Coogs get down at the Den
Students all across campus are going to the Cougar Den for great food, a casual ambiance and a chance to unwind from long days of studying.
Manager Jason Kendall has worked at the Den — which was opened by two alumni in Fall 2008 — for five years and said he enjoys the relaxed atmosphere and the chance to connect with students.
“Every year, I watch students graduate, then get to see a new crop of faces,” Kendall said. “A lot of the students who have graduated come back often. It’s always nice to see them and find out what they are up to.”
A top priority for Kendall is the safety of students. Kendall said he and his staff take big measures to make sure students are not over-served and that everyone who enters the bar is older than 21.
“We want to be here and to be a part of campus life for years to come,” Kendall said. “To make sure that happens, we do everything by the book. We have a guard at the door and are very strict on checking IDs.”
The Den offers 30 beers on tap with an emphasis on Texas crafts and a variety of made-to-order foods, including gourmet sandwiches, Philly cheesesteaks and meatball subs.
Political science senior C.J. Esquivel said he goes to the Den four times a week to hang out with friends and grab lunch. His favorite item on the menu is the 0-4-4 hot wing sandwich.
“People are friendly and laid back,” Esquivel said. “It’s a cool place to come in-between classes and get unique delicious food.”
Hotel and restaurant management junior David Dickey also visits the Den frequently and said he loves their great prices on drinks.
Kendall said game days are the busiest, and unlike other sports bars in town, the Den shows only UH games on all eight of its TVs.
“We always have great drink specials on game days, and we recently started offering special game day sliders,” Kendall said. “Last year, we always tailgated at Robertson Stadium and would barbecue for students.”
Because of construction of the new stadium and games no longer being played on campus, the owners of the Den have thought of a creative and safe way for students to get to off-campus games.
“For the first game at Reliant, we had a huge kick-off party, then had a bus take students to and from the game,” Kendall said. “We had about 15 students for the first game and are hoping to spread the word and get even more for the next.”
The Cougar Den is open 7 to 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday from and Friday through Sunday from 11 to 2 a.m. It offers karaoke on Sundays and “Geeks Who Drink” trivia contests on Wednesdays.