Photography by Jessica Turner

Ted Brewster Jr. used to stop by O’Riley’s Billiards, Food and Bar in the mornings when he worked for Texas Instruments Inc. next door.

Brewster’s wife had experience working as a server when they were dating, and he heard the place was for sale. “I just asked her, ‘You want to buy it?’ And she was like, ‘Yeah,’ so we did.”

It’s been 18 years since then, and O’Riley’s is still keeping up with its regulars.

Most nights, there’s some kind of event taking place over at O’Riley’s. Sundays are for pool competitions. Mondays are for karaoke. Tuesdays are for open mics. On Friday and Saturday, O’Riley’s hosts three live bands, starting at 8:30 p.m. For the days when there are no mic’d up tunes, a jukebox is always available.

On open mic and band nights, any level singer or player is welcome to step on stage.

“I have a reputation for a long time that I let all bands play here. All new bands come through here pretty much,” Brewster says. “I let everybody play.”

Signing up to play is just as relaxed. If there’s a spot open, a single call will get a band signed up.

Brewster’s wife, Karina, mans the door on live performance nights. Those walking in say which band they’re showing up for, so she can tally up how the cover should be distributed. The bands receive the complete cover at the end of the night, split by those tallies. For those just looking for a drink or food, there’s no cover.

O’Riley’s food menu is a little on the smaller side. For appetizers and snacks, they have mini cheeseburgers and queso, chips and salsa. But the real winner that keeps everyone coming back is the sub sandwiches.

“You wouldn’t even believe how many sandwiches we sell,” Brewster says.

And in regard to the short menu, Brewster believes that’s the way to do it.

“It’s a big old hoagie,” he says. “Like I tell everybody, ‘If you only serve one thing, it better be damn good.’”

Hoagies are served hot with a choice of roast beef, turkey or ham, plus cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo, mustard and a pickle spear. Sliced pickles and jalapeños are available upon request.

If you’re lucky, you’ll come across a coupon for a buy-one-get-one sandwich. Brewster hasn’t ever been able to figure out how the coupons came into circulation, but he always honors them.

It’s been like that since Brewster can remember. He’s had just about the same nine staff since opening. He and his wife do whatever is needed of them on a daily basis, and their family friend and manager Kelly Yanko takes care of any office work.

“We’re like family here,” Brewster says. 

O’Riley’s was closed for a year starting in 2020, and Brewster made some renovations. The bar got some upgrades, including new sets of LED lights, and the stage received a full makeover.

Anyone 21 and up is welcome to come check out O’Riley’s and say ‘hi’ to the Brewsters. 

“We’ve managed to run this place and raise three kids doing it,” Brewster says. “Believe it or not.”

O’Riley’s Billiards, Food and Bar, 972.235.2781, 8989 Forest Lane