Last Call for Two Rows

Having achieved the title of “Houston’s last remaining brewpub,” Rice Village’s Two Rows is now scheduled to close at the beginning of next month. General partner Rusty Loeffler tells the Chronicle‘s Ronnie Crocker (and a tipster tells us) that Weingarten Realty was asking far more than the company was willing to spend to sign a new long-term lease for the 10,000-sq.-ft. upstairs space in the Village Arcade on University at Morningside. Now ready to move into half of that space: Jason’s Deli. Loeffler says his restaurant “may look at other locations in Houston” that’ll have room for the company’s brewing equipment.


Photos: Aaron Carpenter

34 Comment

  • This is sad news! Two Rows… please move to Midtown. My wife and I spend a lot of $$$ at your establishment already. We would love to be able to walk to it :)

  • If they can’t afford this place, what makes you think they could afford downtown?

    Maybe they can get a spot as a local restaurant in the new Yale St. Walmart development?

  • I live pretty close to the Village and have never patronized Two Rows. I went in once to look at the menu, and it just seemed like a generic wanna-be chain fern bar. I never saw any reason to go there over any of the other more interesting places in the Village.

  • I always thought there could be a better tenant for that space than Two Rows. I think their food was terrible and the beer was OK. Other than watching a sporting event I’s probably never go in there.

  • I also think it is interesting that Jason’s Deli has no problem paying the rent (they are most likely paying more PSF for half the space than Two Rows would pay for the whole space). Rent is just a function of tenant’s sales, so if Two Rows cannot afford the rent selling food AND alcohol it just makes me think they were not doing as well and obviously not the right tenant for the space. In other words it is not Weingarten asking too much in rent, its Two Rows not doing as well in sales.

  • The stretch of main street between the TMC and 610 has seen some development the past few years. It would be nice if some developers came in and turned some of the empty lots into affordable lease spaces for pubs, new restaurants, or whatnot. Especially since there seems to be a lack of these establishment in an area so close to Reliant Stadium. Haha..but probably just wishful thinking on my part. There are some college students living in and around the Apartment complexes at the intersection of Kirby and Main. Two Rows should consider coming into this area.

  • Tow Rows may have been doing fine with the existing rent.

    Jason’s Deli is another story. That location is packed for lunch pretty much all the time. Forget about jumping in there on a Saturday for lunch to get a sandwich without waiting 30-45min. Jason’s probably moving because they need more space and Weingarten can take their current space and put more retail commercial there.

  • I used to enjoy the place. It still has good beer, but the food has slowly been going down-hill to the point it can’t be distinguished from the generic pub-grub supplied by Cisco.

    It’s unfortunate that there are so many Bud & Miller & Coors drinkers in our city that we can’t support something unique like a brewpub.

  • Wait, is Jason’s Deli moving upstairs? Will they still be dog-friendly? One of our great pleasures is walking our old Vizsla all the way over there. He sits outside the rail in the breezeway, with his complimentary water bowl, while we eat. People of all ages stop by to shower him with affection. I hope we won’t be losing our weekly ritual!

  • Two Rows had a lot of outside seating. I’m sure Jason’s Deli could utilize it.

    Whether Houston has a brew pub or not doesn’t mean locals don’t like local brews. St. Arnold’s has parties at the brewery and has pub crawls.

  • May sound odd, but how about near UH? There’s next to nothing for students to hang out at and a fair number do live on campus. Of course, on game days, the place would be overflowing. They would probably have to build something since most of the buildings are rundown but the land is cheaper in that area.

  • It was ok, but it didn’t have any character. Like a Bennigan’s, except you have to walk up a couple flights of stairs first.

  • I’ve never had bad food at Two Rows, but I haven’t been in a while. It was always packed every time I went, though, and used to be quite popular with Rice students. Jason’s Deli — meh. It’s OK but it’s just a chain. It’s the only thing biggish, cheapish, and fastish in the area except for La Madeleine.

  • I live within walking distance of the Village and would’ve loved a good local brewpub. Two Rows wasn’t it. But vacuums need filling; maybe this will encourage some recently laid-off homebrew entrepreneur to start the next cycle of Houston brewpubs.

  • @ chris – I love the wishful thinking for more development between the TMC and 610! There has been so much improvement over the last few years and I hope it continues.

  • K and Chris,

    I was in that area around Main St. about 2 weeks ago after not being in that area for about 2 years. It definitely has changed for the better. Some of the commercial land has to still be cheap for purchase or lease though.

  • Two Rows used to have a pretty good $1 pint night. No mo!

  • Sad to see the place go. No it wasn’t the best food or beer in town but I was still a consistent customer. I give them bonus points for effort on the in house brewing as opposed to cookie cutter establishments with crap beer lists.

    I’ll be there Wednesday to do my part on the unloading of what’s left of their beer stash for $1 pints.

  • Maybe the real elephant in the room should be brought up….Texas needs to change its rules regarding micro-breweries (whether in a pub or on their own).

