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Downtown's new problem (Citizens Bank Building - 402 Main)


tigereye

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First off, Im not supposed to let this out....I promised my source.

But after hearing this news, I felt compelled to post it here, seeing as this forum isnt as well known, I feel safe to post it here.

But most importantly, Im all for downtown development and this I feel is a huge loss for the Downtown nightlife/club scene. I feel when I post what I know, most will take me seriously and understand my point of view and offer up ther own insightfull analysis or logical opinion.

In the club promoting industry, the time from January to Spring Break is usually a dry time, when club's see their least business. Reasons vary from cold weather, to school starting back up, to the crowd being simply partied out from the holidays. Of late, Things have been slowing and crowds have been thining downtown. The fear is that alot of smaller downtown clubs will not make it to see Spring Break, something my trusted source ominously confirmed. And when a big Club venue downtown goes down this soon, it will cause gitters downtown for other samller venues, which might cause a few to pull the trigger and pull out of downtown.

The big club I speak of going down is MBar. This is sad for me since majority of my friends work here. It wasnt just a club for me, It was more like going to a frat party and socializing. For the last few years of my life, Ive had some memoriable times here. This place means alot to me and Im truly sadden to hear of its impending demise.

From what Ive been told, it will close before Janurary is out. In fact, Ive even been told that last Saturday night was its Final Night. For Downtown, This means no more MilkShake nights on Thursday nights, which was a huge "celebrity-filled" draw 4 years strong. The same could be said for Saturday's as well. When a smaller venue like Dean's across the street sees another larger neighbor close its doors (Opus close by as well) it does not bode well for the downtown scene.

Can Downtown's nightlife scene survive this dry time? From what I hear, there are going to be alot of vacancies opening up soon where clubs used to be.

Edited by tigereye
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This isn't a new problem. Clubs really have a relatively short life cycle. Downtown's nightlife will not be affected.

I have to agree with this:

Houston has always been a place where bars have a very short shelf life.

Another bar I see going down is "Slainte'" which is my normal hangout before and after the baseball games. It's just not run very well.

Bad management is usually the downfall of a club, but it also has to do with the "trendy-ness" of a place. I can go on as to why this happens, but let's just say it gets old.

The other bars in the area will pick up the slack for those that serve that demographic, if not then its just another bar gone bye-bye.

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M bar had a long run, and Prague before it did as well. Something else will pop up. There is a popular group that promotes their every saturday night, and i havent heard anything about the club closing from them....

Either way, i dont think this is a 'new' problem either, if m bar does close, something else will open it its place.

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The clubs are fewer than they were a couple of years ago. So is the activity. There has also been a real shift in the demographics downtown.

Just know that clubs don't close because the money is pouring in too fast. And a well-run club won't won't close over a couple of slow months, especially when they happen every year.

I'm not saying it's dire. I'm saying it's much less of a hot spot than it was two years ago...which was less than it was two years before that. I don't think this is really an indication of a cycle. Downtown is different. And it's not getting better.

I think it needs some retail and residential to get it back in shape. Perhaps the waning nightlife will help people who are nervous about buying in a primarily nightlife district, bringing more residents and thus more retail. Maybe.

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I'm not saying it's dire. I'm saying it's much less of a hot spot than it was two years ago...which was less than it was two years before that. I don't think this is really an indication of a cycle. Downtown is different. And it's not getting better.

I think it needs some retail and residential to get it back in shape. Perhaps the waning nightlife will help people who are nervous about buying in a primarily nightlife district, bringing more residents and thus more retail. Maybe.

For clubs I would have to disagree. It is definitely cyclical and has been for years. for other businesses like bars/restaurant, clientele is more likely to develop more of an attachment for one reason or another. It could be a certain dish, the people, etc. It is amazing how many people I "know" just because I've been to one place or another. Over time, you realize that it is its own community but everyone lives in different parts of town! I can say that I have many great friends that i've met at places such as Warren's/Charbar/etc.

