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
02/16/16 9:15am

2930 Kenross St., Houston, 77043

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?

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Welcome to the Jungle
01/27/16 11:30am

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.

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Hosed on W. Alabama
01/26/16 10:30am

St. Theresa The Little Flower Thrift Shop, 5334 Washington Ave, Rice Military, Houston, 77007

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”.

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Little Flower Going Wild
01/25/16 12:30pm

Blue Mercury, 2506 University Blvd., Rice Village, Houston, 77005

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:

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University Redo