10/22/12 3:08pm

FUNERAL BARS GET THEIR DAY IN COURT The long-simmering legal battle between 3 bars carved out of the remains of the former Settegast-Kopf funeral home on Kirby and 51 nearby residents is scheduled to go to trial next week. The residents and association of the David Crockett subdivision, which includes Roak, Hendricks Pub and Eatery, and OTC Patio Bar within its boundaries — as well as tony Ferndale, Virginia, and Lake streets west of Kirby — are seeking to enforce the neighborhood’s deed restrictions, which prohibit alcohol sales and activities considered a “nuisance.” In a countersuit, the bar owners are alleging racial discrimination, complaining that the neighborhood has not enforced the same restrictions on the Owl Bar and Cafe Express, both of which also serve alcohol. Bar attorney Paul Pilibosian tells reporter David Kaplan that the bars’ lease will expire in a year and a half. The bars do not currently have an option to renew, but Pilibosian says they are seeking ways to stay longer in their current locations. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Roak pool: Sarah Tressler

06/25/12 1:23pm

EAST END ALCOHOL REPORT A reader from the Country Club Place-Idylwood area checks in with rumors, some news, and questions: “A neighbor who does not do computers had a co-worker tell him that there is to be a ‘Latino topless bar’ open soon near Idylwood. For the life of me, I cannot see where he’s talking about. Of course, the definition of ‘near Idylwood’ is the variable. How can I find out where it will be and if this is true? Are alcohol permits available online? The old Helena Motel property on Wayside at 45 is being developed slowly and right now, a Chick fil A is being built next to the relatively new Taco Cabana. I can’t really see an adult entertainment place going in near that location although that block with the corner is prime for a strip shopping center. Demolition of the old Oshman’s property for Walmart is progressing quickly. Last I heard there was still some question as to whether or not this Walmart would sell beer & wine. The back side of the property is too close to the AAMA School on Maxwell. I imagine a lot of people will be unhappy if they can’t do one stop shopping there. Can you offer some suggestions as to where to begin my sleuthing on the topless bar?” [Swamplot inbox]

04/25/12 4:47pm

A NEW YORK POST REPORTER’S LOST HOUSTON WEEKEND Exhausted and content, I retired to the patio at El Gran Malo, a cool but divey tequila bar on a superbly awful corner facing a shoot n’ stab gas station, a Mexican restaurant and other assorted random Houstonia; I went here because every chef I encountered during my visit told me that this was the spot. I absolutely had to go, they said. So I went and I drank tequila, because that’s what I saw everyone else doing. A lot of it too, apparently — by the end of the night, I vaguely remember being on the other side of town stalking a food truck selling lobster that may or may not have actually existed. Which was fine — it would be days before I was in a position to eat a proper meal again.” [New York Post] Photo of El Gran Malo: Almost Veggie Houston

04/25/12 11:47am

Two-time The Bachelor star Brad Womack is planning to open a nightclub with his business partners in Midtown Houston, right across the street from the Metro Midtown apartments, at the corner of Bagby and McIlhenny. Womack’s twin brother Chad, brother Wes, and partner Jason Carrier — they call their company Carmack Concepts — own Sixth St. bars Chuggin’ Monkey, Dizzy Rooster, Molotov, and Dogwood in Austin. Their Houston bar, which they’ll call Dogwood Houston, will be a transformation of a small 1956 commercial building at 2403 Bagby St.

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04/17/12 3:31pm

Looking down onto the roof of the couple-month-old Scott Gertner’s venue downtown, you can see the steel parts of the new rooftop bar soon to be made into a pavilion . . . atop Houston Pavilions. A reader sends this photo of the scene, taken from the Pavilions office tower. At the top left of the photo is the intersection of Fannin and Dallas:

The blue box area located in the middle of the set beams has been there since they started construction for roof access (It used to have the words “No Step” on it). We’ve seen construction workers go in and out of it since then. Most of this work was done last Friday and over the weekend. I’m guessing because of the steel beams they had to close off part of the street to crane it up there.

That’s a good guess, judging from this photo posted on the bar’s Facebook page on Sunday:

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02/15/12 9:52pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: BUT A SPOONFUL OF SUGAR WILL HELP THE HISTORY GO DOWN “If you won’t drink coffee at the former Mary’s building, then you probably don’t want to know what went on at The Empire Cafe, when it was known as The Locker.” [Darogr, commenting on Restored Mary’s Mural on Westheimer Painted Over Again]

02/03/12 1:51pm

Following up on that former warehouse at 954 Wakefield St. in Oak Grove that last spring looked like it was well on its way to becoming a new beach volleyball venue, a passerby reports a couple of seemingly contradictory signs. On the one hand, there’s now a TABC notice taped to a window, dated earlier in January, which indicates that HFL Construction is applying for an alcohol license for this location. And the volleyball courts (at left in the above photo) look a bit more complete than they did last April. On the other hand, there’s now also a for-sale sign with the HFL Construction logo on it posted in front of the peoperty, the reader says.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

11/17/11 2:09pm

After a couple years of threats, live-music straggler Walter’s on Washington finally closed its doors at 1425 Washington Ave. this summer. Almost exactly 6 months later, it’ll open for a Christmas show in a new location: This former classic-car showroom, video-production studio, car-parts distribution center, and cabinet shop at 1120 Naylor St. just north of Downtown, behind DiverseWorks and the UH-Downtown parking garage. Owner Pam Robinson had hoped to open the 190-person-capacity venue much earlier. She told the Houston Press‘s Chris Gray in June that she had run into problems meeting city parking requirements for the location.

