A sign zip-tied onto the fence around the parking lot at 1836 Polk St. is currently announcing an application by FreeRange Concepts to sell mixed drinks at the spot. Up in Dallas, the company operates bar-slash-bowling alley Bowl & Barrel, bar-slash-dogpark Mutts Canine Cantina, restaurant-slash-music-venue The Rustic, and slashless restaurant The General Public. Houston locations of Bowl & Barrel and The General Public are currently under construction in CityCentre.
It’s unclear whether FreeRange has cast the Polk location for a sequel to one of its existing brands, or for something new. The TABC notice is posted on the full-block parking lot bounded by Jackson, Hamilton, and Bell streets just east of 59 and just south of the George R. Brown Convention Center. That block has previously appeared in the convention center’s 2025 Master Plan, as a site of possible future expansion:
Something is stirring drinks these days inside former location of Beirut Fine Lebanese Cuisine, which reopened last fall as Fig + Wasp Test Kitchen and then quickly closed again.Up & Down on Washingtonwill be officially opening at 4105 Washington Ave. this Friday after a few weeks of soft operation in the upstairs of the space; whether the fig-wasp name was a deliberate nod to the creepy symbiotic relationship between the 2 components is unclear. Photo of 4105 Washington Ave: Kuehn Inc.
The bluest bar-on-a-stick in town gives a 360-degree overview of the area around White Oak Music Hall, which held its first concert Saturday on a temporary stage next to the still-under-construction main building. Renderings released last year for the concert complex, next to the already-in-action Raven Tower at the crossing of I-45 and Little White Oak Bayou (above), showed plans for 2 indoor stages and a 3rd outdoor pavilion, with a 3,000-person events lawn between. Developer Will Garwood told the Houston Chronicle last week that while he would still like to add a permanent stage someday, the temporary stage would be getting reused in the meanwhile — possibly requiring special event permits (like the one issued for Saturday’s concert) multiple times each month.
Here’s what the scene looked like on Wednesday evening, as crews continued working past sundown to get everything in line for the weekend:
This latest report over the wireless from Swamplot’s regulartunnel correspondent comes from a brief venture into nearby subterranean territory this weekend to scope out Conservatory Underground Beer Garden & Food Hall. The basement bar and restaurant collection sits in the former Isis Theater building on Prairie St., just east of sister-facility Prohibition and Main St.-facing Moonshiner’s Southern Table + Bar. Several of the Conservatory’s restaurant tenants spent last week quietly testing out their setups on diners during limited hours; the shots and commentary below come from a Saturday morning jaunt through the venue:
The entrance is just east of Prohibition, under an awning sporting the marquee “Conservatory/Underground Beer Garden and Food Hall”. The lobby level has a stairwell leading to the main basement area:
A notice of a TABC application, requesting permission from the agency to serve mixed drinks and stay up late, is now up by a door of the 1930s house-turned-office-building at 1916 Baldwin St. The 2-story home, which was remodeled as office spaces in the early 2000s, is currently listed as the home of D’Olive Law Firm, the Texas Passport Center and Bibby, McWilliams, & Kearney, among the latest in a string of law-minded businesses to inhabit the space 1 block north of Gray St.
The bar-to-be sits between the condos at 207 Pierce St. and the RISE Lofts and Edge condo complexes across Baldwin; the Camden City Centre apartments hedge in the parking lot from the north. The space is also just across Pierce St. from Komodo Pub, another house-gone-bar tucked back a block from the restaurant-filled stretch of Gray to the south. The building changed hands in early January; the TABC permit notice, naming Basilio Investments as instigator, is hanging to the right of that side entrance visible left of the oak tree nearest to the parking lot — here’s a closer look:
Hughes Hangar is finished with the spot at 2811 Washington Ave., behind Affection clothing boutique at the corner with Epstein Ct. The gastropub-nightclub announced on social media on Saturday that “everything is priced at $4.00” and that the business would close for good at the end of the night. The club posted earlier in the week about an electrical fire that knocked out audio and internet systems; posts to the venue’s Twitter and Facebook accounts on Thursday assured customers that the space would be open for the weekend, though the bar would be running cash only until credit card infrastructure was repaired.
