There is no such place called LowBrow in Houston. You should definitely not even look for it, its just an urban legend. I don’t really need to try deflection techniques to keep the glitterati away from LowBrow, they simply will not fit in here and we are all the happier to leave them to their silly, over-shellaced world up high on Washington Ave.
Only 3 months open, LowBrow is a relatively new entry into Houston’s bumper crop of new nightspots. For me, LowBrow may be starting a new, old trend in Houston – the return, in force, of the dive-esque neighbourhood bar. Pairing well with the likes of EaDo’s Voodoo Queen & Moon Tower Inn and Downtown’s Warrens, it is a place to go as-is and just have a good time over a few local beers and unpretentious food offerings.
For beer, mostly they focus on the local varieties, No Label and St. Arnold’s, however I spotted a Young’s and Guinness. There are a few wines and the bar seems well-stocked with the requisite spirits.
The crowd defies age range, race and socioeconomic labels. I saw many college-aged who are probably walking over from St Thomas College just down the road. Some middle-aged who probably set out to haunt the Westheimer anchor bars but grew tired of waiting 45 minutes for a drink. And even some later-life kids, who probably live in the area and still want to shake it up a little.
The mood is upbeat and social; birthday balloons anchored one large table in the centre of the room, most of the people here circled about the open space meeting and greeting. Music was almost exclusively late-70s funk with an occasional pre-Thriller Michael Jackson thrown in for fun. Service is great, our server was very attentive and personable, stopping by often to check on us on his way to deliver beverages or turn in orders.
Burgers, sammys and breakfast tacos pepper the small menu. Since I’ve been here 4 times in the past week, I can say my favourite item is the Chicken Fried Black Bean Burger. Its a handmade black bean mixture, battered and fried, served between a griddled, crispy bun with avocado, cilantro, onion and tomato. At lunch, fries come with. The fries are hand-cut, thick, crispy and lightly dusted with some sort of seasoned salt – delicious.
On my most recent trip, yesterday, I noticed a poster for a Phil Collins dinner. Phil wasn’t putting on a concert, no, its just that one of the owners loves his music and to honour Collins’ birthday (yesterday) he hired a DJ to spin all-Collins and created a 4-course dinner to pair. Several co-lunchers were giddy with the prospect of returning to LowBrow for an all-Collins dinner evening.
I’m expecting more quirky but extremely compelling offerings from LowBrow, my new standard against which all Houston nightspots will be measured.
Lunch: 30 January 2014
LowBrow | 1601 West Main | HTX 77006