02/06/17 11:00am

5734 Larkin St., Cottage Grove, Houston, 77007

Behind the window bars and No Trespassing sign at 5734 Larkin St., a TABC application notice has been hanging out lately, a reader notes. The posting, which mentions the trade name Hidden Goods and denotes a request for late hours and beer and wine sales in the former home, is 2 doors down the street from residence-turned-cocktail-bar Down the Street at 5746 Larkin; other nearby hotspots on the block include the Iglesia Bautista Hosanna and the Larkin Street Baptist Church. The bar-to-be’s published legal notice from mid-December sports the name of Down the Street owner Cheryl Crider, who also opened opened bar-slash-coffee-shop Around the Corner in East Downtown back in 2015.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Down Larkin St.
02/02/17 5:15pm

CLUB NOMADIC SHOWS OFF LATEST TRENDS IN JUST-IN-TIME NIGHTCLUB DELIVERY Club Nomadic, 2121 Edwards St., First Ward, Houston, 77007Temporary 3-story nightclub and performance venue Club Nomadic has received its final checks and OKs from the city for tonight’s 9pm opening — with just over 6 hours to spare, if the time a city rep gave to St. John Barnard-Smith and Mike Morris is correct. Both Club Nomadic’s owner and folks at the city permitting office say it’s totally normal for a temporary event structure like this one to cut the permitting process close; the temporary nature of the project also means on-site parking is not required for the 9,000-or-so visitors expected, and organizers are stressing that tow trucks will be on the prowl. The Club is currently selling parking passes for the 1600 Smith St. garage, with plans to shuttle guests between the garage and the club site at 2121 Edwards St.; other enterprising Houstonians appear to be getting in on the action as well. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of 2121 Edwards St.: Club Nomadic

01/31/17 1:30pm

2531 Kuester St., Montrose, Houston, 77006

Right across Kuester St. from where that paving prep looks to be going on this month, some building permits have been issued recently for a new honky tonk and bar listed as Goodnight Charlie’s. A couple of readers noted that the long-empty triangle of partially grazeable land behind Buffalo Exchange also sports the TABC notice signage above, and the space looks to be owned by the same legal entity that owns the jilted corner lot. The fenced-in land sits at the trailing end of Kuester, which blends into Missouri St. and the back edge of the parking lot of Mexican seafood-themed bar La Grange (which took over the 2-story building formerly occupied by gay bar EJ’s on Ralph St., behind the Westheimer-facing Central Houston Animal Hospital). 

Here’s a wider shot of the permitted honky tonk site; that’s the back of the Community Endowment Foundation’s Swelha House visible just to the right of all those early-2010’s townhomes:

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Fenced In Off Westheimer
01/27/17 9:30am

DECADES-OLD JIMMY’S ICE HOUSE ON WHITE OAK DR. TO TURN BRAUN, CHANGE NAME, TENANTS Jimmy's Ice House, 2803 White Oak Dr., Houston Heights, Houston, 77007 The current owners of Jimmy’s Ice House at the corner of White Oak Dr. and Threlkeld St. are in the middle of working out a sales agreement with serial redeveloper Braun Enterprises, Jim Reynolds reports this week. The late eponymous Jimmie Murray opened the place back in the late 1940s; the bar is currently owned by a group including Jimmie’s son’s widow. Current co-owner Eric Quinn says the likely plan is for Braun to lease the space out to a new tenant, who definitely won’t use the Jimmy’s Ice House name; he also notes that various grandfathered building code violations mean remodeling may be prohibitively expensive. Jimmy’s Ice House sits across Threlkeld from the Studewood BB’s Cafe, and across White Oak Dr. from the South Heights Retail Center, near both Fitzgerald’s and Christian’s Tailgate. The -ie to -y swap looks to have happened around the time the current owners bought the place in 2008, as part of the signage switch from Jimmie’s Place. [The Leader] Photo of Jimmy’s Ice House at 2803 White Oak Dr.: David Richmond/Houston Ice House

01/23/17 12:30pm

Baileson Brewery renderings, 2322 Bissonnet St., Rice Village, Houston, 77005

A few sketches show the gist of Method Architecture’s plans for converting the former Bissonnet Auto Service Center at 2322 Bissonnet St. into Baileson Brewing Company. The auto shop’s original carport structure looks to be incorporated into the plans for the space as a patio shade-provider, while the 2 former garage bay doors look to be getting glassy replacements. The brewery will enter the area beer niche vacated last year by no-longer-next-door Kay’s Lounge, which met its end in October, and by Hans’ Bier House half a mile a way (last seen bearing signage announcing a planned coffee shop). Here’s a few more angles on the potential redo:

