identity crisis is what makes it work. For example, when we got there, the poker games hadn't started downstairs, so the bar was empty. But the card tables made the area cramped, and the music was so loud that we almost didn't stay. So we headed upstairs.
The second floor was a different place. It's able to keep a cozy feel, but there's enough space for a large bar, pool tables, Golden Tee and about a million televisions. There's even a "blue room" that people can reserve for whatever: watching sports, watching movies, playing Guitar Hero.
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When we sat down at the bar, along with a few random people next to us, there was a group of 30-somethings playing Golden Tee, and another group of guys wearing khakis and pastel button-downs sitting at a table drinking pints of beer. Considering Jager and Tuaca were the special of the evening, it could've been a harsh scene.
But it wasn't.
Happy hour at the Mezzanine runs from 4 to 8 p.m. each weeknight, and domestic beers are $2.50, imports are $3.25 and well drinks are $3. There's also a different special every day, and the most popular, we're told, is Tuesday, with $3 you-call-its. (Just bumped up from $2.50.)
On the way out, we sat at the downstairs bar, among the poker players, for another drink. They sat there playing cards as quiet as church ladies.