What is killing the clubs is that owners have been inflating rents for yrs particularly when the rail opened. The inflated property prices should be obvious as little "new" has been built along the rail.

Edited by musicman
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Warren's/Charbar/etc.. will always be around because they don't cater towards the "trendy" crowd. Although 12 Spot did close.

Slainte used to be great, but as Ricco stated, the place has gon downhill...most likely becuase of the way it's managed. I used to visit Slainte 2 -3 times a week a couple of years ago. They had great food and a good bar dowstairs and club upstairs. Now it's just dead.

It looks like downtown is going through a wierd transition phase right now. I think it will pick back up in about a year.

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Warren's/Charbar/etc.. will always be around because they don't cater towards the "trendy" crowd. Although 12 Spot did close.

Slainte used to be great, but as Ricco stated, the place has gon downhill...most likely becuase of the way it's managed. I used to visit Slainte 2 -3 times a week a couple of years ago. They had great food and a good bar dowstairs and club upstairs. Now it's just dead.

It looks like downtown is going through a wierd transition phase right now. I think it will pick back up in about a year.

12 spot catered to the trendy, fickle crowd. that is why it closed.

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12 spot catered to the trendy, fickle crowd. that is why it closed.

I never saw trendy people in 12 Spot (myself included). Actually, I rarely saw a crowd of any kind.

As for bars and clubs closing, it is simply part of the life cycle. They close everywhere, only to be replaced by something else. If rents are too high (and I agree they are), a few empty storefronts will bring them back down. I think downtown will evolve into more casual bars and restaurants as the niteclubs move on to cheaper and trendier locales. The crowds will follow them, replaced by more downtowners and midtowners and sports fans.

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I never saw trendy people in 12 Spot (myself included). Actually, I rarely saw a crowd of any kind.

ahhh..that was YOU! LOL

When it first opened, that is who they catered to because several coworkers asked me to meet them there. They are definitely young urban profs. Kinda the same crowd as the social on Washington. Just not my type of place.

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I think it needs some retail and residential to get it back in shape. Perhaps the waning nightlife will help people who are nervous about buying in a primarily nightlife district, bringing more residents and thus more retail. Maybe.

This is a great post. I honestly believe one of the real reasons that downtown hasn't taken off is that the majority of the loft conversions are RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT CLUB SCENE. This may sound fun at first, but as a homeowner, the novelty wears off quickly. Between the constant weekend noise, the trash, the sketchy scenes, the throwup on the sidwalk, etc... it is truly unappealing.

Now, replace some of these "clubs" with more restaurants, retail, or unique places like an Alamo Drafthouse, and then you'll attract homeowners.

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This is a great post. I honestly believe one of the real reasons that downtown hasn't taken off is that the majority of the loft conversions are RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT CLUB SCENE. This may sound fun at first, but as a homeowner, the novelty wears off quickly. Between the constant weekend noise, the trash, the sketchy scenes, the throwup on the sidwalk, etc... it is truly unappealing.

Now, replace some of these "clubs" with more restaurants, retail, or unique places like an Alamo Drafthouse, and then you'll attract homeowners.

Perhaps but also the street population seems to be rising which is the only thing that makes me uncomfortable because of their aggressiveness. It's hard to park without having someone standing there when you try and open your door.

Edited by musicman
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I agree, there should probably be a nice mix of bars and resturants, but I don't think there is enough support for it quite yet. Once another loft or a highrise <cough>shamrock<cough> gets built, it will offer more people to be able to support the local businesses in the area.

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Perhaps but also the street population seems to be rising which is the only thing that makes me uncomfortable because of their aggressiveness. It's hard to park without having someone standing there when you try and open your door.

Every large city has a small percentage of aggressive pandhandlers. Grow a sack and learn to tell them "no." Better yet, when you head downtown, have some cards on hand that offer them resources. The new center at Christ Church downtown is a good place to tell them to go (they offer counseling, food and shower facilities, clothing, advice on shelters, etc...)

Additionally, if you lived downtown, more often than not, you wouldn't be parking on the street and you wouldn't have to worry about vandalism.

