There's an old Irish proverb that says, "A drink always precedes a story." With this in mind, I stop by Shay McElroy's Irish Pub (909 Texas, 713-223-2444) to sit down for a story or four. I strike up a conversation with a lovely woman named Maria and ask her what she thinks of the place. "I like it. Reminds me of a pub I once went to in Dublin," she says. I'm pretty sure Richard Marx isn't typically played in Dublin pubs, but who's counting? Maria goes on to tell me that she's having a drink to calm her nerves. She's a bit anxious, because tomorrow a psychic is coming to cleanse her apartment of evil spirits. "My apartment has six ghosts," she says. "All of them had their funerals at the old church, so I guess they just stuck around because they didn't have anything else to do." To help her ease her fears about living in a converted church, Maria orders a round of "oatmeal cookies" for the both of us. "I wonder if this place is haunted, too," she asks. Unless you count the elderly dude at the bar hitting on everything that comes within a two-foot radius of him, I think not. The connected Rice Lofts building is quite old, but this bar is fairly new -- three years, to be exact -- and I haven't heard of any drunken brawls ending in homicide here. I ask Maria if she has trouble sleeping in her place. "Not really, except on nights when I hear the screaming, or when they wake me up by tapping me on the arm." With a raised eyebrow, I make a mental note not to move into a converted church, down the last of my oatmeal cookie and wish Maria luck.

1/2 ounce Bailey's Irish Cream

1/2 ounce Goldschläger

1/2 ounce Kahlúa liqueur


Pour Bailey's, Goldschläger and Kahlüa into shaker over ice, shake vigorously and strain into shot glass.

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Chris Boyd