Leon’s Lounge Takes a Turnover Break

Leon’s Lounge owner Scarlett Yarborough “has made it clear to everyone involved that no major changes will be made” when she sells turns over operation of the 57-year-old Midtown bar on McGowen near Main St. to Under the Volcano owner Pete Mitchell, the Houston Press‘s Craig Hlavaty reports. But Hlavaty also writes that Mitchell will be shutting Leon’s down “at least for a few months while [he] overhauls and renovates the establishment.”

Photo: Michelle Calabretta [license]

10 Comment

  • This kills me. Leon’s used to be such a great place to hang out and have a relaxed night out. Then a couple of years ago I read the first online review and business picked up over the next few months. I thought, “great, more cash for Leon’s is a good thing.” Then they started pulling the character out of the building one piece at a time. Now it is going to be gutted and turned into another Chili’s lookalike bar by another Tillman Fertitta wannabe. We do not need more of those in Houston. I am sure it will be all art-deco or some other nostalgic design and beautiful. My problem is that it is getting harder and harder to find places that are “unbeautiful.” I want a bar, not a drinking experience. It’s not a hard formula: old building + inexpensive spirits – interior design planning = bar. I guess I’ll just have to stick to Uncle Joe’s and stay away from downtown altogether from now on.

  • I’d submit that Under the Volcano is a far, far cry from a Chili’s look-alike. Have you ever been Brad? If so, why the hate? If not, try it – but beware. Under no circumstances should any mortal exceed two frozen screwdrivers.

  • Brad, just go hang out in the older gay bars. Many of them are extremely cheap to drink (happy hour day until 8 or 9pm?).

    Georges, Crocker, Michael’s Outpost, Decades, EJ’s, 611…

    Even the larger ones are cheap (especially if you just drink beer or don’t mind well liquor!).

  • I rarely visited after the shuffleboard went away.

  • I have only been to UtheV once for a few minutes to pick up a friend, true. My Chilli’s comment was not based on this particular owner’s history, but on the realities of the business. In order for the purchase of that bar to make sense, they are going to have to increase revenue. They are not going to spend the money to make it truly nice inside, it would take decades to make that investment back. If they were going to be closed for a week, then I’d guess paint and a couple of new pieces of equipment. “At least a couple of months” sounds to me like they are going to tear out the dividing wall between the bar and rec room. Maybe even incorporate the upstairs into the bar. I bet money a kitchen sneaks in there as well. I am sure it will attract the suburban crowd, who can afford $10 beers and need a really clean place to feel comfortable, but it won’t be a dive anymore. Upscale dives are on the way out all over town right now. I guess I’ll have to stick with actual dive bars from now on.

  • As a general rule I avoid bars that serve any kind of “frozen” beverage.

  • GOOD RULE!!!

    When I feel like a Margarita, my bartender makes one on the rocks and then I look at him and say, “I wanted it frozen!!!” He hands me a shaker and says, “get to work!”

  • Remember Leon’s well..many good times and friends made..Learned to play shuffleboard
    on that table from some of the best shooters Houston has ever seen…Back when cold beer
    was the drink people ordered..
    The cross sections of people who stopped in
    was wild..blue collar, the white shirt guys with ties, I was part of that group, to the
    thirsty over flow bus station patrons…
    Must have had many moon games played on the end of the bar..Just all the things, which made Leon’s home bar to many..I quit stopping by after the open hours changed and the Yuppies moved in..
    RIP Leon

  • I am Scarlett the owner of Leons . The mitchells have never compensated me for the shuffleboard.