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Every large city has a small percentage of aggressive pandhandlers. Grow a sack and learn to tell them "no." Better yet, when you head downtown, have some cards on hand that offer them resources. The new center at Christ Church downtown is a good place to tell them to go (they offer counseling, food and shower facilities, clothing, advice on shelters, etc...)

Additionally, if you lived downtown, more often than not, you wouldn't be parking on the street and you wouldn't have to worry about vandalism.

most panhandlers aren't the problem. they've been downtown since i've been going downtown. I even know some by name. The latest wave of them are just very aggressive. I know i met some friends at mkt square bar and grill and a female who came by herself said that she will not be returning downtown alone. For the people that come downtown occasionally, it is just another reason not to, unfortunately. As for those who live there not worrying about vandalism, i'll have to introduce you to a friend who bikes around downtown regularly and lives in Houston House. He biked over to La Carafe to have a beer. But when he came out he found another lock had been placed on his bike so he couldn't leave. He came back later with bolt cutters but unfortunately the other person was waiting with the bolt cutters and took the bike in the interim.

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Yeah, the Panhandlers are annoying. So are the church groups from California. So are the club promoters, on every single corner. You can't walk 2 feet without someone sticking their hand out, offering your a little book about how there is a chance you might not go to hell, a discount on cover charge, or asking for money.

Thats probibly the reason I don't go Downtown (after hours) so much anymore.

Safety is not an issue, their are usually officers at every other block. Just carry a big knife with you, thats what I do.

Edited by Montrose1100
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First off, Im not supposed to let this out....I promised my source.

But after hearing this news, I felt compelled to post it here, seeing as this forum isnt as well known, I feel safe to post it here.

But most importantly, Im all for downtown development and this I feel is a huge loss for the Downtown nightlife/club scene. I feel when I post what I know, most will take me seriously and understand my point of view and offer up ther own insightfull analysis or logical opinion.

In the club promoting industry, the time from January to Spring Break is usually a dry time, when club's see their least business. Reasons vary from cold weather, to school starting back up, to the crowd being simply partied out from the holidays. Of late, Things have been slowing and crowds have been thining downtown. The fear is that alot of smaller downtown clubs will not make it to see Spring Break, something my trusted source ominously confirmed. And when a big Club venue downtown goes down this soon, it will cause gitters downtown for other samller venues, which might cause a few to pull the trigger and pull out of downtown.

The big club I speak of going down is MBar. This is sad for me since majority of my friends work here. It wasnt just a club for me, It was more like going to a frat party and socializing. For the last few years of my life, Ive had some memoriable times here. This place means alot to me and Im truly sadden to hear of its impending demise.

From what Ive been told, it will close before Janurary is out. In fact, Ive even been told that last Saturday night was its Final Night. For Downtown, This means no more MilkShake nights on Thursday nights, which was a huge "celebrity-filled" draw 4 years strong. The same could be said for Saturday's as well. When a smaller venue like Dean's across the street sees another larger neighbor close its doors (Opus close by as well) it does not bode well for the downtown scene.

Can Downtown's nightlife scene survive this dry time? From what I hear, there are going to be alot of vacancies opening up soon where clubs used to be.

I think Downtown has been slowly dictating what people really do want and don't want. I am not sad that monster dance clubs that cater to kids are not in demand. Actually don't think they have been for a while...I don't think it's the more traditional bars that seem to be closing, but instead the massive kiddy dance clubs. There are actually several places doing quite well downtown. I think the new more sophisticated concepts like Rocbar (sp.) , and Venue, along with restaurants, that have opened in addition to the high profile types soon to be in Houston Pavilions (house of blues, lucky strike, mc cormick and schmidts, lowrys steak house, Forever 21 )will be at home downtown surrounded by all the major amenities and sports venues downtown has to offer.