Photo: LoopNet

09/30/11 8:58am

Next month, real estate brokers Randy Fertitta and John Nguyen plan to reopen the former Zula Restaurant spot at 705B Main St. Downtown as a 250-600-seat concert venue. The Capitol at St. Germain will include a bar, a restaurant, and jazz, R&B, and “old-school” country performers. Coming to the Main St. streetfront at Capitol St. (next door to the Flying Saucer): a sidewalk cafe and a new neon marquee, subsidized in part by a $20,000 grant from the Downtown Management District. The 8,400-sq.-ft. space will include an elevated reserved seating area called the Vintage Lounge and a “floating” VIP booth next to the 320-sq.-ft. stage.

Photo: Capitol at St. Germain

09/12/11 12:55pm

ST. AGNES PICKS UP DROPPED SUIT The lawsuit the Academy of St. Agnes filed and then dropped last month against the city, the TABC, and the owners of a nightclub planning to open in the former Finger Furniture space at PlazAmericas is back on again, Purva Patel reports. The suit is an attempt to prevent the planned club, El Corral, from receiving a liquor license. A year ago, the private girls school bought the 18.7-acre former Gillman auto dealership at the corner of Bellaire Blvd. and Fondren, across the street from the former Sharpstown Mall, with plans to turn the property into an athletic campus. [Prime Property; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Candace Garcia

08/10/11 3:15pm

ST. AGNES DROPS SUIT St. Agnes Academy has officially ended its lawsuit meant to prevent a nightclub called El Corral — planned for the former Finger Furniture store in PlazAmericas — from receiving a liquor license. The suit was filed last Friday against the nightclub’s owners, the city of Houston, and the TABC. A spokesperson for the all-girls private school, which is building an athletic facility across Bellaire Blvd. from the former Sharpstown Mall, tells Swamplot “any future plans regarding the suit are to be determined,” but offered no further comments. [Previously on Swamplot]

08/09/11 12:40pm

St. Agnes Academy has already begun constructing an athletic complex on the site of the former Gillman Auto dealership at the corner of Bellaire and Fondren in Sharpstown. The 18.7-acre property, which it bought last fall, will have 3 athletic fields, 2 softball diamonds, 8 tennis courts, plus weight rooms, conference rooms, and meeting rooms. But administrators of the all-girls private school aren’t too happy with a development planned across the street in PlazAmericas, the former Sharpstown Mall. Last Friday, the school filed suit to prevent a nightclub from opening in the mall’s former Finger Furniture store.

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07/25/11 9:58am

Whatever steak and ale was left in this building at 2425 Mangum Rd. has been taken off . . . very slowly. Only to be brought back in a new form: A reader who’s noted some heavy construction — including the covering-up of windows — at this former restaurant on the southwest side of 290 over the last month and a half says the new occupants appeared to have applied for a liquor license under the name “Mangum Steakhouse.” Actual name of the new joint: Sunset Strip, a “totally latex free” club where you’ll find “the hottest entertainers in H-Town” — once they’re hired, of course. Scheduled opening date: August 3rd. Any resemblance between Highway 290 and the actual Sunset Strip, of course, is courtesy of the ghost of Anna Nicole Smith, and the Pleasures she left behind on the other side of the freeway at 34th St.

Photo: LoopNet

07/14/11 6:06pm

The almost here, the already here, and the soon-to-be-departed:

  • Opening Soon: City inspection issues having been conquered, Hubcap Grill‘s new Heights-ish outpost in Shady Acres is now aiming for an opening “mid/late” next week, tweets burger-slinger Ricky Craig. The converted drive-up at 1133 W. 19th St. is just around the corner from Cedar Creek. Plenty more patio seating in back.
  • Already Open: So sorry you missed the christenings, but the nightclub, restaurant-bar, and wading pool carved out of the former Settegast Kopf funeral home at 3320 Kirby, have been open and holding events for a week or 2 already. That place wearing its paneling on the outside is Hendricks Pub and Eatery. Roak is the nightclub; the atrium pool has its own name: Rush. The bars and their neighbors in the David Crockett subdivision immediately to the west will have plenty of time to become acquainted with each other before their court date next May. Some local residents have filed suit against the bars’ owners, claiming the clubs are in violation of local deed restrictions:

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07/06/11 2:43pm

The owners of Pub Fiction and Shot Bar in Midtown plan to make over the former Shady Grocery at the corner of Bevis and 23rd St. in Shady Acres into Crisp Wine Bar and Eatery, which will also feature craft beers on tap, an “Italian-influenced” menu (including pizza and deli-style hoagies), a retail wine shop, and a separate entrance for customers who just want to order takeout. Also: a patio next to the kitchen’s new herb-and-vegetable garden that’ll be carved out of the asphalt. Guy-in-charge Al Scavelli tells Swamplot many of the details are still being worked out, but he hopes to open the place at 2220 Bevis up by next January.
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