07/14/15 1:30pm

723 Main St., Downtown Houston

TABC Sign Posted at 723 Main St., Downtown HoustonWith a TABC notice taped to the window, a Sugar Land bar named Club Blaunsch has declared dibs on this space at the northeast corner of Main and Rusk streets Downtown, in the former site of the Reserve Lounge. The storefront at 723 Main St. in the ground floor of the Houston Bar Building had been eyed last year by Springbok — before the South African restaurant changed its plans and moved in 2 doors north on Main to the Capitol Lofts building instead. Club Blaunsch is currently located in the second story of a strip center next to the Target across I-69 from Sugar Land Town Center.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

Club Blaunsch
06/25/15 11:15am

Western Facade of The Secret Group, 2101 Polk St. at St. Emanuel St., East Downtown

It’s not clear how quickly interior work is progressing on the planned comedy club and music venue in the former Malloy Register Company building at the corner of Polk St. and St. Emanuel in East Downtown, but notable changes have taken place to the building’s exterior since Swamplot reported on the project last month. The graffiti scene spray-painted onto the building’s western wall earlier this year, facing the I-69 overpass a block away (at top in photo above) has been updated to show police chief Clancy Wiggum — wearing an HPD shoulder patch — apprehending Bart Simpson, a stand-in for the site’s own tagging team (at bottom). Also added: the Twitter username for the Secret Group.


East Downtown Building Funnies
06/19/15 10:15am

When an unidentified arsonist wearing a face mask last Thursday spread what appears to be gasoline onto the railroad-track-facing back porch of the Cross Track Ice House at 200 Magnolia St. in Old Town Spring — just 2 miles southeast of the new ExxonMobil campus — footage of the scene and the fire’s initial moments from a security camera aimed at the porch somehow survived the blaze.


05/28/15 2:45pm

Lawless Kitchen and Spirits, Rice Hotel, 909 Texas Ave., Downtown Houston

The bar taking over for Downtown’s shuttered State Bar and Lounge opened quietly yesterday. That’s pretty good timing for a new establishment in an older haunt that’s a flight up from street level: Lawless Kitchen and Spirits is now serving food and drink on the second floor and over-the-sidewalk perch of the Rice Lofts building, carved from the former Rice Hotel at the corner of Texas Ave. and Travis St.

Here’s the streetside balcony, a suitable platform for viewing traffic, parades, flooding, or anything else of interest —from a safe distance above ground:


Lawless Kitchen and Spirits
05/21/15 1:00pm

Lightning Logistics and SpindleTap Brewery, 10622 Hirsch Rd., Northside, Houston

Beer and trucking: 2 great Texas pastimes will unite under one roof this September, once the brand new SpindleTap Brewery opens up its brewing operation and tavern inside the brand-new tilt-up warehouse at 10622 Hirsch Rd. built for trucking company Lightning Logistics (pictured here under construction in a photo from February). SpindleTap’s facility is taking up 10,000 of the building’s 70,000 sq. ft., reports the Houston Business Journal‘s Joe Martin. (It’ll also include an outdoor patio space and possibly a dog run.) Much of the remainder of the building, which is located just south of Little York, a superblock east of I-69, will serve as headquarters for Lightning Logistics’s 250-truck fleet.


05/19/15 4:15pm

SUB-BOURBON REVOLVER GUNNING FOR OUTLAW DAVE’S WASHINGTON AVE SPOT Patio of Outlaw Dave's Worldwide Headquarters, 6502 Washington Ave., Woodcrest, HoustonThe owners of fellow just-shut-down Willowbrook Mall bar Revolver are now in possession of the remains of Outlaw Dave’s Worldwide Headquarters, Houstonia’s Katharine Shilcutt notes. And a reader tells Swamplot the new owners are already busy making changes for an in-town Revolver revival: “Someone is doing outside renovations (tore down wood fence and pouring slab for patio) right now, and a truck with an exterior logo that reads ‘Revolver sub-BOURBON social’ has been parked outside for a week.” Revolver, which may or may not upgrade from sub-Bourbon to the hard urban stuff, is now aiming for a summer opening. Outlaw Dave’s went dark at 6502 Washington Ave just south of I-10 earlier this month, leaving a lit-up “Adios Bitches” signoff on its marquee. [Houstonia] Photo of Outlaw Dave’s patio: Outlaw Dave’s Worldwide Headquarters

05/11/15 4:00pm

2101 Polk St., East Downtown, Houston

Who’s been tagging the former Malloy’s Register Company building at the corner of Polk St. and St. Emanuel St. in East Downtown with Simpsons graffiti, an assortment of wheatpaste posters, and a TABC license application? The building’s future tenants, who bear the mysterious name The Secret Group. For now, The Secret Group has been arranging and promoting a series of comedy and music performances in various spots around town. But come November, the promoters plan to open up their own native bar, comedy club, and music venue in the building at 2101 Polk St.


