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SUMMER 2016 VOL. 8, NO. 4
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14 STAR-SPANGLED HOUSTON
For nearly 30 years, Houstonians have celebrated our nation’s birthday with a massive party along the banks of Buffalo Bayou. While it’s hard to imagine now, Freedom Over Texas wasn’t always a big festival. It took hard work, imagination and plenty of corporate generosity to get us where we are today.
We’re grateful to have had the opportunity to sit down with Mayor Sylvester Turner recently to talk about his priorities for Houston. No surprise that when it comes to transportation, infrastructure and financial stability we found plenty we agree on!
Located on the south bank of Buffalo Bayou, the historic Sunset Coffee Building is being refurbished into a multi-purpose facility that will feature recreational equipment rentals, a coffee shop, office space and a rooftop terrace and plaza for events.
BY HOLLY BERETTO
Mayor Sylvester Turner is determined to make Houston work. His quick pothole repair program, commitment to neighborhood revitalization and a focus on improving transportation are all hallmarks of a mayor who has a clear vision for his hometown and an even clearer vision of what’s needed to get it done. BY SANDRA COOK
Whether it’s a Broadway blockbuster, a Bowie tribute or the annual Theater District Open House, there’s something for everyone this summer. Plus, meet Theatre Under The Stars impressive new Artistic Advisor Sheldon Epps and learn how his experience directing television will translate into excitement onstage for TUTS audiences.
BY PETER RADOWICK
24 MR. FIX-IT
Midway and partner Lionstone are infusing modern conveniences and sensibilities into their Jones on Main office building project while honoring the character and charm of the original structures at 708 and 712 Main Street.
BY HOLLY BERETTO
19 THE PERFECT BLEND
BY VALONIA WALKER
Theater, concerts, tours, festivals, special events and much more.
Our comprehensive listing of everything tasty in Downtown and a glimpse of Conservancy, the hot new food hall everyone is buzzing about.
DESTINATION DOWNTOWN MAP
We were fortunate recently to sit with Houston’s new mayor, Sylvester Turner, to talk about his plans for the city and how he hopes to achieve his goals. As we chatted, it quickly became clear that the Houston Downtown Management District has a committed and innovative partner in the work to take Houston into the future. Mayor Turner’s vision for his hometown is closely aligned with our own, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about working with him to bring that shared vision to life. Read more about the direction he’s planning for Houston starting on page 24. While we are clearly focused on the future, our past has plenty to teach us as well. The Jones on Main project, which takes up an entire city block, is taking two of Downtown’s most iconic structures (both built by Jesse H. Jones) and turning them into a WE COULDN’T BE business showcase that honors history MORE THRILLED while embracing the future. Learn more ABOUT WORKING WITH about the project starting on page 5. MAYOR TURNER TO And of course, our nation’s history takes TAKE HOUSTON INTO center stage each summer at the annual Freedom Over Texas festival along Buffalo THE FUTURE Bayou. Since its humble beginnings nearly three decades ago, this Independence Day celebration has grown into the city’s biggest party of the year, and this summer will be no exception. We remind you how it all began, starting on page 14. As always, you’ll find our extensive calendar of events and activities in datebook on page 31 and our comprehensive listing of eateries in plate on page 41. Of course, be sure to visit us online at downtownhouston.org, where we always keep you up to date on the latest when it comes to our city’s center. And let us know what you think about downtown. We’re more than happy to take your comments and suggestions.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DOWNTOWN DISTRICT
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING DOWNTOWN DISTRICT
ON THE COVER
Our photo shoot at Art Blocks at Main Street Square was punctuated by plenty of cheers from passersby who wanted to let Mayor Sylvester Turner know they’re as excited about Houston’s future as he is. photo by Morris Malakoff
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A Fresh Take on a Downtown Classic THE JONES ON MAIN SHOWCASES OUR PAST AND BOLDLY EMBRACES THE FUTURE by Holly Beretto
“When I first heard about this projThat’s the energy Midway, ect, I wasn’t sure it was for us,” says along with partner Lionstone, Jonathan Brinsden, CEO of Midway plans to capitalize on in The Jones Companies. “But then I walked in the on Main. lobby and I was all in.” “Houston is still a young city,” He’s talking about the space at 708 says Brinsden. “We don’t have and 712 Main Street, an entire city the same sort of historic building block now reimagined as The Jones stock that you’ll find in Boston on Main, Downtown’s newest office or New York or Philadelphia. venture, which promises to be as The Jones is somewhat unique unique as the neighborhood itself. in our Downtown landscape in Both buildings were built by that regard. But, it’s also part of a Jesse H. Jones, the iconic entreprebroader trend for U.S. companies Midway’s Jonathan Brinsden and Tom Paterson with Lionstone neur behind such projects as the right now.” Houston Ship Channel, the Texas National Bank and Houston Businesses have always looked to their property manEndowment. 712 was completed in 1929, a 37-story Art Deco agers to provide excellent service and space for the compaskyscraper soaring above the Downtown street scene, unsur- nies housed there to thrive. Over the last decade, however, passed in height until 1963. Originally the Gulf Oil Building, it’s Brinsden says, there’s a new x-factor that’s crept into decision now the JP Morgan Chase Building, and Chase will remain in the making when it comes to where to base a business. re-christened space. 708 was acquired by Jones in 1908, another “It’s authenticity,” he says. “Companies are very attracted to frescoed fantasy that showed off Houston’s commitment to com- spaces that feel unique, vintage, different. You see that in the merce. Together the two buildings heralded that the young city tech industry in Silicon Valley, that people want spaces that of Houston was ready to make its mark as a center for business. aren’t like anything else. The Jones provides that experience.” Nearly a century later, the Bayou City’s Downtown core is Indeed, Midway’s plans for the property include allowing recognized around the world as a place where entrepreneurs its original self to shine. Keeping the Art Deco elements, and and industrialists, the creative class and educators, and finan- augmenting it with modern but complementing touches ciers and analysts alike power the economic engine that is promise to make The Jones a place of distinctive style and Houston. From full-service firms to small businesses, the city elegance. Brinsden says they’ll expose the building’s original is heralded as a place where those with a can-do spirit can masonry. He wants to be certain that tenants in the building grow their dreams into realities. feel they are in a place that is original.
“HOUSTON IS STILL A YOUNG CITY. WE DON’T HAVE THE SAME SORT OF HISTORIC BUILDING STOCK THAT YOU’LL FIND IN BOSTON OR NEW YORK OR PHILADELPHIA.”
Rendering of the Currency Lounge, a new amenity at The Jones on Main
He says his own reticence over whether to be part of the project had to do with the idea of how to blend preserving The Jones’ history while also serving a modern business clientele. In the end, though, he knew Midway needed to be part of the project, precisely because the space is so compelling. “You can really feel it when you walk in,” he says. “It’s historic. It has character. There are a lot of great new buildings, but this is unique.” One of the things that will surely build on that uniqueness is the Currency Lounge, a sprawling 7,500-square-foot space in the lobby of The Jones that Brinsden says will make a statement. The dual-level social and meeting place will boast communal tables, deeply plush couches and chairs, tech hook-ups and all-new artwork. Dazzling chandeliers, marble tile and rich, dark woods pay homage to The Jones’ history, while the casually elegant vibe and tech touches bring it into the modern age. “This is a place where people can come for meetings, or simply come for a few minutes to get out of their offices,” says Brinsden, who says the Currency Lounge will feel like the lobby bar in a great hotel. “I envision that people who don’t have offices in the building might come in to work for a while, just to enjoy the atmosphere.” He says the idea that those who come into work on their own might well meet with tenants in the Jones, which means the lounge area should offer great opportunities for networking. “It’s really about connecting on a human level,” he says. That connectivity has been a cornerstone of Midway’s projects, and the foundation of the group’s partnership with Lionstone. The two first collaborated with GreenStreet, which epitomized the two organizations’ desire to be part of building projects that afforded people opportunities for what
Midway’s Vice President for Strategic Communication Ann Taylor calls “social connections.” “With GreenStreet, we had a partner in Lionstone where we could see that the sum of the parts was better than the individual pieces. Lionstone has a long reputation of finding unique places for productive people to work, as well as being distinctive properties. “ The Jones on Main should be the kind of high-impact property that showcases that philosophy. Each suite will have its own unique touches, simply because “YOU CAN REALLY FEEL the building is historic. Brinsden IT WHEN YOU WALK says keeping original elements is IN. IT’S HISTORIC. pivotal to the Jones’ philosophy. A new Lobby Connection will bring IT HAS CHARACTER. together 708 and 712 Main Streets, THERE ARE A LOT providing an uninterrupted flow to the buildings’ iconic charm. JP OF GREAT NEW Morgan Chase retains its residence BUILDINGS, BUT in 712 Main, bringing its own distinctive architecture and vibe to THIS IS UNIQUE.” the overall project. Brinsden believes that boutique firms, in particular, will find The Jones appealing. The building’s square footage for suites like that is between 8,000 and 12,000 square feet; by contrast, a typical office footprint in a Downtown building might be closer to 25,000 feet. The smaller spaces in The Jones allow for intimacy and individual personality. So far, firms that have taken up shop in the space have been legal and financial firms, although Brinsden notes there’s an architectural firm as well. “These are not your grandfather’s firms,” he quips, a nod to
the younger entrepreneurial generation drawn to The Jones on Main’s commitment to common spaces and tech capabilities, as well as its emphasis on being a space where lifestyles and business can intermingle. There’s also the element of stewardship, which Brinsden says is important when it comes to a space like this one. He’s aware of the importance The Jones has to Houston’s history and loves the idea that the newly reconfigured block nods to that past and preserves it for present-day users. Having a philosophy about how the block itself is a character in the story of the businesses who will call the Jones home is essential, says Taylor, who stresses that Midway went into the project with the idea that the Jones should promote not only that it is a productive and evocative office space, but is connected to the health and wellness-conscious lifestyles favored by millennial entrepreneurs and other new economy business owners. “We will have a bike valet outside,” she says. “And we’re on the confluence of three different METRORail lines, as well as connected to the Downtown tunnel system. That provides people with real transportation choices to The Jones, whether it’s by rail, bike, driving or walking.” “Downtown has been evolving,” says Brinsden. “It’s gone from a 9–5 business destination to one that’s 24 hours—it’s residential, there’s entertainment, it’s walkable. There’s more
retail and public greenspace. And the kinds of businesses choosing to come Downtown is evolving, too.” Those changes in lifestyle and transit are assets for The Jones, Brinsden feels. It allows the venture to present itself as a space where diverse industries can thrive in the unique suites and historic space, while lending a modern edge to the city’s business vibes. He says that Downtown is the original mixed-use environment and watching the city core come into its own as a destination to live, work and play has been an asset to Houston. The Jones on Main is poised to be a unique addition to the Downtown business scene. With its emphasis on originality, as well as a commitment to being both authentic and modern, it looks to be the sort of space that straddles two important aspects of Downtown: its rich past as a commercial center, and its future as a leader in innovation and business. Brinsden feels that a business with an address in The Jones on Main can make a statement about the kind of firm it is— one that values the sense of history that comes from having an office in a building like this, but that also shows it’s capable of nimbly moving with the times. “There’s a tremendous juxtaposition with The Jones,” says Brinsden. “We have a terrific modern space in a historic building. It’s beautiful and interesting and lends itself to all kinds of different opportunities. ”
B AC K S TAG E
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
BY VALONIA WALKER
Houston Balletâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Serenade
Dancers: Katharine Precourt and Mirielle Hassenboehler. Photo by Amitiva Sarkar.
B AC K S TAG E
The theater season is coming to the end but our performing arts organizations have some great shows planned just for you. Enjoy the following productions this summer before the final curtain call.
Boston Ballet in Alexander Ekmanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cacti
Dancers: Artists of Boston Ballet. Photo by Rosalie Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Connor.
B AC K S TAG E
ALL EY T HEAT RE The Alley Theatre closes its 2015–16 season with the American comedy, Born Yesterday. Millionaire junkman Harry Brock brings his “dumb” girlfriend Billie and his corrupt ways to Washington D.C. after he finds a way to illegally profit off of the end of World War II. However Billie isn’t as dumb as he thinks. With some help from a political reporter, this ex-showgirl gets a huge makeover. Her transformation will have you rooting for her from your seats, June 3–July 3. H OB BY CEN T ER FOR THE PERFORM IN G A RT S The Broadway at the Hobby series season ends with the ever-popular Wicked. This Tonyaward winning Broadway sensation takes place before that well-known visitor from Kansas arrived in Munchkinland. Wicked tells the story of Oz from a different perspective. You’ll learn how Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West came to be. With a breathtaking score that includes powerhouse hits including Defying Gravity, Popular, and For Good, audiences will find out the real untold story of the witches of Oz, July 6–August 14.
Alley Theatre – Born Yesterday
Houston Symphony – Music of David Bowie
J O N ES HA LL The Houston Symphony summer series celebrates classic music from film to rock ‘n’ roll. On June 11, the symphony presents Music of David Bowie. The unexpected death of the rock legend earlier this year has transformed this performance into a musical celebration. A full rock band joins Brody Dolyniuk and the Houston Symphony to showcase the musical range of Bowie’s incredible career. Following this rockin’ performance, the Symphony gets adventurous. After the premiere of Raiders of the Lost Ark in the ‘80s, Indiana Jones became one of cinema’s most admired characters. Patrons can relive the adventures of Raiders of the Lost Ark on the big screen July 1–2 while the Houston Symphony performs John Williams’ entire score. Bring your family and friends to celebrate the film’s 35th anniversary with the Symphony this summer. Another gift to the world of music is Motown founder Berry Gordy. Berry Gordy brought a new sound to the music industry, which led to popular acts like The Jackson 5, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder and The Supremes. The soulful quartet, Spectrum, will perform with the Houston Symphony on July 16 in The Men of
Motown. Audiences will hear hits like Boardwalk, I’ll Be There and My Girl. The program also will feature medleys celebrating the Four Season and The Righteous Brothers. Closing out the summer series on July 23 is Distant Worlds: Final Fantasy. Grammy Award winner Arnie Roth joins the Symphony to bring you new arrangements and classics and exclusive HD video presentations from game developer Square Enix. This event promises to be a grand experience for all. W OR T H A M T H E AT E R CE NT E R Houston Ballet fans have no fear, if you didn’t get a chance to see their Spring Repertory program you still have time. The performance features George Balanchine’s romantic masterpiece Serenade, Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Gloria and Alexander Ekman’s Cacti. Take advantage of the final dates for this performance, June 3–5. The ballet will be ending their season on a romantic note with a brand new production of Giselle staged by Stanton Welch. Love, deceit and redemption help tell the haunting story of Giselle a beautiful peasant girl June 9–19.
B AC K S TAG E
T HE ATER D I STR I C T O P EN HO USE 2 0 1 6 Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget to mark your calendars for the 23rd Annual Theater District Open House on Sunday, Aug. 28 from noonâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;4 p.m. Get to know the Houston Theater District performing arts organizations through dance, music, short performances and backstage tours this summer. This free festival is the perfect day to check out each of the theater organizations in their respective performance venues and take advantage of awesome ticket deals. For more information visit, theaterdistrictopenhouse.com.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT: PROFILE By Valonia Walker
Q + A with Sheldon Epps Theatre Under The Stars Interim Artistic Advisor Life has come full circle for Theatre Under The Stars new interim Artistic Advisor Sheldon Epps. The Tony Award-nominated director started his theater career as an actor at the Alley Theatre after graduating from Carnegie Mellon. Starting an offBroadway theater company and directing plays helped him decide to wear a director’s hat. This led to directing plays and hit television shows like Everybody Loves Raymond and Girlfriends. Epps is back in Houston to assist the TUTS team after serving as the artistic director of Pasadena Playhouse in California for 20 years. Sheldon Epps is a powerhouse who brings tremendous theater experience to the organization.
Q. When did you realize directing was your calling?
Q. What makes good theater in 2016?
I believe after I started the theater company with my friends in New York City and started directing more and more. I made a conscious decision, and I realized I hadn’t missed acting and that I was good at directing.
Diversity in acting and behind the scenes helps create a model of what American theater should look like. Theater is like a party. Would you want to go to a party where everyone was the same? No. You would want to attend a party where everyone was radically different and brought something new to the party. This is important when building and sustaining audiences.
Q. Name one of your most challenging stage play/television projects and why? Any new musical is very challenging. It’s because with an existing play you have a road map and script from previous productions. Directing a new musical is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle except there’s no photo on the top of the box and you have to cut the pieces of the puzzle to make them fit into a photo that makes sense and is pleasing to the public. There’s orchestration, choreography and also more criticism with new works. Q. How does an artistic director decide what to bring to life on stage? It is a combination of things. I have a wide range in taste that allows me to bring classics to the stage but also new and unique pieces. Secondly I believe in theatrical diversity and what’s onstage should represent the world. Plays like Hamilton have opened a new door for the theater world. However, I also understand that theater exists by selling what is marketable, appealing to local audiences and meeting the budget each season. As an artistic director you want to pick shows that represent what you want the life of the theater to be. Q. Artistically how has American theater changed since you started directing? Diversity. Theater has come a long way in reflecting the communities of local and national audiences. I also believe theater audiences have become a lot smarter and savvier. There are a range of things on television, and theater is required to compete with TV. So the theater experience from beginning to end has to be impeccable to bring audiences out of their houses and into theater venues.
