I'm not going to lie: After struggling to find a table at The Refinery during a Texans' big win on Monday night a few weeks ago (we ended up sharing one with some interesting characters), I'm reluctant to give my new favorite bar any additional attention. But I can't help it — I'm in love.
Like an ice house with a liquor license and a kick-ass menu of burgers and other bar bites, Refinery's open-air space and casual vibe just across the street from the downtown skyscrapers had me hooked. Here's why.
The best part of all? They have a Jack and Diet Coke Icee machine, which is pretty much the most awesome thing ever invented.
1. There’s always room at the bar. Well, usually.
2. Bobby, the adorable Canadian chiropractor/bartender, really cares about how you like your cocktail. He takes great care in making them, asks you to taste it, and tweaks it if you’re not happy. When he gives you the check he asks you to look at it to make sure the charges are right. Also he says “aboot.”
3. This bar is super into football and broadcast games with full volume all weekend and on Monday nights. There are multiple TVs lined up above the bar and around the patio and a giant screen marks the focal point of one wall. Even the line cook sneaks a peek through the order window at the replay when the crowd erupts after a big Texans play.
4. The burgers are effing delicious. I haven’t tried the pretzel buns yet but the Sheila buns (think sweet, fluffy brioche bun) are so good it doesn’t matter what you put in the middle. They are even grilled ever-so-briefly so the buns have a slight crunch.
5. The sweet potato fries are orgasmic. I’ve been eating sweet potato fries since my teeth grew in, and these are the best I’ve ever had. I’m from Taiwan — the country that is literally shaped like a sweet potato — so trust that I know my sweet potato fries. These are heavily dusted with cinnamon, a bit fat but perfectly crispy on the outside.
6. They don’t have a unfathomable number of beers on tap to incur indecision by paralysis. They have just enough number of taps with some standards and local craft beer. My favorites are the Smoked on the Bayou by Buffalo Bayou Brewery and the (512) Pecan Porter.
7. The beers are served in frosted Mason jar mugs.
8. Refinery has hard-to-find whiskeys like Hudson.
9. It serves Crown Black, which is basically golden honey.
10. The best part of all? They have a Jack and Diet Coke Icee machine, which is pretty much the most awesome thing ever invented.
The Refinery, 702 W. Dallas, 713-487-0029