El Barto Was Here
03/10/15 12:45pm

A MISSION ATHLETIC CLUB AND DRINKERY WANTS TO STRETCH OUT AND SERVE DRINKS IN AND AROUND THIS NETT ST. BUNGALOW 4504 Nett St., West End, HoustonA TABC notice went out earlier this week to neighbors of this 1,430-sq.-ft. bungalow on a 10,000-sq.ft. lot on the northeast corner of Patterson and Nett streets in the West End. Hoping to serve beer and wine at 4504 Nett St. (misidentified as 4505 Nett St. on the notice): a new establishment called the Mission Athletic Club and Drinkery. Washington Ave is 2 blocks to the south. Photo: Swamplot inbox

02/24/15 1:15pm

Red Tag at Bourbon on Bagby, 2708 Bagby St., Midtown,  Houston

Red Tag at Bourbon on Bagby, 2708 Bagby St., Midtown,  HoustonA patron of Bourbon on Bagby, the latest incarnation of the former OTC Midtown bar at 2708 Bagby St. in Midtown, notes a city inspector has found some basic problems with the bar. Something about not having a certificate of occupancy, and needing a permit for enclosing some windows in the patio-facing structure.

A red tag noting the issues went up on the front door on February 10th, but the dining and drinking establishment at the corner of Bagby and Dennis appears to be still operating.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

What Isn’t Permitted
02/02/15 11:00am

412 Westheimer Rd., Montrose, Houston

A reader sends in this photo of the former Touch of Red salon at 412 Westheimer Rd. (just west of Taft St.), future home of a bar scored by Eater Houston earlier this month as number 21 of the season’s 33 “most anticipated openings” of Houston food-and-drink establishments. (Well, sort of: The list is alphabetical.) Passersby have been anticipating the Limehouse, to be operated by the Montrose Revival Group (aka Free Press Houston’s Omar Afra and Moon Tower Inn‘s Brandon Young), since mid-September, when a TABC application was first spotted on the front door. The building is connected to its neighbor at 408 Westheimer, a former bed & breakfast.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Lower Westheimer
01/20/15 11:45am


Note: This story has been updated.

The Midtown joint long considered to be Houston’s oldest bar — except for that period 5 years ago when it closed for renovations —- closed down for good last night. This morning workers were removing furnishings from the building at 1006 McGowen St. and dismantling the front deck. Leon’s Lounge owner operator Pete Mitchell, who bought leased the establishment from the daughter of Leon Yarborough (the original Leon had bought it, as La Bomba, in 1947), had been arguing with his landlord about the building’s condition: “The sewer line, which Mitchell said he thought it would take ‘massive’ repairs to fix, was a principal sticking point,” he tells reporter Chris Gray.


Last Night at Leon’s
12/17/14 12:00pm


Next up at 3704 Fannin, known to some as the old Evelyn Wilson Interiors building, The Vanderbilt Sports Lounge.

It’s a block or two from the bustling Ensemble MetroRail stop and the under-construction Mid Main mixed-use development.

Once complete, the Vanderbilt promises 55 teevees airing football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, boxing, and UFC, an “upscale menu,” and a third-floor cocktail lounge with a panoramic view of the city.

The building is owned and being renovated by Cody Lutsch of Fat Properties Property, a frequent Swamplot commenter and until now, known more as a purchaser of aging Inner Loop apartment buildings.

Lutsch sent us a few pics of the Vanderbilt’s ongoing renovations, along with a few “before” shots:


Fannin The Flames
12/15/14 3:30pm


A Montrose hang for lovers of live punk, metal and experimental sounds, Mango’s nightclub has sprouted a “for lease” sign.

The building at 403 Westheimer Rd. next door to Avant Garden has a history as colorful as its newly-painted exterior walls and patio:


The Ever-Changing Face Of Montrose
11/20/14 1:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW MT. YUPPIE WAS FORMED On Top of Mt. Yuppie“When this place opened, there was a ‘oh no, here come the yuppies‘ reaction. Now, years later, it is closing and people are complaining about how the Heights is losing its character. Basically, a reprise of ‘oh no, here come the yuppies.’ It is really just the process of yuppie sedimentary rock formation. Yuppies get older, have kids and become boring. Their hangouts go out of style and go out of business. Then, the next layer of yuppies comes in and opens new businesses and the prior layer of former yuppies groan about the neighborhood losing its character.” [Old School, commenting on Sunset Heights Wine Bar The Boom Boom Room Will Close Forever This Friday] Illustration: Lulu

11/04/14 11:00am

WHEN TILMAN FERTITTA CAME TO THE SHILOH CLUB Shiloh Club, 1321 Studewood St., Houston HeightsA reader reports a rare sighting of Landry’s CEO Tilman Fertitta in the Heights over the weekend. Was it part of some sort of kinda-undercover reconnaissance mission? “. . . you’ll NEVER guess where he stopped . . . SHILOH’s! Yes, the old dive bar where you watch your grandparents drink themselves under the table next to a heavily tattooed bicyclist. Tilman came in, ordered a drink and began asking about the neighborhood. I don’t think anybody there recognized him except for myself, the bartender, and my table of friends who were all industry veterans. Not sure what he’s got planned but don’t be surprised if you hear about a new Landry’s property opening in the Heights within a few months.” [Swamplot inbox; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Shiloh Club, 1321 Studewood St.: Heights Blog