Q. T UTS Underground produces shows that cater to a young adult audience. How do you create an interesting theatergoing experience for 25–45 year olds? First you have to select programming that is exciting. You have to bring in works that have something to do with their lives. This becomes a marketing challenge. We’ve chosen something interesting to do; now we have to market it to them. We have to make the marketing look and feel exciting. Theater is behind the curve, and ads in newspapers do not engage this age group. Social media helps us meet young adults where they are. The experience is just as important as the play. The goal is to make the experience feel sexy. We must make theater going attractive. Q. H ow did you go from directing plays to directing hit television shows? Is this common for those who work in theater? In 1991 a well-respected TV agent asked if I was interested in working in TV and honestly I had not thought about it before but I answered, yes. Why not? I had directed a play called The Real Thing and one of the creators of Fraiser saw the show and loved it. He told me that it was the kind of work they aimed for, and that is how it started. My experience is rare but not unheard of. I believe the relationships that I built with people in the theater world helped me successfully work in both worlds. For more information about Theater Under The Stars and TUTS Underground visit tuts.com.
HOUSTON’S ANNUAL FREEDOM OVER TEX AS CELEBRATION MARKS AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE By Holly Beretto
t was a long, hot summer in Philadelphia in 1776, where delegates from the original 13 American colonies came together to debate and give birth to our country’s founding document. For nearly a year, the ragtag bunch of revolutionaries led by General George Washington had been standing up to the mightiest military in the world, and doing so with limited supplies and funds, fueled by the will that this new country deserved its freedom. The Declaration of Independence was both a protest and an anthem, loudly proclaiming to the world that America can, would and should be free from Great Britain, that this new nation would chart its own course, would be a place where one word would epitomize its values: freedom. Two-hundred and forty years later, in cities and towns across the United States, Americans both
pause and celebrate the acts of those congressional delegates cooped up in Philadelphia’s swelter, and to those brave souls who dared to take on the most powerful entity on earth. Independence Day is the kind of holiday that is at once joyful and solemn, a time to recall what binds us together as a country, and to share in celebrations of what makes us unique among nations.
I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival…It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” LETTER FROM JOHN ADAMS TO ABIGAIL ADAMS, 3 JULY 1776. Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
SETTING THE STAGE Downtown Houston marks the country’s birthday in spectacular fashion on July 4, with the annual Freedom Over Texas celebration. This year, it’s sponsored by US Family Plans, and over the event’s 29 years, it’s changed almost as much as the Downtown landscape. At its core, however, it’s still a celebration of freedom and unity. “Part of what we want to do with Freedom Over Texas is teach the importance of this day,” says Susan Christian, director of the Mayor’s Office of Special Events. “It’s our duty to promote patriotism and remember that the reason we pause today is because of what our military fought and died for—and continues to defend.” That responsibility also comes with a massive dose of fun. From Sam Houston Park, along Allen
Parkway and the banks of Buffalo Bayou and through Eleanor Tinsley Park, revelers will enjoy music, food and fireworks in a six-hour showcase that proves the Bayou City knows how to throw a birthday party. Work on the annual event begins the August before, as Christian and her team begin the process of lining up sponsors to underwrite the celebration. As summer fades into fall, meetings begin with other city departments, and logistics of location and the coordination of schedules start. By the time Houston’s mild winter settles into balmy spring, contracts are signed, entertainment is secured and the event takes greater shape: who will perform when and on what stage? What vendors will be part of the day? When will streets be closed? Those behindthe-scenes mechanics are the sort of nitty gritty
that make any massive event happen—and that help event goers have a great time. More than 100 people from city, county and private entities are involved in pulling off this huge fun fest.
A FESTIVAL IS BORN Today, Freedom Over Texas is a family-friendly festival, but the event is very different from the one first thrown in the late 1980s. “There was no city celebration for July 4, and I realized that on my first July 4 here, which was 1987,” says John L. Nau, III, president and CEO of Silver Eagle Distributors, the title sponsor for Freedom Over Texas for the past 28 years. “We gathered some potential corporate sponsors and developed the Freedom Festival.”
That was in 1988, and it took place in the “bowl” at Buffalo Bayou and the Sabine Bridge. Nau says that in the early festival years the event consisted of a single stage, with a concert by a national star or act, preceded by one or two openers, usually including an act from Houston. There was also a fireworks display. Each year, the crowds grew. “By the time the fireworks happened, the traffic came to a standstill on Memorial and I-45, as well as the side streets surrounding Buffalo Bayou Park,” says Nau. Other challenges included the fact that there was no permanent power installation, and with the stage on one side of the bayou, the trees became a sight line issue. It was time for the Freedom Festival to evolve. “The entire event was moved to the south side of the Bayou, with a very large stage at the far west end of the event area,” says Nau. “We also erected satellite stages and put various types of music on those stages, including Cajun, regional Hispanic, even Zydeco. At the same time, the event added significant amounts of food vendors, games and corporate sponsor identification along Allen Parkway. This allowed families to come out early in the day, and it helped ease the crowd crunch prior to the main concert and fireworks.” Both by design and logistics, the 4th of July celebration was becoming the event for all ages we see today. Nau says that came along thanks to the work of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership and its initiative of improvements from Sabine Street to Shepherd Drive. Those provided permanent power and an elevated platform, as well as access for service vehicles and much greater viewing space for the public.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE Today’s Freedom Over Texas Celebration features the Walmart All-American Kids Zone, providing children’s entertainment, games and music;
Liberty Park, which has a stage where local and regional acts perform, as well as showcasing displays from all five branches of the armed forces; the Dr Pepper One of a Kind Zone, where Houston professional sports teams set up exhibits and festival goers can sample the cola company’s products; and the Budweiser Bayou Beer Garden. Performing on the main stage this year is Grammy Award-winning singer Darius Rucker, the former front man from Hootie and the Blowfish, who has gone on to have a solo singing career. Houston favorite The Suffers will bring their fusion of rock and soul to the stage. “We were thrilled to announce them,” says Christian. “They’re young, they’re dynamic, they have a huge following. We’re also bringing in Rusted Root out of Philadelphia; they do this great world music combination of African, Latin
By the time the fireworks happened, the traffic came
to a standstill on Memorial and I-45, as well as the side streets surrounding Buffalo Bayou Park,” JOHN L. NAU, III, PRESIDENT AND CEO, SILVER EAGLE DISTRIBUTORS
LEFT Darius Rucker BELOW The Suffers
and Native American sounds. Cowboy Mouth is a rock band from New Orleans and they’re known around the Gulf Coast.” Christian says the event’s entertainment lineup is deliberately diverse, a reflection of the city’s make up, and further promoting the idea that Freedom Over Texas is a place where young and old come together for a good time. “The way this event has changed over the years is a sign of the times,” says Christian. “Our city has changed. We’re more diverse, we’re more tech savvy, we want a different kind of entertainment that everyone can enjoy.” She says that festival goers can expect to show their event tickets on their smartphones, much like they might show boarding passes at the airport, and that entertainment in the Walmart All American Kids Zone will have a
tech component. All of it, she believes, adds up to the kind of Fourth of July celebration that helps generations make memories together. “I’m new to Texas,” says Ruth Krystopolski, the vice president and chief operating officer for population health at CHRISTUS Health, which oversees US Family Health Plans. “And I love seeing how Houstonians come together to celebrate one of the most important days in our country’s history.” Krystopolski says her group was a backstage sponsor last year, and that the way the festival is geared toward families made it a natural fit to come onboard as a title sponsor this year. She believes her company’s commitment to health and promoting wellness dovetails with Freedom Over Texas’ outdoor venue, as well as the activities for kids and adults that show how much fun staying healthy can be. SUMMER 2016
“ WHAT TO KNOW WHEN YOU GO Monday, July 4, 2016 4–10 pm
Freedom Over Texas takes place along Buffalo Bayou, in Sam Houston and Eleanor Tinsley Parks ADMISSION
$5 per person (through midnight May 31, 2016)
$8 per person (June 1–July 3, 2016)
$10 (online and at the gate July 4, 2016) Tickets may be purchased online at houstontx.gov/july4/ purchasetickets2016.html Guests may print their tickets or have them sent to their smartphones PARKING Available in Downtown Theater District Parking Garage, the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, and in surface lots and streets near the festival site. Check houstontx.gov/july4/parking.html for street closures and full parking details or use the handy parking interactive map at downtownhoustonparking.org. Guests may also ride METRORail’s red, green and purple lines. For maps and schedules, visit ridemetro.org. PROHIBITED ON SITE Outside food and beverages, ice chests, skate boards and weapons. Animals are prohibited, unless for special needs
This is one of the few moments in the year when we come back to the values we share as Americans. We’re welcoming. We embrace people of all stripes here. Freedom is what centers us, and we share this great gift we’ve been given.” SUSAN CHRISTIAN, DIRECTOR OF THE MAYOR’S OFFICE OF SPECIAL EVENTS
While Freedom Over Texas has grown across the decades, Nau says the event’s Downtown location is a huge asset—and lends a unique characteristic to the event. “When we first discussed location, we realized the natural bowl in Buffalo Bayou Park with a park area allowing for safe fireworks launching and the backdrop of Downtown would be spectacular,” he says. “The very first year we knew that this was the right decision. Had we picked any other location I do not believe the event would be as successful, and would likely be less memorable. There are many July 4 celebrations in the Houston area. There is only one epic Downtown 4th of July celebration and it is indeed Houston’s Freedom Over Texas.” “The thing that’s remained constant for the last 29 years of this festival is that it’s a celebration of America,” says Christian. “This is one of the few moments in the year when we come back to the values we share as Americans. We’re welcoming. We embrace people of all stripes here. Freedom is what centers us, and we share this great gift we’ve been given.”
LIGHTING UP THE SKY “It’s so great to shoot off fireworks from that event spot, between Eleanor Tinsley Park and Sam Houston Park,” says Rocco Vitale, creative director for Pyrotecnico, who’s in charge of Freedom Over Texas’ highlight: the nearly 20-minute aerial fireworks display that lights up Downtown following the concert. “It’s a wide space, and it makes for some really magical moments. It’s just amazing.” Take his words to heart. Vitale is head of a family fireworks company founded in 1889, and now coordinates displays all over the country. Known for both their artistry and wide array of fireworks, flames and laser displays, Pyrotecnico has been behind Freedom Over Texas for the last five years and Vitale says he loves coordinating the show. “A fireworks display isn’t just about raw power,” he says. “Sometimes, the coolest moments are much quieter, more subtle. So, we want to make sure we’re taking cues from the music to bring in the proper effects and artistry to the event.” He says the shells for the Houston show come primarily from Spain, although a few from makers in the United States and China make an appearance. To create the show, he begins by selecting the soundtrack, a blend of popular music, tunes that speak to Texas heritage and patriotic standards. Those are then edited to fit the timeframe for the fireworks display, and that’s when he and his team begin determining which shells will bring the show alive. “A good example is in the national anthem, “the rockets’ red glare,” we want to make sure we’ve got something red in that moment, and that it goes off in the right spot. All of those kinds of details are coordinated through the computer.” Vitale says he’ll use a variety of comets, chrysanthemums, ring shells and patter shells for the show. “I’m old school,” he says. “I like the combination of figuring out where shells that have a lot of rumbling go in time to the music, and taking time to let shells falls away before we bring in more. It’s not just about boom-boom-boom. It’s about how this show looks and feels and helps create a memorable moment for the audience.” The Freedom Over Texas Fireworks Display sponsored by CITGO, will begin at 9:35 p.m.
NEW KID ON A VERY OLD BLOCK Sunset Coffee Building opens new possibilities at historic Allen’s Landing More than 100 years old, the Sunset Coffee Building is a welcome newcomer to Downtown Houston. And no matter what the name says, it’s definitely not just for coffee, though soon enough you’ll be able to get a cup o’ joe there, too. by Peter Radowick
BBP TAKES THE FIRST STEP Located on the south bank of Buffalo Bayou, where the waterway flows between Main and Fannin streets, the old brick edifice has been totally refurbished into a multi-purpose building that promises to infuse Downtown with another in a seemingly continuous series of B-12 shots that have pumped fresh vitality into the city center. The four-story building will open in phases throughout the remainder of 2016. The first phase is the bicycle and kayak rental locations found on the ground floor, conveniently adjacent to the bike paths and the bayou. These units will be up and running in time for a plethora of summer and fall outdoor activities. Still to come, as interior build out was ongoing at press time, is the second-floor café. This is envisioned as a gathering place for those who congregate on the northern edge of Downtown, especially University of Houston-Downtown staff and students, Harris County employees, and others who live and work within easy walking distance.
There are two pieces of the complex that will appeal to the large corporate presence found Downtown. One is the rooftop terrace that is ideally suited for client receptions, company parties and so forth Sweeping views of the bayou and vantages of the Downtown skyline that few of us ever witness will lend drama to any event. On the backside of the building, away from the bayou and fronting Commerce Street, is an outdoor plaza that would work as a staging area for parties, fun runs, team-building exercises, employee rallies and so forth. Finally, the third floor will be occupied by the offices of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, which led the push to refurbish the building after years of disuse and neglect. This $5 million project to transform a derelict place of yesteryear into a fully functional venue for today and tomorrow is the result of a collaboration dedicated to improving the face of Houston.
Buffalo Bayou Partnership got the ball rolling in 2003, when it purchased the Sunset Coffee Building for $2.3 million. It was a bold move by the organization to preserve one of Houston’s most historic sites for future development. “Buffalo Bayou Partnership is very excited about completing restoration of the Sunset Coffee Building,” said Anne Olson, president of BBP. “It will be a very significant destination for both the bayou and Downtown. “The amenities offered in the building—café, rooftop terrace and the boating and biking concessions—complement what we are offering west of Downtown in Buffalo Bayou Park,” Olson added. BBP worked for over a decade to raise money for renovation of the 12,000-square-foot building and in 2013 finalized an agreement with Houston First Corporation to contribute $2.5 million for the project. The born-again building has been designed by the nationally recognized architecture firm
Lake Flato, along with local architect BNIM and landscape architect SWA Group. Once construction is complete, Houston First will take over ownership and operation of the facility. Houston First is a quasi-public, localgovernment corporation that manages such high-profile facilities as the George R. Brown Convention Center, Wortham Center, Jones Hall and Miller Outdoor Theatre. “We think the Sunset Coffee Building has tremendous appeal,” said Dawn Ullrich, president and CEO of Houston First. “It will become a true landing place for historicalminded visitors, who form a large segment of the tourism industry. “What’s more, we believe the next generation of Houstonians coming to the bayou to rent bikes and kayaks will learn—perhaps for the first time— about the founding of our city,” Ullrich added. Veteran facility managers Sheila Turkiewicz and Michael Coppens will be Houston First’s on-site team. In addition to the financial outlays by BBP and Houston First, the Downtown Redevelopment Authority is providing nearly $1 million in public infrastructure improvements. Other funding included $500,000 from the federal government, with the rest coming from private donors, including Houston Endowment, Wortham Foundation and Brown Foundation. With this historic place known as Allen’s Landing poised for a rebirth, this might be a good time to pose the question: How did we get to this wide place in the bayou? ALLEN BROTHERS STAKE THEIR CLAIM In a city where it seems everyone is from somewhere else, it might surprise native sons and transplants alike to learn that Houston is a city founded on a waterway. In early 1837, John and Augustus Allen stepped off their 85-foot steamboat Laura at the spot where Buffalo Bayou and White Oak Bayou flowed together. Their landing place was no accident; it formed a suitable turning basin that would allow larger ships to deliver goods to the new city on the bayou and then return to the Gulf of Mexico. As Houston’s first port, Allen’s Landing became a thriving commercial hub and came to be a symbol of our city’s entrepreneurial spirit. It is at this confluence—which today can be found beneath the Main Street bridge—where one finds what is known as Allen’s Landing, sometimes dubbed Houston’s Plymouth Rock. Today the site is gaining new life.
Collin Cox, board chair, Buffalo Bayou Partnership
As Houston’s first port, Allen’s Landing became a thriving commercial hub and came to be a symbol of our city’s entrepreneurial spirit. SUMMER 2016
These guys know what they’re doing Anyone checking out a bike or kayak at the Sunset Coffee Building will be reassured to know that operations there are in thoroughly professional hands.
Bremner has entered into an arrangement with Bayou City Bike Tours to provide group rides. Bike Barn will provide the wheels and Bayou City Bike Tours will provide the tour guides.
His upstream location at Buffalo Bayou Park’s Lost Lake has been in operation since last October, and has been well received, Torres says.
As they say in these parts, this ain’t the first rodeo for either rental company.
John Boerstler has been operating Bayou City Bike Tours for four years, providing Downtown historical and architectural tours as well as pedaling excursions along the bayou. Private group outings (think: family reunions and wedding rehearsal activities) are also available.
“We’ve put more people on the water at Buffalo Bayou than any other company since 2010,” Torres said, estimating the number to be at 10,000 rentals.
Bike Barn is one of the big boys in Houston’s local bike shop community. For proprietor Neil Bremner, the Sunset Coffee Building is his second rental location along the waterfront bike trails. Last fall he opened Bike Barn Bayou Rentals on Sabine Street and so far, so good. “The whole area has been a big draw for those who live near the bayou, those suburbanites who want to explore Downtown and even tourists,” Bremner said.
Bike Barn will lease hybrids, cruisers and tandem bikes for adults and big kids, and tagalongs and trailers for the wee ones. Rental rates range from $9 to $12 per hour (with a two-hour minimum). Bikes are also available for half-day and full-day rentals.
“We love, love, love delivering the message about Houston, whether you’ve lived here all your life or are new to town,” said Boerstler, who estimates his current business is 60 percent tourists and 40 percent locals. Like Bremner, Rico Torres is opening a second front on the bayou with his paddlecraft business, Bayou City Adventures. Bayou City Adventures may also be familiar to Houstonians as the provider of boats at Discovery Green.
