Not all of the fun, intimate spots have to be in Houston. Just outside of the beltway in Sugar Land is Big Ben Tavern. Carrying the look of a sports bar, it opens its doors one Saturday a month to dance music enthusiasts, Oni Entertainment. Comprised of Dustin, a.k.a 2Tall; Weston, a.k.a BRKLW (pronounced bear-claw); and Andru, a.k.a DRŪ, Oni is trying to bring a new atmosphere to a scene that has become stale with popularity contests. Their answer? Sunset Saturdays: A once-a-month showcase of local talent far enough from the bright lights of town but close enough to easily pop in on a whim.
I’ve had the pleasure of attending several of these events and aside from the hosts, have yet to see the same DJ twice. The gentlemen of Oni insist on opening and leaving the spotlight for the guest DJs. The absence of crazy lighting systems and overbearing club sound further augments their mission: making it about the music and the DJ again. This becomes totally clear when asked about their mission:
“We as Oni would like to bring fun and quality events back to Houston that are more about the experience and the memories you will get to keep throughout your life. Not only will we be booking local shows, but bringing national and international touring artists as well coming into 2017. I think we have a good idea of what works and what people of all dance music subcultures want, and we plan on giving it to them to the best of our abilities.” – BRKLW
They couldn’t have picked a better venue for it, either. As stated before, Big Ben Tavern is not your typical dance spot. The decks and sound equipment are set up outside on the patio where there is ample dancing room. In the event of cold weather (we do get that occasionally here in Texas) there are plenty of propane torch heaters to keep patrons warm and enough tables and chairs for when it’s time to rest. The inside of the bar boasts tons of room complete with your obligatory pool tables and lots of booths for the regulars and newcomers alike. As an added bonus, surrounding business are not open at night and there is more than enough free parking.
Big Ben also features great drink specials. I’m not kidding here. Well drinks are very modestly priced for a city location, and their kitchen churns out some pretty interesting fare, like truffle fries and lamb egg rolls. Pair that with an impressive craft brew selection for even the pickiest of beer-snobs, and you have yourself a place that caters to anyone looking for a good time without the obnoxious crowds. It’s truly an unpolished gem.
If you don’t check out the next Sunset Saturdays, you’re missing out. I’m genuinely excited to see what else Oni Entertainment has in store. Their enthusiasm is a testament to their will, and a breath of fresh air in a market that is lacking in real spirit.
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