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

12/01/15 9:00am

Mural at The Secret Group Comedy Club, 2101 Polk Street, East Downtown, Houston  
Mural at The Secret Group Comedy Club, 2101 Polk Street, East Downtown, Houston The evolving mural of Bart Simpson’s tragic fall in East Downtown (first into poorly spelled petty vandalism, and then into legal repercussions for same) has been updated several more times in the past few months, with some dark twists along the way. The mural is located on the outside of 2101 Polk St. — a building currently being transformed into a comedy club by The Secret Group, which hopes to open the space by the end of the year. The original progression is shown below:

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Comedy Club Goes Dark
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.

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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.

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Whodunit?
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:

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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.

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SpindleTap
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.

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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