07/18/16 1:15pm

3217 Montrose Blvd., WAMM, Houston, 77006

3217 Montrose Blvd., WAMM, Houston, 77006Colorado breakfast restaurant and cocktail purveyor Snooze says its Houston grand opening is set for this Thursday at 6:30 AM in the redeveloped office building at 3217 Montrose Blvd. (which hosted Interfaith Ministries before the organization converted a Midtown bank in 2013). The location is already quietly serving some of Montrose’s early risers (or late ragers) from its spot next to resale-by-mail used-clothing chain Crossroads.

The ground-floor space in the 2-story building is the first Houston outpost of Snooze, which has a few Austin spots already up and running. Corinthian Real Estate bought the property in 2014 after a bit of redevelopment work by Braun (as shown above) and moved into an upstairs office. Here’s what the space looked like before the pin-striped canopies and painted murals came down:

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Dawning on Montrose
07/11/16 4:45pm

NIRVANA-NODDING LOVE BUZZ NOW PUSHING FREE-ISH PIZZA EVERY NIGHT ON WESTHEIMER STREET CORNER Interior of Love Buzz, 408 Westheimer,  Westheimer Rd., Montrose, Houston, 77006The former salon and former bed & breakfast respectively sitting across Westheimer Rd. from Avant Garden and recently relocated Biskit Junkie have just finished converting into Love Buzz, a 90s-nostalgia-themed bar put together by some of the folks involved with exotic meat hotdog joint Moon Tower Inn. The shop opened to the public over the weekend with a limited-for-now menu built around pizza from Eatsie Boy-linked not-yet-chain Nice Slice (which, according to Craig Hlavaty of the Houston Chronicle, is already working on its second distribution point at bar-on-a-stick Raven Tower). Love Buzz’s social media accounts claim it will be giving out a free slice of cheese pizza with every mixed drink or beer sold after 9 pm, any night the bar is open. [Previously on Swamplot] Image of 408 Westheimer interior: Love Buzz

07/08/16 3:15pm

Fairview + Mason renderings

Meteor, 2306 Genesee St, Montrose, HoustonSo You Think You Can Drag hit the stage at  South Beach last night — a permanent move for the event in the wake of  Wednesday‘s permanent closure of Meteor Lounge at 2306 Genesee St. The bar and semi-aquatic drag and dance venue had been renting its space back temporarily while developer Fred Sharifi worked on designs and permits for the redevelopment of the East Montrose neighborhood around Fairview Ave. and Mason St.; Adolfo Pesquera noted in early April that the project (under the name Fairview + Mason) had been granted a variance request.

The application for that request included the drawing above of the 6-story parking garage that’s planned to replace Meteor; the exterior, perhaps following Rice University’s lead on parking garage modesty coverings, appears to be artfully encrusted with bicycles, with the words MONT and ROSE emblazoned beneath.

The variance request asked the city for permission to cross some building setback lines and to add some canopies along 2 different blocks on Fairview — the site plan below points them out, catty-cornered between the block holding the Mason St. electrical substation and the block holding Max’s Wine Dive, Cuchara, and Flow:

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Farewell on Fairview
06/29/16 10:30am

Hughes Manor, 2811 Washington Ave., Houston, 77007

Hughes Manor logoThe spot formerly known as Hughes Hangar appears to be ditching the airport theme following the closure earlier this year of both the nightclub and its across-the-parking-lot companion The De Gaulle. Remodeling of the area between the 2 buildings has been underway as well — above is the ex-bar’s former back patio, now an open lawn shielded from view of Washington Ave.

The space appears to be reopening as an events venue; the new name is Hughes Manor, and the new logo (shown here) is also similar to the old:

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Return Trip
06/17/16 4:45pm

FRESHLY SOLD HANS’ BIER HAUS SHUTTING DOWN IN 4 WEEKS Hans' Bier Haus, 2523 Quenby St., Rice Village, HoustonThe little beer garden and bocce court at 2523 Quenby St. announced its planned July 15th closure this afternoon, following 21 years of fond but fuzzy memories (give or take a few neighborly physical and legal altercations with inhabitants and employees of the nextdoor condo tower at 2520 Robinhood). The news also follows this week’s sale of the property by a legal entity connected to Hans’ partner Paul Kellogg, conveying the spot to one JSS Texas Holdings. Hans’ announcement says that plans to celebrate the bar’s last month in action will be announced soon. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of Hans’s Bier Haus:  Swamplot inbox

06/15/16 12:45pm

2332 Bissonnet St., Greenbriar, Houston, 77005

On Monday afternoon a reader caught part of the smash-and-drag action at 2332 Bissonnet St., right next to Kay’s Lounge. That’s part of the exterior staircase of the 2-story retail-residential structure lying curled up in the foreground; a remaining member of the bar’s shrinking entourage of smaller structures can be spotted peeking around the fence on the right.  

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Greenbriar Goodbye
05/25/16 4:45pm

DRINKING AGE RISES TO 23 AT KIRBY ICE HOUSE Kirby Ice House, 3333 Eastside St., Greenway/Upper Kirby, Houston, 77098No-longer-blue Upper Kirby Kirby Ice House announced this morning that it will no longer allow customers younger than 23 into the venue. A message on the company’s Facebook page cites a month and a half of customer feedback since the bar’s opening at 3333 Eastside St., and a need to maintain the venue’s diverse clientele — adding an apology to the segments of that same clientele who areunder 23 (and an invitation to come back in a few years). [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Kirby Ice House

05/09/16 12:30pm

RAVEN TOWER’S TOWER TEMPORARILY CLOSED, BUT THE SHOWS WILL GO ON Raven Tower Bar, 301 North St., Northside, Houston, 77009The blue bar-on-a-stick at the northwest corner of the White Oak Music Hall complex temporarily shut down last week so W2 Development Partners can add more railings and make the space more physically accessible. The elevated 1970s former bachelor pad reopened as a bar and rooftop patio in January, 3 months before the first show on the semi-temporary main stage next door; a set of concrete stairs wrap around the elevator shaft leading up to the main space.  The non-tower sections of the Raven Tower venue, including the downstairs bar and the outdoor patio and performance space, are scheduled to stay open and host concerts as planned. Across the parking lot, White Oak Music Hall has another lawn concert scheduled for tomorrow night. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Raven Tower: Swamplot inbox

04/27/16 10:30am

1836 Polk St., Downtown, Houston, 77002

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:

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Liquoring Up by GRB
04/13/16 5:00pm

Fig & Wasp, 4105 Washington Ave., Rice Military, Houston, 77007

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 Washington will 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.

Rice Military Buzz
04/11/16 5:00pm

Raven Tower Bar, 301 North St., Northside, Houston, 77009

Raven Tower Bar, 301 North St., Northside, Houston, 77009

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:

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Hatching in Near Northside
04/11/16 10:45am

Conservatory Underground Beer Garden & Food Fall, 1010 Prairie, Downtown, Houston, 77002

This latest report over the wireless from Swamplot’s regular tunnel 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:

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In the Conservatory With The Knife
03/23/16 10:30am

TABC Notice at 1916 Baldwin St., Midtown, Houston, 77002

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:

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Taking the Bar on Baldwin
03/14/16 5:00pm

Hughes Hangar, 2811 Washington Ave., Houston, 77007

Hughes Hangar, 2811 Washington Ave., Houston, 77007Hughes 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.

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Weekend Getaway