Why Scott Gertner’s Skybar Is Leaving the Montrose Sky

WHY SCOTT GERTNER’S SKYBAR IS LEAVING THE MONTROSE SKY Gertner says he’s now interested in opening up a new club somewhere near the Galleria. A company out of Waco called FH Properties bought the 10-story office building at 3400 Montrose that serves as a podium for the Skybar in February. After that, the bar owner and Grammy nominee tells the Chronicle‘s Joey Guerra, everything went downhill: “About five months ago, the building was purchased in auction. We tried over the past months to work out a new lease, but they kept putting me off saying they didn’t know what they were going to do. I started to see that the building was being neglected – even to the point that my staff would walk the entire four-story parking garage and lobby to clean it ourselves after the nightclub was closed — wipe the windows, clean the elevators, everything that my prior lease included that was the responsibility of the landlord. Big, orange, neon City of Houston stickers started to appear on all doors listing the permits were outdated. We had several visits from the fire marshal about the building and even thought they were going to shut it down two weeks ago. Nothing like closing us down on the second biggest holiday of the year. Skybar was always one of the best venues to view fireworks on the fourth of July.” [Peep; previously on Swamplot]

32 Comment

  • Ah, gotta love absentee landlords. It’s a shame that Skybar has to end like this, but that building was a disaster waiting to happen BEFORE the current neglect. Hopefully Mr. Gertner can find another unique top-floor location to give his new place the ambiance he had at the Montrose location.

  • Nicely put, but I can tell you what comes around goes around and everyone’s time comes.
    The man is a jerk and so is his friend Mitch.

  • The man is a jerk and so is his friend Mitch.
    _____________________________

    Most people consider club owners jerks. Usually when they’ve been bounced out of the club. You don’t seem to say why you believe Scott is a jerk. So one will assume…

    The real jerk is the fire marshal closing down one of the best places to watch the fireworks around the entire city on the 4th of July the day before the 4th of July.

    This no doubt the same fire marshal who suddenly decided Wilshire Village was an “imminent threat” to tenants and shut it down as well so to speak.

  • Scott had to know they weren’t going to renew leases. M2M on the ground floor knew this and that’s why the moved across the street.

  • I did due diligence on this building a few years ago for the prior owners (The Ali Brothers). It was in pretty bad shape back then. The chilled water system was byzantine and the egress (especially from the Skybar) was not anywhere near complying with code. The garage needed work and had headroom problems on the ramps. For re-purposing, 3400 Montrose actually laid out well into residential or a hotel. I thought that given the limited parking situtation that they should give the Skybar the boot and convert the building to rental apartments. The structural bay depths and the continuous glazing on each floor laid out nicely, and the garage was almost the perfect size for this. Of course the entire building would have to be gutted in the process to accomplish any major update to the building. I swore I would never go into the Skybar again when I saw how unsafe the egress would be in a fire.

  • Scott had to know they weren’t going to renew leases…
    _______________________

    Something tells me this has nothing to do with a lease.

    I bet you voted for Annise Parker…

  • It would be really nice if they could fix this place up. It has the best terraces with the best view that I know of in Houston.

  • It’s time to give Montrose a renewed modern flair….inclusive of that enjoy good sound, lights and fun.

  • Another charming piece of Houston’s past now lies helpless in the path of the ubiquitous wrecking ball!
    I am truly amazed that they haven’t included a wrecking ball on Houston’s official seal!
    Will this city ever outgrow its adolescent
    love of puerile fads and newness for its own sake enough to properly honor and care for the monuments of our past?

  • from Scott Gertner:

    I appreciate all the comments and memories that eveyone has shared through this website, Facebook and The Houston Chronicle. I didn’t realize that I would start being a target for a few. I wouldn’t wish ill on anyone even when their fate had already been been decided. I thought I had the most unique venue in the city and am proud of having kept up the tradition that this great location offered. Well, this is an end of an era for many including myself when i used to perform there when it was Cody’s. I’ll report again if there are any new developments.

    To Matt Mystery: I don’t have a friend named Mitch.

  • From Kevin W. Stewart:
    Nicely put, but I can tell you what comes around goes around and everyone’s time comes.
    The man is a jerk and so is his friend Mitch.

    ________________________

    It was Kevin W. Stewart who called you a jerk. To which I responded:

    “Most people consider club owners jerks. Usually when they’ve been bounced out of the club. You don’t seem to say why you believe Scott is a jerk. So one will assume…”

    I assume Kevin is the jerk. Not you.

  • To: Matt Mystery, my appologies…… Not used to this blogging stuff so I read it wrong.

