Though Melvin Kimble Davis may be gone (he passed away October 18 at age 83) his restaurant and bar M.K. Davis is still family-run and going strong 54 years down the line.
I discovered the bar side of the modest one-story building last Sunday while doing a little early investigating on where to watch this week’s World Series. I’m allergic to those multi-level, corporate-owned joints with a zillion flat-screened televisions looming over a crowd of rabid frat boys. Really, the size and quality of the television is incidental to its presence and that of a few other factors: a) open during game time, b) close to downtown, c) low-key crowd, d) cheap beer.
M.K. Davis, though definitely not the city’s premier sports-watching establishment, had all those qualities and a few extras. Most noticeably, it offers schooners of either beer or house-made wine cooler. At 32 ounces, I had to wrap both hands around the fish-bowl-sized stemware. I should have brought mittens, as Mr. Davis (as his employees still refer to him) created a way to chill the schooner glasses down to a Fahrenheit level that matches the ounces held. Thankfully, the great glasses are limited to three per guest; plus, you can order anything the menu offers and dine at the delightfully retro bar, which has a wood-and-paisley wallpaper ambience rarely seen on this side of the millennium.
At the behest of our new pal Rick, one of many friendly middle-aged regulars, we soaked up our Dos Equis, one of ten domestic, Texan, and Mexican beers on tap, with some perfectly traditional bean and cheese nachos. Our bartender Frank Hernandez (“We call him Poncho,” laughed Rick) also recommends the hamburger, chicken fried steak, or meatloaf for bigger appetites.
A football game was on the mid-sized corner telly when we dropped by, always a good sign, though the sound was off. Hernandez warned us that on Friday they don’t turn the TV on (not a problem for the Series’ Friday-less schedule) because it’s simply too busy. “Why’s it so popular that night?” I asked, noting that M.K. Davis offers no happy hour on the generous pours. “Pay day!” Rick snorted. More problematic is that M.K. Davis is closed on Monday, so no Game 5 watching there. The Rangers will just have to sweep the series.
1302 N. Flores
VIBE: Low-profile rec room meets Western saloon at this restaurant bar
BEST USE: Diving into a 32-ounce schooner of beer and a sports game on a weekend afternoon
PRICES: Domestics: $2.50-$4.50; Imports: $3-$5; Wine: $3.50-$4.25