Vessels available for rent are kayaks, tandem kayaks, canoes and standup paddleboards. All rentals are for up to two hours at a time with a refundable deposit. Rentals include a life jacket and paddle. A new twist for the operation, Torres says, will be the availability of shuttle buses to return paddlers to their point of origin. “Right now we just offer an out-and-back option out of Lost Lake,” he said. “But when we open at Sunset Coffee Building, kayakers can start at Lost Lake, finish at Sunset Coffee and then take the shuttle back.”
LOTS AND LOTS OF COFFEE You might expect a building named Sunset Coffee Building to sell coffee. You might even guess that any java outlet inside might go by the name Sunset Coffee. And you’d be right on both counts. Construction of the Sunset Coffee shop on the second level will be completed in late summer. Owner Linda Assaf says Sunset Coffee will have a much larger footprint than your average coffee shop, with room enough for live music from time to time. And, Assaf says, the food menu being developed will be a notch or two higher than your standard “grab and go” cellophane-wrapped items. The café will also carry a large selection of locally roasted coffee brands. Assaf’s company, DayStar Specialty Group, brings decades of coffee purveying experience at high-profile locations. She has provided coffee service at the George R. Brown Convention Center since 1993 and is also in place at Wortham Center. DayStar also operates at NRG Park’s trio of facilities (stadium, convention center and arena) as well as at convention centers in New Orleans, Austin, Orlando, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Baltimore and Kansas City. “Last year we sold a total of 25,000 pounds of coffee throughout our locations,” said Assaf, who will be assisted at Sunset by her daughters, Rachael Polglaze and Kristi Grace. Assaf said Sunset Coffee also will have an outdoor presence at the new location. As availability allows, Sunset will set up shop on the outdoor plaza for the convenience of Downtown office workers and nearby UH-Downtown students. BAYOU REFURBISHMENTS Buffalo Bayou Partnership itself will call the Sunset Coffee Building home when it establishes its office space on the third level. Founded in 1986, the nonprofit organization focuses on the 10-mile stretch of the bayou from Shepherd Drive to the Port of Houston Turning Basin. Over the
You’re responsible for planning the company holiday party and corporate team-building events. You want an off-site venue that will impress even your most jaded people. Houston First team includes (left to right) Mario Ariza, Debra Justice, Michael Coppens
years, BBP has spearheaded projects such as the Sabine Promenade and Sesquicentennial Park and last year completed the $58 million Buffalo Bayou Park project. Activity at the Sunset Coffee Building promises to create another new nerve center in Downtown. Its proximity to nearby Market Square Park— just three blocks away—allows for the kind of continuous street activity that all urban centers covet. This modern-day linking of Houston’s early port at Allen’s Landing with its original seat of government at Market Square offers a certain historical symmetry. But even if you’re not of a historical mindset and all you want to do is ride a bike or rent a canoe, that’ll work too at the Sunset Coffee Building.
Who you gonna call? For starters, try Coppens can put your group on the roof of Sunset Coffee Building or on the plaza on the other side of the building, fronting Commerce Street. Either choice beats the same ol’ same ol’. “We’ll be able to accommodate up to 125 people on the roof and between 500 and 750 on the plaza,” said Coppens, who is assistant general manager of Sunset Coffee Building. “It’s hard to beat the views of Buffalo Bayou and the Downtown skyline. We think being adjacent to a body of water adds instant energy to your events.” Coppens is no stranger to managing highprofile Downtown venues. For four years he was an event manager at Wortham Theater Center before sliding over to Houston First’s sister facility on the bayou. He can be reached at Michael.Coppens@HoustonFirst.com or by calling 832-487-7039.
MAYOR TURNERâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S VISION CONNECT HOUSTONIANS TO THEIR ENTIRE CITY BY SANDRA COOK
Since taking office in January, Mayor Sylvester Turner has shown he is committed to moving Houston forward, both on the roads and as a city of the future, making bold moves and noticeable improvements from the get-go.
One of Turner’s campaign promises that resonated with Houstonians was fixing the city streets, and more importantly, improving infrastructure across all modes of transportation. At his swearing in ceremony at Jones Hall, he announced his now-proven pothole reporting and repair system. At the time, his announcement that each pothole reported would be “assessed and addressed” by the next business day, with the goal of repairing each reported pothole within 24 hours, sounded pretty optimistic. During his address, Mayor Turner said he made this a priority because “Houstonians deserve a safe, viable infrastructure.” Houstonians immediately did their part reporting potholes via the City help line and the Houston 311 app, and the City reciprocated enthusiastically and effectively by repairing thousands of potholes reported by citizens in record time. Turner acknowledges repairing potholes is a temporary solution, but a necessary first step in improving mobility in Houston. Making good on fixing potholes proved to be a deft move in building trust from day one. Houston’s can-do spirit strikes again, this time with a combination of technology, collaboration and coordination on a citywide scale. A major goal for Turner is to rehabilitate the city’s transportation/transit mentality, to open citizens’ minds about using various modes of transit, such as buses, rail, bikes, and, yes, even walking. “I put it all under the heading of infrastructure,” says Turner. “There are three
MAKING GOOD ON FIXING POTHOLES PROVED TO BE A DEFT MOVE IN BUILDING TRUST FROM DAY ONE. million more people expected to move into the city over the next 15 years. When you think about three million more people moving into the region, that’s like adding another Chicago within the City of Houston. That means a big issue is getting people from point A to point B. Turner spoke to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Board of Commissioners back in January. “I urged them to consider a new paradigm in terms of the allocation of their resources beyond adding roadway capacity,” says Turner. “In this region and even in the state, TxDOT has primarily built roadway capacity as the means of moving people. With 97 percent of Texans driving single occupancy vehicles (SOVs), TxDOT’s resources have gone to that 97 percent. As a result, we have expanded Interstate 10 West to 26 lanes wide, that’s including feeder roads, making it the widest freeway in the world. That cost us about $2.5 billion when it was completed in 2007, and then some seven or eight years later the same area, I-10 West at the Beltway, is the eighth most congested roadway in the state.” Mayor Turner insists building roadway capacity alone is not going to address Houston’s issues.
“We’ll always have to do it, but it can’t be the only strategy. We must think multi-modal for our strategy. That means increasing use and access to HOV lanes, park-and-ride facilities, and hike-andbike trails. We also have to consider commuter rail, such as the line proposed along the 90A corridor for the Fort Bend area, or lines serving areas like the west side/Katy, and Clear Lake.” Turner points out the importance of the existing METRORail lines in and around Downtown, which will serve as key connectors for future rail lines. He also highlights METRO’s bus and rail network as “a vital component for mobility.” He urges adding light rail and/or bus rapid transit vehicles (BRTs), which has been proposed for the Galleria/Post Oak area. Turner’s vision calls for a multi-layered solution for keeping our metropolis moving. “We can utilize more technology and modes of transit with METRO,” says Turner. “The synchronization of lights will also help. We are also looking into creating dedicated bus and truck lanes and extending business hours at Port of Houston to help alleviate truck traffic at peak times.”
“ YOU HAVE TO BUILD A CITY FOR THE FUTURE. MORE AND MORE PEOPLE WANT TO WALK TO RETAIL ESTABLISHMENTS, RESTAURANTS OR THEIR JOBS ON A DAILY BASIS, WHICH MEANS YOU HAVE TO HAVE MORE COMPLETE STREETS, BUT EVEN MORE, YOU NEED COMPLETE NEIGHBORHOODS.”
WALK THE WALK Turner stresses the need to build an urban environment that is pedestrian friendly, a walkable city. “You have to build a city for the future,” says Turner. “More and more people want to walk to retail establishments, restaurants or their jobs on a daily basis, which means you have to have more complete streets, but even more, you need complete neighborhoods.” With the Houston Bike Plan, announced in February 2016, Houston can potentially see an increase from the current 259 miles of bike lanes to almost 800 miles of bike lanes (many on-street, shared lanes), with further potential to reach up to 1,600 more miles of bike lanes over 20 years. “The 800 more miles of bike lanes will cost us $95 to $150 million, but I think we can get there in the next 10 years,” says Turner. “And that’s a part of building those complete streets, which includes more sidewalks enabling people to walk to places—that’s important.” When people walk or bike from place to place they experience health benefits while simultaneously eliminating vehicles from our congested streets, thus reducing pollution. Turner told the Texas Transportation Commission in late January “it’s in everyone’s best interest if we make it easier for the people who can walk or bike or carpool or take transit to do so. The more people who can find alternate means of transportation that do find it, the fewer single-occupancy vehicles
that are competing for highway lanes and parking spaces. That’s a win all around.” Across the city, the hike and bike trails along major bayous have been enthusiastically embraced, applauded, and more importantly, used by residents. Mayor Turner points out that upon its completion, Bayou Greenways 2020 will yield 80 more miles of trails along bayous citywide, linking up with existing trails to yield a network of 150 miles of trails. “All those things in combination will address a lot of our challenges in transportation and mobility,” says Turner. “The whole point is to address transportation and mobility with a more multi-modal way of thinking.” So how do you get the citizens to embrace that multi-modal transportation mindset? “Quite frankly, I think if you give people options, they utilize them,” he says. “Especially when they are reliable options that they feel safe using.” He cites the new bike lanes as an example: “If we create more bike lanes with a reliable infrastructure that is safe—and that’s an important component—then I think more people will utilize them.” Same goes for sidewalks and pedestrian pathways, light rail and all modes of transit. When paired with business that offer goods and services along these routes that serve these populations, you truly have a walkable city.
A CITY FOR ALL HOUSTONIANS
WORKING FOR HOUSTON
Turner’s vision for Houston is much broader than patching potholes and reducing traffic jams. Upon taking office, Turner also pledged to work on minimizing flooding risks, build more affordable housing, and steer the city toward financial stability. Turner has spoken about the need for more police officers and firefighters and the importance of quality neighborhood parks. He also has highlighted income inequality and called for improved access to grocery stores and education options in underserved communities, as well as renovating or removing rundown properties. “I am committed to rebuilding neighborhoods that have been overlooked for years and years, I am committed to making sure that we do not have two cities in one, of haves and havenots—we are all Houstonians,” Turner said at his swearing in ceremony. Building up neighborhoods and providing a high quality of life for all citizens are matters that are close to Turner’s heart. Born and raised in the Acres Homes community in northwest Houston, he is one of nine children who grew up in the family’s two-bedroom home. Turner’s mother worked as a maid in the old Rice Hotel, while his father worked as a painter for Continental Ensco and mowed yards with his sons on the weekends. After his father passed away from cancer when Turner was 13 years old, his mother took over the household. Although she never finished high school or learned to drive, Turner’s mother motivated each of her children to get an education and inspired them to achieve. As a boy, Turner attended public schools in the Acres Homes neighborhood until forced integration came to Houston and he was bused to Klein High School, where he was eventually elected president of the student body and graduated as valedictorian. Focused on his studies, Turner graduated from the University of Houston and Harvard Law School.
His upbringing must have taught him a few things about determination, negotiating, compromise and understanding the needs of others. Upon graduating from Harvard Law School, Turner joined the law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski. He later founded the Houston law firm of Barnes & Turner in 1983 and in 1988 he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, serving the people of House District 139 in Northwest Houston for 25 years before being elected mayor of Houston. Turner has officed Downtown for decades and likes the direction that it is headed. “What’s been done and what’s in the works for the bayous is enhancing the quality of life for the Downtown area and a lot of the city. And that’s a plus,” he says. “We now have connections for bike lanes and trails from east to west side, north to south—it’s a real network, and that’s a big plus.” Turner hopes Houston can continue to build on what’s been done Downtown. “For years people left Downtown at 5 p.m., he says. “That has been changing. We now have sports stadiums and a more dynamic scene.” He also applauds the incentives offered to build residential Downtown, because increasing the number of people living Downtown spurs development.
“ WE NOW HAVE CONNECTIONS FOR BIKE LANES AND TRAILS FROM EAST TO WEST SIDE, NORTH TO SOUTH— IT’S A REAL NETWORK, AND THAT’S A BIG PLUS.”
SIDEWALK CULTURE Following the recent increase in hotel construction, with more in the pipeline, Turner says now we need to bring more retail Downtown. “We have a lot of great buildings Downtown, but generally that first floor is kind of a barren, empty space,” he says. “We can encourage developers to utilize first floor for retail and restaurants, that will be more attractive to tenants, customers, residents, and more. Yes, certainly there is retail underground in the tunnels—and you can still have that underground mall—but you also need a street-level experience, especially for evenings.” The mayor is excited about the changes in store for the George R. Brown Convention Center, which will add to Downtown’s appeal. By 2017 the front of the George R. Brown will be transformed, not only by the addition of the 1,000-room Marriott Marquis, but also the conversion of the six-lane Avenida de las Americas into Avenida Plaza, a 99,000-squarefoot, pedestrian-friendly, outdoor space. And the George R. Brown itself will get a makeover, with modern facilities and amenities. Turner spotlights the Theater District as a vibrant part of Downtown. “The Theater District still has a lot of potential to be developed, which will add to the personality, creative mindset and energy of Downtown,” he says. “Downtown has so much potential. Certainly there’s much more activity than there was 30 years ago, and there’s still a lot of room for more development.”
COMPLETE NEIGHBORHOODS Turner highlights the neighborhoods close to Downtown as examples of what all neighborhoods across the city can be. He points to neighborhoods such as the East End, which is designated as both a historical district and a cultural district. He stresses the importance of preserving and maintaining cultural history and personality of older neighborhoods like the Northside/N. Main area, Westheimer/Montrose and South/Sunnyside. “So many people want to live in our neighborhoods with personality and character, but they can’t afford it,” says Turner. “We need affordable options in every neighborhood.” He suggests using incentives like those used to bring residential projects to Downtown, to similarly bring more affordable housing to neighborhoods across the city. “A lot of people, such as artists, want to live close in, but they can’t afford it, not even within the 600 square miles of the city limits,” says Turner. “So they are moving out to Spring, Tomball, Pearland, because they can get a better buy and quality of schools. We need to build up inner-city neighborhoods. Professionals who live in the city can advocate for quality programming in the schools in their own neighborhood—it goes hand in hand. What I don’t want to see, and I am very passionate about this, is a city of haves and havenots. I think we will all lose if that is the case.”
“We have to build up neighborhoods, not force people out of the community who have been there for years and years, especially our seniors,” says Turner. “You want to revitalize communities in ways that don’t force people out and don’t destroy the history and the human connections in the community.” He emphasizes that a neighborhood is made up of people and should not be viewed as “a teardown.” “We lost that history with Freedmen’s Town, which was later called Fourth Ward and is now Midtown,” says Turner. “Let’s hang on to that history in the East End and Westheimer/Montrose and others. Neighborhoods can be developed in ways that are attractive for people to live and business to thrive, while still maintaining that historical flavor, yet have a modern lifestyle. There are ways to strike a balance.
CELEBRATE OUR HISTORY AND DIVERSITY Turner believes that whether people are traveling to Houston or they live here, “they want to be able to come to a Downtown that is popping, energetic, where things are happening. And to be able to go just a few miles and see Midtown, but with that historic flavor, then go to East End where you have landmarks like Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and Navigation Boulevard. And then swing over to Third Ward and see Emancipation Park and see the history of freed slaves that came from Galveston in 1865. Or swing out to southwest Houston to experience Little Saigon, and the culture of our Asian population, and Nigerian population. There is so much culture to be proud of and we have such a unique story. Houston is a city where you can travel the globe on any given day without leaving the city.” Since hosting the NCAA Final Four this past spring, and looking forward to Super Bowl LI being held in Houston, Turner urges Houstonians to let the world know about everything our city offers. “These are opportunities for Houston to be on the main stage, an international stage,” he says. “The Super Bowl is the singular most important sporting event in the United States, but it is also watched by people around the globe. For this event, we’ll have more than one million visitors from all over, so this is a big opportunity to tell Houston’s story. I think most people outside of Houston don’t realize we are the most diverse city in the U.S.” Turner explains that during the Final Four, numerous out-of-state reporters had no idea of Houston’s rich diversity. “Most of them said ‘you’re kidding’,” says Turner. “Most people don’t realize there are over 140 languages spoken in Houston, and we have more than 92 consulates.”
“ MOST PEOPLE DON’T REALIZE THERE ARE OVER 140 LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN HOUSTON, AND WE HAVE MORE THAN 92 CONSULATES.”
TRAVEL THE WORLD WITHIN HOUSTON On any given day in Houston you can spend the day traveling the globe within the city Actual lineup of mayor’s schedule on a recent weekday:
Attended Hispanic community event
Participated in Vietnamese Parade
Attended African-American community event
Park dedication on north side
Spoke at Pakistani gala
HANDY HOUSTON BRAG LIST
Houston’s Texas Medical Center is one of the largest medical centers in the world. Miller Outdoor Theater is the largest professional outdoor theater in the country, and we have the second most theater seats in a Downtown area in the country (only behind New York). TELL THE STORY OF HOUSTON
TRANSIT CONNECTS US ALL
Sure, we are an oil and gas town and always will be, but we are so much more. “This is not the time for Houstonians to be bashful. We have to be bold, claim our rightful position on the international stage,” says Turner. The mayor challenges anyone: “Try to find another city that can offer what we offer.” “We are known for the petrochemical industry, but manufacturing is increasing and our economy is much more diverse than in the past,” says Turner. “Today, we only rely on oil and gas for about 40 percent of our economy.” After five straight years of tremendous job growth (upwards of 100,000 new jobs per year), numbers are down to around 12,000 to 15,000 for 2015. “Even as oil prices have been lower, we have still been on the plus side of job creation,” says Turner.
With Houston’s more than 600 square miles and so many people tied to their cars, Mayor Turner says “you can get stuck in a quadrant of Houston, so we have to tell the story, and tell it to one another. Turner admits telling that story can be difficult if you don’t know the whole story. “And that’s why it’s so important to address the transportation and mobility issue,” he says. “It’s not just for hosting the NCAA Final Four or the Super Bowl. It’s for Houstonians themselves, who need a transportation grid they can utilize that will efficiently get them around the city so they can be a part of it. That’s why the bike trails are so important. I can tell you that is a wonderful way to see the city from a bicycling perspective.”