    This is what is killing the opportunity for having small micro-brewed beer available.

    Visiting friends in northern Idaho, a local restaurant had 20 beers to choose from and none of them were large known brands. Most of them game from within a 100 miles of the town. Over the course of the week staying up there, I had to try all of them. I like almost all of them ranging from stouts to pale ales. Even seasonally flavored beers. Then, eating at a popular place in Spokane, WA, some of the same micro-brews were available. Gotta give them props for supporting some unique choices.

  • Land in the TMC South area is EXPENSIVE relative to desirability. It’s not the triple-digit-per-square-foot kind of expensive that it was a few years ago, but it’s still enough to price out most investors other than TMC member institutions.

    As for the suggestion about a brewpub for Scott Street; that’s crazy. Having said that, UH might should consider offering a brewing, distilling, and wine-making program. They could set up a facility at the University Business Park and turn around and use their wares at official functions, athletic events, offer it at The Den, and to try and instill some pride into their alumni.

  • I’m the last person that wants to see the demise of a brewpub, but Two Rows just never seemed very appealing. I live a couple of minutes away and still it was always on the bottom of the list when figuring out where to watch the game with friends. I think it would have worked pretty well right there with a bit more ambiance and a drool-worthy menu.

  • Yeah, Pint nights and pizza nights were the best.

    Also, if you ever needed a quick parking validation for that stupid expensive garage this was the place to go.

  • Jason’s Deli is so gross. Just garbage food. I’m always pissed off when I leave there. Turds on a Bun. Thanks

    Free Soft Serve doesn’t cut it

  • It would be great if they would move to mid-down or downtown. I love that place and i hate to see it go.

  • From kjb434:

    Maybe the real elephant in the room should be brought up….Texas needs to change its rules regarding micro-breweries (whether in a pub or on their own).

    This is what is killing the opportunity for having small micro-brewed beer available.
    The big brewers and distributors have worked for decades to limit Texans’ choices as far as beer goes. I got spoiled living in Washington and especially Oregon. Obviously the situation has evolved (after all, homebrewing was illegal until 1983), but there still are laws on the books that limit small beer entrepreneurs–for example, you can have a brew pub, but if you do, you can’t bottle and market that beer for sale anywhere else. This obviously limits the upside of a brewpub (which, after all, requires a large capital investment to start.)

  • Texas even should relax rules on wine exporting across state lines. Texas isn’t unique in this though. Many states have serious restriction on the exporting of local wines and the transport of wines.

    I have family and friends of family that come visit Houston to pick up Texas wines that can’t be sold outside the state. Louisiana isn’t necessary the bastion of wine production (unless moonshine is considered).

  • Went one time, the food was beyond horrible. Surprised it took this long to die. Then again this is “Food City” and what passes for edible food here is sometimes shocking. Good riddance to bad rubbish, hopefully the next tenant in the half space will give a damn about what they plate up. It certainly won’t be Jason’s Deli, but there’s always that other vacant half.

  • Re: Jason’s Deli’s old space

    What kind of women’s shoes will be sold there?

    Two Rows was a mutt. I live within walking distance and haven’t been in 5-6 years. The only bad news is G-Man (a FINE pub) will become even more crowded.

    Brian O’Neil’s also sucks, IMO. Ditto formulaic Baker Street.

    I’d like to see my Village lose 2-3 more
    college kid (morons) bars, to be truthful.
    Separate the hops from the chaff.

    …and yes, I was one of those morons a couple decades ago. PLEASE don’t close Valhalla…not for me, but for the kiddies.

  • kjb434: same applies to distilled spirits, had a friend who quit his day job looking for adventure and briefly considered making whiskey til he found out all the hurdles involved, just ludicrous

  • I figured as much for distilled spirits. Was more familiar with wine. It hard to even ship out of state wine to Texas as an end user (drinker). I visited a winery in Idaho where I bough about 8 bottles. They packed it really good so I can check it in as baggage. Made the trip well to Houston.

    Shipping by FedEX/UPS was more problematic. It would have been easier for me to ship it to Louisiana and go pick it up over there.

  • I gave up on on Two Rows because every time I would go they were out of stout and porter. Plenty of pales but sorry; not everyone wants to drink beer akin to making love in a canoe (i.e. fucking close to water).

  • Ah the gingermen and two rows, two of my college haunts. The food has really gone down hill, late 90’s it was pretty good, now I’d only go for pint night. Been there forever, kind of a stale concept.

  • Noooo!!!!

    This is a sad day for Houston with the closing of Two Rows. We need more, not less brewpubs. Even with the arcane Texas laws that inhibit the success of microbreweries, brewpubs should still be viable.

    I think Two Rows should follow Little Woodrow’s lead and move into East Downtown. Land is cheap, it’s close to UH and burgeoning new developments (thus lots of paying customers), and the EaDo management district along with the owner of Lucky’s and Cork Soakers are envisioning the area as a Sixth St.-esque entertainment scene.

  • Ate there a couple times and thought the food was terrible. Not going to miss this one…