Double or triple your fun with 3 bedrooms, 2 and a half baths, and 3 bars in this Spring Shadows home. Multiple covered patios and balconies surround the backyard pool, which is itself surrounded by an impressive collection of flora and faux-fauna. This 3,067 sq. ft. of vibrant colors and unique finishes was initially listed for $495,375 in December 2015. The price was dropped in January and again in February to the current asking of $399,999.
Bonus points: Can you spot all of the dinosaurs roaming the property?
Here’s some hot and heavy demo footage of a frenzied excavator tearing apart the former Blanco’s Bar and Grill at 3406 W. Alabama St. this morning, as a worker hoses down the scene from off to the side. A reader captured the final show at the little blue honky-tonk, which housed live music for nearly 32 years before its November 2013 closure.
The business wilted several years ago, but the location of the church-run St. Theresa The Little Flower Thrift Shop at 5334 Washington Ave is getting a new tenant: a branch of Dallas’s Clutch Bar will be moving into the space. An entity associated with the thrift shop bought the property back in 1991, and the store blossomed until the early ’10s, closing by mid-2013.
Clutch Bar’s website touts a Summer 2016 opening; as far as what will be served in the space, the site for the chain shows a large draft beer selection and mentions a weekly special on “adult milkshakes”.
The western corner space at University Blvd. and Kelvin St. in the Rice Village now has a coat of white paint over its brick facade, though the storefronts to either side have yet to follow suit. The space, last occupied by a Sprint store prior to a multi-year vacancy, appears to be setting up as the next link in the Blue Mercury cosmetics-spa chain, while street and utility work progresses at the corner.
The former Village Arcade (now being rebranded as, simply, the Rice Village) consists of the shopping centers on University on either side of Kelvin St.; the buildings were acquired from Weingarten in 2014 by Rice University, which already owned the land beneath the center and employs the same St. Joe brick in many of its campus buildings. Rice also employs development company Trademark to manage the Arcade property; the company released a few renderings of the first phase of the center’s intended makeover last fall, just before work began:
Down the street from Lamar High School, thewould-have-been-Little-Woodrow’s now going instead by Kirby Ice House (“A Neighborhood Pearl”) is setting up shop at 3333 Eastside St., between the parking lot used for the weekly Urban Harvest Farmer’s Market and the Bammel Park townhomes. A post to the establishment’s Facebook page earlier this week shows that the under-construction building has just finished turning an icy blue, and the accompanying caption says that work is moving into “the detail phase”.
The bar’s across-the-street neighbors include nonprofit women’s career services center Dress for Success and the main building of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston — both groups expressed concern about the bar’s location in 2014 after the president of the Bammel Park Homeowner’s Association sounded a neighborhood-wide email alarm. Dress for Success filed a protest of the ice house’s TABC license that July; the license was issued in December of that same year.
A rendering of the building’s exterior shows the ice house standing next to a townhouse-free field:
The Raven hasn’t landed yet — but the metal-fabrication-shop-turned-icehouse’s website and Facebook page are touting a January 19th Grand Opening date, complete with the kickoff to the venue’s live music lineup. On the other side of the complex, associated White Oak Music Hall itself isn’t scheduled to open until May.
The ice house and its sky-high 70s-bachelor-pad lounge are tucked back off of N. Main along North St., separated from I-45 by only the Skylane Apartments. (The iconic den-on-a-stick can be spotted through the trees from I-45 north of Quitman, just before the freeway ducks under the North St. bridge.)
New renderings posted last month by the bar show the details of the rest of the Raven Tower’s indoor and outdoor spaces: