The Bars of Live! at Bayou Place Are Now Dead! at Bayou Place

Live at Bayou Place, 534 Texas Ave., Downtown Houston

The 4-bar complex upstairs in downtown’s Bayou Place known collectively as Live! at Bayou Place shut down at the end of last month. “Cowboy bar” PBR, Lucie’s Liquors, Shark Bar, and Chapel Spirits had replaced Slick Willie’s Pool Hall and Rocbar in 2011, around the same time the Sundance Cinemas took over the Angelika Film Center spot downstairs in the same building. (Previous upstairs nightspots had included BAR Houston and Whiskey Creek.) The 4 bars took up 18,000 sq. ft. of space, and required a single admission for entry.

A reader notes that Sundance, The Blue Fish, the Bayou Music Center, the Wine Cellar, Hard Rock Cafe, and Italian restaurant Little Napoli are still open in the same building, a 130,000-sq.-ft. entertainment complex carved out of the former Albert Thomas Convention Center almost 17 years ago.

Photo: Shea Serrano

Downtown Shutdowns

14 Comment

  • Sundance is great and go there often. I went a couple weeks ago when it was raining. Had to valet on this side of the center. The clientele going to these places was not the most attractive to bar owners.

    They need to drop the nightlife efforts, unless it was something VERY unique to get a more legitimate crowd. Otherwise turn it into mixed use office space. Would be better for the restaurants in the center.

  • The women that go into these places need lessons on how to appropriately dress for their size. I needed to steam clean my eyes after driving by there coming out of hobby center a few times.

  • This area really needs more options for convenient pre/post theater dining and drinks. We eat at Blue Fish before every Sundance movie, concert, or theater show—and Blue Fish is always hopping because it’s the right price point and you can get in and out quickly. Lots of good options near Market Square, but I don’t want to walk that far in the summer, and I often don’t have time if we’re squeezing in dinner between work and an event. I know some decent restaurants have folded in this complex, but I think something trendy and quick like a wine/tapas bar has the potential to do well.

  • Yeah, the only way that place will work (IMHO) is if they get lots of foot traffic from downtown workers. Unfortunately for those bars, once the folks are off of work and might hit a bar, they’re all clamoring to get out of dodge which is, in all likelihood, not near downtown. Who is going to drive back into downtown and pay for parking or valet to go to a bar, unless they also plan to see a movie?

  • terribly designed crappy building…another stupid developer building like hes in katy….and look at the end result

  • I’m not gonna say the market is always right, but every bar that has ever occupied that space has been awful and deserved to die.

  • I didn’t even KNOW there were four bars up there.

    I like LaurenK’s thoughts about Blue Fish. Good price point and easy. Another restaurant like that could work. Or office space.

  • although I agree the complex has run it’s realtively short lifespan, when it was developed downtown was still a complete ghost town and you had to have an anchoring complex in order to get folks to go anywhere down there. i’d imagine that with the revitalization of main st. this just isn’t a good location for bars anymore and may not be ever again.

  • One component which hinders downtown night life or activity is the tunnel system. Hey, it is great if you work downtown. The problem is that it closes at 5-6 and all of that retail and food is no longer available. I think that placing all of that retail and food underground and out of reach of night folks has to have some impact on generating revenue.

  • I go to the Sundance all the time, and had no idea there were bars upstairs. I’ve never seen any signs (or signs of life) suggesting they exist.

    I find it equally amazing that the Hard Rock has outlasted everything else there. Out of all the bar/restaurant offerings that have come and gone, it has the worst food and service, yet it stays in business. I guess the brand has enough recognition that it gets regular business from out of towners.

  • Not sure if you’re aware, elseed, but Bayou Place is housed in what used to be the Albert Thomas Convention Center (named for the congressman who brought NASA to Houston). The complex was built in 1967. If you look at old photos, you can see the structure still retains much of its original character.

  • Sorry …. a “City Streets” type of bar grouping just won’t work without free parking.

  • I don’t know what it is about Bayou Place that attracts businesses which tend to serve up crappy food along with crappy service, but that has been the trend so far. The Sundance Theater seems to be an exception.

    Most of the clientele of the restaurants and bars in the area are usually grabbing a quick bite to eat and drink prior to going to a show at one of the 7-8 venues in the area. They want decent food and service for a decent price.

  • Right, Katherine, Bayou Place has History Chops (I just invented that) and I’m glad it is how it is.

    I’ve seen only 2 shows at Bayou Place – The Flatlanders and The Led Zeppelin Light Show. Other than that, the movie theater (orig. Angelika, now Sundance) has been the Go-To cinema for many films shown nowhere else!

    The sushi place is good but crazy-over-priced.
    I feel the place is mecca to a certain, excitable crowd. Saw a fist fight over a girl is screaming pink hot-pants and stilettos, a verbal alteration over which limo was next to enter the driveway.
    I consider it a fast-walk-in, fast-walk-out venue, where I haven’t been lingering to sample the businesses…