“TRY TO FIND ANOTHER CITY THAT CAN OFFER WHAT WE OFFER.” 32
Our walkable Museum District is home to 19 museums. Astros, Texans, Rockets, Dynamo Our restaurants span the globe— Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, Pakistani, Lebanese, Indian, Ethiopian, Greek, French, Italian, Cajun, Barbecue, Mexican and Tex-Mex … the list goes on. We have two international airports within the city limits. Plus Ellington Field is on the way to becoming a spaceport, officially licensed by the FAA as such. IAH is one of four airports in the world with nonstop flights to six continents—no other city in the United States offers that.
Performing Arts 32 Festivals + Special Events 33 Market Square Park 36 Discovery Green 38 and more
EDITED BY NICOLE MARIN
PERFORMING ARTS BEAUTIFUL—A CAROLE KING MUSICAL
Through Jun 5 Beautiful—The Carole King Musical tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Tickets start at $35. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. thehobbycenter.org
SERENADE—SPRING MIXED REPERTORY
Through Jun 5 Houston Ballet’s spring repertory
is a powerhouse program, pairing two 20th-century masterpieces—Serenade by George Balanchine and Gloria by Sir Kenneth MacMillan, with the company premiere of a delightfully comic work, Cacti, by Alexander Ekman. Tickets $20–$145. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.ARTS. houstonballet.org
Jun 3 Ars Lyrica’s 2015–2016 Seasonal Rituals comes to a close with a program celebrating the warm and sometimes unpredictable winds of summer. Virtuosic flights of fancy abound on this program, which features Vivaldi’s Summer, J. S. Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in D Minor, W. A. Mozart’s Exultate, Jubilate, and three outstanding soloists. Tickets starts at $37. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. arslyricahouston.org
Jun 3–Jul 3 Born Yesterday is an American comedy about politics and the power of female persuasion. When an ex-showgirl gets an extreme makeover from a political reporter hired by her boyfriend, she receives more than a history lesson. Born Yesterday is a delicious screwball classic. Tickets starts at $26. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org
DAN & PHIL—THE AMAZING TOUR IS NOT ON FIRE
Jun 8 A theatrical stage show with hilarious anecdotes, sketches, lots of audience interaction you’ll probably regret, a loose story tying it all together and some surprises you’ll never see coming. VIP ticket includes a pre-show Meet & Greet opportunity with Dan & Phil. Tickets start at $49.50. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525.
Jun 9–19 Houston Ballet caps its season with a lavish new production of Giselle, staged by Stanton Welch. It’s the company’s first new production of this great work in over three decades. A beautiful girl is deceived in love by an aristocrat disguised as a commoner. Love, betrayal and redemption play out with stunning simplicity. Tickets $20–$145. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.ARTS. houstonballet.org
BEAUTIFUL—A CAROLE KING MUSICAL
MUSIC OF DAVID BOWIE
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
Jun 11 The unexpected death of flamboyant rock
Jul 1–2 The film that gave the world one of its greatest
legend David Bowie has turned the Symphony’s Summer Series opener at Jones Hall into a poignant celebration of the artist’s unforgettable sounds. Join frontman, Brody Dolyniuk, the Houston Symphony, and a full rock band on a stunning musical odyssey that showcases the incredible range of Bowie’s astounding career. Tickets $29–$125. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
movie heroes, Indiana Jones, is back and better than ever before as part of the Summer Series at Jones Hall. Relive the magic with the amazing adventures of Raiders of the Lost Ark live on the big screen when the Houston Symphony performs John Williams’ score in its entirety. Tickets $22–$115. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
TEN WAYS ON A GUN
Jul 2 Grammy nominated saxophonist Chris Mitchell
Jun 23–Jul 9 Tommy Freely buys a gun online in an attempt to regain control over his life; but before he can get that sweet release, his girlfriend freaks! Desperate, Tommy opts to “timeshare” the gun with his deadbeat coworkers at his dead-end telemarketing job. The result? Tragically hilarious calamity. Tickets $25 (suggested donation). Landing Theatre @ the Docks, 1119 East Freeway (Providence Street). 562.502.7469.
shares a collection of romantic Bossa Nova jazz from his newest album, I Found Forever. Tickets start at $35.50. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 832.487.7041.
Jul 6–Aug 14 Long before that girl from Kansas arrived in Munchkinland, two girls met in the Land of Oz. One was born with emerald green skin and
FESTIVALS & SPECIAL EVENTS CITY HALL FARMERS MARKET
Wednesdays through Jun 29 It’s a food-lovers delight at Urban Harvest’s City Hall Farmers Market. The public can enjoy a variety of locally prepared, ready-toeat or packaged to-go foods, pick up farm-fresh weekly groceries and at the same time support sustainable food, all amid Houston’s dramatic Downtown urban setting. The farmers market features more than 30 vendors including fresh produce grown by local farmers, cheeses, breads, roasted coffees, and a variety of prepared meals, as well as food trucks. Hermann Square, 901 Bagby. 713.880.5540.
Wednesdays Start the day off right with a challenging MUTTS + MELODIES
was smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other was beautiful, ambitious and very popular. How these two grew to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good makes for “the most complete—and completely satisfying—musical in a long time,” (USA Today). Tickets start at $40. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. thehobbycenter.org
“WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC—THE MANDATORY WORLD TOUR Jul 14 Join “Weird
“WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC
Al” Yankovic for The Mandatory World Tour, a follow up to the recent release of his album, Mandatory Fun, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. Tickets start at $42. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 832.487.7041.
fantastic place to hide, and a dangerous one. Tickets $25 (suggested donation). 8 pm. Landing Theatre @ the Docks, 1119 East Freeway (Providence St.). 562.502.7469.
Aug 13 The original Jersey boy himself, Frankie Valli is a true American pop icon. His incredible career with the Four Seasons, as well as his solo success, has spawned countless hit singles. With unforgettable tunes like Sherry, Walk Like A Man, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Rag Doll, December ‘63—Oh What A Night, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, and of course, Grease, Valli has sold over 100 million records worldwide. Tickets start at $73. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 832.487.7041.
boot camp. No equipment is needed and classes are open to all skill levels. Free. The Lawn at GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin. 832.320.1201. greenstreetdowntown.com
FREE PRESS SUMMER FEST
Jun 4–5 This music and arts festival will feature more than 50 local, national and international acts including Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz, Deadmau5, Modest Mouse, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Gogel Bordello, Leon Bridges and more. Ticket prices vary. Eleanor Tinsley Park, 500 Allen Parkway. fpsf.com
MUTTS + MELODIES
Jun 4 & 25, Jul 2 & 26, & 27 Pup Squad Animal Rescue will be holding pet adoptions on The Lawn at GreenStreet. Enjoy live music as you visit with these sweet puppies looking for their fur-ever home. 1–4 pm. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin. 832.320.1201.
ROMEO & JULIET IN KATHAK
Jul 22 A troupe of 50 dancers from Kalashram, Delhi, presents Romeo and Juliet, which has been translated and choreographed to fit the classical Indian dance form, Kathak. The music in Kalashram’s production of Romeo & Juliet is a soothing cross-cultural fusion of Indian classical and contemporary jazz, and the elaborate lighting designs, sets and costumes do full justice to the spirit of the story. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 832.487.7041. iaahouston.com
GAMBRELS OF THE SKY
Aug 4–20 Gambrels of the Sky is an urban biblical fairy tale. Eve has abandoned Adam and her post-Eden world and moved to a city where magic has won. Here, dragons nest on the roofs of the skyscrapers. Fairies crawl into the streetlights to keep warm. It is a
MONTHLY VOLUNTEER DAY
HAPPY HOUR WITH PINOT’S PALETTE
Jun 9–11 Celebrate cultural diversity at the Carnival
Jun 15, Jul 20, Aug 16 Make plans for an
Jun 18, Jul 16, Aug 20 Houstonians, ages 9 and
Houston celebrations Downtown! Kick off the weekend’s festivities with a Neon Paint Rave Friday at Houston Food Park (1311 Leeland) featuring live disc jockey sets, blasts of neon paint and food truck fare. On Saturday, enjoy the Carnival Houston Parade & Street Festival filled with games, rides, food, dancing and tons of live entertainment! Ticket prices vary by event. Downtown Houston, 1150 LaBranch.
unforgettable evening of fun and fine art where the wine and the canvases are provided! All you need to do is bring your friends and get ready to be inspired by local artists from Pinot’s Palette who will guide you step-by-step through a featured painting. At the end of the evening, leave with your own masterpiece. Space is limited and registration is required. Tickets $20 per person. 5:30–8 pm. Main Street Square, 1021 Main (under the Trumpet Flower Canopy).
up, are invited to join Buffalo Bayou Partnership for community-wide volunteer days at Buffalo Bayou Park happening the third Saturday of each month. Volunteers will help with a variety of tasks, including but not limited to: trash pickup, mulching and weed removal. Free. 8:30 am. The Water Works at Buffalo Bayou Park, 105 Sabine. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org
Houston Public Library SUMMER READING PROGRAM
Jun 1–Aug 1 Houston Public Library’s Summer Reading Program Aim for the Stars is a free, incentivebased way to encourage kids and teens to read and explore various free programs. The more they read the more prizes they’ll win. Parents can participate in reading this summer too. Together the parent and child will be entered into a drawing for a fun family pack.
Thursdays, Jun 2–Aug 4 Embrace the coloring craze! Coloring pages and tools provided, just bring your imagination. 11 am.
Central Library 500 McKinney
All events free and open to the public. 832.393.1313. houstonlibrary.org
children with autism spectrum disorders, sensory integration issues, other developmental disabilities, and their typically developing peers. This program includes stories, songs and activities in a small setting. 2 pm.
Catch a new interactive children’s presentation each Wednesday at 10:30 am. Jun 8 Opera Cat Jun 15 Puppet Show Jun 22 All About Turtles Jun 29 Story Hour Jul 6 Lanny Kibbey (Magician) Jul 13 Pocket Watch Puppets Jul 20 Roly the Clown Jul 27 Sally Bates (Storyteller)
Jun 18, Jul 16, Aug 6 An interactive program for
Jun 22, Jul 20 Calling all otaku! Meet up and share your love of Japanese anime, manga and pop culture. 2:30 pm.
WRITE ON! TEEN WRITING CLUB
Jun 29, Jul 27 Explore the art of creative writing.
both English and Spanish. Finish up with a craft to take home. 3 pm.
Character development, poetry and short stories are just some of the writing elements you’ll develop in this program. 2:30 pm.
Jun 4, Jul 9 Enjoy fun stories, songs, and rhymes in
STEM @ YOUR LIBRARY
Tuesdays, Jun 7–Aug 2 Join HPL for exploratory activities that make science, technology, engineering and math fun! 2:30 pm and 4 pm.
Thursdays, Jun 9–Aug 11 From clay to socks, use different mediums to create a unique craft each week and make a few new friends.! 2:30 pm.
Jun 10 & 24, Jul 17 & 24 Whether you’re feeling nostalgic or love the thrill of competition, come and enjoy your favorite classic board games, card games, party games and more at the library. 2:30 p.m.
Jun 11, Jul 2, Aug 13 Van Gogh, Da Vinci, and why not you? Explore talented artists and try your hand at mimicking their signature styles to create your own work of art. 3 pm.
TEEN MOVIES Teens are invited to drop in each Monday at 2:30 pm for a different movie screening. Jun 6 T he Dark Knight, (PG-13) 2008, 2 hr 32 min. Jun 13 O z the Great and Powerful, (PG) 2013, 2 hr 10 min. Jun 20 The Bourne Identity, (PG-13) 2002, 11 hr 59 min. Jun 27 The DUFF, (PG-13) 2015, 1 hr 41 min. Jul 11 Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, (PG-13) 2016, 1 hr 47 min. Jul 18 Skyfall, (PG-13) 2012, 2 hr 23 min. Jul 25 The Mortal Instruments—City of Bones, (PG-13) 2013, 2 hr 10 min. Aug 1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, (PG-13) 2010, 2 hr 26 min. Aug 8 Stardust, (PG-13) 2007, 2 hr 7 min. Aug 15 Hellboy, (PG-13) 2004, 2 hr 2 min.
STORY TO SCREEN OUTDOOR MOVIES ON THE PLAZA Free flicks at the library, under the night sky and the glow of City Hall. 7 pm. Jun 30 Romeo + Juliet, (PG-13) 1996, 2 hr. *Featuring a special Shakespeare performance on the plaza presented by Main Street Theater! Jul 28 Clueless, (PG-13) 1995, 1 hr 37 min. Aug 25 O Brother, Where Art Thou, (PG-13) 2000, 1 hr 46 min.
FAMILY FUN MONDAYS Baby Time, 10:30 am Toddler Time, 11:30 am Preschool Story time, 1 pm
TUESDAYS Toddler Yoga, 10:30 am Toddler Playtime, 11:30 am Graphic Novel Book Club, 2 pm
WEDNESDAYS Lego Mania, 3 pm
THURSDAYS Minecraft, 3 pm
Julia Ideson Library 550 McKinney
datebook. FRIDAY FLICKS ON THE LAWN Spread out on The Lawn at GreenStreet the third Friday of each month this summer for a free movie night under the moon. Movies begin at 8 pm. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin. 832.320.1201.
greenstreetdowntown.com Jun 24 Jerry McGuire (R) 1996, 2 hr 19 min. Jul 22 Pitch Perfect 2 (PG-13) 2015, 1 hr 55 min. Aug 26 21 Jump Street (R) 2012, 1 hr 49 min.
2016 LGBT PRIDE FESTIVAL
Jun 25 The 2016 LGBT Pride Festival which takes place around City Hall, Herman Square and Tranquility Park showcases over 200 exhibitors and has something for everyone—like the Houston LGBT History exhibit, Family Fun Zone, Health and Wellness Pavilion, free HIV testing and more. Attendees will also enjoy entertainment by a whole cast of local and national artists. Noon–7 pm. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged. Hermann Square, 901 Bagby.
2016 PRIDE HOUSTON PARADE
Jun 25 The 2016 Houston LGBT Pride Parade features more than 115 businesses, organizations and other community supporters who will line the streets of Downtown Houston with their brightly colored flags and floats. The parade pre-show will begin at 8 pm and the parade itself will begin at 8:30 pm. General admission is free, but VIP and reserved seating options are available. pridehouston.org
PRIDE FESTIVAL AND PARADE
This family-friendly six-acre entertainment and dining complex is a 500,000-gallon aquatic wonderland, home to over 200 species of aquatic life from around the globe. With a full-service restaurant, aquatic and geographic exhibits, shopping and a variety of amusements, Downtown Aquarium has it all! 410 Bagby. 713.223.3474. downtownaquarium.com
SPECIAL OFFER: TWO FOR TUESDAYS
Tuesdays, Jun 7 Buy one get one free Aquarium Adventures Pass. Adventure Pass includes unlimited access to Aquarium Adventure Exhibit, Stingray Reef, and all rides with the purchase of another. Visit website to download coupon.
Fridays through Aug 26 Strap on your dancing shoes
FREEDOM OVER TEXAS FESTIVAL
THEATER DISTRICT OPEN HOUSE
Jul 4 Fireworks will ignite the sky, and country
Aug 28 Visit the Alley Theatre, Hobby Center for
tunes will set the stage for Houston’s annual patriotic celebration, the US Family Health Plan Freedom Over Texas at Eleanor Tinsley Park. Grammy award winner Darius Rucker will headline the main stage followed by Houston’s own The Suffers, who will showcase their signature fusion of rock and Gulf Coast Soul. The evening will culminate with a spectacular fireworks display. Tickets $5–$10. 4–10 pm. Eleanor Tinsley Park, 500 Allen Parkway. 832.393.0868.
the Performing Arts, Wortham Theater Center and Jones Hall. Grab an event program when you arrive and check out what’s happening throughout the day. Performances will be offered on stage at all four of the Theater District’s venues. Tour backstage, dive into the costume trunk, and get up close with musical instruments at the instrument petting zoo. End your day with a free Houston Symphony concert at 4 pm at Jones Hall. Free. Noon. Alley Theatre, Hobby Center, Jones Hall, Revention Music Center, Wortham Center. theaterdistrictopenhouse.org
and move to the beat! Enjoy free salsa dance lessons from professional dancers, a live DJ, plus great food and drinks. No cover charge.
Jul 1–3 Looking for a jaw-some time? The highly anticipated Shark Weekend is back and better than ever with dive shows, shark arts & crafts, conservation booths and plenty of giveaways. Plus, meet shark divers and learn fun facts.
Jul 23–24 Experience the excitement of Tiger Weekend at the Downtown Aquarium. Not only will you be able to watch tiger feedings and training demonstrations with the White Bengal Tigers, there will also be conservation booths and education on these majestic cats.
Market Square Park 2ND SATURDAY NITES IN HISTORIC MARKET SQUARE In coordination with Market Square Park events, once a month businesses will come together to activate their spaces, celebrating the uniqueness of the Historic District as a neighborhood. Guests can also visit the Market on Main from 7 pm to 2 am, where they’ll find Downtown blocks populated with some of Houston’s favorite food and vendor trucks all while capturing the spirit of a true Downtown event.
DON’T MISS MUSIQA
Jun 3 Founded in 2002 and led by four composers, the mission of Musiqa is to enrich and inspire the community through programs that integrate contemporary music with other modern art forms. Following on the success of its previous performances at Market Square Park in 2013 and 2014, Musiqa will once again astound the audience and bring the park to life with their unique instrumentations. 8 pm.
