Gayest & Greatest 2022: Drinks & Spirits Part I
Nonbinary bartender Uly Money looks beyond identity labels.
BEST NONBINARY BARTENDER
There are a lot of great bartenders in the gayborhood, but Ulysses “Uly” Money, this year’s G&G Favorite Nonbinary Bartender, stands out.
“I go by nonbinary,” the 26-year-old native Houstonian says, “because there is a lot that goes into how you identify. It’s not just sexuality. I don’t have any preferred pronouns, and I never really even came out to my parents. I asked my mom one day if I needed to come out to her, and she just said, ‘No need.’”
Money came to bartending in an unusual way. He was working as a janitor at Theatre Under The Stars, doing paint touchups and such—what he calls “keeping the place pretty.” One night he was at the North Montrose gay bar Guava Lamp and met the owner through a friend. “He was like, ‘Hey, you’re hot, do you want to work here?’” Money didn’t even know how to mix drinks, but he agreed to let the owner teach him.
Unfortunately, that was just two weeks before the pandemic closed every bar in Texas. Guava Lamp never reopened.
When the bar scene did come back to Houston that fall, Money wound up at Michael’s Outpost. “They were complaining they were understaffed, and when I said hire me, they did!”
Michael’s Outpost has been a staple of Houston’s queer nightlife since 1989. Originally opened by Michael Gaitz, it is now owned by his brother and sister-in-law, Charles and Denise Gaitz. Michael’s niece, Tonya Gaitz, is the bar’s business manager.
In the bar’s early days when they struggled to find talented piano players, Money was worried that he might even need to learn to play the piano and sing for the customers. That would have been an ordeal because of his social anxiety—not something you’d expect to find in a bartender.
“Bartending is actually great for me because there is a physical barrier between me and the customer,” he explains. “So I am very relaxed and able to chat with strangers, and I can even threaten to cut them off if they aren’t nice to the other customers.
“What I really like about Michael’s Outpost is that it is just very laid back. I have met so many phenomenal and interesting people here. And I dare you to try and find another good old-fashioned piano bar anywhere else!”
But bartending isn’t his ultimate goal. As a student at Houston Community College studying biology, he’s interested in doing research, becoming “a lab rat,” and getting involved with the political side of agriculture.
In the meantime, you can catch
Money at Michael’s almost every night. “Come hang out at Michael’s and see me!” he says. “Come on Tuesdays for the show—it’s quirky and funny.” The bar’s resident drag queen and cast member Carmina Vavra hosts those Tuesday Laugh Track comedy showcases featuring funny drag queens, kings, and other entertainers.
Follow Uly Money on Instagram @ulyssesmoney.
DRINKS & SPIRITS
FAVORITE WINE BAR
Finalists: a’Bouzy, Boheme, 13 celsius,
Light Years, MAX’s Wine Dive
FAVORITE PLACE FOR DRINKS ON A FIRST DATE
JR’s Bar & Grill
Finalists: BUDDY’S, Eagle Houston, Michael’s Outpost, Pearl Bar
FAVORITE FEMALE BARTENDER
Finalists: Raci Farris, Vivian Little, Gia Marie Martinez, Kristina Prats, Reyna Rodriguez
FAVORITE MALE BARTENDER
Finalists: Brandon Akridge, Daniel Banda, Julio Briceño, Michael Engelke, Aaron Latour, Bryan Wade
FAVORITE NONBINARY BARTENDER
Finalist: Crystal Murley
Finalists: Anvil Bar, Eagle Houston, JR’s Bar & Grill, Pearl Bar, Southern Yankee Crafthouse
El Tiempo Cantina
Finalists: Buddy’s, Eagle Houston, Gloria’s Latin Cuisine, La Tapatia Mexican Cafe
Finalists: Crocker Bar, Eagle Houston, Pearl Bar, Ripcord, South Beach Houston
FAVORITE LOCAL BREWERY
Karbach Brewing Co. (tie)
Eureka Heights Brew Co. (tie)
Finalists: Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co., Frost Town Brewing, Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Southern Yankee Beer Company
FAVORITE LOCAL CRAFT BEER, CIDER, OR SELTZER
Eureka Heights Brew Co.
Finalists: Cidercade Houston, Frost Town Brewing, Houston Cider Company, Local Group Brewing, Southern Yankee Beer Company
FAVORITE NATIONAL BRAND OF BEER, CIDER, OR SELTZER
Bud Light (tie)
Finalists: Angry Orchard, Guinness, Michelob Ultra, White Claw
FAVORITE BRAND OF LIQUOR
Finalists: Deep Eddy Vodka, Don Cosmé Tequila, Dripping Springs Distilling, EFFEN Vodka, Tito’s Handmade Vodka
For a full list of winners, go here.
This article appears in the October 2022 edition of OutSmart magazine.