Thursday, March 14, 2013

Review: Scott Gertner's Sports Bar

Having lived in Houston for a few months and visited a few of its bars and clubs, I'd felt something was lacking. Plenty of clubs were playing hip hop, mixing it with some rock, playing some techno-ish dance music. They were all good, but where could I go if I wanted to listen to just hip hop? And not just the stuff you might hear on the radio.

Scott Gertner's Sports Bar is where. They've got the old school rappers like Big Poppa and Tupac getting play. Then they've got the new school, people like LIl Wayne, Drake and others. What really stands out in the music the tracks getting play I'd never heard, the sort of music that makes you want to move your head or get out of your seat. So, I've got nothing but good to say about the DJs out at Gertner's.

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.

So just know, it gets busy, it's hip hop all night, it's a mostly African American crowd (I may have been one of five pigment challenged persons in the building last night), but it's mostly friendly. The charge to get in escalates as the night goes on and service slows as the bar gets absolutely, insanely packed. Busiest nights they'll have five girls working the bar though, so just be patient.

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:
Facilities: 5/5
Staff: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Drinks: 5/5
Food: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

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