Jun 16, Jul 21, Aug 18 This popular park favorite is back! Bring your blanket, lawn chairs or snag one of the tables at the park for a night of music and great prizes. $10 admission includes one bingo packet (nine games). Additional games and daubers can be purchased for $1 each. Packets are sold beginning at 6 pm and bingo begins at 7 pm. Proceeds benefit Market Square Park and Buffalo Bayou Partnership.
BETA THEATER SKETCH SHOW
SAINT ARNOLD PUB CRAWL
Jul 9 Join Saint Arnold Brewing Company as their famous Pub Crawl makes its return to Downtown Houston. The fun will begin for beer lovers at 2 pm at various bars in and around the Historic District area. Event goers will have until 6 pm to visit all the stops along the way before reporting back to Market Square Park to claim their official Saint Arnold pint glass. At the park, crawlers can celebrate a job well done with live music as well as Greek eats from Niko Niko’s. Food truck fare will also be available at the Market on Main beginning at 7 pm, so guests can refuel before heading back for a night on the town. Pub crawl begins at 2 pm. saintarnold.com
RECREATION BAYOU BIKERS
Jun 5, Jul 3, Aug 7 Bayou Bikers meet at Market Square on the first Sunday of the month for 25- to 40mile bike rides exploring the bayous of Houston. Rides are open to all. Mountain bikes or bikes with fat tires are necessary. This is an informal group whose purpose is to show Houstonians and visitors the beauty of Houston’s waterways. First Sunday of the month, 8 am.
Jun 11 Join us in the park for a night of laughter as BETA Theater makes its Market Square Park debut. BETA Theater is widely known for bringing world-class comedy to stages all over the city, as well as developing inspiring performers to train and hold shows in improv, sketch and stand-up comedy. With live music, hilarious sketches and top-notch performers—this is a night you won’t want to miss! After your sides finish aching from laughter, make your way through the neighborhood for a nightcap or enjoy food and vendor trucks in our Market on Main. Sketch show begins at 8 pm. betatheater.com
Jun 24, Jul 29, Aug 26 Critical Mass is an informal FARGO
MOVIES ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE CINEMAS ROLLING ROADSHOW PRESENTS THE QUIRKY & THE CLASSICS Forget about trekking to the ‘burbs for your Alamo Drafthouse fix and come Downtown instead. Join the Rolling Roadshow for these fantastic films under the stars: Jun 24 Fargo (R) 1996, 1 hr 38 min. 8:30 pm. Jul 6 Rushmore (R) 1 hr 33 min. 8:30 pm. Aug 10 E.T. (PG) 1982, 2 hr 3 min. 8 pm.
bike group that meets the last Friday of every month to ride around the city, raise awareness and advocate for a bicycle-friendly urban environment. All bikes are welcome. 7:15 pm.
HOUSTON B-CYCLE STATION Park visitors can purchase daily, weekly or annual memberships and explore downtown on two wheels. Thanks to Blue Cross Blue Shield, this bike-sharing program has expanded from three to 14 stations throughout Downtown, as well as in other areas of Houston. houston.bcycle.com
PARK INFORMATION Market Square Park is open daily from 6 am–11 pm. Blankets, lawn chairs, and picnics are welcome; food, beer and wine are available for purchase at Niko Niko’s. No glass containers or outside alcoholic beverages are allowed. Metered on-street parking is available and free after 6 pm. $5 parking is available nightly across the street at Market Square Garage. 301 Milam.
marketsquarepark.com Be sure to follow Historic Market Square on Facebook and Twitter for special event announcements, weather-related updates and other happenings in the neighborhood’s eclectic dining and bar scene.
datebook. EXPERIENTIAL GRAPHIC DESIGN
Jun 16 Experiential graphic design involves the orchestration of typography, color, imagery, form, technology and, especially content to create environments that communicate. Join Architecture Center Houston (ArCH) for an exhibition exploring environmental graphics. Free. 5:30–7 pm. Architecture Center Houston (ArCH), 315 Capitol, Ste. 120. 713.520.0155. aiahouston.org
PROFILE OF A HOUSTON OIL FAMILY
classic elements of sculpture: form, volume, surface and edge. Each piece has something to say! Weekdays, 8 am–6 pm. Heritage Plaza, 1111 Bagby St. 713.336.2280.
JERRY AND MARVY FINGER LECTURE SERIES: THE LA BELLE
Jun 16 Brad Jones, archeologist with the Texas Historical Commission, will present a program about Robert de La Salle’s 1684 expedition and the restoration of the La Belle. Members are free, non-members are $5. Noon–1 pm. The Heritage Society (Tea Room), 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org
artsbrookfield.com SECOND NATURE
Through Feb 2017
EXHIBITS & VISUAL ARTS
Art Blocks is a year-long public art project where colorful and compelling public art infuses the three-block promenade of Main Street Square in Downtown Houston. Explore and interact with four installations—Main Street Marquis, Color Jam Houston, Trumpet Flower and mas que la cara (More than the face). Main Street Square, between Walker and Dallas Streets. artblockshouston.org
PROFILE OF A HOUSTON OIL FAMILY: PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE STAITI/REISNER FAMILY COLLECTION
DESIGNING AMERICA: SPAIN’S IMPRINT IN THE U.S
Through Jul 2 An exhibition capturing the lifestyle of
the Staiti family, a prosperous young Houston oil family making the most of this nascent industry. Free. 10 am–4 pm. The Heritage Society, 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912.
Jun 1–Jul 23 This exhibit displays the important contributions that Spain has made to the construction of the United States territory, landscape and cities, starting with the first settlements 500 years ago to present day. Free. Julia Ideson Building, 550 McKinney. 832.393.1662. houstonlibrary.org
THIS WAS CONTEMPORARY ART: FINE AND DECORATIVE ARTS IN HOUSTON 1945–1965
Jul 14–Oct 15 Browse a variety of mid-century modern artworks in the Heritage Society’s, This WAS Contemporary Art: Fine and Decorative Arts in Houston 1945–1965 exhibit. Free. 10 am–4 pm. The Heritage Society, 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org
REVENTION MUSIC CENTER Jun 5 Whitesnake Jun 27 Brit Floyd Jul 2 Dashboard Confessional, Taking Back Sunday, Saosin + more
Jul 8 Halsey Jul 9 Chino y Nacho Jul 12 98 Degrees, O-Town, Dream, Ryan Cabrera Jul 21 Bring it! Live Aug 19 Thomas Anders and Modern Talking Band Aug 23 Alice Cooper Revention Music Center’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. Revention Music Center, 520 Texas. 800.745.3000. reventionmusiccenter.com
I NEVER SAW ANOTHER BUTTERFLY
Through Jul 6 Arts Brookfield presents I Never Saw Another Butterfly, a collection of 300 handmade butterflies created by school children from all over the world as a remembrance of the 1.5 million children who perished in the Holocaust. Weekdays, 8 am–6 pm. Two Allen Center, 1200 Smith, Second Floor Lobby. 713.336.2280. artsbrookfield.com
Through Sep 8 Arts Brookfield presents Second Nature, a selection of paintings, lithographs and wood constructions by Billy Hassell and Isaac Smith celebrating the freshness and fragility of our world. Weekdays, 8 am–6 pm. Total Plaza Lobby, 1201 Louisiana St. 713.336.2280. artsbrookfield.com
KNOWN AND UNDERKNOWN
Through Sep 12 Arts Brookfield presents Known and Underknown which exhibits a selection of works from our community’s emerging talent as well as pieces by more established artists. Weekdays, 8 am–6 pm. 1600 Smith (concourse level). 713.336.2280.
IT’S A CONVERSATION
Through Nov 8 Arts Brookfield presents It’s A Conversation, a collection of lead-covered wood sculptures by Steve Murphy that deal with the
The events listed are confirmed at the time of printing. For a full listing of Discovery Green’s summer 2016 events, please visit the calendar at discoverygreen.com Blankets, lawn chairs and picnics are welcome; food, beer and wine are available for purchase at the Lake House. No glass containers or outside alcoholic beverages permitted. Most events are free, unless noted otherwise. 1500 McKinney. photo by David McClister
BANK OF AMERICA SCREEN ON THE GREEN
Jun 4 Catch a free screening of Jurassic
LAND ROVER HOUSTON CENTRAL’S RAINBOW ON THE GREEN
World (PG-13) 2015, 2 hr 4 min. in the shadow of Houston’s skyline. Arrive one hour early for contests and activities! 8:30 pm.
Jun 11 Music, dance and always an unforgettable celebration of Houston’s LBGT community featuring performances by Taylor Dayne and Billy Gilman. Free. 7–10 pm.
FLEA BY NIGHT PRESENTED BY GREEN MOUNTAIN ENERGY
Jun 18 Food trucks, live music and
vendors selling vintage clothing, antiques, jewelry, art and more under the stars and twinkling lights! 6–10 pm.
SUNDOWN AT THE GROVE
Wednesdays, Jun 22–Aug 31 This summer series features craft brews carefully paired with spectacular bites in The Grove’s tree house. $20 includes flight of four craft beers or two glasses of wine plus food pairings. 5:30–8 pm.
A BOLLYWOOD NIGHT
Jun 17 Celebrate the art and culture of ROBERT ELLIS
ART & ENTERTAINMENT THURSDAY CONCERTS PRESENTED BY UHD Family friendly concerts in the park featuring the best in Gulf Coast music. 7 pm. Jun 2 Robert Ellis Jun 9 The Quebe Sisters Jun 16 Havana NRG and Mango Punch! Jun 23 Airwave 80s and The Swatchmen Jun 30 Kermit Ruffins and the Barbeque Swingers
H-E-B MOVIE NIGHT
India! Learn some dance moves, taste the spice, treasure hunt among the Indian arts and crafts and enjoy the film, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (NR) 1999, 3 hr 10 min. Event starts at 8 pm; movie starts at 9 pm.
SELF-TAUGHT ARTISTS AND MUSIC: MENIL COLLECTION AT DISCOVERY GREEN
Jun 24 An evening of visionary art
and music. Renowned musician Lonnie Holley performs with Steve Nistor, Dave Eggar, Kelly Pratt and Marshall Ruffin. Followed by the stirring documentary about iconic American artist, Thornton Dial, Mr. Dial Has Something to Say (NR, 2007, 54 min). Event starts at 7:30 pm; movie starts at 9 pm.
WEEKLY EVENTS KAYAK RIDES AND STAND UP PADDLEBOARDING ON KINDER LAKE
Jun 1–Aug 31 Enjoy Stand Up
Paddleboarding (SUP) or a relaxing, guided kayak ride. No reservation required. $5 for kayak and $10 for SUP.
Saturdays Jun 4–Aug 27 Bring your paper, plastic and aluminum to the recycling station at Discovery Green. 11 am–2 pm.
YOUNG WRITERS WORKSHOP
Saturdays, Jun 4–Aug 27 Writers
in the Schools, HPL Express and Discovery Green offer Houston’s only free and open writing workshop for kids. 10:30–11:30 am.
LEARN A LANGUAGE
Saturdays, Jun 4–27 Start your child on a journey toward learning a new language. 11:30 am–12:30 pm.
Jun 3 Pack a picnic and a blanket and
Saturdays, June 4–27 Girls, Inc. hosts
spread out on the lawn at Discovery Green to enjoy a free outdoor screening of Tortilla Soup (PG) 2001, 1 hr 43 min. 9 pm.
a fun hands-on science, technology, engineering and math education program for kids. 12:30–1:30 pm.
HOUSE OF BLUES Jun 1 Caravan Palace Jun 8 Thrice Jun 9 Buckethead Jun 10 Jane Lynch Jun 11 Domo Genesis Jun 11 She Wants Revenge Jun 15 Sunflower Bean Jun 17 Bob Schneider Jun 18 Wheeler Walker Jr. Jun 20 Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo Jun 21 Pierce The Veil Jun 23 Lake Street Drive Jun 24 The Dan Band Jun 25 Jacob Whitesides Jun 25 Citizen Cope Jun 26 Dolan Twins Jul 1 Jon Bellion Jul 15 L7 Jul 22 Back in Black Aug 10 Frankie Ballard Aug 27 Sinbad HOB’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. House of Blues, GreenStreet, 1204 Caroline. 888.402.5837. hob.com/houston
TOYOTA CENTER SUNDOWN AT THE GROVE
FITNESS IN THE PARK YOGA Mondays (Jun 6–27), 11 am–noon Tuesdays (Jun 7–28), 6:30–7:30 pm
MINDFULLNESS MEDITATION Mondays (Jun 6–27), Noon–12:30 pm
CIRCUS ARTS Tuesdays (Jun 7–28), 5:30–7:30 pm
ZUMBA Wednesdays (Jun 1–29), 6:30–7:30 pm
PARKOUR Thursdays (Jun 2–30), 6:30–8 pm
HATHA YOGA Saturdays (Jun 4–25), 9–10 am
OTHER EVENTS GREATER HOUSTON RATHA
Jul 8 Participate in the Festival of Chariots and enjoy Indian classical dance performances, multicultural entertainment, delicious vegan dinner and activities for kids. Free. 5:30 pm. greaterhoustonrathyatra.org
Jul 16 Houston Cinema Arts Society presents an outdoor film night in the park. 6 pm.
Jun 2 R. Kelly Jun 15 Selena Gomez Jul 23 Hillsong United
SELENA GOMEZ photo courtesy of Grazie France
Toyota Center’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.4HOUTIX. houstontoyotacenter.com
Jun 24–26 Texas Trucking Show Jul 23–24 Bridal Extravaganza Aug 19–21 Nursery/Landscape Expo 2016 Aug 27–28 High Caliber Gun & Knife Show The George R. Brown Convention Center’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas. 713.853.8000. houstonconventionctr.com
WAUGH DRIVE BRIDGE BAT COLONY BOAT TOUR
Jun 11 & 25, Jul 9 & 23, Aug 13 & 27 Take in a
BUFFALO BAYOU: FROM MASTODONS TO MARATHONS WALKING TOUR
Jun 18, Jul 16, Aug 20 Led by Texas Master
Naturalists, the discussion and tour will highlight how the landscape and ecology of 19th-century Texas created Houston, as well as the importance of prairies in rebuilding this astonishing and all but vanished ecosystem. Free. Times vary. The Water Works at Buffalo Bayou Park, 105 Sabine. 713.752.0314.
SUMMER TWILIGHT TOURS
Jun 18, Jul 16, Aug 20 These 30-minute boat rides are a great way to spend the evening with your family. Escape from the city and enjoy the cool breeze as you glide along Buffalo Bayou’s waters. Look for graceful herons, jumping fish, and even an occasional alligator on the banks. Tickets $5–$7. 6 pm. Sabine Promenade, 150 Sabine St. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org
DISCOVER HOUSTON TOURS Ghost tours, tunnel walks and rail tours, architectural tours and more are available. Tour guide Sandra Lord is the resident expert and has been conducting Downtown and Houston tours since 1988. Ticket prices vary. 713.222.9255. discoverhoustontours.com
HERITAGE SOCIETY HISTORIC HOMES TOUR
breathtaking view of over 250,000 Mexican freetailed bats during their dusk emergence from the Waugh Drive Bridge over Buffalo Bayou! Learn more about these magnificent creatures that share the city with us. Tickets $30. Boat departs 30 minutes before sunset. Sabine Promenade, 150 Sabine. 713.752.0314.
Nestled among 19 acres in the heart of Downtown Houston, the Heritage Society boasts eight historic structures dating from 1823 to 1905. Each historic structure is authentically restored to reflect its original magnificence. Tickets $15 adults, $12 seniors, $6 children 6–8 and kids under 5 are free. Sam Houston Park, 1100 Bagby. Times vary. 713.655.1912.
MINUTE MAID PARK TOUR Get a behind-the-scenes look at Minute Maid Park including historic Union Station, broadcasting booth or press boxes, Astros’ or visitors’ dugout, luxury suites and much more. Tickets $9 adults, $7 seniors and $5 for kids 3–14. Mon–Sat 10 am, noon, 2 pm. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. 713.259.8687. astros.com
SAINT ARNOLD BREWING COMPANY TOUR Come visit Texas’ oldest craft brewery. Every Saturday, the doors open at 11 am and groups rotate in and out of the facility in an open-house format until 2 pm. If Saturdays don’t work for you, check out their weekday open house at 3 pm. After the tour, guests are welcome to stay for a free tasting. Tickets $7, no reservations required. All minors under the age of 21 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. 2000 Lyons at I-10. saintarnold.com
SEGWAY TOURS OF HOUSTON Like the rest of Texas, downtown Houston is a pretty big place to walk around. There are a lot of things to see up close and from a distance. Experience the Bayou City, once the capitol city of a sovereign country, from a talking perspective within a few hours while you have effortless fun on a Segway. $75–$80. Meet at Wortham Center, 501 Texas. Daily: 10 am, noon, 2 pm, 4 pm and 6 pm. 866.673.4929. segwaytoursofhouston.com
SPORTS USA BASKETBALL VS. NIGERIA
Aug 1 Don’t miss your chance to see the 2016 U.S. Men’s National Team in action as they take on the 2015 FIBA Africa zone champion Nigeria in the last exhibition game before they head to Rio to defend their gold medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics! $40–$1,600. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 866.446.8849.
Aug 29 WWE Monday Night Raw returns to Houston with World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns and Women’s Champion Charlotte. With Ric Flair, Dean Ambrose, New Day, Triple H, the Authority, and many more. $20–$105. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 866.446.8849.
Jun 18 Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union (Star Wars Night) Jul 2 Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union (Armed Forces Appreciation) Jul 23 Dynamo vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC Jul 31 Dynamo vs. San Jose Earthquakes Aug 13 Dynamo vs. Toronto FC Aug 24 Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders Aug 27 Dynamo vs. DC Dallas For schedule info and tickets, call or visit website. BBVA Compass Stadium, 2200 Texas. 713.276.GOAL.
