Cleanup and updates are planned over the next month for Fitzgerald’s, as owner Sara Fitzgerald returns to management following the previous operator’s recent eviction. Fitzgerald told the Houston Press that the venue at the corner of White Oak Dr. and Studemont St. will be redoing its back patio with an eye to making it food-truck-friendly, as well as painting and cleaning the space. Fitzgerald also says the venue will have to get its liquor license reinstated, and that the bar might have to “give something away” during shows they hold in the interim; the venue will likely not fully book until the cleanup and changes are complete.
The venue’s newest former management team left the space earlier this week, kicking up a cloud of photos purportedly documenting the satanic-graffiti-and-toilet-paper-heavy aftermath of a farewell gathering of the former tenants the night before their planned exit date. The termination of the tenants’ relationship related at least in part to a rent disagreement: Freshly-ex-GM Josh Merritt told the Houston Press that the rent rates being charged were unfair given the building’s condition, while Sara Fitzgerald maintained that the rent was merely unpaid. Merritt emphasized that the former tenants wouldn’t have done anything to the building that would jeopardize their $50,000 security deposit.
The nearly-100-year-old building, run for decades as a Polish dancehall and community center before Sara Fitzgerald reopened it as a music venue in the late 1970s, will now be managed for a while by Fitzgerald herself. Fitz’s was operated between 2010 and 2015 by Pegstar, in conjunction with Free Press Houston. Those operators left when their lease ended in September to do their own thing at the under-construction White Oak Music Hall, an indoor-outdoor venue slated to open in May in the shadow of the high altitude 70s-crash-pad-turned-bar Raven Tower. The Fitzgerald’s building closed for about a month while some repairs and renovations were done; the former Fitzgerald’s head sound engineer who had stepped in as GM left shortly thereafter (reportedly in connection with the pace of the planned upgrades to the space) and Merritt assumed the role.
- Sara Fitzgerald Speaks: “It Was Like a Black Box Man Cave in Here” [Houston Press]
- Measuring the Fallout From This Week’s Fitzgerald’s Implosion [Houston Press]
- Fitzgerald’s Will Be Just Fine, Says New Manager [Houston Press]
- Previously on Swamplot: The Lonely Spot East of the Heights Where the Operators of Fitzgerald’s Are Planning a Massive New Concert Venue Complex