COVID-19 has made dining out a little trickier for Houston foodies, with rules that seem to change constantly and alterations from the restaurants we all love to visit.
Things were even murkier in late June and early July, when Gov. Greg Abbott announced that bars must close and only restaurants could remain open at 50 percent (down from the previous 75 percent).
That's when Pour Behavior mistakenly landed on Mayor Sylvester Turner's "Wall of Shame," having incorrectly been classified by TABC as a bar despite deriving more than 51 percent of its income from food (the rules about this have only recently been loosened).
In fact, when Pour Behavior first applied for its liquor license it was as a restaurant, and it had been operating as such with all the proper COVID-19 protocols since restaurants were allowed to reopen on May 1.
While the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and Pour Behavior sorted out the licensing protocols, the Midtown eatery and event venue closed in good faith. It used the time to clean even more deeply and prepare extra precautionary measures (even more stringent than when it first reopened, when security guards monitored mask usage) for when it could welcome back diners.
"When we closed, we had huge support from our patrons that knew we were following all the COVID-19 guidelines," says owner Joe Arbeely. "Mandatory masks, tables spread six feet apart. Pour Behavior went even further and hired security to enforce the governor's mandates."
Now, Pour Behavior is back and better than ever, with socially distanced seating inside the massive 18,000-square-foot space, an entire front wall that opens out onto the giant patio, and a menu that touts specials each day of the week, in addition to Monday-Friday food and drink deals.
"With all the positive support and outcry about us closing Pour Behavior, we went from the Wall of Shame to the wall of fame," says Arbeely.
Plan your upcoming hangouts accordingly with this day-by-day calendar:
No more Monday blues — now it's Monday burgers and brews. Ten bucks gets you a frosty pint of beer and one of Pour Behavior's scratch-made burgers. Chuck and brisket are ground in-house daily to make such pairings as mushroom and gruyere; brie, cornichons, and peppercorn sauce; and the South Texas Fire, which combines tomato-bacon jam, avocado-tomatillo salsa, white cheddar, and sambal aioli.
When you're in Texas, Tuesdays are for tacos. Take your pick from slow-cooked carnitas, carne asada, and grilled shrimp and chorizo, all atop tortillas that are prepared from scratch daily. And the best part? Each taco is only $2.
You've come to expect wine-down Wednesday, and you'll certainly get that with $5 house wines. But what you weren't expecting was steak night, with a filet and lobster dinner for only $25. You'll want to wear your fancy T-shirt for this date night.
Thirsty Thursday is your chance to broaden your cocktail horizons, as each craft cocktail is half off all throughout Thursday. Get tropical with a mojito, margarita, or daiquiri, or channel James Bond with a Vesper martini that's shaken, not stirred. Pretend you're traveling across Europe with a French 75 or Aperol spritz, or tap into your Lone Star roots with a Southern Collins made from vodka, citrus, honey, soda, and mint. As a bonus, appetizers are also half off on this day.
Finally, it's the weekend! Pour Behavior is ready to celebrate with you, offering half off wine bottles and half off pizzas. These aren't your typical American pizzas, mind you — each 12-inch pie is made from artisanal flour that's imported from Naples, Italy, and fermented for three days to ensure an authentic Neopolitan taste. Did we also mention it's Flashback Friday? Get ready for '80s and '90s remixes for when the wine convinces you it's time to dance.
Saturdays and Sundays
Brunching is a lifestyle, so post up at Pour Behavior from 11 am-4 pm for $50 mimosa towers. Also be sure to order the Nashville hot chicken biscuits, jumbo cinnamon roll, avocado toast, and breakfast tacos to help balance out the booze. A DJ is in the house playing chill techno music, setting just the right atmosphere.
Weekday happy hour
From 4-7 pm, Monday through Friday, drop in for $2 off beer, wine, and spirits. You can also score BOGO appetizers, meaning you can order everything from four kinds of wings to a cheese board, calamari, and fried Brussels sprouts.
Pour Behavior is located in Midtown at 2211 Travis St., and its toll-free phone number is 833-O-BEHAVE.