Right off the edge of I-69 in the outskirts of Houston lies The Draft; a sports bar filled with frequenters seated at the counter and an array of university and sports flags lining the ceiling. This friends and family business was founded in 2015 by Huy Huynh, and two brothers, Lance and Bryan Corder.
The three of them met at the University of Houston as they were studying business in the 90s and decided to create a joint venture managing some gas stations. After a few years and a few talks, they decided to sell the gas station business, and lo and behold, The Draft was born.
“Opening a business, there’s always a day-in, day-out struggle,” said Huynh. “But you know, all you can do is reflect the hard work you put in at the front end of the business. Hopefully, you enjoy the fruitfulness of the business, which is the back end of it.”
The hard work Huynh and both Corders put into the business definitely shows the moment you walk in. When you enter The Draft, you are immediately greeted by the bar, and once you look up, there’s a collection of flags ranging from the Houston Texans, Houston Rockets and Ohio State.
On the right, a mini arcade decorates the corner with Pac-Man, a Bull Shooter dart system and another generic game machine available to play. The old-school vibe continues to spread onto the wall as different kinds of beer, vodka and tequila brand logos create a mismatched, yet cohesive, collage.
On the left, hanging on the center of the wall is the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University and most importantly, the University of Houston. Seeing the UH flag at a business founded by UH graduates felt a little like I was sharing their success as well.
When I asked Huynh what it takes to start a business, he spoke like a true Houston Cougar.
“You have to be in love with it to start something because it takes a lot of personal sacrifices and also professional sacrifices,” Huynh said. “It becomes you. When it’s all said and done, the business becomes you and you have to really educate yourself on what you’re getting yourself into. There has to be a passion behind it.”
Of course, with any business, there comes the question of who will take over after, when the founders are gone. Although there is a long way to go for The Draft, Huynh wants his family and children to do better than what he has done. If the expansion involves them, he hopes they can do a better job than he did.
“The support of your family or your friends always keeps you going,” Huynh said. “You, yourself, can’t really do it on your own. You need a lot of support.”
With that in mind, if you’re ever feeling like eating some wings, Korean BBQ Ribs or Banh Mi, The Draft has you covered.