Introducing Houston’s new Brooklyn Athletic Club

It's very uh...somewhere. via Facebook
It’s very uh…somewhere. via Facebook

This summer, arbiter of cool Forbes Magazine named Houston the coolest city in America. We did a healthy amount of scoffing and then went back to the things that were important to us: dive bars and encouraging the unemployed to write about their sex lives. Houston, undeterred by our mockery, continued to exist as a city, and has managed to get back on our radar with a tribute to our fair borough: they’ve named a restaurant after us.

The Brooklyn Athletic Club is in Montrose, Houston’s most Brooklyn-like neighborhood, in that it is filled with young people, bars and thrift stores as opposed to sprawl, endless, endless sprawl. The food is your standard comfort food like mac and cheese, mixed with New York faves like the good ol’ Reuben sandwich and pasta bolognese. Which, look, a Reuben, OK we’ll give you that maybe you can do it. But we refuse to believe that great Italian food can be served west of Staten Island. BAC has bocce too, like any good Brooklyn bar, but they can put their court outside because the sun is always shining in Houston (way too much, I might add).

There’s also a food truck in the restaurant, but we’re going to cut them some slack and not point and laugh about that one. My trip to Houston this summer involved the discovery of a food truck on damn near every corner, and one of the food truck proprietors earnestly asked “Do you guys have food trucks in Brooklyn?” So at the very least we know Houston can keep up with us in terms of self-regard and attempting to own food trends.

But come on guys, do you, not us! Be comfortable with your enormous, inhuman portions and ice houses (these are wonderful, magical outdoor bars). When I was down there, I thought I was going to explode after every meal, because the food was so good and there was so much of it. Open more restaurants like those and focus on getting people to rip off your style, that’s how you know you’re a major league city. Brooklyn is a place you can’t turn into a theme restaurant because wherever you choose to get your theme from, you’ll be wrong. You’ll either get angry letters from dudes from Bensonhurst or eye rolls from girls in tights in Greenpoint, right before those two tribes go back to having contempt for each other.


  1. Shepard Ross

    The press added the “Brooklyn themed restaurant” on their own. My little spot is an homage to my childhood, spending weekends and summers with my parents and grandparents in Brooklyn. We played bocce and badminton while my grandfathers played gin and drank cocktails. Attached is what I sent the press… Brooklyn Athletic Club is about being social, creating a sense of neighborhood and most of all, slowing down and having fun.

    Both my parents and grandparents grew up in Brooklyn, New York. They belonged to social clubs where they ate, drank, and socialized with their neighbors. As a kid growing up in suburban Long Island, I would visit my grandparents in Brooklyn and watch them play bocce, badminton, dominoes and cards while knocking back cocktails and beer. In the summers this scene played out at beach clubs where the games continued and family and friends took life a bit slower and enjoyed a break from the rat race.

    Brooklyn Athletic Club is a combination of my fondest memories combined with my love for food, wine, cocktails and beer. Collaborating with Founding Chef Jeff Axline, BAC has a little North meets South sensibility. I’m very lucky to have Jeff, a native Texan, on board. He southern cooking roots are balanced with his time spent cooking in Seattle and his love for varied global cuisine. Jeff’s desire to find the freshest ingredients and infuse his unique perspective, make our menus, both exciting and delicious. Jeff and I have worked together off and on for the last 12 years and we share a common outlook on hospitality.

    My career in show business and hospitality go back 25 years and work hand in hand with our restaurant’s vibe. Brooklyn Athletic Club has two sides. The “ClubHouse” has an upscale Diner theme, serving up steaks, chops, seafood and pasta. The bar, which showcases our specialty cocktails, artisanal wine and craft beer, also acts our “Chef’s Counter” where you have the opportunity to watch the kitchen work their magic and include you in the show. Our outdoor deck continues our full service dining and offers fire pits for staying warm and making s’mores as well as a gaming lawn for mini croquet and putting cups.

    In the works… The “BACyard” has a more rustic, Austin slant, with boxed in gaming lanes for horseshoes, and bocce and a larger lawn for badminton or croquet. You will also find darts, ping pong, cards and dominoes. Picnic tables abound and you can order a tasty beverage and picnic style fare from our bar/equipment shack.

    Our goal is to offer a unique environment where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the everyday world and eat, drink and play with a little bit of style and a whole lot of fun.

    Brooklyn and Houston both share an incredible culinary identity and sense of neighborhood. We hope to share both with old friends and new…

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