Austin Bar Heads To H-Town

First look: Beloved Austin bar aims to be the next great Montrose neighborhood hangout

First look: Austin bar aims to be next big H-Town neighborhood hangout

8 first look inside Doc's Motorworks in Montrose November 2014
Doc's features 50 beer taps, 5 liquor taps and 4 wine taps. Photo by Eric Sandler
7 first look inside Doc's Motorworks in Montrose November 2014
The interior features lots of long tables. Photo by Eric Sandler
6 first look inside Doc's Motorworks in Montrose November 2014
In case you needed a reminder about what to order. Photo by Eric Sandler
5 first look inside Doc's Motorworks in Montrose November 2014
Look for the sign at the corner of Westheimer and Graustark. Photo by Eric Sandler
4 first look inside Doc's Motorworks in Montrose November 2014
The patio seats 100 and will be dog friendly.  Photo by Eric Sandler
3 first look inside Doc's Motorworks in Montrose November 2014
Beer art and signs adorn the walls.  Photo by Eric Sandler
2 first look inside Doc's Motorworks in Montrose November 2014
Another look at Doc's inside seating. Photo by Eric Sandler
1 first look inside Doc's Motorworks in Montrose November 2014
Groups of people interact at the community tables.  Photo by Eric Sandler
8 first look inside Doc's Motorworks in Montrose November 2014
7 first look inside Doc's Motorworks in Montrose November 2014
6 first look inside Doc's Motorworks in Montrose November 2014
5 first look inside Doc's Motorworks in Montrose November 2014
4 first look inside Doc's Motorworks in Montrose November 2014
3 first look inside Doc's Motorworks in Montrose November 2014
2 first look inside Doc's Motorworks in Montrose November 2014
1 first look inside Doc's Motorworks in Montrose November 2014

Another Austin-import is set to open in Houston. Doc's Motorworks will join Torchy's, Uchi, Pluckers and more when it opens its first location outside of the Austin area in a converted Wendy's at Westheimer and Graustark on Thursday.

"The only thing our customers ever put on comments cards was 'please bring one to Houston,'" co-owner Charles Milligan tells CultureMap.

Milligan says the company considered a variety of locations, but that Montrose felt the most like Doc's original home on South Congress Avenue. "As soon as we pulled up to that spot, we thought about signing the lease. It just had a good feel."

 "The only thing our customers ever put on comments cards was 'please bring one to Houston,' " co-owner Charles Milligan tells CultureMap. 

The space has been thoroughly transformed to remove any traces of its previous life as a source of spicy chicken sandwiches and Frostys. Ice-house style roll-up doors have been installed, along with an expansive 100-seat patio. Inside, Doc's signature oversized community tables dominate the seating; Milligan says they're a key component in creating Doc's atmosphere. Separate groups may start at opposite ends of a long table, but Milligan says he's observed many times that they're buying drinks for each as the night goes on.

The interior is mostly decorated with beer signs and similar paraphernalia. Enough TVs to keep track of the games are hung from the ceiling, but Milligan says Doc's isn't a sports bar. "I want to be known as the Montrose neighbor bar and restaurant," Milligan says. "There's plenty of people watching, too."

Doc's food offerings mix traditional pub fare like burgers and wings with a few Tex-Mex-inspired dishes like nachos and tacos. Lighter options include salads and veggie tacos. Fifty taps feature a mix of local, craft and national selections; five taps are dedicated to hard liquor, and four wines will be available on tap as well. 

Instead of the Hill Country breweries Doc's features in Austin, the Houston location will devote space to local favorites like 8th Wonder, Saint Arnold, Buffalo Bayou and Karbach. "We try to be as local as we can," Milligan says. 

One other way Doc's plans to appeal to locals is with weekly specials. Starting in January, Motorcycle Mondays will appeal to the vintage bike crowd with a motorcycle giveaway once every six months. Tuesdays will promote the bar's friendliness to bicycles with $3 Texas beers, onsite tune-ups and a weekly bicycle giveaway. Expect similar food specials the rest of the week, too.

Houstonians spent years asking for Doc's to come east. Now it has. Whether it's Montrose's next great neighborhood bar remains to be seen, but all the ingredients, including plenty of parking, are in place for success.