Hard Knocks: Octane Shuts Down in Garden Oaks

Several readers have written in to report on the apparent demise of the Octane Coffee and Wine Lounge at the corner of 34th St. and North Shepherd. “As of Sunday,” says one correspondent, “the place was shut with a computer-generated ‘Sorry We’re Closed’ sign taped to the door, and a Pink’s employee next door said the owners had been carrying stuff out all day.” The morning and night spot opened almost exactly a year ago, one of the first tenants in the renovated but still-modern Garden Oaks strip center.

Photo: Candace Garcia

16 Comment

  • Hate to see it go. It was a quaint place.

    If I was Pink’s Pizza, I’d purchase the space to extend the current Pink’s and make the part where Octane was the bar portion of Pink’s. It would be easy to do and I think it’ll do quite well.

  • Rumor has it, and its pretty good info, Pink’s bought it for expansion. Just what I have heard through the grapevine.

  • Well, there you go. Maybe I should get into retail restauranting. Or not.

  • Kevin: The talk from real estate folks on the mean streets of GO indicates that you are correct.

  • On first impression, it looks more like a skeezy convenience store than a wine bar.

  • Pinks all ready owned it. Business decision to go with the one making more money (my guess at least).

  • Dime a dozen concept, yawn.

  • This is what happens when you open a coffee bar that serves bad coffee. Sorry to say it, but it’s true. They were nice enough folks.

    Maybe Pink’s can do a little collaboration with Amaya Roasting or Greenway Coffee, and shave a few thousand pounds of that portion of my carbon footprint directly attributable to coffee-procurement.

  • Loved the atmosphere of Octane but the service was the worst. I live a couple of blocks away and was so excited to have a wine bar nearby, but the staff didn’t care if they served your order to you or not. Sometimes they would forget the food order altogether, sometimes it would take an hour to get a sandwich…with a nearly empty place! One time they waited 45 minutes to tell me and my friends that there was no one there to make what we had ordered! Sad, but not surprised.

  • Too bad about Octane..I loved that sofa and all the reclaimed wood. I thought it was smartly decorated. Bathrooms were awesome!

    And spoonman – are you sure you aren’t thinking of the skeezy convenience store across the street by the yummy Mi Sombrero?

  • The problem with Octane was that the owners WERE NEVER THERE. The only way a small business can compete in an oversaturated market (you can get coffee, almost literally, anywhere at all) is with service and atmosphere. You can’t ensure that by being a passive owner. Just hiring some tatooed kids won’t solidify your customer base. I stopped in there several times hoping to meet the owners and never saw them. That’s an arrogant business model for a small shop to try.

  • Perhaps Binswanger Glass would be interested in leasing that spot. After all, they only occupied it for about 60 years. Only joking but obviously sometimes progress is not all, its cracked up to be.

  • Poor Octane — they just couldn’t figure out what they were, and those of us in the ‘hood couldn’t either. Service was indifferent, coffee was meh, and I never had the patience to wait around for the food I ordered. No surprise at all that they are “in transition”. A connection (physically or otherwise) to Pink’s will definitely be in their best interest.

  • i have to agree w/Nord…it was a cool place but they couldn’t make a coffee drink to save their a**! i tried a simple vanilla latte which had virtually no coffee or vanilla taste & another visit a hot chai latte and it was luke warm and i had to have the “barista” re-warm it. i visited a total of 3 times and ea time i went w/the same hopes that something would change after the opening jitters wore off but it didn’t which was quite disappointing being that i was so excited when it opened in my neighborhood. i’ll be happy w/just about anything other than a national chain taking it over…we have enough of that on ella.

  • I am not shocked at this news at all. It was only a matter of time that the bad service and limited selection of beer and wine would take this BEER AND WINE spot down. Not enough good beer to compete with Petrol which is a much cooler spot.

  • Mike, you’re ruining my belief in the infalibility of Swamplot posters! Pink’s may well have an option on more space in that strip, but they definitely didn’t own Octane.
    I can’t disagree with any of the coffee comments, but I did love the interior. I always hate seeing small businesses go under…they look like little dreams dying to me.