I went to Rockwell's Tavern yesterday, Sunday to check it out. I was underwhelmed. It is more like a bar and grill than a tavern. The bar is very small. The beer selection is predominately in bottles and is hit or miss. They only have about 12 or so on tap. The ambiance reminds me of the tables you see in some of the gas station and convenience/Subway stores. More cafeteria than pub or tavern. The definitely did not spend much money on the buildout of this place. The burgers were good, but what will prevent me from ever going back and not recommending it to anyone is the service...it SUCKS!
My wife and I arrived and there were probably only 4 other tables occupied if that, and only three people at the bar. There appeared to be 4 employees working. One sat us in a booth, took our beer order and left. Tic-tock...tic-tock. 20 minutes later, I needed another beer and we still had not seen the return of our waitress to place an order. I went to the bar to get another beer. Not a bar tender in sight. Since the whole staff were women, I began to wonder if they weren't engaged in some X rated fun in the kitchen. My wife corraled a waitress and sent her to the bar...she must have seen the back of my neck coloring from the table...the gal said she would bring our beers and take our food order.
She was true to her word. We placed our order and 10 minutes later my Bubba burger and my wife's mushroom burger arrived in time for me to order another beer.
After bringing our check...Abracadabra...our second waitress dissapeared. So I took our empties and our check to the bar and we left.
Being a former bar owner and having waited tables in college something was painfully obvious. There was no one in charge and the place was hopelessly disorganized.
As we left, our original waitress reappeared from the kitchen. I surmised one of several things...1) she went on a extended break just after bringing us our first beer, 2) she was actually the cook, or 3) she was on the bottom of the lesbian dog pile in the kitchen.
There appeared to be no discernable organization of the staff. The waitresses didn't have assigned zones or tables and everyone just did their own thing. One table who arrived after us recieved their food before we had even placed our order!
I will not be returning to Rockwells and cannot recommend it to anyone.
I can attest to the fact that their service right now is struggling. They have been plagued with people starting, then leaving within a couple days. This has gone on for a couple weeks. I've seen new faces come and go. It's unfortunate because it very well could be the death of them. My band played on friday night, my drummer's wife waited 2 hours for her burger.
Anyway, most of their beers are $3.5-$5. Happy hour, they are $1 off. Find me a place that has the kind of selection they do, and during happy hour M-F, are only $2.5-$4. It's basically the sacrifice you have to take for an out of the loop place with beers that cheap. It's not gonna be decked out like a baker st. or fox and hound. How much are craft beers at those places?
This place is and always has been an after work thurs or fri hang out for me and my wife and friends to stay and have great cheap beer. If I ever order, I usually wait until about 9:30, so I never personally have dealt with it being really slow, since by then the place is almost closing and emptying out. I love their burgers, but I just tend to eat pretty healthy, so I only get a burger about once a month.
Sadly, customers like me won't keep this place in business, so I hope they clean up their act. However, if it is close to your commute, it's def. a place to have great cheap beer after work. On the very first page, I mentioned they currently (at the time) only had bottles, but they planned to have draft soon.. I guess I should have explained further that they weren't going from 150 bottles to 150 drafts, because you seemed surprised by this.
I'll forward your review to Tiffany, the owner. Maybe it will hit home when I tell her I had a stranger go to rockwell on my suggestion, and then she reads your review.
I my experience at Rockwell's the Cane Island Alers homebrew club. Brian and Jennifer of No Label Brewing are members. Jennifer said she would pass it on to the owner too, since they know her. Rockwells is out of my area really, I live in Katy. The Hops House is closer and I've been going there for about 25 years. The prices are higher and they don't serve food, but I go for the beer and the people.
Gonna have to go with Ginger Man in Rice village. By far the best beer pub in Houston. You'll pay a bit extra for the belgians and other less common beers in a bottle. They also are one of two places that serve real ale, that is, beer served by draft engine from cask. (St. Arnold Elissa IPA).
Unfortunately it lives up more to the deragatory name Feather Merchant than the latter.
My wife and I went last Saturday, Feb 18, it opened on that Wed. First there was no sign on the place, they were too cheap to even buy a temporary banner to let people know where and who they were. They still had the old Gay Bar sign, "Chances" on the place. I finally my third stop to ask locals where it might be was at Specs across the street, and they didn't even know what the place was, they just knew a new place had opened. The inside of the place looked like the burned out Chances bar with new tables and chairs that looked like early American Junk Yard. Normally I don't care what a place looks like but this build-out on the cheap just played into a building impression I was getting of the place. I looked at the beer menu and was justifiably impressed...at first.
I suddenly had flashbacks to the over-priced and over hyped Yard House chain of watering holes. The HM has their beers listed by glass or serving size and price. So don't expect to get a pint of your favorite Belgian ale, or Belgian anything for that matter. They serve anything made with belgian yeast or that has belgian style on the bottle in a tulip glass: a 12 ounce tulip glass. I know because I killed a Tramp Stamp in about three pulls. I then filled the glass with water from a pint glass and it left over a 1/4 of the water in the pint due to the generous head they were sure to put in the puny serving. The 10-12 ounces I got were only $6. So I make that out $0.83 and ounce or about $8.50 for a beer you can get elsewere for $5-6 bucks. Starting to get the picture? It gets better. The REAL expensive beers are served in snifters, which are presumably even smaller. So the the place is way, way over priced. But you get your over priced beer with a side of uppy arrogance. I got a response from our waiter about there being no banner: "Oh, we've had lines out the door, so that isn't a problem, people know where we are." So I guess they only care that people in the "know" know where they are, the rest of us schmucks who don't line in Montrose can get ****ed, our time isn't worth anything. It gets better, or worse depending on your point of view.
