Marsha Swenson savored her first night out in seven days. She nursed a beer and watched her favorite baseball team on a big screen TV. Swenson said the apartment complex next to hers has power, but she is still in the dark. The chance to unwind at Mulligans Restaurant and Sports Tavern, located at FM 1960 and Timber Forest Road, a popular joint wrecked by Hurricane Ike’s wrath, was a welcome diversion, she said. “It’s an outlet for stress,” Swenson said. “I love the Astros.” The storm clobbered the bar’s patio and front entrance. External damage to the bar’s structure was a striking sight in Ike’s aftermath. Employees and managers banded together and re-opened the bar just days after owners performed a grim damage assessment. Mulligans first opened Sept. 17, providing an air conditioned, sports-filled refuge for area residents with no power and deteriorating spirit. Jarryd Van Ooston said he spent the week after Ike missing alcohol and sports. Mulligan’s coolly filled the void, he said. “It’s great to be able to walk into a place and not sweat,” he said. Karl Krell said the cold beer and rocking music was a reprieve from his powerless home. “We were asking if we could stay here tonight, but they wouldn’t let us,” he said with a laugh. Assistant General Manager Ray Desouza said the bar would maintain its regular 11 a.m.-to-2 a.m. hours. The bar is not located in Humble, so the city’s early curfew, imposed until last weekend, did not apply, he said. The bar, packed with at least 100 customers Friday night, offers a full kitchen menu and free wireless Internet. “Even though this storm damaged our building, it didn’t damage our hearts,” Desouza said. Owner Jim Brame said the storm ruined at least 25 televisions and left standing water in the front entrance. “My first thought?” he said. “Oh my God.” The building received power early last week, allowing Brame to power his freezers and beer coolers. He said most of the bar’s restoration involved cleanup and tossing spoiled food. General Manager Colleen Smith said the bar will resume its usual schedule—Texas Hold'em Wednesdays, Steak Night Thursdays, College Football Saturdays and NFL and NASCAR Sundays. She said a dedicated team of employees helped patch up the battered bar in four days. Swensen said she would have preferred watching a movie Friday night, but with no electricity, the sports bar was a swell alternative. “It’s very close to normalcy,” she said. Photo: Mulligan's Sports Bar located on FM 1960 suffered heavy damage from Hurricane Ike's category two winds. Bar owner Jim Brame said although the storm destroyed the porch and front entrance, he could reopen his joint by week's end. He accomplished that goal, serving cold beer and sports on TV to refreshed customers. Photo by Robert Kleeman

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