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I think Downtown has been slowly dictating what people really do want and don't want. I am not sad that monster dance clubs that cater to kids are not in demand. Actually don't think they have been for a while...I don't think it's the more traditional bars that seem to be closing, but instead the massive kiddy dance clubs. There are actually several places doing quite well downtown. I think the new more sophisticated concepts like Rocbar (sp.) , and Venue, along with restaurants, that have opened in addition to the high profile types soon to be in Houston Pavilions (house of blues, lucky strike, mc cormick and schmidts, lowrys steak house, Forever 21 )will be at home downtown surrounded by all the major amenities and sports venues downtown has to offer.

I will go a step further...I am not intending to point any fingers, but I don't think a majority of the clubs have been paying market rent downtown for a long time. I think that most of them realize that renting a place in most other areas would cost them a lot more money every month for the same amount of space. I think that as the rents continue to increase back to market levels that the concepts are getting stronger again gradually that are opening downtown, and there will be less and less options for below par concepts to pay low rent downtown as the market continues to tighten. I also believe this to be true because it is very seldom that you hear of any operators that close downtown to re-open somewhere else in the city. Sorry, but I think it's true. Look to the concept and less to the area for fault, because downtown is back on an up swing. Downtown is a top location and deserves top operators with substance .

Edited by what
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At the risk of being dubbed a Republican, racist or both, I'll ask this question --

Who thinks the elephant in the room downtown is black people? You can't help but notice that several Main St. clubs, which used to have a couple of black people in them on a weekend night are now almost exclusively black.

Does this make a difference to the viability of residential development downtown in a city that I believe is still pretty racist at its core? Do white Houstonians want to live in a neighborhood that attracts black people by the hundreds every weekend? What if these black people are dressed well and not causing any problems (they are)? I think it's still a stretch for Whitey in Houston to pay over $300K for a small condo to live in a neighborhood frequented by black people. Maybe that's why residential development is being held back.

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At the risk of being dubbed a Republican, racist or both, I'll ask this question --

Who thinks the elephant in the room downtown is black people? You can't help but notice that several Main St. clubs, which used to have a couple of black people in them on a weekend night are now almost exclusively black.

Does this make a difference to the viability of residential development downtown in a city that I believe is still pretty racist at its core? Do white Houstonians want to live in a neighborhood that attracts black people by the hundreds every weekend? What if these black people are dressed well and not causing any problems (they are)? I think it's still a stretch for Whitey in Houston to pay over $300K for a small condo to live in a neighborhood frequented by black people. Maybe that's why residential development is being held back.

It doesn't seem to matter in other cities, so why should it matter in Houston ? Are you suggesting that this towns leadership intentionally tries to control what goes on by being picky about what it decides to embrace and support downtown, even if there is a group who's job is to support downtown as a whole ?

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According to the city of Houston's page, Downtown's residential population has no racial majority... and about 2/3rds of it is in prison.

It doesn't seem to matter in other cities, so why should it matter in Houston ? Are you suggesting that this towns leadership intentionally tries to control what goes on by being picky about what it decides to embrace and support downtown, even if there is a group who's job is to support downtown as a whole ?
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I'm not particularly a fan of the "gang-sta" scene, or rap for that matter. I dont like people making gangster references, glorifications of implied violence, and overtones of anger: that way of life comes from several types of people to be sure, of all colors, including my own ethnic background. And that scene is definitely growing quite a bit on Main street. So consequently I hardly go to main street like I used to, unless it's flying saucer or something like that. I just prefer something like what Market Square feels like, a "cheers"-like enivornment. I do like the funk and jazz scene though, which attracts a wide variety of people. I liked Mercury room because of the live music and the 70's funk music. Now it's closed. The Red Cat and Sambucas is something I also like , thus I will go there still, at times. So in this case, this means I am one of the causalties of main street, and it is for several reasons. Some people may read into this and think there is some bigotry in there somewhere. But it's not. It's really for a varitety of reasons, and I'm sure alot of people have noticed the same things I just described on Main Street.

