For the longest time Spring Branch was primarily known for its many suburban neighborhoods with strip centers occupying the spaces in between. It’s traditionally a blue-collar Korean and Hispanic community with families that have been rooted in the Branch for generations. But change is happening. With the openings of The Branch and 4J Brewing, Spring Branch is becoming a hot commodity.
Now, two of its more recent openings come from some heavy hitters and are sure to add to that change. Welcome Cobble & Spoke and Might as Well Lounge/Boozenasium.
Cobble is a public house founded by Kyle Steck, Jen Masse, and Joseph Schiller specializing in Texas craft beer, wine, and mead. Not wanting to hide behind tinted glass, Cobble & Spoke, located at 1900 Blalock Road, has massive windows offering full transparency, so you know what you’re getting into. The space offers plenty of seating throughout with a couple of long tables for big groups, and even a cozy corner with a couch and plush chairs, where you can find card and board games.
The wooden, handmade bar warmly invites patrons to belly up, while TVs overhead keep folks entertained. There are 40 taps, growler fills, and a crowler machine designed to send you off with an old faithful or a new favorite. Steck is also playing with the idea of a fire sale of sorts: Once some of the kegs start running low they may fill up a crowler, place it in a paper bag and sell it for $10 so the guest won’t know what she is going to get.
Cobble & Spoke doesn’t have a kitchen but encourages guests to order food from nearby spots. The pub is also bicycle friendly as it has a bike rack indoors and an air pump for those possible flats. That’ll keep those spokes moving.
Two-and-a-half miles away on 8518 Long Point Road is Might as Well Lounge and Boozenasium. A Spring Branch mainstay, it was known as Mickey’s Lounge in the 1960s before changing to Robbie’s Lounge in the mid '80s. It’s on a strip center right off Long Point, sandwiched between a western wear store and a tax services office. The bar has a small patio out front with two large bay windows and an illuminated “lounge” sign.
Stepping through the threshold you get hit with a ’70s vibe, from the patterned carpet to the wooden walls and ceiling. It’s quite possibly one of the most gorgeous dive bars I’ve been to in a long time.
There are quite a few names attached to the Boozenasium: Erik Bogle and Jill Brumer of Houston Watch Co.; Camella Clements of Lil’ Danny Speedo; Brad Moore of Big Star Bar and Grand Prize; and Joel and Heather Swift of Eureka Heights Brewing. Bogle said the owners are out to “make a safe, clean, friendly, environment for the people in Spring Branch to congregate,” while keeping it a neighborhood watering hole. It has a long, L-shaped bar, two booths toward the entrance, a couple high tops against the wall, an old-school jukebox, and a pool table.
They have a few taps with Houston favorites and carry several canned and bottled beers such as oldie but goodie Pearl, Lone Star, Saint Arnold, Bombshell Blonde, 8th Wonder, Tecate, Miller, and Bud Light. There are plenty of spirits at the back bar for classic cocktails, plus there’s a frozen margarita machine. Since the lot is a bit small there won’t be any food trucks, but the Boozenasium has a crockpot, and that bad boy can cook up a whole lot of hot dogs.
“You know you’re in a certain type of place when you see a crockpot in the room,” says Bogle. “It should be noted, however, that we are nestled on one of the greatest food streets in the city.”
With these openings and more still being conceptualized and developed in Spring Branch, the community is well on its way to establishing itself as a destination, perhaps daring Inner Loopers to live on the wild side a little.