The downtown Houston bar scene is hopping these days and adding to that excitement is Houston’s newest gastropub, Bovine & Barley. I mean who doesn't love beef and brews! Being a foodie, I like having the option of dining on a gourmet meal whilst sipping on a craft beer. Pretzels and bar nuts won't satisfy this Diva!
Partners Michael Collins (The Fish, The Refinery Burgers & Whiskey) and Jason Lowery (Proof) opened Bovine & Barley in the former El Centro location at Prairie and Main. The space has been completely transformed into a sophisticated yet bold lounge filled with rich wood accents, custom tables, and Edgar Allan Poe quotes. In the center of the restaurant is a magnificent u-shaped bar that is very comfortable and welcoming. Of course you can’t miss the hundreds of light bulbs that adorn the wall spelling out HTX.
Beer, of course, is the main focus of Bovine & Barley. Over 40 beers are available on tap and many of those are from local breweries. Since the selection changes frequently, the menu is shown on computerized screens. I started with a Union Jack IPA; it was an exceptional beer with notes of citrus and honey. Wanting to try something a little bolder, my next pick was Deschutes Obsidian Stout Nitro. This luscious beer could easily pass for liquid dessert. It was deep and robust with hints of espresso and chocolate.
B & B offers a “beef-centric” menu masterfully created by Chef Harold Wong (The Fish, Azuma). There is an assortment of “comfort food” type entrees with a rich, beefy goodness to them. The small bites are perfect for sharing and include options like Meatloaf Muffins, Steak on a Stick, Meatball Flatbread, HTX Sliders, and Jalapeño Bacon Bites. My favorites were the Steak on a Stick (beef skewers with shishito peppers, grilled onions, and Thai chili sauce) and the Jalapeño Bacon Bites (pineapple chunks wrapped in jalapeño bacon and stuffed with cream cheese). For a heartier fare, I recommend the Bovine Burger. It’s a ½ pound Angus beef patty topped with bacon, cheddar cheese, fried onion strings, lettuce, and tomato.
Although beer is the main focus of B & B, wine and cocktail drinkers will find something to enjoy as well. In addition to a full bar, they have a unique selection of draft cocktails. These barrel aged cocktails rival any libation being served by local mixologists. You have the benefit of a great craft cocktail without having to spend 10 minutes waiting for it. I tried three that were currently being offered, the Sauvage Collins (Lone Elm Vodka, Citron Sauvage Liqueur, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup), the Old Swine (Fat Washed and Un-Fatwashed WhipperSnapper Whiskey, Water, Turbo, Angostura and Mole Bitters), and the Smoke & Fire Mule (Mezcal, Lime Juice, Simple Syrup, Ginger Beer, Hellfire Shrub Bitters). They were all delicious!
Matt Heer has created a superb bar program and his staff, which include awesome bartenders like John Havens (AKA “Red”), are extremely knowledgeable and ready to help make a suggestion. There's a little something for everyone to love at Bovine & Barley. They are open for lunch, happy hour, and dinner. It's a great place to drink, dine, and be merry! In the words of Edgar Allan Poe, “What care I how time advances? I am drinking ale today.”
Bovine & Barley
416 Main St., Houston, TX 77002
Phone: (832) 742-5683
Hours: M, T, W 11am – Midnight / Th, F 11am – 2am / Sat 4pm – 2am / Sun 4pm - Midnight
About the Author
I like eating, traveling, and enjoying liquid libations. I'm all about great wines, signature cocktails, and local brews.