Jun 19 Dash vs. FC Kansas City Jul 16 Dash vs. Portland Thorns (Pride Night) Jul 30 Dash vs. Western New York Flash HERITAGE SOCIETY HISTORIC HOME TOURS
For schedule info and tickets, call or visit website. BBVA Compass Stadium, 2200 Texas. 713.276.GOAL.
Jun 1–2 Astros vs. Arizona Diamondbacks Jun 3–5 Astros vs. Oakland Athletics (Jun 4 Bayou Bash Street Festival)
Jun 17–19 Astros vs. Cincinnati Reds (Jun 19 Father’s Day/Picnic in the Park)
Jun 20–22 Astros vs. Anaheim Angels Jul 1–3 Astros vs. Chicago White Sox Jul 4–6 Astros vs. Seattle Mariners (Jul 4 Military Appreciation)
Jul 7–10 Astros vs. Oakland Athletics Jul 22–24 Astros vs. Anaheim Angels Jul 25–27 Astros vs. New York Yankees Aug 1–4 Astros vs. Toronto Blue Jays Aug 5–7 Astros vs. Texas Rangers (Legends Weekend)
Aug 16–17 Astros vs. St. Louis Cardinals Aug 26–28 Astros vs. Tampa Bay Rays (Aug 28 Bark at the Park)
Aug 29–31 Astros vs. Oakland Athletics
SPECIAL OFFERS: ASTROS $1 HOT DOG WEDNESDAY Every Wednesday night home game is $1 Hot Dog Wednesday presented by Nolan Ryan Beef. Enjoy all the hot dogs you can eat at Minute Maid Park!
ASTROS FRIDAY NIGHT FIREWORKS Kick off your weekends at Minute Maid Park! Every Friday night home game is followed by the best fireworks show in town. For schedule info and tickets, call or visit website. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. 877.927.8767.
EDITED BY NICOLE M ARIN
THE GUIDE TO EATING DOWNTOWN
Conservatory Local purveyors dish out crĂŞpes, ramen, barbecue, kabobs and more in a hip undergound space.
These listings are not reviews but are a guide to Downtown dining spots. “Recommended” restaurants are selected by Downtown editors and are based on food quality, menu selection, service, ambiance and value. v RECOMMENDED NEW! JUST OPENED B Breakfast BR Brunch L Lunch D Dinner LN Late Night
Average Price of an Entrée $ $10 or less $$ $11–$19 $$$ $20–$29 $$$$ $30+
For a searchable database of downtown Houston restaurants by cuisine, location and price, visit downtownhouston.org and click on Guide.
17 Restaurant New American Found in the lobby of the luxurious Sam Houston Hotel, this lush and lavish destination oozes elegance. Detailed American cuisine and smart service make this a restaurant of note. thesamhoustonhotel.com. 1117 Prairie, 832.200.8800. D Daily. $$$ v Andalucia Restaurant & Bar Tapas/Spanish Dim lighting, large wooden tables and heavy iron accents provide for a cozy, rustic atmosphere. The menu features large dishes, such as paella for up to 16 people, and tapas that range from the traditional such as gambas al ajillo (shrimp cooked in olive oil and garlic) and empanadas, to veal tongue and oxtail. andaluciatapas.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, 832.319.6675. L Mon– Fri, D Mon–Sat. $$ v Artista American Artista offers inspirational contemporary American cuisine and theatrical ambiance with high ceilings, glass walls and sweeping views of the Downtown skyline. cordua.com. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby, 713.278.4782. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat (Open for L & D on Sun only if a theater performance is scheduled). $$$ v Azuma Sushi & Robata Bar Japanese/Sushi Voted “Best Sushi in Houston” by Citysearch.com, this newage Japanese restaurant is anything but typical. The ambience is terrific, the sushi is innovative and fresh and the outside seating area provides great people watching. azumajapanese.com. 909 Texas, 713.223.0909. L Mon– Fri; D Mon–Sun; LN Fri & Sat. $$
Ballpark Café American Enjoy the all-American
v Batanga Tapas + Drinks Latin This tapas joint whips up delicious dishes inspired from Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Chile—anywhere that sangria is served. The spacious patio is as good as it gets when it comes to outdoor dining with its festive twinkle lights, great music and stellar views of the Historic District and Market Square Park. batangahouston.com. 908 Congress, 713.224.9500. L & D Daily; BR Sat & Sun. $$ v Ben’s Beans Coffee House Ben’s Beans is a quirky little coffee shop that serves a variety of espresso drinks, smoothies, and hot and cold sandwiches. It also features free wi-fi, an in-house art gallery and occasional live music. 1302 Dallas. 713.654.8856. B, L, D Daily. $
Benihana of Tokyo Japanese While some restaurants allow their guests to view the kitchen, this Japanese grill brings the kitchen to you. Benihana chefs set up shop right in front of your table. The meal is made from scratch, and you can witness the entire show. benihana.com. 1318 Louisiana, 713.659.8231. L & D Daily. $$$
Birraporetti’s Italian This Italian restaurant/ Irish bar is a Theater District staple. Their delicious pizzas continue to hit the spot, while items such as the chicken picatta and La Dolce Vita have become standouts. Enjoy a signature dessert to finish the meal. birrarestaurant.com. 500 Louisiana, 713.224.9494. L, D & LN Daily. $$
The Bistro American The Bistro is a full-service restaurant serving up breakfast and dinner in a casual atmosphere. Courtyard by Marriott, 916 Dallas, 832.366.1600. B & D Daily. $ v Bistro Lancaster New American Located in the historic Lancaster Hotel, this cozy getaway is a great place to dine before catching a show in the Theater District. You’ll find hearty soups, sizzling steaks and savory seafood. thelancaster.com. Lancaster Hotel, 701 Texas, 713.228.9502. B, L & D Daily. $$$$ v Blue by Massa Seafood This upscale and elegant restaurant offers up a fine selection of American and Seafood cuisine. Among the esteemed list of favorites, the Lobster Bisque is a standout. Superior service and a great dining atmosphere allow guests to enjoy a memorable dining experience. Blue also offers occasional live entertainment and dancing is highly encouraged! massas.com. 1160 Smith, 713.650.0837. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$
cuisine and a nostalgic atmosphere for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just across the street from Minute Maid Park, Ballpark Café is a great place to have a pre/post-game meal. westin.com/Houston-Downtown. The Westin Houston Downtown, 1520 Texas, 713.228.1520. B & L Daily. $
Blue Fish Sushi Japanese Not your typical Japanese
v Bangkok Chef Thai A casual Thai joint that keeps booths packed with hungry downtowners looking for eclectic dishes to satisfy their spice cravings. And there’s a pretty tempting happy hour for drinks and nibbles under $5. bkchef.com. 914 Main Street, #125, 713.659.1600. L & D Mon–Sat. $$
a Maharaja treat in Downtown Houston serving an extensive menu of authentic Indian cuisine. 706 Main St, 832.269.5303. L & D Mon–Sat. $
v Barnaby’s at Market Square American A local favorite, Barnaby’s serves up oversized sandwiches, salads and burgers, putting a Southwest spin on traditional deli dishes. Colorful murals adorn the walls of the restaurant along with large windows for a perfect view of the park. barnabyscafe.com. 801 Congress, 713.226.8787. L Mon–Sat; D Fri–Sat. $
restaurant. Don’t expect small, minimal décor. Be prepared for innovative sushi in a high-energy atmosphere at Bayou Place. thebluefishsushi.com. 550 Texas, 713.225.3474. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$
Bombay Indian Grill Indian Bombay Indian Grill is
v Bombay Pizza Co. Indian Fusion Fusing the cuisines of India with pizza, innovative creations are served on a homemade, dense, thin and crispy crust. Try the saag paneer, which is topped with fresh spinach and four cheeses or the Gateway to India topped with cilantro, tandoori chicken, garlic and artichoke hearts. bombaypizzaco.com. 914 Main, 713.654.4444. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $
Bouray’s Burrito Bar Fast Food Bouray’s offers madeto-order Mexican and Vietnamese food using ingredients that are prepared fresh daily. bourays.com. 609 Clay, 713.652.5999. L Mon–Fri. $ v Bovine & Barley American Bovine & Barley is a beautifully designed urban bar and eatery with a heavy focus on beef and beer. The space has an industrial feel which is complimented by warm wood accents and huge HTX letters that hang illuminated on an exposed brick wall. Highlights from the menu include brisket tacos, meatloaf muffins on top of jalapeno mash, 1836 beer can chicken and a variety of burgers. Not to metion over 42 beers and six hand-crafted cocktails on tap! bovineandbarley.com. 416 Main, 832.742.5683. L, D & LN Daily. $$
Brown Bag Deli Fast Casual Located in the Houston Club building, Brown Bag Deli serves up tasty, fresh sandwiches “just like you like it.” Known for its fluffy, soft bread you won’t be disappointed and neither will your wallet. thebrownbagdeli.net. 702 Main, 713.224.7000. L Mon–Fri. $
Burger Theory American Located at street-level of Downtown’s Holiday Inn, Burger Theory specializes in gourmet burgers, casual American fare and boasts a beer-centric bar. They also serve a mean breakfast! 1616 Main St. B, L, D & LN. $
Buzz Barista Coffee House This full-service espresso bar offers much more than caffeinated beverages for a morning fix. People on the go can grab fresh-baked pastries, Naked juices, yogurt parfaits and fruit cups along with their brewed delights. 811 Main, 713.228.3033. B & L Mon–Fri. $
The Cafe American Located in the lobby of the Hilton Americas. An elaborate buffet is offered for breakfast, with a la carte selections from the menu available for lunch and dinner. Hilton Americas, 1600 Lamar, 713.739.8000. B, L, D & LN Daily. $$ v Cafe Express Fast Casual Need to grab a quick lunch? Cafe Express is an informal yet sophisticated choice. You can always find a variety of delicious entrees, salads and sandwiches. cafe-express.com. 650 Main, 713.237.9222. B & L Mon–Sat. $
Caffé Bene Coffee House The first Houston location from the International chain, Caffé Bene, is housed at GreenStreet with a menu that includes a variety of coffees, Belgian waffles, sandwiches, Italian gelato and other sweet treats! This cozy coffee shop is the perfect place to sit back, relax and escape the bustling downtown streets. caffebeneusa.com. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin. 713.255.2363. B, L, D daily. $
Calabash Island Eats Caribbean A unique dining experience which brings all the flavors of the Caribbean together under one roof. Sample various curry flavors, jerk seasonings and delicious sides such as fried plantains. Keeping with the Caribbean spirit, the restaurant also includes an island inspired Rhum Bar, a cigar patio and a stage set for live calypso and reggae music! calabashislandeats.com. 1919 Pease, 713.739.9038. D, LN Sat–Sun. $$
China Garden Chinese A popular Chinese restaurant, China Garden has been serving downtown for more than 30 years. Their egg rolls and lemon chicken have become favorites. 1602 Leeland, 713.652.0745. L Mon-Fri; D Daily. $
UNDERGROUND OASIS CITY’S FIRST FOOD HALL SERVES AS UNIQUE DINING OPTION FOR HOUSTONIANS AND A STEPPING STONE FOR LOCAL CHEFS BY NICOLE M ARIN
Conservatory 1010 Prairie St. conservatoryhtx.com
One of the latest trends sweeping the restaurant industry has been the opening of food halls across the nation. What is a food hall? Think of it as a fancier version of a food court with carefully curated food and drink offerings. From New York to Los Angeles, most major culinary destinations have them—and now with Conservatory, Houston does too, thanks to Anh Mai and Lian Pham, owners of neighboring Downtown destination, Prohibition Supperclub and Bar. Conservatory is located at 1010 Prairie in Downtown’s historic Market Square neighborhood. Mai got the idea of Conservatory from his mother, who loved tending to her gardens. The space is beautifully decorated with plant walls, a greenhouse, and what will eventually become a terrarium. The cozy venue, which is located underground, is meant to provide a stepping stone for vendors who do not currently have their own restaurants but are looking to transition to their own brick and mortar space. It is currently the home to four well-known local establishments—El Burro and
the Bull, Melange Creperie, Samurai Noodle and Myth Kafe. It also doubles as a beer garden with an extensive in-house bar that includes 60 beers, four wines and sake all on tap. With such a large variety of food options in Houston, it’s hard to imagine how the choices were narrowed down to just four. “We had a really long vetting process trying to find quality vendors and up-and-coming chefs who we knew had great food, an established following, an interesting story and would be really good operators,” said Mai. It was also important to him to bring in a diverse offering that hit on different markets. The individual concepts are anticipated to operate at Conservatory for a year but are welcome to request a renewal. The hall, which is open for lunch, dinner and late-night eats (3 a.m. on weekends) also plans to host a food cart at the entrance with rotating options including special pop-ups from chefs around the city. “We try to develop unique concepts that Houston would welcome. Our goal is for this to become a landmark,” says Mai. With all the acclaim Houston’s food scene has received over the past few years and what seems like a constant hunger from Houstonians and food critics around the country to discover the coolest new dining options, expectations are high for this new Downtown destination! SUMMER 2016
Chipotle Mexican Known for its large portions, this Mexican fast casual spot offers a variety of wholesome menu items. chipotle.com. 909 Texas, 713.225.6633. L & Early D Mon–Fri. $ v Christian’s Tailgate American Christian’s Tailgate has arguably one of the best burgers in town and now you can enjoy them Downtown! The notable Houston burger joint in Downtown’s Historic District boasts daily food specials, 30 beers on tap, 40+ TV’s, a pool table, shuffle board, video games and an awesome outdoor patio! christianstailgate.com. 1012 Congress, 281.556.1010. L,D, LN. $ NEW!
Conservatory Beer Garden & Food Hall
Conservatory Underground Beer Garden & Food Hall is the first food hall in Houston to showcase a curated list of food vendors, including Samurai Ramen, Myth Kafe, Melange Creperie with South Side Coffee and El Burro and The Bull each of which serve elevated yet casual cuisine. The food hall also features pop-up food carts serving specialty items every week and a beer garden with 60 beers on tap serving an eclectic mix of local craft breweries, foreign imports, and wine. conservatoryhtx.com. 1010 Prairie. 713.398.7697. L, D, LN Daily. $$
Corner Bakery Fast Casual A bakery cafe, offering fresh breads, salads, sandwiches, soups and sweets in a casual atmosphere. Located right on Main Street Square, you can’t beat the people watching or just relax and watch the rail line and Main Street Square’s jumping fountains. cornerbakery.com. 1000 Main, 713.651.0673. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Crossroads at House of Blues Southern Classic Crossroads at HOB serves Southern-inspired classic dishes such as voodoo shrimp, St. Louis ribs and the Cajun classic, Creole jambalaya. Praise the Lord and pass the biscuits, you can’t miss Kirk Franklin’s Sunday Gospel Brunch. hob.com. GreenStreet, 1204 Caroline, 888.402.5837. L & D Daily. $$
Domino’s Pizza 975 McKinney, 713.227.3030. $ v The District American The District offers classic American cuisine in a modern setting. Perfect for lunch or dinner before a show! The menu includes a variety of options like burgers, salads, pasta and small plates. There’s definitely something for everyone! thedistricthtx.com. 610 Main St. L, D. $$
The Downtown Aquarium Seafood The menu features a huge variety and offers something for everyone. While dining, guests are surrounded by a 150,000-gallon aquarium. Enjoy the sights and a great meal at this family-friendly spot. aquariumrestaurants.com. 410 Bagby, 713.223.3474. L & D Daily. $$
Droubi Bro. Mediterranean Grill Mediterranean This authentic Mediterranean grill offers up a quick and satisfying spot for lunch. Pita sandwiches are popular. 507 Dallas, 713.652.0058. L Mon–Fri. $
Eats Mesquite Grill Classic American Craving a burger downtown? Popular for its juicy burgers and great-tasting fries, Eats makes for a great lunchtime stop. Guests can make their burgers exactly how they like them. 804 Milam, 713.223.3287. L Mon–Fri. $ NEW!
