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The jukebox was playing twangy country. The lighting was dim. The sticky tabletops were evidence that the bar was retreating from the frontline of germ warfare. Only half the tables were occupied, but the horseshoe bar was two deep with types you’d expect to find in a downtown Houston bar famous for serving industrial-size cocktails and situated near the big oil towers and the city’s main daily, the
Chronicle. Florid oil execs in Canali, brassy women in heels and power suits, tweedy journalist types, bearded IT millennials. The noisy conversation from the bar seemed to indicate some sort of shared purpose or at least a community of like-minded souls. I decided to wedge myself into the civitas to see if I could begin to find an answer to a simple question: What is Houston’s state of mind in the age of sub-prime oil prices?