White Oak Drive isn’t screaming out for your attention. The mile-long stretch, right there just north of I-10 running between Studemont and Heights Blvd., has been a subdued haven for fun over the years. Recently a few savvy folks have noticed how ‘ripe for the picking’ the real estate is and now the times on White Oak, they are a-changin’. Regardless, we feel that no matter how things change, one thing will always stay the same, this ain’t no Washington Ave.…
Bike, walk, drive, scoot, whatever, White Oak takes all comers; just don’t expect wild and crazy times. We are not here to preach though; we just want to give you some info on the “new” lay of the land. Head north up Studemont from I-10 and you will hit the intersection, that magical intersection where the street name turns to Studewood, virtually the center of the “new” White Oak. Many things at the intersection are the same as they always were, or are they? Look around, you may notice some NKOTB who also put a little pressure on the old rule, one helping bring the impending demise of a resident fossil while helping others realize they might want to up their game. That said, at least one ol’ Ice House didn’t change a single thing, probably never will. Touché, Jimmy’s.
First of two stops on the “new” White Oak tour, say hello to Little Woodrow’s (2631 White Oak) at the corner of White Oak and Studemont. Hey, wasn’t this Beer Island? Good riddance, fossil … there you sat for years, just doing whatever it was that you did, nary an update, ever, and seemingly never wanting anyone to come visit your one man island. Many, but namely Little Woodrow’s, saw your location’s potential and swooped in for the kill. Gone is the lonely island and here now is the tried and true charm of Little Woodrow’s. A fully redone building, Woodrow’s brings comfortable atmosphere and of course a huge patio. On our visits we can report it’s quite obvious that the Little Woodrow’s system of delivering great beer selection, great service and good times is running at full steam. A rotating arsenal of food trucks park out front to cure those cravings, bike racks, sunshades for the patio, and potted plants (oh, so Heights) round out the reasons it’s a perfect fit for White Oak.
Head west for another new edition to the area, Public House (2802 White Oak). Sitting on the opposite end of a whole new building that D’Amico’s Italian Market Café also recently opened in, we liken hanging out at Public House to hanging in a room you wish you had at your home but your significant other won’t let you build. A comfortable, no frills approach, you get exactly what you are looking for when you walked in the door: Cold beer (bottle and tap), solid selection of liquors, TVs surrounded by pleasant seating and a few dart boards round out the interior highlights. No kitchen offerings, but D’Amico’s, BB’s Cafe, Christians Tailgate, Taco’s A Go-Go and Happy Fatz (just to name a few) are close by so you won’t go hungry.
So the old rule? Onion Creek is still here, holding it down just like they always have been. An updated menu and expanded beer offering help them keep up with the newbies. Fitzgerald’s, still here as well, showing quite possibly the best lineup of live music in the city (yes, really …you have missed a lot of quality shows if you have not been lately). They also have paired open jukebox Tuesdays with a cocktail program that is absolutely worth your time. Otherwise, still a few vacant buildings left, but we can’t imagine they’ll sit idle much longer.
Anyone else remember when “White Oak” was a ghetto intersection of 3 gas stations and Fitzgerald’s? Doubt people miss those days.
By Michael Cook | Photography by Daniel Ortiz