On the surface the food menu looks good, but it reads better than it is executed. My wife's so-called Rueben, was not. It was a corned beef sandwich. No Kraut, no cheese, no grilled bread, and very very little corned beef, about two slices, all for $10 bucks. If you want a Rueben, go to Katzs down the street. I had the short ribs, they call meat chips, that were tough and not worth $14 by any stretch. So my sampling of food was lousy and overpriced. Anothe piece of the picture. I have run a catering business and my ex wife owned and still owns a bar in Katy. I know how price structuring works. For a bar food is generally a money loser and you make your earnings off of beer wine an liquor. Our general mark up on beverages was 400% across the board. A bud cost us 45 cents and we sold them for $2.75 or so. Food was just a little above cost. The HM has decided to make usurious profit on everything. Giving something a fancy name does not mean its worth twice what someone else sells it for. My take is this place is set up to make a rapid profit before the popularity wears off and it closes. They did the buildout on the cheap in a burned out building and are catering to the beer snobs and the uppy scum of the Montrose. They can have it. For my money there are too many other places in town where you can get an honest pint of beer for a fair price. I didn't even venture into the territory that I did at the Yard House when I called the Manager on their attempt to be Big Sister with regard to the size of the servings. The Yard House tried to tell me it was a TABC regulation that strong beers had to be served in smaller glasses at presumably the price of a pint, which we all know is bull****. Its business model, plain and simple. Needless to say, I won't be going back. I was very dissappointed, because I was really really hoping this place would be a new Beer Mecca, instead of a Beer Las Vegas. A place that is all hype, overpriced and with the motto: Let ups piss down your neck and tell you its raining!"
Oh, I forgot to say, that we left there, and went on down to the GingerMan, and while there, found out that the Gingerman's former Saturday daytime bar keep, the cut as a button brunette, whose name excapes me, now works at the Feather Merchant. Sad. For her sake I hope the place stays around for a while.
wow, I went there sat. the 18th as well. Can't say I had the same perceptions as you. I thought the beer glass servings were close to on par. Seems each section had a misplaced one. Like they had 512 wit in a tulip, while the other texas hefs were in a pilsner glass (like they should be). The beers that are 9-10%+, or lower abv but rare/hard to find, should be in tulips, and the sour and fruity were served in snifters. This is pretty standard in my experience. A 6% pint for $5 or a 11% tulip for $5 or usually more. A typical 22oz. bomber of anything from belgium is $10+ at a grocery store, let alone a draft pour at a bar. Your example, clown shoes tramp stamp, that is $5.48 for a 22oz bottle in the store (specs, buying in bulk), or $.25/oz. According to your model of 400% markup, they should sell that beer at $1/oz, or $16 a pint. Translate that to a $12 bomber of chimay, they should sell a pint of that for $34.
Needless to say, it's priced fine. It's a belgian style beer, they aren't cheap. Surprised as a spouse of a bar owner, this was even questionable to you.
Your pouring of water from pint to tulip to measure is flawed. You have no idea if 1/4 of it was left. Did you know that 25% of the liquid in a pint glass (4oz) is contained in top 16% of the glass (top 1" out of 6" glass)? It's a conical shape, and very deceiving. Secondly, in europe, proper beer glasses are bigger than the size it's sold at, to account for head. There's a line on the glass that shows where the beer should be poured to, the rest is for head. This is a law over there.
However, in US, we haven't made it there yet. I don't know if their advertising of tulip being 13 oz is the actual pour, or the glass. They say their pints are 16 oz, but those standard water pint glasses are exactly 16 oz, meaning they aren't pouring that much (with an inch of head, you actually have 12oz. of beer)... so probably safe to assume same for the other glasses.. There's really nothing you can do, as there are no laws to protect consumers against this.
Regarding signage: the waiter couldn't have said it better.. people can find it.. My group knew it was on westheimer near montrose, we didn't have any trouble picking it out due to the outside crowd. You know these in the loop people, they like to feel like they are at some exclusive place..
Anyway, the decor didn't make an impression at all on me, so I assume it was neither really bad nor really good. We sat outside, I remember there being lost of iron piping, industrial like. We did notice the huge door, looked like a homemade one of a kind fab job.. kinda cool.
I will agree on food, we were not impressed. Wife got a chicken salad, it was in a side salad bowl, half a chicken breast on top, lettuce, spinach and tomato. $10.
I had a hotdog, also $10.. and it was just that, a hotdog. No fries/side item..
You say it may not last.. the owner of this is the owner of anvil, which has been very successful, and they are already opening a third place, (underbelly?).. craft beer in houston is exploding before our eyes, about a decade behind most big cities. There is huge potential, as we plainly see, for a place like this. Count on it, and others like it, to stay around for a while. There are 6 million people around, saturation is a far cry away.
Originally Posted by thomasjurisd
Gonna have to go with Ginger Man in Rice village. They also are one of two places that serve real ale, that is, beer served by draft engine from cask. (St. Arnold Elissa IPA).
This isn't true, I've been to a handful of places with cask.. brick house, flying saucer, this hay merchant place I'm talking about had 4 of em, rockwell tavern has it occasionally.