Edgar’s Hermano Mexi-South Edgar’s
Hermano is a southern American restaurant with a Mexican-inspired twist located inside The Whitehall
Hotel. It perfectly blends Houston’s native Tex-Mex cuisine with classic southern fare offering menu items like Texas corn cakes with pork chicharon and cotija cheese, mac and queso with chipotle-grilled Gulf shrimp, and award-winning southern fried stuffed chicken with masa grits and candied bacon jam. thewhitehallhouston.com. 1700 Smith. 713.739.8800. B, L, D Daily. $$ v Einstein’s Bagels Deli Known as a great place to grab freshly-baked bagels and coffee for breakfast, they also serve up delectable lunch choices that include paninis, melts and pizza bagels. Be an office hero and use the catering service to treat your work pals. einsteinbros.com. 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4775. B, L & LN Mon–Sun. $ v El Big Bad Mexican Brought to you by the El Gran Malo crew, this casual Tex-Mex restaurant brings hand-crafted tequila infusions, specialty margaritas and craft beers to the table. The gastrocantina-inspired menu is chock full of tasty tacos with fresh toppings like pomegranate salsa, charred scallions, pumpkin seeds and more. elbigbad.com. 419 Travis, 713.229.8181. L, D & LN Mon–Fri; D & LN Sat & Sun, BR Sun. $$
Flying Saucer Pub Fare Offering more than 200 beers, almost half on draft, Flying Saucer is a beer drinker’s paradise. Excellent staff and tasty eats give the place an identity all its own. beerknurd.com. 705 Main, 713.228.7468. L, D & LN Daily. $ v Frank’s Pizza Pizza Home of the “late-night slice,” Frank’s Pizza has built a quality reputation for itself serving up delicious food in a great atmosphere. Not only can you grab a slice of pizza, Frank’s also serves up darn good hamburgers, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, Buffalo wings, lasagna and salads. frankspizza.com. 417 Travis, 713.225.5656. L & D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $ v Fusion Taco Latin/Japanese Taking the best from Asian and Latin cuisine, Fusion Taco comes up with creations like jerk chicken tacos, chicken tikka masala quesadillas and Asian pulled pork flautas. An extensive beer and wine selection rounds out the menu. fusiontaco.com. 801 Congress, 713.422.2882. L & D Mon–Sat. $ v The Grove American Rustic This two-story, ultra-urban restaurant is found at Discovery Green. The menu features rustic American cuisine such as Gulf Coast seafood, steaks and signature rotisserie dishes. grovehouston.com. Discovery Green, 1611 Lamar, 713.337.7321. L & D Daily. $$$ v Guadalajara del Centro Mexican This family-owned restaurant consistently serves up tasty food in a new, very cool environment. It’s the perfect place to bring the family or a large group of co-workers or friends. Great happy hour specials. guadalajarahacienda.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, 713.650.0101. L & D Daily. $$
Hard Rock Café Classic American What do you get when you mix a music-themed diner with an allAmerican menu? Hard Rock is a great family-friendly spot serving up items such as burgers,nachos and chicken varieties. hardrock.com. Bayou Place, 570 Texas, 713.227.1392. L, D & LN Daily. $$ v Hearsay Gastro Lounge New American Located in a beautifully refurbished historic building, this upscale restaurant and lounge serves up delicious sandwiches, salads and entrees. They feature an
extensive wine list, numerous beers on draft and bottle and premium liquors with a focus on Scotch whisky. hearsayhouston.com. 218 Travis, 713.225.8079. L Daily; D Mon–Sat; LN Fri–Sat. $$ v Hearsay on the Green American Located inside the Embassay Suites in Downtown’s Convention District, this upscale restaurant and lounge serves up the finest craft cocktails, New-American dishes and a chic dining experience. The drink menu features an extensive wine list, numerous bottle and draft beers and pre-mium liquors. hearsayhouston.com. 1515 Dallas St, 832.377.3362. L & D Daily; LN Fri–Sat; BR Sun. $$
Home Plate Bar & Grill Classic American A great hangout spot before or after an Astros ballgame. Enjoy a full menu of all-American favorites. homeplategrill.com. 1800 Texas, 713.222.1993. L & D Daily (may close earlier during off–season so call first). $ v The Honeymoon Cafe+Bar American The Honeymoon brews local Boomtown Coffee, has perfectly hand-crafted cocktails and satisfies the appetite with light bites and delectably sweet treats! With all the natural lighting, the ambiance is like a dream! thehoneymoonhtx.com. 300 Main St. B, L & LN Daily. $ v Hubcap Grill American Classic Small but packs a punch. One of the best burger joints in town. 1111 Prairie, 713.223.5885. L Mon–Sat. $ v Irma’s Mexican Irma Galvan has been crowned Houston’s Tex-Mex goddess. This authentic spot is a longtime favorite among Houston politicos and downtown business people. Traditional, home-cooked Mexican cuisine is served for breakfast and lunch on weekdays. 22 North Chenevert, 713.222.0767. B & L Mon–Fri; D Thu–Sat. $$
Irma’s Southwest Grill Mexican Irma’s second location is a hip spot to satisfy a Mexican food craving. Enjoy tasty foods and great drinks for lunch or dinner. Only a few short blocks from Minute Maid Park. irmassouthwest.com. 1314 Texas, 713.247.9651. B & L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. Open on Astros baseball game days and nights three hours before first pitch. $$ v Jackson St. BBQ Barbecue This laid-back spot by renowned Houston chefs Bryan Caswell, Bill Floyd and Greg Gaitlin offers smoked brisket, ribs, chicken, sausage and classic southern fixins like potato salad, baked beans, collard greens and cole slaw! Conveniently located across from Minute Maid Park, stop by this Downtown favorite before or after Astros games! jacksonstbbqhouston.com. 209 Jackson St. 713.224.2400. L,D Sat–Sun.
Jason’s Deli Deli Order to please, Jason’s will make your sandwich or salad exactly how you like it. jasonsdeli.com. 901 McKinney, 713.650.1500. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches Deli All subs are served on your choice of fresh-baked French bread or thick-sliced seven-grain bread or try the low-carb lettuce wrap: all the regular sandwich ingredients without the bread. jimmyjohns.com. 820 Main, 713.222.9995. L Mon–Sat. $
The Lake House Fast Casual Offering family-friendly food, featuring burgers, Kobe beef hot dogs, salads, shakes, wine and beer. Located on Kinder Lake, there is a
plate. large patio where you can watch model boats race across the water or listen to some live music from the nearby stage. thelakehousehouston.com. Discovery Green, 1611 Lamar. L Tue & Wed; L & Early D Thu–Sun. $ v La Fisheria Coastal Mexican Located in Downtown’s Historic District, La Fisheria serves authentic Mexican seafood such as sweet shrimp tamales, perfectly prepared fish tacos and a variety of crudos and ceviches. The dining experience here isn’t just a treat for the taste buds, the entire space comes alice with bright colors and beautiful decor that lends itself to the restaurant’s coastal theme. lafisheriahouston.com. 213 Milam. 713.802.1712. L, D Daily. $$ v La Palapa Fast Food A Courthouse District favorite, there’s always a line at this free-standing pink concession stand for breakfast tacos and hamburgers. 1110 Preston, 713.228.9620. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Lacey’s Deli Deli The sandwiches are fresh, tasty, and affordable. We recommend the Italian Stallion which has homemade meatballs and marinara with sliced beef and sausage. laceysdeli.com. 416 Caroline, 713.237.0000. L Mon–Fri. $ v Last Concert Cafe Mexican Tucked away in the Warehouse District, this Tex-Mex cafe was born in 1949 and still supplies tasty food and local music today. Spend some time on the leafy back patio and you’ll swear you’re in your neighbor’s backyard throwing back a cold one. lastconcert.com. 1403 Nance, 713.226.8563. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sun; LN Fri–Sat; Bar & live music Tue–Sat. $ v Line & Lariat Modern American An award-winning dining experience located in the historic lobby of Hotel Icon’s landmark bank building. The intimate dining room is extravagant, and the exquisite dishes from the Gulf Coast and South Texas emphasize fresh ingredients. A contemporary lounge with a modern setting for cocktails and an elegant after-work meeting place. hotelicon.com. Hotel Icon, 220 Main, 832.667.4470. B Daily; D Mon–Sat. $$$
Little Napoli Italian Theater and moviegoers can now enjoy these southern Italian dishes before the big show! The healthy options, such as whole wheat pizza crust and low-fat cheeses, are a nice touch. littlenapoli.net. 540 Texas, 713.225.3900. $$
Lone Star Taco Tex-Mex Fast-casual Tex-Mex restaurant, specializing in great tacos! Lone Star Taco quickly serves artisanal quality, made-fresh tacos at an affordable price. txlonestartaco.com. 1001 Texas St, 713.223.8226. B, L, D Daily. $
Luby’s, etc. American Enjoy an incredible view of downtown along with 10 food stations offering a wide variety of goodies: a build-your-own salad bar, madeto-order grill, pizza by-the-slice, delightful deli, global café and traditional Luby’s cafeteria line with all the classic dishes. lubysetc.com. 1301 Fannin, 13th Floor, 713.759.9954. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge American Bowlers and patrons relax on sleek leather couches and enjoy floor-to-ceiling video screens that flash movie clips and music videos as DJs deliver danceable grooves. Delectable munchies are available lane-side and in the lounge. bowlluckystrike.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, Level 3, 713.343.3300. L, D & LN Daily. $$
v Main Kitchen American Named Main Kitchen to reflect its location on Main Street and the hopes of becoming a staple in Houston’s culinary scene, the restaurant seats 120 and boasts an exhibition kitchen providing guests with an insight into the chefs’ creative process. jwmarriotthotelhouston.com/main-kitchen. 806 Main St, 713.400.1245. B, L, D Daily. $$ v Market Square Bar & Grill American This Chicagostyle neighborhood hangout is a local favorite. Boasting a handful of “fire-powered” burgers, Market Square offers plenty of reasons to stop by for a meal or drink. The backyard patio, friendly staff and full bar add flavor. marketsquarehouston.com. 311 Travis, 713.224.6133. L, D & LN Mon–Sat. $ v Massa’s South Coast Grill Seafood Like its sister restaurant, you can count on superior service and a great dining atmosphere. Conveniently located close to the convention center and Toyota Center, it’s a prime spot for lunch and dinner. massas.com. The Shops at Houston Center, 1331 Lamar, 713.655.9100. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$ v McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood The extensive menu changes daily depending on each day’s fresh seafood deliveries. With more than 80 preparations on the menu each day, every guest is sure to find something to satisfy their palate. mccormickandschmicks.com. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin, 713.658.8100. L & D Daily. $$$
McDonald’s Fast Food 808 Dallas @ Milam, 713.651.9449. B & L Daily; D Mon–Fri. $ v Mia Bella Italian You’ll enjoy an eclectic variety of Italian cuisine blended with a Mediterranean feel. A longtime favorite, this intimate little bistro’s simple, yet appealing décor, makes it a downtown standout. bellarestaurants.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, 832.319.6675. L & D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $$ v Minuti Coffee Coffee House The coffee is created by a roast master in Italy, before making its way into the hands of talented baristas. This is the perfect place to bring the laptop and take advantage of Minuti’s free Wi-Fi. They also have beer and wine, which makes it a great pre/post theater spot. Be sure to sample some of the fresh-baked pastries and smoothies, too. minuticoffee.com. 909 Texas, 281.265.3344. B, L, D & LN Daily. $ v MKT Bar Mediterranean Part of Phoenicia Specialty Foods, it’s the perfect place to stop when you need a chill moment. The bar offers coffee, pastries, wine, beer, gourmet pizza and other yummy nibbles for which Phoenicia is known. phoeniciafoods.com. 1001 Austin, 832.360.2222. B, L & D Daily. $
The Moonshiners American The Moonshiners Southern Table + Bar offers up a rebellious respite in the bustling urban backdrop of Downtown Houston. The restaurant celebrates and elevates southern culinary traditions serving up moonshine and whiskey in mason jars alongside generous portions of southern comfort foods such as fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and pulled pork sandwiches. 1000 Prairie. 713.226.7717. L, D Mon–Fri; LN Fri & Sat. $$
Morningside Thai Thai Diners can expect the same great quality and service at the Downtown location that they enjoy at the original Houston staple. Menu
favorites iniclude a variety of different curry dishes like the Panang Curry and the Roasted Duck Curry. morningsidethai.com. 917 Franklin. 713.228.8424. L & D. $ v Morton’s Steakhouse This award-winning steakhouse offers an outstanding menu. The downtown location features its new bar concept, Bar 12•21, which includes an impressive wine and martini menu along with its specially priced “bar bites.” mortons.com. 1001 McKinney, 713.659.3700. L Mon–Fri; D Daily. $$$$
Murphy’s Deli Deli Indulge in a variety of sandwiches and salads. Hot or cold, Murphy’s specializes in creating your sandwich any way it’s ordered. murphysdeli.com. 601 Jefferson, 713.652.4939. 1021 Main, 713.275.1912. 440 Louisiana, 713.247.9122. B & L Mon–Fri all locations. $ v Niko Niko’s Greek & American Houston icon Dimitri Fetokakis opened his cafe in 2010 at Market Square Park. Favorties such as the gyro and kebob are on the menu along with new items such as the breakfast pita. Specialty coffee drinks, beer and wine also available. nikonikos.com. Market Square Park, 301 Milam. B, L & D Daily. $ v Oxheart New American Often lauded as the #1 restaurant in Houston, Oxheart is a small informal tasting-menu concept in downtown’s Warehouse District which gathers Texas’ best ingredients, cooked in a focused, creative way. oxhearthouston.com. 1302 Nance St. 832.830.8592. D Th–Mon. $$$$
Padthai Thai Restaurant Thai A traditional Thai restaurant located at the ground level of the loft residence Hogg Palace. The warm and cozy atmosphere offers a great setting for a dinner escape and is a local favorite. padthaithairestaurant.com. 401 Louisiana, 713.225.4900. D Daily. $ v Pappas BBQ Barbecue Voted one of Houston’s best year after year, this barbecue joint offers an excellent selection with Texas-sized portions. Traditional favorites such as brisket, ribs, sausage and ham are served with Pappas’ flare. Delivery and take-out are available. pappasbbq.com. 1217 Pierce, 713.659.1245. L & D Daily. 1100 Smith, 713.759.0018. L & D Mon–Fri. $ v Pappas Bros. Steakhouse Steakhouse Pappas Bros. Steakhouse puts immeasurable care into everything they do, all to provide their guests with a dining experience like no other. They buy the highest-quality ingredients, use a timeless recipe, and cook it flawlessly each and every time. pappasbros.com. 1200 McKinney. 713.658.1995 D Mon–Sat. v Pappasito’s Cantina Tex-Mex One of Houston’s most popular casual Tex-Mex restaurants, Pappasito’s specializes in sizzling fajitas, creamy queso and tortillas that almost melt in your mouth! The Downtown location offers six unique ceviches and crudos that can’t be found at any of the other restaurants. pappasitos.com. Hilton Americas-Houston, 1600 Lamar St, 713.353.4400. L & D Daily. $$ v Perbacco Italian An adorable little spot located at street level of one of Houston’s skyscrapers, Perbacco serves up Italian cuisine in a modern and fresh atmosphere. Catering to downtown workers and the theater crowd, you always get quick and friendly service and tasty food. 700 Milam, 713.224.2422. L Mon–Fri; D Thu–Sat. $
v Prohibition American Prohibition is the home of the Moonlight Dolls who dazzle audiences with their sexy yet fun burlesque performances. Beaming with glitz and glamour, this upscale supper club has an exquisite menu featuring fresh Gulf seafood and steaks cooked to perfection! prohibitionhouston.com. 1008 Prairie, 281.940.4636. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat; LN Thu–Fri. Sat 5p–2a. $$$
Shula’s Steakhouse Dark wood, sports memorabilia
v Quattro Contemporary Italian Vivid colors, creative lighting and a unique design create a sophisticated and inviting ambience for guests. Located in the Four Seasons Hotel, Quattro is one of downtown’s best restaurants. Four Seasons Hotel, 1300 Lamar, 713.652.6250. B, L & D Daily. $$$
Skyline makes a great deli sandwich. 717 Texas, 713.571.0509. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Quizno’s Fast Food
811 Rusk, 713.227.7702. L & D Mon–Fri. 1119 Commerce, 713.228.9000. L & D Mon–Sun. $ Rachel’s Café American Rachel’s Cafe is an old fashioned hamburger joint inside the historic Londale Building. This quaint little café has an extensive menu with lots of simple classics like burgers, fries, sandwhiches and salads- all made fresh! rachelscafehouston.com. 421 San Jacinto. 713.229.7067. B, L & D Sat–Sun; BR Sat & Sun. $
Roma’s Pizza Italian Located just across from the Preston Station on the MetroRAIL, Roma’s Pizza offers New York-style pizza by the slice or pie, as well as a variety of salads, lasagnas, ravioli, and chicken dishes. 223 Main, 713.222.1184. L & D Daily. $
Russo’s New York Pizzeria Italian Inspired by the traditional Italian values of family, friends & food, this Houston original doesn’t disappoint when it comes to fresh, delicious, homemade Italian meals. And they serve more than just pizza- try one of their specialty calzones, sandwiches or pastas! nypizzeria.com. 604 Polk. 713.759.9800. L & D Daily. $
Salata American This next-generation salad bar allows you to create your own, tossed-to-order salad or wrap complete with a variety of fresh greens, a large selection of veggies, fruits, nuts, cheeses and more. Top your order off with one of their signature dressings and your choice of chicken, seafood or tofu! salata.com. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin. 713.275.1088. L & D Daily. $
The Sam Bar American Casual The Sam Houston Hotel’s relaxed dining option where you’ll find a breakfast buffet and a great bar menu with tasty appetizers, salads, burgers and sandwiches every day of the week. thesamhoustonhotel.com. The Sam Houston Hotel, 1117 Prairie, 832.200.8800. B, L & D Daily. $$ v Sambuca New American A hip, trendy and upscale restaurant right in the mix of Main Street. The menu includes a wide variety of favorites and combined with the live music, Sambuca is Houston’s ultimate supper club. sambucarestaurant.com. 909 Texas, 713.224.5299. L Mon–Fri; D & LN Daily. $$$
The Shops at Houston Center Food Court Brooklyn Meatball Company, Bullritos, Chick-fil-A, D’lish N’ Dash, Doozo’s Dumplings & Noodles, Freshii, Fusion Grillerz, Great American Cookie, Great Wraps, Murphy’s Deli, Otto’s Barbecue & Hamburgers, Pho Huy Vietnamese Noodle House, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Pretzel Time, Quizno’s Subs, Salata, Sarku Japan, Simon’s Homestyle Café, Snap Kitchen, Squeezed, Starbuck’s Coffee, Subway, Thai Basil, The Mediterranean Grill, Treebeards, Wok & Roll. shopsathc.com. 1200 McKinney, 713.759.1442. Mon–Sat, hours vary. $
and menus hand painted on official NFL game footballs makes Pro Hall-of-Famer Don Shula’s Steak House stand out from the rest. Become a member of the 48oz Club by finishing a 48-ounce Shula Cut. donshula.com. Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4777. B, L & D Daily. $$$
Skyline Deli Deli With their freshly baked bread,
Sol Cafe Mejicano Mexican A family-owned cafe offering traditional Tex-Mex breakfast and lunch dishes made from fresh ingredients. 1205 Travis, 713.651.0049. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Spaghetti Warehouse Italian Making its home in an old warehouse, this Italian-American eatery offers up large portions for lunch and dinner. Traditional menu items such as spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna and pizza allow the Spaghetti Warehouse to cater to all ages and appetites. meatballs.com. 901 Commerce, 713.229.0009. L & D Daily. $$
Spindletop American A favorite Houston seafood restaurant and fine dining experience ideal for birthday parties, family reunions, anniversaries and engagements. Perched on the 34th floor of Hyatt Regency Downtown, this glass-walled restaurant makes one revolution every 45 minutes, ensuring you’ll enjoy 360-degree views of the city and all of its famous landmarks. houstonregency.hyatt.com. Hyatt Regency, 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4775. D Tue–Sat. $$$
Springbok South African Springbok features a contemporary take on classic South African dishes such as local game, house-made sausages, burgers and curries. Enjoy an amazing selection of local and international beer and cocktails while watching rugby and other national and international sporting competitions. thespringbok.com. 711 Main, 818.201.6979. L, D & LN Daily. $$
Starbucks Coffee House Step inside Texas’ largest Starbucks which is also one of the first to offer the Starbucks Evenings menu which includes a selection of wine, beer, appetizer-type food and desserts beginning at 4 pm. starbucks.com. 1600 Lamar (inside Hilton Americas Hotel). 713.577.2825. B, L, D Daily.