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I'm not a clubber (I outgrew that form of entertainment a while back) and my idea of going out generally tends toward dinner with friends, some drinks at a lounge where the average age is 33-40 and perhaps taking in the theater or symphony/ opera. I love other music as well but I don't like to hang with drunk crowds who are just there to be seen.

That being said, I'm certainly not the "going out type." However, I do think that it's evident that the club atmosphere DT is holding back other "traditional" development and an influx of residents (most of which are probably white and able to afford the prices). I live just outside of DT (I usually walk there if I go); and other than Warren's and a couple of other more traditional "bars" I wouldn't be caught dead in the clubs that have sprung up in DT in the last few years.

And, yes, at the expense of sounding racist: the largely-minority crowds that are frequenting the clubs DT are possibly going to negatively impact more serious development if those crowds foster violence (or the perceived threat of violence). I personally wouldn't invest in any property DT until after Pavilions is built (50/50) and we've seen whether HP changes the dynamic for the better.

DT is on very shaky ground... Might it revert back to its former self?

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Honestly, homelessness may be downtown's biggest problem. I think the time is now for a more effective and a more comprehensive homeless ordinance. Does anybody know where you can find a copy of Houston's current homeless ordinance? And how often are rules broken or not enforced?

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And, yes, at the expense of sounding racist: the largely-minority crowds that are frequenting the clubs DT are possibly going to negatively impact more serious development if those crowds foster violence (or the perceived threat of violence). I personally wouldn't invest in any property DT until after Pavilions is built (50/50) and we've seen whether HP changes the dynamic for the better.

DT is on very shaky ground... Might it revert back to its former self?

You kinda sound like me.

Perception is important. That won't change unless you go down there yourself. Unfortunately we are in the minority because we actually have been down there. There are just so many who really aren't in the know about "real" downtown life.

I still wonder whether the pavillions will actually make a difference. I remember when Bayou Place opened, many were saying how Downtown would be changed forever because it's a Cordish project. We've never seen anything like it, etc. Initially yes, there was a surge of people going downtown. But places have closed there too and plenty of rental space is still available. Killing off the residential portion of the Pavillions will only hurt.

Edited by musicman
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Well, clubs will cater to certain demographics, so you're unlikely to be harassed omin the club itself.

My main problem is that the streets themselves have turns into a club of sorts itself. People just hangout to look and want to be seen. There seems to be plenty of police there, but I wish something would be done to prevent people just "hanging out".

The police seem to do an excellent job to keep the people moving, overall. I just wonder what preventive measures they spot potential troublemakers.

The HP should be interesting that it will bring a higher standard of entertainment and will both bring in and dilute the targeted demographic at some of the other crowds and will force them to improve their places to keep pace.

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At the risk of being dubbed a Republican, racist or both, I'll ask this question --

Who thinks the elephant in the room downtown is black people? You can't help but notice that several Main St. clubs, which used to have a couple of black people in them on a weekend night are now almost exclusively black.

Does this make a difference to the viability of residential development downtown in a city that I believe is still pretty racist at its core? Do white Houstonians want to live in a neighborhood that attracts black people by the hundreds every weekend? What if these black people are dressed well and not causing any problems (they are)? I think it's still a stretch for Whitey in Houston to pay over $300K for a small condo to live in a neighborhood frequented by black people. Maybe that's why residential development is being held back.

Unfortunatly, I can't deny that after Super Bowl partiers, and Puff Daddy/Sean P Diddy/Puffy... hit downtown that the demographics of these clubs changed. This past summer my son worked a couple of these downtown clubs and when his car was in the shop, l gave him a ride. Wow! this blond haired white girl in her white Lexus felt pretty out of place. My son wasn't too comfortable with me being there either and felt it was best that I drop him off a block or so away so I didn't have to get caught in the middle of a street party. Lucky for my son, he has his father's coloring and can and does blend in wherever he goes. For me, I feel much more comfortable in Midtown going to clubs like Escobar or The Roof where the partiers are an eclectic mix. I also believe that to sustain growth in a vibrant urban center it must be diverse enough that everyones' dot makes for a beautiful landscape, not just a smudge. Without variety life is just dull!

