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Downtown Restaurant and Bar Scene - More Coming


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On 8/31/2020 at 11:14 PM, H-Town Man said:

 

This is a shame, after we'd finally taken off for the first time in decades. Although I guess looking on the bright side it is lucky we did take off before the pandemic hit, because people will remember what was possible downtown and will come back looking for it in the future. If a pandemic had hit back in 2017 or so, all those new apartments would be empty and the downtown renaissance would have been stillborn.

 

On a different note, I was in Denver a couple weeks ago and their downtown is doing just fine. 16th Street had plenty of people walking along and sitting at restaurants, the wine bars on Larimer Square had plenty of people, and the free trolley on 16th was mostly full at night. Houston's got a long way to go.

 

Know what might help likely the Downtown Houston core? 

Closing down the sparsely used singular vehicle lanes on Main St and turning the ENTIRE 2.5 mile stretch, from Buffalo Bayou to the Ion Innovation District, into a pedestrian thoroughfare like Denver’s 16th St Promenade.

Main St has a lot of promise with the bar district to the north in Market Sq, the CBD and Main St Sq, multi family units springing up in South Downtown, Midtown Park and Caydon’s multiple condo buildings going up, MATCH/Ensemble Theater with Mid Main, and the Ion Innovation District with Wheeler Station (and soon a Freeway Deck Park over trenched 59). The single vehicular lane of Main St traffic isn’t needed considering commuter streets parallel it on both sides and Rail impedes left turns on Main. Get rid of it. It does this city no good and there are much better ways to get the full potential of Main St for the betterment of this city’s future.

On 11/18/2020 at 1:15 PM, cspwal said:

The city council approved a plan to temporarily close off main street between Commerce and Rusk for use as outdoor seating for the restaurants and bars on main street.

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/transportation/article/Houston-OKs-plan-to-let-downtown-bars-15736736.php

 

 

 

Here's the relative agenda item: https://houston.novusagenda.com/agendapublic/CoverSheet.aspx?ItemID=21005&MeetingID=453

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
2 hours ago, BeerNut said:

Would be awesome if they would close off from MidMain to downtown Friday evening through Sunday.  

Where would the poorly driven ubers drop people off at?!!? 

Pre-pandemic it was wild to me how many uber drivers weren't familiar with downtown and would try to drive right up to the main street to drop people off. I had two drivers mid 2019-early 2020 go the wrong way on one way streets in midtown.

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1 hour ago, X.R. said:

Where would the poorly driven ubers drop people off at?!!? 

They not doing the drop off/pickup zones anymore? https://cityofhouston.news/city-of-houston-to-pilot-pick-up-drop-off-zones-in-downtowns-historic-district/

Also, Downtown District replied and said that Little Dipper patio will open on Friday and two more in the next few weeks. Restaurants do have to get TABC approval to serve out there evidently, so maybe a paperwork issue.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

So Shay McElroy's appears to be next up with the seating on Main Street.  They are going more permanent than Little Dipper and have a full raised 2X4 deck built so far.

Also, the long-abandoned 309 Travis spot (between Warren's and the new CRU lounge) has been fully gutted and they are starting up something inside.  No clue what yet.

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On 4/21/2021 at 2:08 PM, kbates2 said:

So Shay McElroy's appears to be next up with the seating on Main Street.  They are going more permanent than Little Dipper and have a full raised 2X4 deck built so far.

Also, the long-abandoned 309 Travis spot (between Warren's and the new CRU lounge) has been fully gutted and they are starting up something inside.  No clue what yet.

I think the city will close Main to Midtown very soon

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On 4/22/2021 at 3:39 PM, j_cuevas713 said:

I think the city will close Main to Midtown very soon

The city should abandon Main St to vehicular traffic from Commerce to Ion District and Wheeler Station. The single lane with restricted turns is useless to traffic, especially with wide transit corridor streets paralleling Main St on both sides. 

The Midtown District had a nice idea of converting one lane to bike lane, the other into an expanded pedestrian promenade. 

 

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Yeah, I think this is one of the few streets most driver's couldn't care much about.  Unlike closing the Spur access in Midtown, which got a lot of resistance from drivers and local business, I don't think any driver will care because no one uses that street to go anywhere fast. And so few businesses, if any, use Main street as their main entrance/access point (the Hotels, maybe?). 

Pre-Covid people walked in the street for those three blocks of Main where the bars are anyway, making traffic miserable. These bars are going to need the street space real soon when more people get vaxxed and all of a sudden every person over 21 will be wanting to get a drink again at a bar. Its already sort of happening, which is why we're seeing Pastry War re-open finally. Big fan of all of this.

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On 5/4/2021 at 11:44 AM, tigereye said:

108 Main (formerly Cottonmouth Club) will be a new nightclub from the owner of Etro. The name will be Pris. 

Ugh, I guess Mike Raymond is out of the bar business now. He and Steve sold their interests in Reserve 101 about a year ago. (Mike Raymond and Mike Neff (?) owned Cottonmouth)

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  • 4 months later...

New coffee shop and wine bar lands in Downtown Houston

A new cafe in Downtown Houston is now open, serving up locally-roasted coffee, Belgian waffles, and wines from South America.

