OKRA Charity Saloon

IMG_1192Candy isn’t her real name, its a moniker bestowed one night at a party when her subtle toe-tapping and head-bobbing to the background music slowly morphed into a modified pole dance. I mentioned this to Candy – “Hey, nice pole dance, we should start calling you Candy the stripper”.

A star is born.

We don’t see Candy often, busy girl with her dispersed family and high pressure job, so when she calls for a happy hour, we answer. I always try to find a central location for happy hours since we all work and live in just about every far reaching corner of this ever-expanding maze of freeways we call Houston; this time OKRA Charity Saloon.

OKRA caught my eye some months back while trekking about downtown. I liked the concept – 100% of the profit goes to charity, hence the name. Local bartenders, chefs and otherwise good people donate their time and personalities to the effort. The patrons vote on which charity they’d like their drink money to be applied and at the end of the month, the money is donated to the winner. Patrons also vote for next month’s charities.

Every city should have an OKRA.

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The interior reminds me of every shot gun bar in New Orleans;  more tall than wide with a clear view of everything and everyone. The difference being the large skylight, which really brightens up the place anytime before 8p. Mixture of tables and fabric-covered booths are comfortable and spaced well. The music is good; the standard mix of current and past – what was that I heard – Madonna’s Like a Virgin followed by Vampire Weekend’s Unbelievers? Yep, it was.

Mixed drinks are great in my limited experience here – I had several Pimm’s Cups, both were great however one was more lemon heavy and the other was more orange heavy – different bartenders yield different results. The beer selection is decent, the wine selection is limited. I noticed just about everyone in the bar was doing shots of Cinnamon Whiskey; curious but not curious enough – maybe next time.

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I’m not sure how the crowd changes as the evening wears on but between 6-8p it was a mixed bag, probably heavy on the 25-35 crowd but even they were mixed casual pre-4th shorts/serious just off work suits. The mood was very social and upbeat, singles mixing it up at the large central bar, groups into light-hearted conversation with the occasional table bang of emphasis. OKRA does not feel pretentious nor does it seem a place attracting the see-be-seen.

I’m liking OKRA an evening launch off into other downtown venues. After our cocktails and voting we migrated next door to Batanga for tapas (and even more drinks) however, it would be equally enjoyable to scoot across the street to Hearsay, La Carafe, Macondo or Hotel Icon or even Sundance Theatre in Bayou Place to catch up on the films you meant to see before they roll over to Netflix.

Sucky photos courtesy of my dirty lensed iPhone and lack of focus, you’re welcome!


3 thoughts on “OKRA Charity Saloon

  1. Deb

    What a good friend you must be. Candy is a lucky girl to have you for a friend! I loved your perspective of the OKRA Charity Saloon and agree with you – the concept is great!


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