It was Friday night and my friend and I had made the haul North to check out The Pub McKinney, a rowdy spot in the historic downtown. The bar was busy. Middle-aged couples sipped martinis; a group of college-aged kids fished for their IDs. A guy in a suit talked animatedly to a man in a cowboy hat and another with several face tattoos.
As we studied the drink menu, a large group of 30 or so came streaming in. The men wore jackets and the women wore bright summer dresses. The kids had neatly combed hair. The group filed past the bar area and the shelves stacked full of liquor bottles. Past the beer signs on the exposed-brick walls. Past the stage, where a Western swing quartet—with three members—was setting up.
My friend and I followed the wedding party into the pool room. At one table, a little girl was giving her grandfather pointers on the game. The group spilled out toward the bar area, laughing and drinking.
Next we pushed out to a garage-style patio. A man playing darts was explaining that his young daughter had recently discovered Michael Jackson, but he wasn’t sure how to tell her that the artist was a “horrible human being.” “His music is incredible, though,” a woman nearby replied.
Back inside, the businessman and his tattooed friend were courting two women at the bar, and the band had started up a Hank Williams song. My friend and I debated whether The Pub McKinney was worth the drive. In the end, we agreed that it depended on your taste. The place may not be notable for inspired cocktail creations, but if you like people-watching, the crowd doesn’t disappoint.