- Owner Rick Rice at the karaoke mic
Finding a bar in the Stone Oak area is about as difficult as trying to find a burnt orange shirt during a protest at the Capitol these days; but finding one as diverse as Rad is a bit of a challenge.
Sitting opposite from the packed Nektar Lounge, which offers valet service to its Louboutin-heeled patrons, Rad Bar & Grill is owned by local musician Robert Demel and business partner Rick Rice. The bar is a mixed bag of nightly intimate solo acts, country cover bands, variety groups, and karaoke.
Rad is clearly still finding its identity, but having fun while doing so.
Geared to 30-somethings, Rad’s demographic as of yet seems to linger on Loopland folks in search of an unpretentious place to unwind, and if the mood’s right, party.
You won’t go thirsty at Rad with a wide selection of big-beer labels (Bud Light, Dos Equis, Blue Moon, Heineken, Modelo, etc.), but don’t expect to find your favorite local craft brew on draft. Drink specials range from the slightly insulting $4 bottled Twisted Tea (seriously, why is this a thing?) to $6 flavored vodkas; a double vodka tonic sits at an accessible $4. Hungry? Rad’s kitchen stays open late, serving up food that only makes sense in a bar setting: buffalo wings, sliders, chicken fingers, jalapeno bottle caps, fries, onion rings, and fried pickles.
Patrons hoping to grab a few cold ones (guaranteed at a chilly 29 degrees) after work can take advantage of happy hour from 5 to 8 p.m. daily. A free appetizer with a purchase of two drinks isn’t a bad deal.
The bar’s relative newness is ideal for a chance at the mic during karaoke on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. without the added stress of a crowd. Would-be singers command attention from the cozy stage while reading off three flat screen TVs across the room as they take on country, pop, Tejano, and Latin songs.
Thursdays are mild at best with the promise of at least a handful of decent karaoke performances from an otherwise mild-mannered crowd. You’ll find everything from baritone crooners singing Joe Nichol’s “Brokenheartsville,” and pitchy, but imaginative, Selena imitators trying to belt out the Tejano songstress’ “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.”
Some of the best performances of the night came from owner Rice, who tookon crowd-favorites “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Mandy.” Still, Thursday’s highlight was the gaggle of cougars that pranced into the bar ready to hit the stage in threes and “sing” Spanish pop and rock hits such as La Quinta Estacion’s “El Sol No Regresa.”
The karaoke scene might pick up this July with the implementation of weekly contests complete with cash prizes and a finals round at the end of the month.
Friday and Saturday nights at Rad mean live country and variety bands. Past live acts have included country covers by the Toman Brothers, Tex-Mex garage pop via The Krayolas, and Demel himself.
The vibe during these nights is lively; people can carry on a conversation over a margarita or dance near the stage. Folks in need of a smoke can brave the heat and take advantage of the large outdoor patio. You’re not going to find any bar brawlers here (and that’s a good thing).
With it’s tall ceilings, spacious seating area, and mandatory neon bar signs, it’s hard to feel uneasy inside the weeks’ old Rad Bar & Grill. It isn’t jam-packed with hordes of Looplanders… yet. This isn’t a meat market where everyone’s dying to get boned (bar-goers will find equal parts guys and gals), and you’re probably better off not asking for a classic cocktail, but Rad is definitely on its way to finding its groove.
Rad Bar & Grill
5 pm-2 am daily
19329 Stone Oak Parkway, Suite 101