3 Fibs Coffee & Wine is a project from Michael Caplan, who co-founded Siphon Coffee in the Montrose, and Tim Leyden, the mind behind EaDough Waffles. The cafe will serve waffles by day, alongside coffee roasted by Cleo Roasting Co, (also owned by Caplan), and will transition to a wine bar at night, complete with charcuterie boards and wine from Mexico and South America. 

According to CultureMap, the name 3 Fib refers to the dubious newspaper ad the Allen Brothers placed in 1836 offering land for sale in Houston. The cafe sits directly across from Allen’s Landing, known as the site where the city was founded.

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  • 4 months later...

There looks to be a new restaurant or bar called "Bunga Low" where Live sports bar was at Main and Preston. There is some build-out happening in the opposite corner of the building too, but I don't know if it's part of the space since I never went inside live when it was open. 2nd floor patio looks re-done as well. 

PXL_20220205_205315834.NIGHT.jpg

Edited by jermh
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I also noticed new doors and work being done on the old TOC bar building (101 Travis across from Bayou Lofts) a few weeks ago. I asked the owner of One Arm Scissor up the block if he knew what was going in there, and he thought it was another bar.

PXL_20220113_235915470.jpg

Edited by jermh
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The District Bistro (Texas and Main) has re-opened as the District Market - and now is a pretty stocked mini-grocery store with a premium version of just about every pantry staple, along with a freezer and fridge section.  Great alternative to the "What can I get at CVS?" option for the neighborhood.

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  • 3 weeks later...
18 minutes ago, j_cuevas713 said:

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/food-culture/restaurants-bars/article/Downtown-s-Jackson-Street-BBQ-closes-after-8-16991784.php

They chose not to renew their lease with Jim Crane who owns the property. The owner said he expects Crane to level the property. 

Also in that article:   the resurrection of his [Floyd's] El Real Tex-Mex brand which will open a breakfast and lunch restaurant in the downtown tunnel system at 1100 Louisiana later this month. The new El Real will serve a menu drawn from bestsellers from the restaurant that once ruled on Westheimer in Montrose. Coming in June on the street level at 1100 Louisiana will be Floyd’s Real Agave Lounge, an upscale bar with its own food menu.

Edited by Houston19514
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  • 1 month later...
1 hour ago, rechlin said:

Not really a restaurant/bar, though it provided easy access to some of the restaurants in the tunnels, but the CVS at Main Street Square closed about a week ago.  Signage is all gone already too.

April 4 was the last day, according to the manager I spoke with a couple of days earlier. 

There was an (un)helpful sign on the door for a couple of weeks: "We're closing!  Your prescriptions will be moved to ________________."  The line was never filled in.  Glad I wasn't counting on that CVS!

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22 hours ago, editor said:

April 4 was the last day, according to the manager I spoke with a couple of days earlier. 

There was an (un)helpful sign on the door for a couple of weeks: "We're closing!  Your prescriptions will be moved to ________________."  The line was never filled in.  Glad I wasn't counting on that CVS!

As I recall, the sign facing the inside of the door was filled in with a location, but the sign facing outside was not.  I thought it was strange, too.

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On 4/19/2022 at 1:27 PM, Nate99 said:

That block is looking rough. The old Payless Shoes location, Bombay Pizza, the Dollar store that burned and now the CVS are empty. The AT&T/Verizon store might be gone too.   

I won't cry if the phone store goes, but you're right — rough.  The whole of Main Street looks rough.  Some day when I have time, I'll walk the length of it and count the vacant storefronts.

A couple of days ago, I walked past a couple of tourists trying to figure out the new touch screen on the corner of Main and Rusk.  One tourist said to the other, "Where's this world-famous underground mall?"

I'd like to know that, too.

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5 hours ago, editor said:

I won't cry if the phone store goes, but you're right — rough.  The whole of Main Street looks rough.  Some day when I have time, I'll walk the length of it and count the vacant storefronts.

A couple of days ago, I walked past a couple of tourists trying to figure out the new touch screen on the corner of Main and Rusk.  One tourist said to the other, "Where's this world-famous underground mall?"

I'd like to know that, too.

I'd submit that it may be the world's most dispersed mall food court with full recognition of the current state of malls considered.   Shame we never had a corn dog place. 

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14 hours ago, Nate99 said:

I'd submit that it may be the world's most dispersed mall food court with full recognition of the current state of malls considered.   Shame we never had a corn dog place. 

No corn dogs, but the greasy spoon under 1001 McKinney makes a fine basic hamburger.

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On 4/21/2022 at 9:22 AM, editor said:

I won't cry if the phone store goes, but you're right — rough.  The whole of Main Street looks rough.  Some day when I have time, I'll walk the length of it and count the vacant storefronts.

A couple of days ago, I walked past a couple of tourists trying to figure out the new touch screen on the corner of Main and Rusk.  One tourist said to the other, "Where's this world-famous underground mall?"

I'd like to know that, too.

