In enacting our preemptive rights to celebrate National Vodka Day, recognized annually on Oct. 4 by fellow, devoted fans of the distilled beverage, we decided to indulge in some Taaka and perhaps take down some street tacos at the locally loved Bourbon St. Grill. in uptown McAllen.

When first walking into Bourbon, before stepping foot in the actual bar, patrons will notice the Mardi Gras style beads and decor in the entryway. This sets somewhat of a false expectation for what you’ll see in the rest of the bar and dining area where the brick walls are draped with common neons flashing different types of beer names, televisions displaying sporting events and the treasured TouchTunes machine is just steps away from the kitchen door. Oh, almost forgot the music stage nestled in between the kitchen and the hallway to the restrooms. Not necessarily a bar scene from Fat Tuesday in the New Orleans French Quarter.

After scanning the room for a preferred seating area, we noticed several typical wooden tables and chairs both on the ground floor and then up on the left, second level of available seating. There were also several tall stools at the bar for customers to sit on and an outdoor area for smokers and those who prefer outdoor dining.

A few minutes after we sat down, we were greeted by Bourbon’s manager with a friendly smile and handshake. Things began to look optimistic! But as we soon found out, sit at the bar if you want to be attended to in a consistent and timely manner.

Gaby: Let’s see what we can wet our whistles with today (as I grabbed the drink menu trying to pass time while waiting to be attended).

Trisha: Definitely some vodka concoctions and something to settle our famished bellies.

Gaby: Since we’re celebrating National Vodka Day, why not all things made with Vodka? Vodka Soda, Moscow Mule and a Dirty Martini. Ok, maybe not everything, but we had to experience it all!

Trisha: In that case, one slightly Dirty Martini, please!

INSIDER’S TIP: Stick with the plain Jane Vodka Soda. Unfortunately, the specialty drinks did not live up to their name and were lackluster.

Trisha: Whoa! Did I say an extremely Dirty Martini? Tastes like at least half the jar of olive juice was poured into the mix.

Gaby: Yeah, there are NO words to describe this “Moscow Mule”. Somehow it was too sweet and lacked ginger.

Not too pleased with our initial drink order, we moved on to the food menu. Although at first we were intent on trying some of the raved about Bourbon St. Grill tacos (we’ll have to leave that for the next Taco Tuesday), we chose to take advantage of the $5 Bourbon House Burger (Akaushi beef patty with topped with lettuce, tomato, red onion and sauced with mustard) offered all day on Thursdays.

Gaby: Best burger $5 can buy. I am glad we chose to try it! The meat crumbled in your mouth and I was especially surprised that it was hot (after our wait for the drinks, I wasn’t expecting much)!

Before your confusion grows, yes, of course we ordered an appetizer to munch on before the actual burger halves we eventually feasted on. The Spinach Fried Cheese Sticks (breaded spinach, cream cheese and mozzarella served on a bed of marinara and sprinkled with grated cheese). Neither of us made a sound at the table when diving into those cheesy delights and completely devouring them.

Trisha: Those heavenly bars of cheese are a no-brainer! A divine blend of melted goodness.

So Bourbon Recap: Vodka Soda-good, Specialty Drinks-no bueno, Service-hope it changes soon, Food-to die for!

Would we go back? Probably, but for Taco Tuesday and maybe a cold beer or a well drink. And of course, now we know, sit at the bar!

Bourbon St. Grill is open daily (Sun.-Mon.) from 12:00 PM to 2:00 AM to serve up lunch, dinner and drinks including appetizers, soups, salads, sides, sandwiches, burgers, add-ons and daily happy hour (M-F) from 2:00 PM - 8:00 PM. Happy Hour is ALL DAY on Sundays and offers $2.50 domestic bottles and pints, $5 select cocktails and $3 Wells and House Wine.

Stop by 4800 N 10th St. in McAllen, Texas or call (956) 800-4641 and/or follow Bourbon St. Grill on FB @bourbonstgrill for a schedule of live music performances and special events.

Gaby Jones and Trisha Watts work hand-in-hand with the service industry. Jones is in charge of craft and imported beer for L&F Distributors and Watts is the communications director for Visit McAllen. Each week they will have a new adventure and provide an opinion on various locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley.