The Outpost Tavern: An Astronaut Hangout

The Outpost Tavern, located at Egret Bay Blvd just south of NASA Road 1, is as much an institution of the space program as it is a bar and grill. It is a favorite hangout of astronauts, flight controllers, scientists, space geeks, and just ordinary bar goers due to it’s proximity to the Johnson Space Center. It has been featured in three movies, Clint Eastwood’s Space Cowboys, Rocketman, and Challenger.

The ramshackle, barn-like structure that houses the Outpost began life as a World War II era barracks building at nearby Ellington Air Force Base, now Ellington Field. It was moved to it’s current location in the 1960s, when it was called the U Joint (properly “Fort Terry’s The Universal Joint”), a favorite barbeque joint for astronauts and other space workers during the Apollo program. Since 1980 it has been the Outpost, when it was purchased by Gene Ross. After Gene’s death, Sharon and Stan Aden took over and despite various financial setbacks, including the closing of the grill for a while by the fire marshal, a broken water main, and a broken air conditioner, they have succeeded in preserving the Outpost as a venue for good times, good beer, and good food. This is largely due to the support of the bar and grill’s many patrons, who have raised funds to pay for repairs and keep the Outpost going.

One enters the Outpost through a pair of swinging doors in the shape and likeness of scantly clad women. Once inside, one will see walls covered with pictures and other memorabilia from the entire history of the space program. Many of the pictures are autographed photos of astronauts, famous and obscure. There is also a tailhook of an A 6 attack plane which, so the story goes, suffered a mishap. What kind of mishap? We are assured that the tailhook was not removed by a ground crew.

Besides various beers and other adult beverages, the Outpost offers a good food menu. The Outpost serves a variety of hamburgers, served on white or wheat buns, as well as other kinds of sandwiches. The French fries are as fresh as can be, with a whole potato being run through a cutter before being deep fried. Other sides and starters include wings and jalapeno poppers. For the more health conscious, there are a variety of dinner salads.

The Outpost is the venue of a number of fun events, most having to do with food. Recent ones include a gumbo cookoff, a barbeque cookoff, and a chili cookoff. Live music occasionally occurs at the Outpost as well.

The Outpost bar is open 11 AM to midnight Monday through Friday and noon to midnight Saturday and Sunday. The grill is open 11 AM to 10 PM Monday through Friday and noon to 10 PM Saturday and Sunday. To get there exit interstate 45 and drive east. Turn right at Egret Bay Blvd and it is on the right almost immediately.

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