    To Gus Allen: I didn’t know of your website prior to Wednesday but I really have enjoyed reading the articles. I will now add this to my daily bookmarks

  • So sad to see the club shutting down. It has been a Houston icon. I live around the corner and over the years have noticed how poorly the building is being kept..very sad. I can see them wanting to tear it down to build another luxery apt building. Best of luck to you, Scott.

  • Scott, I recognize and appreciate your talent but
    am not upset that you all are moving out. The
    clientele that your club has attracted to our neighborhood over the years has been a real challenge. From people urinating on the sidewalks, parking in owners’ driveways and having sex in their cars, etc., I for one (including our neighboorhood association), will be glad this ‘chapter’ of ‘Houston history’ will be over.

    As for the building, there is nothing historical about it that I am aware of. The building is ugly,
    old, and needs to be torn down. As you move to a new location, I would suggest you attempt to connect with and assist the neighborhood around you to make sure you help maintain the peace and safety of the area. By working together, you can show that you are aware and care about the area in which your livelihood is based.

  • I’ll concede the point that the building on Montrose is not especially “beautiful,” and not being an architect, I can only venture a guess that it is a classic example of 1950′s
    architectural style, and hence of some historical importance – if that means anything in this rootless Alphaville of a city!
    I know for a fact that I would rather look at that old building any day of the week than look at the grotesque and ridiculous parodies of European Belle Epoque buildings which now litter the Montrose landscape.
    At least the old building knows what it is!

  • I’ve never been to the bar but that’s because I don’t typically frequent them. I do however, drive by this building frequently and believe it to be an eyesore and hope that they raze it.

  • From people urinating on the sidewalks, parking in owners’ driveways and having sex in their cars, etc., I for one (including our neighboorhood association), will be glad this ‘chapter’ of ‘Houston history’ will be over.

    _____________________________

    And no doubt in about a week you’ll be blaming someone else for the people urinating on the sidwalks…etc.

    I walk every night, mainly to help with my hypertension rather than trolling for S&M tricks as Melanie suggests, and believe me the problem is NOT the customers of Skybar. Going west of Montrose is not “walking friendly” and it has nothing to do with the customers of Skybar.

    No doubt you’re another one suffering from “Southampton Syndrome.”

    There’s been a club on top of the building for 40 years. Drive around before you buy instead of just assuming you will be able to dictate what will and will not be in the neighborhood. Even if it was there before you were.

    Some of you really just need to move to West U or First Colony or Woodlands or if you can afford it to the Villages.

  • The clientele at Sky Bar always struck me as yuppie African Americans? They’re not your problem. (well, unless you think they don’t fit the neighborhood)

  • Hey please don’t send them to First Colony, lol, it is a nice place to live. We live out in the suburbs and enjoyed going to Scott Gertner’s Sky Bar from time to time. The guy at the front door always remembered me (sorry I can’t remember his name) and we always had a fun time. I never saw any of the things above going on and never had a problem inside the club. You know there are some people you just can’t make happy, and many of them make comments and posts on sites like this. I have never made a comment before but just wanted to tell Scott we always had a great time there!

  • Scott, my single friends and I have always enjoyed your club. After getting married, my husband and I always enjoyed it as well as all of our friends who came into town. Please, please re-open somewhere in this beautiful city and I promise we will be there to support you! Thanks for the memories! BTW, one of my best friends met her husband there!

  • Just don’t open along Washington Avenue…you can’t compete. Go Uptown….I agree with Brett above – bar clientele ruin neighborhoods and bar owners could care less. They want there money and when the clientel move on so do the bars (hopefully sooner than later).

  • I dont know what really happened BUT, I had great memories at the Skybar….RIP Skybar and Take a bow Scott Gertner.. I had some of the greatest memories there.Ladies Night 2004-2007. We must admit the club began to not be so great in the past year…but there will never be another like it…Ello and The Horn can try…but nothing can compete with the ORIGINAL SKYBAR.The sky bar was the safest clubs in Houston. TRUST ME…open another SKYBAR and everyone will be back.

  • Im currently in a wack club using my mobile!!Thats so true the sky bar was a cool spot for single people…It just felt so damn safe…I will miss u all Tony..Kevin..Kelly the bathroom lady and that dance floor…seriously this is a lost Scott…but I know business is business.Please announce a grand opening of a new Skybar..We will all be there..all of the couples who met there and are now married and the sinlges who have enjoyed that place for years.gosh I got a lot of numbers there.lol.Did the Sports bar close too…OMG

  • Thank you for the wonderful support – yes, the sport bar is still boomin’ – no, i will not relocate my new concept in a residential area.