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Brewing on Bissonnet
01/20/17 4:00pm

1920 Houston Ave., First Ward, Houston, 77007

1920 Houston Ave., First Ward, Houston, 77007Despite being marketed previously as a potential site for up to 15 freestanding townhomes, the townhome-fringed lot at the corner of Houston Ave. and Spring St. now sports a TABC permit notification instead. A reader caught some evening views of the corner and the sign announcing mixed-beverage and late-night plans for its little 1996 building (which names Spring Street Beer and Wine Garden as the incoming occupant). New owners (at least the 6th to purchase the property since 2005, per county records) purchased the property in the fall, and the Attack of the Killer Condos mural previously facing the Heights Hike & Bike Trail along Spring St. has already been painted over:

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Holding the Line in First Ward
08/01/16 10:15am

Hops Meet Barley, 2245 West Alabama St., Upper Kirby, Houston

It’s a good bet the kiddie playground that once stood in front of the Mission Burrito (and later Überrito, after the Mexican fast-food restaurant changed its name) at 2245 West Alabama St. won’t be returning for the dining and drinking joint now slated to take its place. Überrito shut down that location 11 months ago. But a couple of weeks ago a sign for a grains-and-greetings-themed establishment (above) emerged where once a plastic castle held court in a sea of mulch. And newer signs on the property, reports a Swamplot reader, indicate that staff is now being hired. According to Eater Houston’s Amy McCarthy, incoming beer destination Hops and Barley is a project of Stephen Long, an owner of the Reserve 101 bar at 1201 Caroline St. downtown.

Photo: Hops Meet Barley

 

Missin’ Burritos
07/19/16 11:30am

First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1720 Main St., Downtown, Houston, TX 77002
First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1720 Main St., Downtown, Houston, TX 77002A dumpster was spotted last week loitering around the Travis St. entrance of the Mod-ish Brutal-ish teal-ish former Christian Science church downtown, which, per the language on a building permit issued this month, is now being converted into a nightclub. The name listed on the permit (Club Spire) marks something of a shift in the tone previously set by the new owners this spring, when the group connected to Clé bar sought a TABC permit for the building under the name 1720 Main Reception Hall.

A curious reader sends the Friday afternoon shot above, along with an inquiry as to the fate of any interior furnishings and materials to be stripped away (the outside being fairly naked already, save for the gold-and-blue soon-to-be-eponymous spire). Here’s a last look from inside, around, and on top of the church’s sanctuary and courtyard as it was just prior to the finalization of the sale this spring — the elongated diamond-slash-triangle motif that covers the area behind the altar is carried through much of the rest of the building, from the stained-glass windows to the furniture: 

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Born Again on Main St.
06/24/16 2:00pm

2203 Crocker St., Montrose, Houston, 77006

The agent who put the 16-year-old house at 2203 Crocker St. on the market this week wants to make sure you know exactly what you’re buying. The listing for the property (which describes the home as “Needs work! Never updated. Never remodeled. Located within 241 feet from nuisance bar.”) digs deep into gritty details great and small — from photos focused on the missing caulk between the kitchen tiles, to a 2-page disclosure document listing assaults, intoxication calls, and other incidents ostensibly reported to the police from in and around the property’s catty-corner neighbor, bearaoke hotspot Crocker Bar.

The listing’s photo captions highlight additional details of the property’s physical defects and history — sometimes using the bright red text above, and other times employing fragments of narration that raise questions even as they answer them. Here’s the shot from the listing labeled only as Bird Got Trapped in Wall:

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Full Disclosure
06/03/16 2:30pm

FOR SALE: CECIL’S PUB ON W. GRAY Cecil's Pub, 600 W. Gray St., North Montrose, Houston, 77019All 6,250 sq.ft. of Cecil’s Pub are now up for sale, after some 31 years of operation.  A reader reports that the bar is still open for now, though an information sign from The Weitzman Group is up out front of the building at 600 W. Gray. Weitzman has a leasing flier up for the property as well; the bar sits on just under half an acre of land east of PJ’s Sports Bar (at the corner with Stanford St.) and north of Skinny Rita’s Cantina (last occupied by Eleven:Eleven); just down the street are the North Montrose branch of Barnaby’s Cafe and the planned site of the West Gray Plaza strip centerPhoto: Swamplot inbox

