07/19/17 1:30pm

The self-styled “House of a Million Parts” at 1225 Sawyer St. once known as Johnny Frank’s Auto Parts Company was torn to pieces last summer. Freshly applied to the chain-link fence surrounding the now-vacant lot: a new TABC notice, announcing to passers-by that an establishment named the Sawyer Ice House is hoping to sling cocktails on the premises before too long. The land is across the road from those arted-up rice silos on Sawyer St., which are across Edwards St. from the Shops at Sawyer Yards. It appears to be another of the projects in that neck of the woods that trace back to Lovett Commercial, which is working on parking lots and a slew of other developments in the area as well. Here’s what Sawyer Ice House might look like, per what appears to be the bar’s new save-the-name Facebook page:


Car Lot Reincarnation
06/28/17 12:45pm

BOBCAT TEDDY MAY BE HEADED TO JIMMY’S ICE HOUSE A new business name has just been registered  for the White Oak Dr. address of Jimmie’s Place, which claims to have held the spot for some 75 years (though under the variant Jimmy’s for at least part of that). The actually-used-to-sell-ice ice house was sold early this year to serial redeveloper Braun Enterprises, with some sideline speculation that an up-to-code remodel of the 1940s space might prove prohibitively expensive. But city records show an electrical plan review process kicked off in March; the name Bobcat Teddy’s Ice House was registered for the spot early last week.  [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of Jimmy’s at 2803 White Oak Dr.: David Richmond/Houston Ice House

06/07/17 12:00pm

BAYOU-SIDE PSEUDO-ICE-HOUSE IDEA CATCHING ATTENTION OF HOUSTON PARKS BOARD A tidbit tucked away at the bottom of Jen Kinney’s piece for Next City this week on architect and ice-house aficionado David Richmond’s speculative plan to put vaguely-ice-house-esque pavilion structures along Brays Bayou: the Houston Parks Board folks want to hear more about the idea. Richmond confirms to Swamplot that a meeting with some HPB reps did take place on Monday, and that the Bayou Greenways planners are interested in ways to attract more activity along the bayous, eventually — but says that the meetup was mostly to make introductions, and reiterates that there’s “nothing specific or formalized to report” at the moment. [Next City; previously on Swamplot] Rendering showing pavilion structure along Brays Bayou: David Richmond

05/24/17 4:45pm

6 MOCK ICE HOUSES FOR BRAYS BAYOU, AS PROPOSED BY THAT GUY WHO TAKES PHOTOS OF HOUSTON ICE HOUSES That massively expanded greenway network is all well and good, suggests architect and icehouse photographer-philosopher David Richmond in the Chronicle today — but bayouside trails are a lot better at getting people from up and down the waterways to run right past one another than they are at getting the same folks to mix or hang out. Richmond offers a suggestion to change that: a design for a boxy, glassy pavilion structure loosely inspired by the shape of, and what he argues is the historic social function of, Houston’s icehouses — namely, as a stand-in for the kind of town squares that he says most of Houston doesn’t really have. Richmond proposes sticking the same square design in 6 different spots along Brays Bayou, with each structure’s range of possible uses (from flea markets and coffee shops to movie nights and wedding receptions) being tailored to fit the surrounding area. [Houston Chronicle] Speculative rendering of pavilion structure along Brays Bayou: David Richmond

02/22/17 5:30pm

BRAD MOORE AND FRIENDS SNATCH EMPTY BODY OF INVASION ICE HOUSE Invasion Ice House, 823 Dumble St., Eastwood, Houston, 77023 Formerly apostrophe-averse Grand Prize co-owner Brad Moore and his business partners have a new bar now up and running in the work-out-the-kinks, wait-for-the-liquor-license phase. The business, operating under the syllable-rich name Lil’ Danny Speedo’s Go Fly a Kite Lounge, has taken over the space in the 1950s building at 823 Dumble St. (shown here as seen early last year in its then-new alien mural skin). Danny Speedo’s is the latest link in a long chain of bars on the property — most recently including Invasion Ice House, which the Ramos family opened last spring before shutting it down at the end of October. Phaedra Cook reports that Lil’ Danny Speedos is limiting the alcohol menu to beer, wine, and frozen shandies until the liquor permit comes through. [Houston Foodfinder; previously on Swamplot] Photo of former Invasion Ice House at 823 Dumble St.: Swamplot inbox