Subway Fast Food 405 Main, 713.227.4700. 805 Dallas, 713.651.1331. Daily. $ Table 7 Bistro American Table 7 Bistro is a combination of an upscale, yet casual atmosphere. Weekday happy hour includes $4 well drinks and $2 domestic beers, and it’s happy hour all weekend with $2 mimosas all day on Saturdays and Sundays. district7grill.com. 720 Fannin @ The Club Quarters, 713.227.4800. B, L & D Daily. $
Tejas Grill & Sports Bar American Located at The Shops at Houston Center, Tejas offers the perfect tailgate menu and full-service bar. tejasgrillandsportsbar.com. 1201 Lamar at The Shops at Houston Center, 713.739.8352. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$ v III Forks American Upscale, warm atmosphere and impeccable service sets the stage for this sophisticated steakhouse. New York strip and filet mignon, bone-in ribeye, porterhouse, young rack of lamb and veal chop are served with duchess potatoes, off-the-cob cream corn, and perfectly cooked vegetables. Seafood items
include Chilean sea bass, Ahi tuna, salmon, halibut, scallops and lobster tails, which are flown in daily. iiiforks.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, Level 1, 713.658.9457. L Tue–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$$$
Toasters Café American Toasters is a quaint little café in downtown’s Warehouse District which serves up classic favorites in a modern setting. Try their fresh baked pastries and French toast for breakfast, or enjoy a salad and a wide variety of sandwiches for lunch. toastershouston.com. 1004 N. San Jacinto, 713.261.1562. B, L Mon–Fri. $ v Treebeards Southern A downtown institution for more than 30 years, Treebeards offers tasty Cajun dishes that are sure to satisfy. Favorite menu items include the chicken and shrimp gumbo, red beans and rice and étouffée. For dessert, try the famous butter bar. treebeards.com. 315 Travis, 713.228.2622. Cloisters at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas, 713.229.8248. L Mon–Fri. $
Trofi Restaurant Continental Trofi’s menu is described as Continental with a Mediterranean and Latin flair and the ambience is simple, yet sophisticated. Lunch buffets are available Monday through Friday. 400 Dallas, Doubletree Hotel, 713.759.0202. B, L & D Daily. $$ v Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse This world-class steak house is one of the most elegant dining locations in Houston. It boasts rich mahogany woodwork and one-of-a-kind hospitality. Located in the heart of the Ballpark District and across from Minute Maid Park, Vic & Anthony’s is the ideal spot for entertaining business clients, a special celebration or a pre/post-game dinner. vicandanthonys.com. 1510 Texas, 713.228.1111. L Mon–Fri; D Daily. $$$$
Which Wich Deli A fast and easy build-your-ownsandwich joint where doodling is encouraged and the possibilities are endless! Which ‘wich will you make? 811 Main, 713.227.0860. B & L Mon–Fri; L Sat. $
Wimpy’s Hamburgers Fast Food Wimpy’s serves up a pretty good burger but they also have many other downhome favorites. 632 Polk, 713.652.0123. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Your Pie Italian Your Pie is a “down-the-line” pizza concept offering customers the opportunity to build their own 10″ hand-tossed pizza which cooks in a gas-fired oven in less than five minutes! Their menu also includes “build-your-own” paninis, chopped salads, bread sticks, and gelato as well as 25 taps of craft beer and a selection of boutique red and white wines. yourpie.com. 1625 Main St. (inside SkyHouse Houston). 832.767.2544. L, D. $
Zero’s Sandwich Shop Deli A great little spot for a freshly made deli sandwich. zerossandwichshop.com.
809 Dallas, 713.650.3333. 1110 Lamar, 713.655.7722. 507 Dallas, 713.739.9955. B & L Mon–Fri. $ v Zydeco Louisiana Diner Cajun This cafeteria-style Cajun joint brings Louisiana dishes to the Hospital District of downtown Houston. Traditional Cajun items such as po-boys, jambalaya and gumbo make Zydeco a great lunch stop. A casual atmosphere adds to the enjoyment. 1119 Pease, 713.759.2001. L Mon–Sat; D Tue–Sat; $ O FOR A SEARCHABLE DATABASE OF DOWNTOWN HOUSTON RESTAURANTS BY CUISINE, LOCATION AND PRICE, VISIT DOWNTOWNHOUSTON.ORG AND CLICK ON GUIDE.
LIVE Sports Bar & Grill | 407 Main
Looking for a spot to go after a long day or for a fun night out with friends? Check out some of our favorites. LIKE US AT FACEBOOK.COM/VISITDOWNTOWNHOUSTON
The Boulevardier | 410 Main, Downstairs This beautiful lounge provides an upscale yet comfortable respite to Main Street every Thursday through Saturday serving the finest craft cocktails. Thu–Sat 6 pm–2 am. thecommonerbar.com/#upstairs
Barringer Bar | 108 Main
Barringer is a classic bar and lounge located in historic Downtown Houston where patrons can enjoy a wide selection of beer, wine and libations. Antique furniture and photos fill the cozy space and live music, DJs and aerialists entertain throughout the weekend! Tue–Fri 5 pm–2 am; Sat 8 pm–2 am. barringerhouston.com
Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge | 308 Main
A fun and quirky bar that doesn’t take itself too seriously (hence the name), but the cocktails are seriously good. Patrons enjoy the speakeasy vibe and the patio terrace for prime people watching. Mon–Sun 4 pm–2 am. twitter.com/badnewsbar
Char Bar | 305 Travis
Char Bar offers stiff drinks alongside custom suits. Drenched in nostalgia, Char Bar is proud of its history, as reflected in the old photos of family members who have worked in the space since the 1930s. Enjoy the second floor balcony or chat it up with Weldon Renfro, who has a permanent shoe shine booth at the entrance. Mon–Wed 10 am–midnight; Thu–Sat 10 am–2 am. twitter.com/TheCharBar
The Commoner | 410 Main, Downstairs
Simple, straightforward. Cocktails, beer and wine. Mon–Sun 4 pm–2 am; Sun noon–midnight. thecommonerbar.com
Dean’s | 316 Main
Under new ownership and with a new look and feel, Dean’s adds to the cool vibe found on the 300 block of Main. Great attention from the bartenders and the trendy crowd make it a unique place to socialize. Mon–Thu 8 pm–2 am; Fri–Sat 5 pm–2 am. deansdowntown.com
The Dirt Bar | 1209 Caroline
El Big Bad | 419 Travis
El Big Bad is a Gastro-Cantina that specializes in infused tequilas, fresh juice margaritas and cocktails, Mexican and Texan Craft Beer and scrumptious fare. Sun–Thu 11 am–midnight; Fri & Sat 11 am–2 am. elbigbad.com
Flying Saucer | 705 Main
Offering more than 200 beers, with nearly half on draft, Flying Saucer is a great place to hang out and enjoy a cold one. Check out the website for information on beer tastings, trivia night and specials. Mon–Wed 11 am–1 am; Thu & Fri 11 am–2 am; Sat noon–2 am; Sun noon–midnight. beerknurd.com
Henke & Pillot | 809 Congress
Where past meets present, and drinks and dining blend in flawless harmony. Henke & Pillot is more than a dynamic Downtown cocktail lounge. Named after the Houston grocery store chain that occupied the space in the 800 block of Congress over 150 years ago, the simple yet sophisticated setting offers patrons inspired cocktails that are paired with mouthwatering dishes. Wed–Sat 4 pm–2 am. henkehouston.com
The Honeymoon Cafe+Bar | 300 Main
The Historic District welcomes The Honeymoon - a new, adorable bistro with great cocktails, wine and coffee from local Boomtown Coffee. Mon–Thu 7 am–midnight; Fri 7 am–2 am; Sat 10 am–2 am; Sun 10 am–10 pm. thehoneymoonhtx.com
HTX Fan Tavern | 1800 Texas St.
HTX Fan Tavern is a sports-centric bar conveniently located across from Minute Maid Park. It’s the perfect palce to pre-game before cheering on the home team or to celebrate after a big victory! htxfantavern.com
La Carafe | 813 Congress
The oldest building in Houston, this dark and cozy hideaway boasts a great jukebox, moody atmosphere and an extensive beer and wine selection. Sit on the outside patio or balcony and look up in awe at the amazing downtown skyline. Cash only. Mon–Fri noon–2 am; Sat & Sun 1 pm–2 am.
The non-venue rock ‘n’ roll lounge is a popular pre- and post-show destination spot that has become famous for its performer patronage. Drawing crowds and artists from every venue in the city has allowed The Dirt to host hundreds of memorable after-show events, including Lady Gaga, Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon. Daily 6 pm–2 am. dirtbar.com
Last Concert Café | 403 Nance
806 Lounge | 806 Main
Lawless Spirits & Kitchen | 909 Texas
A favorite of the locals, 806 Lounge located inside the JW Marriott Houston Downtown, ignites the senses with sophisticated creations. Their mixologists are experts in creating cocktails, lively in conversation, and can recommend a favorite dish to accompany your handcrafted drink. Daily 11 am–11 pm. jwmarriotthotelhouston.com/806-lounge
1820 Bar | 1820 Franklin
Located just one block north of Minute Maid Park. Small flat-screen TVs dot the bar, allowing patrons to keep tabs on games while not being the center of attention. On the first and last Friday of every month Joystix Classic Games and Pinball next door is open, and $15 gets you all night to practice your Ms. Pac-Man skills. Daily 4 pm–2 am. 1820lounge.com
You have to knock three times on the red door to gain entry to the unmarked house in the Warehouse District (well, not anymore). With a backyard stage and sandpit, hoola-hooping and tiki bar, Last Concert has live music most nights. Tue–Fri 11 am–2 am; Sat 5 pm–2 am; Sun 3–9 pm. lastconcert.com Lawless Spirits & Kitchen is an establishment with flair. A place that gives rise to the iconic visions of Teddy Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Frank Sinatra or Steve McQueen leaning on the bar with a stiff, well-crafted Rye Manhattan. Lawless is detailed with glitzy style, featuring revolutionary cocktails accompanied by comfortable finger foods and satisfying bites. lawlesspirits.com
Little Dipper | 304 Main
This spot is a cool, blue neighborhood bar with pinball machines, cheap bourbon and a badass jukebox. Daily 4 pm–2 am. twitter.com/LittleDipperBar
Located in Historic Market Square, Live Sports Bar & Girll makes you feel like you’re sitting at the game amongst all the action! Watch your favorite team on a number of TVs while you enjoy good eats and a drink from their everevolving selection of beer on tap. Daily 11 am–2 am. livesportsbarhouston.com
Lone Star Saloon | 1900 Travis
The Lone Star Saloon is a true classic Texas dive bar that seems misplaced in its urban setting. The crowd, half aging townies and half world-weary road dogs, are always willing to share have-been-to-hell-and-back stories. Daily noon–2 am.
MKT Bar | 1001 Austin
Phoenicia’s MKT bar, located at the first floor of One Park Place, is the perfect place to stop when you need a chill moment. The bar offers coffee, pastries, wine, beer, gourmet pizza and other yummy nibbles for which Phoenicia is known. Mon–Wed 7 am–9 pm; Thu 7 am–2 am; Fri & Sat 9 am–2 am; Sun 9 am–8 pm. mktbar.com
Molly’s Pub | 509 Main
This classic Irish pub offers a variety of Irish whiskeys and international beers. Tables and coves lead you to the back, where pool and darts can be found and a second-floor balcony provides excellent views of Main Street and Downtown. Daily 11 am–2 am. mollyspubs.com
Moving Sidewalk | 306 Main
This upscale bar has an intimate setting complete with antique chandeliers, dark lighting and candles. The cocktails at Moving Sidewalk are sure to please as they have handcrafted ingredients such as rosehip infusion and a fig and marigold shrub. Perfect for a romantic night out or to catch up with friends over drinks! Tue–Sat 4 pm–2 am. twitter.com/movingsidewalk
The Nightingale Room | 308 Main
The Nightingale Room—named for the famous songbird—also references Houston music legend Sippie Wallace, known as the Texas Nightingale during her prime in the 1920s. This entertainment-focused bar is a casual, comfortable spot to listen to vinyl during the week and will turn up the energy on weekends with live music—dancing is encouraged! Expect a variety of music from all genres. The drink menu features a small selection of house drinks, shots, as well as beer, wine and champagne. Tue–Sat 4 pm–2 am. nightingaleroom.com
Notsuoh | 314 Main
The name is Houston spelled backwards. A bar full of random weirdness: Think grunge lounge and artsy. You’ll find people playing chess, and drinking beer, live music, lots of crazy, weird artwork and maybe walk in on a night of punk-rock karaoke. Live bands on weekends. Daily 8 pm–2 am. notsuoh.com
The Original OKRA Charity Saloon 924 Congress
Houston’s first charity bar is a true collaboration from Houston’s finest, including owners from Anvil, Paulie’s, Grand Prize and more. Expect classic cocktails and brews in a gorgeous historic building. Every drink purchase earns you a vote that can go toward select charities to win the bar’s monthly earnings. Daily 3 pm–2 am. friedokra.org
Part & Parcel | 1700 Smith
Part & Parcel is a trendy patio bar located at The Whitehall Hotel—it’s the perfect place to mingle, sip and relax under the Texas stars. Their menu includes classic cocktails, original libations, and small plates with big taste! Mon–Thu 4pm–midnight; Fri–Sat 4pm–2 am. thewhitehallhouston.com
The Pastry War | 310 Main
A Mezcaleria from Bobby Heugel and Alba Huerta that serves up agave spirits along with classic Mexican cocktails and beers in a festive and intimate environment. This specialty tequila joint not only accepts pesos, but is on a brave mission to serve the best margaritas in town. Salud! Tue–Sat 4 pm–2 am. thepastrywar.com
Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar | 1201 Fannin at GreenStreet Two dueling pianos and a sing-along, clap-along, drink-along, have-one-helluvagood-time-along bar! Wed–Sat 7 pm–2 am, showtime @ 8 pm. petesduelingpianobar.com
Public Services Wine & Whiskey 202 Travis
Nestled in the historic Cotton Exchange Building, lies Public Services Wine & Whiskey. Public Services isn’t just any cocktail bar, in fact, they’re the complete opposite. Here, patrons can find classic wines and a vast yet distinctive whiskey selection served straight, on the rocks, or with a small selection of mixers. Craft beer and cider help round out the carefully crafted drink menu. Mon–Sat 4 pm–2 am. publicservicesbar.com
Reserve 101 | 1201 Caroline
A whiskey and martini bar touting more than 220 specialty liquors that will make any cocktail aficionados mouth water. Stop by on Tuesday for complimentary tastings of special selections. Order up delicious bites from the new, chef-driven menu featuring tasty flatbreads, appetizers and sandwiches. Sun 5 pm–2 am; Mon–Sat 2 pm–2 am. reserve101.com
The Sam Bar | 1117 Prairie Street at The Sam Houston Hotel
Located in the Alden Hotel. This upscale bar is furnished with dark leather banquettes and a menu of 30 cocktails, both classic and new mixologist creations. Sun–Thu 11 am–midnight; Fri & Sat 11 am–1 am. thesamhoustonhotel.com
Shay McElroy’s Pub | 909 Texas at Rice Lofts
Dublin native and owner John McElroy created this space around a richly detailed, 19th-century bar he had shipped from Ireland. The crowd is an inviting collection of young professionals and not-so-young merrymakers. Mon–Fri 11 am–2 am; Sat & Sun 1 pm–2 am. mcelroyspub.com
Sunny’s Bar | 901 Capitol @ Main
Laid-back place with a friendly atmosphere and great prices that keep the regulars coming back. Sunny will likely be behind the bar serving up the beer and cocktails and great conversation. Foosball, darts and shuffleboard are in the back of the house to keep you entertained. Mon–Sat 2 pm–2 am.
Warren’s Inn | 307 Travis
This tavern is long known for its top-notch jukebox full of American classics, strong mixed drinks and its diverse crowd of customers. Mon–Fri 11 am–2 am; Sat noon–2 pm, Sun 2 pm–2 am.
The Wine Cellar | 540 Texas
Unwind and relax with more than 400 varieties of wine and imported beers. Wine tastings Mon–Thu, 2–7 pm. Daily 11 am–midnight. thewinecellarhouston.com
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