Well folks, it looks like I am back on the grid after a more than a few months in hiding. The semester is over and after more than one psychotic episode over more than one issue, I am completely exhausted. The good news is that this was my last semester to actually have to be in a classroom. The bad news is that I won’t graduate until December due to a pesky internship that is required. Oh well. It could be worse. So I guess it is time to talk food again.
The afternoon of my last final was not all I hoped it would be, since I was still decompressing. The GF had a bunch of work to do and I was out of projects, and the worse thing for me to have is free time. As I began to go stir crazy at my local watering hole I got a much-needed text.
“Mongoose vs. Cobra?”
One of my good friends has been wanting to try out a new bar in the surging downtown/Mid-town district of Houston called “Mongoose vs. Cobra.” I figured why the hell not. With Houston traffic the way it is, I headed out at 4:30 to meet him around 6:00 (yeah, it is that bad).
(I will be referring to the establishment as MVC from here on out)
MVC would be almost impossible to find if you did not know where you were going. It is in a nondescript, rectangular, ivy-covered building that most would have left for dead, and it was through most of the 1980s. The research I have done places the building’s construction in 1915, and it served as a post office until it was abandoned. I am not going to lie to you, but the parking is terrible and confusing but that is par for the course in Houston these days.
I walked in and it was interesting-a long expansive space with elegant, yet rustic picnic style tables in the main room. The modular beer list was on the wall to the left of the entrance with the bar to the right. The bar was intimate, with about 10 to 12 seats that wrap around allowing a few more seats that look out the bay window onto the patio and McGowen St.
I will spare you, fair reader, the complete details of my visit to MVC, but let me just say that this place does not suck in any way shape or form.
The special of the day was a 10 oz. 1836 and a shot of Four Roses whiskey. I was highly disappointed that I actually shot the shot, since it was smooth and crisp. The 1836 is one of my favorites, and once again did not disappoint. This is however not how the evening started.
I had my prerequisite beer while waiting for my friend, 8th Wonder Brewery’s Alternate Universe, then we decided to try some craft cocktails.
I was fortunate to have the Apple Jack Crusta. I was impressed with the 1 foot (plus) long orange strip in the glass to start with but then the ingredients started to flow. Fresh juices, Apple Jack Brandy and Aperol – I might be missing one ingredient. Yeah, I have no idea how that concoction came to being but the world is a better place for it. My friend had a negroni/beer mixture that I can’t fully remember. All I know it was just plain good.
Now, I understand that places like MVC are bringing back the days of the craft cocktail and the intimacy that the neighborhood bar once had, without all the music and Delta Bravos all over the place, but MVC goes a step further. Etched on the entrance to the bathrooms was Rudyard Kipling’s story “Riki-Ticki-Tavi.” Then I remembered the story of the mongoose vs. cobra, and it all came together for me. I called the girlfriend, thinking that she’d appreciate the discovery of yet another literarily inspired bar in the Houston area. We’ve gone back a couple of times since then, and she’s a big fan of the Apple Jack Crusta, too.
This place is more than a place that creates great cocktails and serves craft beer. It is amazing how what was once a forgotten, derelict building can persevere and protect the art of the craft cocktail and promote the resurgence of craft breweries in this country.