01/27/17 9:30am

DECADES-OLD JIMMY’S ICE HOUSE ON WHITE OAK DR. TO TURN BRAUN, CHANGE NAME, TENANTS Jimmy's Ice House, 2803 White Oak Dr., Houston Heights, Houston, 77007 The current owners of Jimmy’s Ice House at the corner of White Oak Dr. and Threlkeld St. are in the middle of working out a sales agreement with serial redeveloper Braun Enterprises, Jim Reynolds reports this week. The late eponymous Jimmie Murray opened the place back in the late 1940s; the bar is currently owned by a group including Jimmie’s son’s widow. Current co-owner Eric Quinn says the likely plan is for Braun to lease the space out to a new tenant, who definitely won’t use the Jimmy’s Ice House name; he also notes that various grandfathered building code violations mean remodeling may be prohibitively expensive. Jimmy’s Ice House sits across Threlkeld from the Studewood BB’s Cafe, and across White Oak Dr. from the South Heights Retail Center, near both Fitzgerald’s and Christian’s Tailgate. The -ie to -y swap looks to have happened around the time the current owners bought the place in 2008, as part of the signage switch from Jimmie’s Place. [The Leader] Photo of Jimmy’s Ice House at 2803 White Oak Dr.: David Richmond/Houston Ice House

08/22/16 1:30pm

Buffalo Fred's Ice House, 2708 N. Shepherd Dr., Houston Heights, Houston, 77008

Buffalo Fred's Ice House, 2708 N. Shepherd Dr., Houston Heights, Houston, 77008After a month or so on the market at $3.75 million, the asking price on Buffalo Fred’s Ice House has dropped by half a million as of early last week. The 37,500 sq.ft. property, positioned right across the northern boundary of the potentially moistening Heights dry zone at 2708 N. Shepherd Dr., sits a few blocks north of the ongoing culinary redevelopment zone near the recent Fiesta Mart breakup. The HAR sales listing notes that leasing the space is an option (and a matching LoopNet leasing listing has been added for the property in the last few weeks).

The listing claims the early-1980s ice house is now running on a month-to-month lease; the bar building is up for grabs along with the 2,100-sq.-ft. building formerly occupied by Speedy Cycle Lube (on the right hand side, both above and below):


Room to Roam in Houston Heights
08/16/16 5:00pm

KAY’S LOUNGE CLOSING IN LESS THAN 3 WEEKS Kay's Lounge, 2324 Bissonnet St., Rice Village, Houston, 77005Perennial oldest-bar-in-Houston contender Kay’s Lounge, at 2324 Bissonnet St., is closing forever on September 3rd, per a reader’s telling (and a corroborating Facebook post from the bar itself) . The land the bar sits on was bought more than a year ago by a corporate entity using the same address as townhome-slash-mansion builder Frasier Homes in sales docs filed with the county. The bar has been leasing its space back from the new owners since then; a few of the bar’s 1940s companion structures, bought up by the same entity, met their end earlier this summer. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of Kay’s Lounge at 2324 Bissonnet St.: Thomas C.

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

03/21/16 10:15am

MEDITATIONS ON HOUSTON’S ICEHOUSES FROM THE GUY WHO STARTED PHOTOGRAPHING THEM LAST YEAR Bubba's Texas Burger Shack, 5230 Westpark Dr., Gulfton, Houston, 77056What patterns have emerged to recent architecture grad David Richmond, roughly 7 months and 40 Shiners in on a year-long project to document Houston’s icehouses? Garage doors, and an embrace of Houston’s outside environment: Richmond writes that the icehouses’ “permanent openness inverts the last 50 years of Houston living — hot days are hot, ugly streets are visible, bad smells can linger, and humidity can ruin your day. The garage door becomes a way of existing in your location for what it is that day at that moment. The city is no longer an image through a window but a physical space.” Richmond plans to turn the project into a book; you can follow along on Twitter here. [Houston Chronicle, OffCite] Photo of Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack, between the Westpark Tollway overpass and US 59: Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack

05/08/13 3:15pm

A new version of the D&T Drive Inn opened up late last week, Eater Houston reports. Tucked away in Brooke Smith between bungalows brandishing Houston Texans paraphernalia at 1307 Enid St. just south of W. Cavalcade, the long-time ice house was spruced up and expanded by Down House owner Chris Cusack. Though this photo makes parking appear — well, tight, even if that Dumpster’s eventually moved, a map on D&T’s website shows that there will be a lot available along W. Cavalcade between Enid and Cordell.

Photo: Allyn West

01/05/10 4:36pm

Attorney and real estate investor Scott Arnold tells the Chronicle‘s Harvey Rice he’s got a new idea for the pier site of Galveston’s Balinese Room, famously washed away by Hurricane Ike:

Arnold is considering filling the Balinese Room’s spot on the sea wall with an icehouse made of shipping containers topped with a pavilion formed of steel masts, sails and canopies. He calls the concept America’s Icehouse.

Arnold intends to rebuild the Balinese, possibly inland, but he’s not sure when. “I’ve got a busy life,” Arnold says. “I’ve got to clear enough space out of it to start that project.”

When he does, he intends to be faithful to the original decor.

Arnold says he’s already renegotiated the property’s lease with the General Land Office, and that it now covers 130 ft. of beach frontage.

Photo of Former Balinese Room site at 21st St. and Seawall Blvd.: Flickr user still_crazy