    From Newb & Brett:
    “bar owners could care less. They want there money”
    ———————————————————————————–
    i consider myself a business owner which provides live entertainment. if ever there was an issue with a neighbor i always responded personally and gave them my personal number to call me anytime, day or night. as far as “could care less”, i performed at many top charities to help raise hundreds of millions of dollars, responded to every worthwhile cause (schools, cancer, MS, church fundraisers, HPD fundraisers, etc.) that was sent my way and the skybar paid $300,000 – $350,000 a year in state taxes just from that one locaton. if there any other issues that pertain to me, my email address is accessable on the website and i will repond.

  • Dear Scott Gertner,

    I am personally going to miss the Sky Bar. I relocated here from Wisconsin and was introduced to your venue shortly after arriving. That was in 2001. Ever since then the Sky Bar was my favorite place to frequent. It was a guaranteed good time! Whenever I had family or friends in town for a visit your place was first on my list. After they visited and returned to there respected homes your name came up in conversations. “I love the Sky Bar”…. is what I heard all the time from those I introduced to your club. I miss you and I hope you return. Your club was a Houston Landmark. Even in my travels abroad I met people who visited your club. Seriously! You had a gemstone so please continue on. I will support you and I know others will also. Much love to you and all you desire.

  • Dear scott, i moved to london for work but was a regular at sky bar (it being my favourite place and all) before i left and after two years away am coming back to houston beginning of september. Any one who knows me has been hearing me going on and on about hitting skybar as soon i arrive…only to read that you closed down and am just devasted!!i read about you having a sports bar but it doesnt seem to have the same vibe..do u know when you will open up a new venue and can anyone reading this including scott please tell me where to go hang out since am having company visiting houston for the first time and i was planning to take them to sky bar..now i simply dont know where to take them..do u know of any places as nice with a classy vibe and classy dress codes etc that i can go to and take my guests without getting disappointed or getting embarrased? am so gonna miss sky bar..thank you scott.let your fans know when u do open up that new venue..much love..

  • Sure miss the personnel there, great service. Where did Kelly & staff go i want to follow them.

  • I just want to put in my .25c (inflation you know). I had visited SkyBar many times, never a dull moment. My most memorable visit was in April 2006. I was employed by a local contractor at the time, working in Iraq. For my 1st R&R back to the states, the only place I wanted to go was SkyBar. I e-mailed Kelly (I think) from Al Asad airbase and gave her my story of being in the warzone and wanting to come to the club for my first taste of relaxation and unwind.
    I fully explained I was not military personnel only civilian. I wasn’t a Platinum Member (which I respected those who were) but she honored my request for a table without hesitation. She even had the table close to the stage. It’s employees like that who take the extra step further. It makes for a repeat customer.
    I not anyone special who needs to be recognized when they walk into a room, I’m just a customer. My hats off to you Mr. Gertner and your staff. They are what makes a business sucessful, as in your case. Please don’t lose that insight.
    There will never be another SkyBar, sad to say, similar maybe. But it was truly one-of-a-kind. And your talent as an entertainer is immeasureable. May you have a good life and sucess in whatever you do.
    Scott P.

  • I am a Dallas business owner, but I maintained a Houston presence at 3400 Montrose in the mid 90s. I drove by the building this past weekend (12/11/10) and was sad to see that it was dark, empty and the garage has apparently been fenced shut. Yes, the building is old and quaint, but a facelift rather than a tear down might help preserve a piece of Montrose history. I have no idea when the building was erected, but I used to walk the halls wondering who had gone there before me in years past and what the building must have been like in its heyday.

  • Wow im sitting here reading all the post the sky bar sounded like a nice place.. Im doing security here now and since I been here ppl still think its open had a fella come by on wednesday night.. And some ladies drove from galveston last week and just now a group of ppl came up said they drove from katy…. Damn on a thursday oh well hope u open up a club soon..

  • Ok I loved the Skybar too. Been going there back when it was Cody’s. The question is…WHEN IS THE NEW SKY BAR GOING TO OPEN. Thought I would be bringing in 2012 there. Give us a hint Scott!

  • I’m a fan of Scott’s since the late 70′s Cody’s days. My most memorable experience is when, on a rainy Sunday night, in a now defunct club (Midtown Live), Scott played nothing but slow bluesy tunes the whole night. It was trance-like. As for 3400, I loved the views of the DT lights, but found the parking lot and building creepy. I thought the import shop and other sundry businesses made for a strange fit. And no doubt, with all the alcohol on the 10th floor, a fire would have been horrific. Towards the end, I had two experiences when I expected a Scott show only to find out midway through the 2nd set that Scott would not appear. No explanations from the hostesses, just not happening. His back-up group played well, but was anti-climatic. All things considered, Scott is a unique showman and I hope his pipes hold up for as long as he chooses to use them.