Wednesday, September 17, 2008

first time in ink in houtex...i heart barstool

so here is my first article published since I've been here in Houston (I know...long overdue...story of my life).
Barstool Magazine, September Issue, pgs 56 & 57
(soon to be on and special thanks to Andres D for the great photos for the article)


Located deep in the heart of Midtown you’ll find the mother ship of liquor stores. It’s a staple in the lives of most fun-loving Houstonians and is a prime destination for tourists visiting the area. After all, who in their right mind would pass up a chance to visit 48,000 square feet dedicated to all things bar and party? Spec’s, located across the street from Pub Fiction, has been Houston’s central supply of beer, liquor and wine for nearly 40 years.

With over 3,000 customers daily, 170 total employees, and “aisles” that are aptly named streets, it’s not hard to get lost in this place. And it happens quite often according to the staff. It’s a city within a city. Maybe people aren’t actually getting lost; maybe they are in awe of the store and all its glorious wonder. Maybe the largest walk-in cooler in Houston mesmerizes them and their indecisiveness gets the best of them. Debating between the 1,655 ales, the 232 lagers, hundreds of kegs, or the umpteen specialty and domestic choices for the steadfast beer lover can be quite a task. The walk-in cooler alone is comparable to picking out a piece of wood at Home Depot.

The plethora of potions is beyond one’s wildest dreams. White sangria. Red sangria. Frozen sangria. Peach sangria. Italian sangria. Restaurant-style sangria. Sangria recipes. Don’t forget the sangria-scented candles. In tequila options alone there are over 900. No wonder tequila makes her clothes fall off. Luckily the staff at Spec’s prides themselves on customer service and is there to help you find the perfect beverage to suit your mood. If your cash flow is limited they’ll help you find a budget-friendly choice. Those that aren’t budget-conscience can treat themselves to Louis XIII diamond series cognac for $5263.15 a bottle. If you need a particular size they can do anything from supersize to mini-me bottles to stuff in your cargo shorts. Folks blessed to bear the 713, 281 or 832 area codes should stand up and take pride that the largest liquor store on the planet is right in your backyard. Only Houstonians came claim that. Just one of the many reasons Houston is the #1 place to live, work and play according to the most recent poll of US cities. This mother ship also boasts the title of the #1 seller of Crown Royal above any other store in the world. That’s right. Numero uno. Second to none.

Perhaps mother ship of liquor stores is an understatement. Maybe mother ship of all things amazing is a better fit? Spec’s has a ginormous deli with sandwiches so big that the bouncer at your favorite bar will probably need a doggy bag. They roast their own coffee daily on premises and pop their own popcorn. Looking for a specialty cheese? They have a larger selection of cheese than Brett Favre and the entire state of Wisconsin combined. All kidding aside the annual Cheese Festival is September 14, 15 and 16 so go see for yourself. Looking for flavor? Don’t miss 2 entire shelves devoted solely to hot sauce. A chocolate truffle bar manned and operated by Officer Larry. Over 1500 cigars and a cigar connoisseur to help differentiate them all. On the hunt for the perfect tailgating accessory for the upcoming football season? Try a full size blender with an AC adapter to plug into your car and pick up a margarita mix for the game. Invest in an alcohol breath detector to ensure optimum safety. Or splurge on a new grill. Seriously, your challenge if you choose to accept it is to find something Spec’s doesn’t carry.

If you happen to forego a night on the town and throw your own soiree instead, the staff at Spec’s are party planners in disguise. If you are lacking creative juices (in the drink department of course), they’ll help conjure up drink recipes and the perfect pairing of food to make your shindig a hit. They even sell post-party clean-up supplies to hide the evidence from your wife or roommate. They’ve also got you covered with disposable cameras so you can take pictures of the jacka$$ of the party. (Just be sure to publish them online so everyone can enjoy them.)

When it comes to parties and tailgating, Spec’s has it all. But they also service 1200 bars in the local area providing beer, wine, bar supplies, furniture, and even hand dryers for the bathrooms. You name it, they’ve got it. Or they’ll get it. That’s what they strive for-to make each and every one of their customers happy. And satisfied customers for Spec’s mean a lively and entertaining nightlife for all of us. Which of course makes our job at Barstool better everyday.

So we not only salute our bars and bartenders for keeping Houston’s nightlife going, we also thank Spec’s and all the phenomenal things it brings to our city.

(And for those partiers that never leave home without their A-game, they even carry a full stock of hangover meds.)