North Montrose Signs of Change
06/03/16 11:15am

360 Skybar Patio, 500 McIlhenny St., Midtown, Houston, 77006

Some things have changed in the last few months at the corner of Brazos and McIlhenny streets in Midtown, where scandal-embroiled nightclub Gaslamp appears to have shut down to make way for a newly-opened bar called 360. The Gaslamp sign is gone, and the building’s new Facebook page also lists it as located at Google-baggage-free 500 McIlhenny instead of 2400 Brazos (though the number 2400 was still in place over the door as of last week).

The former second-floor club-within-a-club Elysium space upstairs appears to have been redecorated as well, and to have picked up the name The Hamptons. Other things remain the same, however — for example, the photo posted last week of 360’s rooftop patio (above) is remarkably similar to a view from the rooftop previously posted to Gaslamp’s webpage (below):

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Midtown Makeover
05/27/16 12:00pm

The Secret Group Comedy Club, 2101 Polk Street, East Downtown, Houston

The final episode of Simpsons-themed mural antics at the corner of Polk and St. Emanuel streets appears to have played out, now that the exterior walls of The Secret Group’s in-progress venue have gone dark on their way toward looking something like the shadowy rendering above. The transformation appears to have a deadline: the group has started selling tickets to shows at the new venue, with the first one set for June 22nd.

The space, at the Polk end of the developing 2-block East Village retail spot, will function as a full time bar in addition to hosting regular comedy and music performances. The rendering from Māk Studio appears to show a rooftop patio; the venue doesn’t currently plan to serve food, but that could change.

Rendering: māk studio

East Downtown
01/06/16 11:30am

Invasion Ice House, 823 Dumble St., Eastwood, Houston, 77023A little green man in a flying saucer heralds the looming takeover of the former Los Amigos space at 823 Dumble St. (at the corner with McKinney, a few blocks west of S. Lockwood Dr.). Los Amigos is prepping to be reborn as Invasion Ice House — a tipster tells Swamplot that the new owner wants to make the space into the “cool neighborhood hangout” that the area “desperately needs”. The 1,300-sq.-ft. building, formerly violet (and even-more-formerly lemon-yellow), has been repainted a dusty blue behind the sci-fi mural now adorning the front.

Invasion manager Monique Ramos applied for a TABC beer and wine license last month; a closer look at the signs posted on the space indicates that the interplanetary colonists will bring along Tex-Mex provender in the form of the Tako Box food truck.

Photo of 823 Dumble St.: Swamplot inbox

 

Cosmic Facelifts
01/04/16 1:45pm

The Eagle, 611 Hyde Park Blvd, Avondale, Houston, 77006

A Saturday-afternoon fire has temporarily flushed Montrose bar The Eagle from its roost at 611 Hyde Park Blvd — day-drinkers at the hotspot’s newish location reported smelling smoke and seeing lights flicker just before a manager ran downstairs to the first-floor bar area in the converted Depression Era-home to hustle patrons and staffers out. Owner Jay Allen told KTRK’s Deborah Wrigley that the permit had been approved for an already-installed sprinkler system in the building, but the City hadn’t hooked up the water yet. (No injuries were reported.)

Despite heavy smoke and fire damage to the second and third floors and water damage to the first, owner Jay Allen vows that the club will swoop back to its Montrose aerie (pictured above during the 2015 Pride season) as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the Eagle is screaming again (albeit only on Sundays) at its old bayouside digs downtown — “the dungeon” in the basement space at 709 Franklin — until repairs on the Hyde Park building are completed.

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Back To the Underground
12/03/15 12:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE SUBTLETIES OF PARKING LOT COMMUNICATION Parking in Strip Center“The wide open parking lot does seem to say, ‘We’re more than ready to receive you’ from retailers that want to have an image as ‘convenient.’ In other situations, the tighter parking supply seems to communicate, ‘This is a popular place where many people like you find happenings worth attending.‘ CityCentre and Rice Village seem to be examples of the second category.” [slugline, commenting on Comment of the Day: Why It’s Still Blacktop Friday] Illustration: Lulu