You want bang for your buck of course, and just know that Gertner's has only been open on Wednesdays and Sunday. I've heard they've started opening Thursdays but I haven't been by on a Thursday yet. I didn't get charged a cover on Sunday, when there were less people. Wednesday, though, things get crazy. Tons of people, and they start charging a cover at 7. Early in the day the cover is 5 dollars, later on it's 10, and during packed events like the All Star Game it goes as high as 20. So just know what you're going to be paying up front on certain days and events.
Beer is four dollars, Jack and Coke is eight, and the food ranges in the ten to twenty dollar range. Fairly average for places in Houston, and the Jack and Cokes are strong.
The chicken wings have been, to me, delicious. They are usually the right balance of moist on the inside with just the right amount of crisped skin, and the sauces are delicious. Fifty cent wing nights are on Wednesdays but the prices go up later on in the evening. The cheese fries they serve are nothing spectacular, and last time actually had too much cheese, so much so that the fries were swimming and limp. Not a good thing. The fried pickles are delicious, with the crispy batter spiced with something to balance the sour taste of the pickles. It's bar food, but it's good for bar food, and the drink prices are average.
What's going to bother people is the cover charge, as well as the service. Gertner's gets busy, and let's be clear, do not yell at the girls. They make their way one by one down the line. They'll get to you. But they're not going to break their rotation just because you forced your way to the bar. I've never had a problem getting service, but you have to wait your turn, and that turn is going to take a while on a really packed night. The girls aren't ignoring you, they're just not trying to ignore everyone else that's been waiting.
Those two things aside, will you like Gertner's? I do. This place isn't ghetto, though ghetto people do go there. The crowd is black, African American, urban. If that bothers you then you might want to find another city that's more to your ethnic and cultural taste. I've met great people at Gertner's, though. The girls are fantastic and friendly, they recognize you if you're repeat business, and you can start up a conversation with just about anyone sitting along the bar or the outside patio deck. I think I've had more friendly interactions with people at Gertner's than with people at more pretentious bars and clubs, where it's too dark to see inside.
But would I go back? I already have, so that should say enough. Try to stop by on a game day, because there are big screens everywhere in this place.
The Final Call: