Funeral Bars Get Their Day in Court

FUNERAL BARS GET THEIR DAY IN COURT The long-simmering legal battle between 3 bars carved out of the remains of the former Settegast-Kopf funeral home on Kirby and 51 nearby residents is scheduled to go to trial next week. The residents and association of the David Crockett subdivision, which includes Roak, Hendricks Pub and Eatery, and OTC Patio Bar within its boundaries — as well as tony Ferndale, Virginia, and Lake streets west of Kirby — are seeking to enforce the neighborhood’s deed restrictions, which prohibit alcohol sales and activities considered a “nuisance.” In a countersuit, the bar owners are alleging racial discrimination, complaining that the neighborhood has not enforced the same restrictions on the Owl Bar and Cafe Express, both of which also serve alcohol. Bar attorney Paul Pilibosian tells reporter David Kaplan that the bars’ lease will expire in a year and a half. The bars do not currently have an option to renew, but Pilibosian says they are seeking ways to stay longer in their current locations. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Roak pool: Sarah Tressler

13 Comment

  • The court records on this case make for an interesting reading, albeit a bit melodramatic. I think the racial profiling they’re referring to is the clause in the original deed restrictions banning sale to minorities. The bars however seem to have submitted false documents to the government saying they got a variance from the deed restrictions regarding alcohol sales. Overall the home owners are after these new bars because they haven’t played nice neighbor unlike Cafe Express et al.

  • They should shut them down. The property should be sold and redeveloped into a mixed use property.

  • I agree witht he residents on this one. We dont need another “Douche Bag zone” like washington drive in this city.

  • If people want to control uses in neighbourhoods, they should embrace zoning.
    You can’t have control without rules.

  • Zoning would not solve this, there ARE rules in that neighborhood via deed restrictions, the bar owners lied on COH applications because they thought no one would enforce them. Much different than Ashby whiners, where they have no legal ground to object, just throw a tantrum on the floor kicking and screaming.

  • commonsense, I’m new to Houston and live near Ashby highrise. Am I a bad person because I think it sounds like a good idea? I’m having a hard time understanding the uproar but everyone on my street has a sign against it. I think density is a good idea in cities, but I guess i’m missing something. I’ll keep my mouth shut for now.

  • rodney,

    There are deed restriction in place which the residents are attempting to enforce. These deed restriction were agreed to by the then current owner. Under any reasonable zoning regime a property fronting Kirby in that area would have almost no restrictions. Any zoning regime that did place heavy restriction on this lot would have to disallow almost all development outside downtown and midtown to be consistent.

  • These issues are always interesting and I think they should be looked at case by case. Too many folks have a one-size fits all mentality w/re to “what should be done”. The responses usually come down to advocates for zoning vs property rights proponents.

    Sometimes these new businesses that open up can bring a lot of character and value to a neighborhood. The folks who live behind these bars might like the other near-by businesses like Cafe Express. On the other hand, I don’t think Cafe Express customers are hooting and hollering on their way to and from their cars between 9pm and 2am, or leaving cigarette butts and other trash in the yards of homeowners.

  • I thought that Cafe Express was gone now, replaced by the one on the 59 feeder?

  • Pretty sure the only profiling at a place like Roak is the profiling that happens by the bouncer at the door…

  • it is interesting that the home owners never sought to enforce this provision against the other bar that is right there (I guess it’s called the Owl; I thought it was Mugsy’s at one point). I’m not sure that a waiver as to some businesses constitutes a waiver of the provision as to all businesses though. I would also note that there are lots of other bars right in this area as well–maybe they are outside of the small deed restricted area (e.g., the Queen Vic, the wine bar next to it, Red Room, etc.).

    And to think, not too long ago there were adult books stores right on the other side of Kirby from here . . .


  • They are douchey bars, but as long as this doesn’t turn into Washington, it will be ok. The price point keeps the hoodlums down the street at Twin Peaks. This area is on its way back and is looking nicer than ever so the community might rethink their stance before they chase away commerce. That Ninfas closed and those other shopping center parking lots often look empty. I guess some prefer to be surrounded by death instead of youthful life.