You can’t get the full Texas experience without going to at least one country bar. In Houston, one of the best places to go to satisfy that country twang and perhaps lasso a cowboy would be Neon Boots Dancehall & Saloon.
Just off Hempstead Highway, Neon Boots boosts the largest LGBT country concept in Texas and the largest gay bar in Houston.
Crystal Murley is just one of the bartenders pouring Texas-sized drinks at the 11,000-square-foot dance hall/stage that has features performers like Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline. We sat down with Crystal to hear her take on Houston’s nightlife, Neon Boots and if we really do look as stupid drunk and we fear we do.
Ryan Bellinghausen: What’s the craziest thing you have seen while bartending? Because I can attest I have been that crazy drunk person, so I know you have seen some stuff go down.
Crystal Murley: Oh god, I’ve been bartending for almost 16 years. At JR’s I had a customer, who I didn’t expect to do this, turn that big column at the front into his own stripper pole. He was upside-down and doing the splits on it.
RB: Wait, you mean that thick beam you almost hit getting in? I’ve tried to be upside-down on a normal pole and fell on my head.
CM: And in titty heels no less.
RB: So you could say he knew his way around a big pole?
CM: I’d think so.
RB: Do you get a kick out of seeing your friends when they are tipsy and make mistakes like making out with someone you know they’d regret?
CM: Oh no, I wouldn’t say anything. When you’re drinking your inhibitions are gone and we’re all there to have a good time.
RB: Ah, I should be hanging around you more because oof, I can think of some of mine.
CM: (laughs) I would never. You are out to have fun and relax. I’m a people watcher and an artist as well so I feed off that energy.
RB: Then has your art ever been inspired by something you saw while working? Is there a piece called “Drunken Homosexual” I can buy?
CM: (laughs) No. Some may be inspired by the energy of the bars though.
RB: OK, so is taking home a customer frowned upon, like say a teacher dating a student, or are those bartenders really not interested? I’m asking for a friend of course.
CM: No it’s fine. I have totally dated girls I have served or you know, taken them home, or whatever.
RB: And what are the lesbian bars you go to?
CM: I go to Pearl Bar a lot, but I have noticed since I have been working there, that Neon Boots has a large lesbian clientele.