Cigar and Whiskey Club in Kemah Opens Steakhouse to the Public

Vinyl Draught Social Club in Kemah. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

Vinyl Draught Social Club, located at 707 Bradford in the historic Kemah Steak Company building, is bringing in new special items and is open for new cigar club memberships. Once a private club, the downstairs restaurant, bar and courtyard is open to the public. It still offers hand-rolled cigars, top-shelf whiskey and Prime steak and chops for the Ron Swanson (or Burgundy) in all of us, but the upstairs Stallone Lounge is exclusive to members only. 

Proprietor Doug Meisinger spent much of his professional life in the record business working for EMI Group Limited with labels such as Capitol Records, Virgin Records and Blue Note Records. He subsequently moved into digital media before launching Vinyl Draught as a social networking event. Meisinger told Houston Food Finder “It eventually evolved into a podcast and then an online radio station, which he still owns and operates. In fact, Vinyl Draught Radio is now the “official soundtrack of Vinyl Draught Social Club”.

The Presidential Table at Vinyl Draught Social Club. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
The Presidential Table at Vinyl Draught Social Club. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

The building that houses Vinyl Draught was built in the 1930s. Meisinger has stated that he “always loved the building and would frequent the original Kemah Steak Company” which operated out of it. He started renting the upstairs room that would eventually become Vinyl Draught’s Stallone Lounge — to record Vinyl Draught Radio and about 15 other podcasts until the pandemic caused production to shut down. In March of 2022, he was able to return and fulfill his original plan of growing the brand into an upscale bar and lounge and took over the property.

Kemah Steak Company at Vinyl Draught Social Club is now open to the public. Courtesy photo.
Kemah Steak Company at Vinyl Draught Social Club is now open to the public. Courtesy photo.

Now, the Kemah Steak Company lives on at Vinyl Draught through its selection of premium USDA Prime steaks and chops sourced from high quality sources including local butcher Stone Cold Meats. Prime cuts include a 10-ounce “King’s Filet” (or a 5-ounce “Queen’s Filet”), a 16-ounce center-cut ribeye, a 20-ounce bone-in ribeye and the 18-ounce RW’s T-bone. Vinyl Draught also has a small selection of Texas-cut Choice steaks available, which are tender, juicy, loin and rib cuts with slightly less marbling than Prime. Limited specialty steaks and chops available via advance order include a porterhouse steak for two, the 40-ounce TJ’s Tomahawk, a rotating steak du jour and French-cut (or double French-cut) bone-in pork chops

A pair of tomahawks at Vinyl Draught Social Club. Courtesy photo.
A pair of tomahawks at Vinyl Draught Social Club. Courtesy photo.

Guests can finish their steaks with different compound butters including traditional, blue cheese and “garlic magic butter”. For those who enjoy surf and turf, the menu lists the options to add on three grilled shrimp for only $9, or start with an order of jumbo shrimp cocktail or starter-sized shrimp scampi.

The K.S.C. Burger at Vinyl Draught Social Club. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
The K.S.C. Burger at Vinyl Draught Social Club. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

The menu is rounded out with fresh seafood, composed entrées, salads, sides and desserts. Dinner favorites include Gulf shrimp and grits, Atlantic salmon or daily, fresh-catch Gulf fish both options are available grilled, blackened or broiled, airline chicken with lemon caper sauce and The K.S.C. Burger. Treat yourself to one of the comforting, traditional steakhouse accompaniments like baked and mashed potatoes, truffle mac and cheese, sautéed spinach and three-cheese grits

The Gavel Bar at Vinyl Draught Social Club. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
The Gavel Bar at Vinyl Draught Social Club. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

The Clear Lake Scotch & Bourbon Society is responsible for curating an impressive opening line-up of whisk(e)y, including a six-year-old private barrel selection from Heaven’s Door, to enjoy on its own or pair with a fine cigar from the humidor with help from Doug’s son and bar manager, Alex Meisinger. While the focus is on whiskey, there is also a full bar with cocktails, wine and beer. The bar was dubbed the “The Gavel Bar” by Doug, who serves on Kemah’s City Council, and eagle-eyed patrons may notice a very special gavel mounted above the back bar. If you happen to see him at the bar, I highly recommend asking him about this innocuous-seeming mallet. It’s a humorous bit of local political drama best shared over a dram of whiskey.

Bar manager Alex Meisinger. Courtesy photo.
Bar manager Alex Meisinger. Courtesy photo.

Those looking to dine or celebrate in style can reserve The Presidential Table, aka The Mosbacher VIP Table. On “the evening of June 11, 2004, following President Ronald Reagans State Funeral in Washington, DC. Robert “Bob” and Mica Mosbacher Sr. held an informal 80th birthday dinner party for President George H. W. Bush in their River Oaks home on Lazy Lane. Guests included: Former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev; Vice President Dick Cheney; former British Prime Minister John Major; former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney; former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Perez; former President of Mexico Carlos Salinas; former Vice President Dan Quayle; Secretary of State James Baker and former Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar. The table was sold to the highest bidder on November 7th, 2012, and is now at the Kemah Steak Company.”

A look inside one of the humidors at Vinyl Draught Social Club. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
A look inside one of the humidors at Vinyl Draught Social Club. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

The humidors at Vinyl Draught boast an impressive selection of cigars for serious aficionados. Brands represented include E.P. Carrillo, Alec Bradley, Cohiba, Big Sky Cigar Co., Davidoff of Geneva and Stallone Cigars. Meisinger recently collaborated with Stallone founder and blender Tony Barrios to produce exclusive, private-label Vinyl Draught Premium Cigars hand-rolled in Nicaragua — including Stallone’s only barber pole, a style of cigar rolled with two different, alternating wrapper varietals.

The Stallone Lounge at Vinyl Draught Social Club. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
The Stallone Lounge at Vinyl Draught Social Club. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

The club membership model has adapted to meet customer demands. Meisinger noted, “The first group of members joined a waitlist well before we ever opened. They really wanted a private, members-only cigar club like you see in much larger cities. As the lounge is pretty cozy, it made sense that people paying a membership fee would expect a place to sit and smoke when they arrive.” At first the steakhouse was a part of membership but there were “a large number of members and very few cigar smokers.” Because of this, he decided to open the bar and restaurant to the public and make the Stallone Lounge private. The lounge has TVs, comfortable sofas, a balcony and all the necessary equipment to enjoy your stogie in style. Membership costs $300 per year and includes access to the private lounge and balcony as well as 10% off cigars.

The courtyard at Vinyl Draught Social Club. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
The courtyard at Vinyl Draught Social Club. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

Vinyl Draught Social Club is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. with parking available in a private lot across the street.

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