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One of the things I was trying to point out is that it is not any particular group of people that turns me off in downtown - its the attitude of that so-called "gansta" crowd, with all the anger and aggresivness that goes with it. And like I said, I can point to many types from many races, like my own, that are a part of that. And it is that attitiude that is now lurking all over main street, not necessarily any one group, that is a turn off. Case in point: The jazz scene I love, and I am very much a minority as a Latino, say, in the Red Cat. But I still feel very comfortable there because it is full of people who are classy and dont get in your face. I guess I am uncomfortable with lumping any particular race into a lifestyle, because it is the lifestyle that where much of the crap is. I may sound like an old man, but really, the glorification of violence and the in-your-face attiudes do suck, young or old.

...unless it's Limp Bizkit. For some reason, there angry songs really hit the spot when I was having to deal with difficult people!

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Well, clubs will cater to certain demographics, so you're unlikely to be harassed omin the club itself.

My main problem is that the streets themselves have turns into a club of sorts itself. People just hangout to look and want to be seen. There seems to be plenty of police there, but I wish something would be done to prevent people just "hanging out".

The police seem to do an excellent job to keep the people moving, overall. I just wonder what preventive measures they spot potential troublemakers.

The HP should be interesting that it will bring a higher standard of entertainment and will both bring in and dilute the targeted demographic at some of the other crowds and will force them to improve their places to keep pace.

Actually, that's the aspect of downtown that helps keep the energy/ night scene downtown hoppin'. I like to see people outside just kickin' it or hangin' out.. In Jay'Z's words " parking lot pimpin' ".

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I agree.

Parking lot pimpin' = Too cheap to go to a club = club doesn't get business = Clubs shut down due to lack of business.

furthermore -- Parking lot pimpin' = thug appearance outside the club that discourages people who might otherwise go inside. Congratulations idiots -- you've found a way to turn a $million investment in the revival of downtown into the grown-up equivilent of a skating rink. Parking lot pimpin' is profit poison.

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This could have been predicted 4 years ago. This is the twilight of the Downtown "scene". Faster than you can say Richmond Strip and Shepherd Plaza, the next wave of 21-25 year olds will have found a new home in Houston. Right now savvy club owners are trying to figure out where this will be so they can stake their claim, but it will not be Main Street.

This by the way is a good thing. 50 trendy nightclubs won't bring new residents to Downtown, but 50 stores like Walgreens sure will. So, while there will always be a place for a number of bars downtown and it will in time become a destination point for people with a little more money to spend that will be attracted to places like Houston pavilions, we have likely seen the zenith of the club scene downtown.

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downtown just doesn't do it for me anymore...most of the clubs cater to the 20-something crowd and not enough choice in where to go. most of the clubs/ bars are the plastic studio 54 wanna-be's or hip-hop clubs. if i go, i prefer the pizza joint next door to cabo or hardrock.

although, i did go to this hip-hop club on the corner (had fenced in patio) a while back and ended up dancing with these hot twins. that was cool.

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This could have been predicted 4 years ago. This is the twilight of the Downtown "scene". Faster than you can say Richmond Strip and Shepherd Plaza, the next wave of 21-25 year olds will have found a new home in Houston. Right now savvy club owners are trying to figure out where this will be so they can stake their claim, but it will not be Main Street.

This by the way is a good thing. 50 trendy nightclubs won't bring new residents to Downtown, but 50 stores like Walgreens sure will. So, while there will always be a place for a number of bars downtown and it will in time become a destination point for people with a little more money to spend that will be attracted to places like Houston pavilions, we have likely seen the zenith of the club scene downtown.

Exactly.

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This could have been predicted 4 years ago. This is the twilight of the Downtown "scene". Faster than you can say Richmond Strip and Shepherd Plaza, the next wave of 21-25 year olds will have found a new home in Houston. Right now savvy club owners are trying to figure out where this will be so they can stake their claim, but it will not be Main Street.

The next wave will be somewhere along the University Line, I think.

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