I was in town last weekend, took the family to a baseball game. If it hadn't been for Astros fans, I'm not sure there would have been anyone at all downtown. I don't really understand why either; I've all but forgotten that there ever was a pandemic but I guess some people haven't. Went to Underground Hall for dinner and it was packed, great atmosphere. Went to Discovery Green on Sunday after church and was impressed by how the trees had grown and how good everything looked. Think it will look amazing when the new Skanska building defines the rest of its border. 

Then walked down McKinney and the renovated Houston Center area looked pretty sad, with the half-hearted renovation of the Park Shops looking even sadder. Walked up Fannin - instead of Main for once - and was impressed by the architecture. It's not such a bad street, Fannin. Some pretty fine buildings. Perhaps someday it will be something.

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17 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

I was in town last weekend, took the family to a baseball game. If it hadn't been for Astros fans, I'm not sure there would have been anyone at all downtown. I don't really understand why either; I've all but forgotten that there ever was a pandemic but I guess some people haven't. Went to Underground Hall for dinner and it was packed, great atmosphere. Went to Discovery Green on Sunday after church and was impressed by how the trees had grown and how good everything looked. Think it will look amazing when the new Skanska building defines the rest of its border. 

Then walked down McKinney and the renovated Houston Center area looked pretty sad, with the half-hearted renovation of the Park Shops looking even sadder. Walked up Fannin - instead of Main for once - and was impressed by the architecture. It's not such a bad street, Fannin. Some pretty fine buildings. Perhaps someday it will be something.

This podcast (which I mentioned in another thread) discusses the possibility (although it almost sounded as if the Central Houston guy thinks it is only a matter of time) for tunnel businesses to relocate to the street level to cater to the residential and after-hours population to counter the reduction in the daytime office population and then to reprogram the tunnel space with art installations or other museum-type exhibits.

Looped In Podcast: Interview with Kris Larson and Angie Bertinot of Central Houston on downtown Houston's recovery post-pandemic (houstonchronicle.com)

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56 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

This podcast (which I mentioned in another thread) discusses the possibility (although it almost sounded as if the Central Houston guy thinks it is only a matter of time) for tunnel businesses to relocate to the street level to cater to the residential and after-hours population to counter the reduction in the daytime office population and then to reprogram the tunnel space with art installations or other museum-type exhibits.

Looped In Podcast: Interview with Kris Larson and Angie Bertinot of Central Houston on downtown Houston's recovery post-pandemic (houstonchronicle.com)

I listened to it. If the one bright spot of the pandemic is that it kills the tunnels, that would be something. But I think in certain areas of downtown like the central and western areas, there aren't enough other uses that could lure those shops out, like there are in the northern and eastern areas.

Nonetheless, the guy running Central Houston sounds smart and some of the figures they cited made it sound like downtown is indeed on its way back.

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My unscientific observation is that there are some pockets in the tunnels that seem to be fully "back", but overall, while you always had a lot of turnover in the shops, there are a lot more empty stalls than there were historically with only a handful of new places opening.  I'd guess there will be consolidation with the successful places getting concentrated and fill their empty holes while the other locations find some other alternate use. 

The remaining open/accessible places are doing well, again in spots. The pan-Asian food court under the Jason's Deli at Main/McKinney is frequently jammed as is the expanded space under Pennzoil and the new BofA  building does good business, though a few of the stalls did not reopen after Covid.   Allen Center seems humming along just fine too.

The HC shops are a hot mess, The area around the former Beck's is almost completely dead, and Chase tower is down an Alonti and a pizza shop but up a Brown Bag Deli. 

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2 hours ago, Nate99 said:

My unscientific observation is that there are some pockets in the tunnels that seem to be fully "back", but overall, while you always had a lot of turnover in the shops, there are a lot more empty stalls than there were historically with only a handful of new places opening.  I'd guess there will be consolidation with the successful places getting concentrated and fill their empty holes while the other locations find some other alternate use. 

The remaining open/accessible places are doing well, again in spots. The pan-Asian food court under the Jason's Deli at Main/McKinney is frequently jammed as is the expanded space under Pennzoil and the new BofA  building does good business, though a few of the stalls did not reopen after Covid.   Allen Center seems humming along just fine too.

The HC shops are a hot mess, The area around the former Beck's is almost completely dead, and Chase tower is down an Alonti and a pizza shop but up a Brown Bag Deli. 

All of the Alonti locations downtown have closed up. 

919 Milam is undergoing renovation work, which is why Beck’s Prime and Brown Bag Deli are closed. Neither of their spaces (nor DiMassi’s) has cleared out so they’ll likely reopen after the renovation is done. 
 

From what I’ve seen last year to currently, YES I’d say the tunnels feel like they’re back now, especially in the last few weeks. 

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16 hours ago, tigereye said:

From what I’ve seen last year to currently, YES I’d say the tunnels feel like they’re back now, especially in the last few weeks. 

Back in October, I'd use the tunnels to get around because I don't like being near people.  These days, I'm back on the streets, because the tunnels are packed at peak hours.

I wonder what the traffic numbers are like on some of those tunnels.  There used to be companies that would hire people to sit in lawn chairs with hand clickers and count people walking by.  I wonder if that's still a thing.

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