IT’S AN H-TOWN TOUCHDOWN DAY FOR NIGHT Festival marries music to art for a dynamic experience
Holiday delights + Red Hot Chili Peppers + America’s scientist
FOOD, FASHION + FUN IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN HOUSTON
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WINTER 2016–17 VOL. 9, NO. 2
As fall gives way to winter, it does start to feel like the most wonderful time of the year. Discovery Green and Market Square Park come alive with twinkling lights and the Theater District buzzes with classic holiday shows. And with the addition of the Super Bowl in February, there’s something for everyone Downtown.
OFFBEAT FUN Managing Editor/Creative Director Angie Bertinot, Downtown District Copy Editor Barbara Linkin Mendel, Mendel Creative Solutions Design CORE Design Studio Contributing Writers Holly Beretto, Sandra Cook, Tarra Gaines, Joel Luks Advertising Information Angie Bertinot, 713.650.3022 email@example.com
Rec Room founders Stephanie Wittles Wachs and Matt Hune have created a laid-back theatrical home on the edge of Downtown where innovative and sharply funny performances are the norm. Audiences have responded enthusiastically.
Houston’s Super Bowl prep has been years in the making and now Downtown is well prepared for the spotlight. While the big game will be played at NRG Stadium, much of the fun will be found around Discovery Green, where Super Bowl Live (a 10-day festival) will set up with concerts, food, games and more.
BY JOEL LUKS
Downtown magazine is published quarterly and is free of charge. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Downtown District, 909 Fannin, Suite 1650, Houston, Texas 77010.
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Our comprehensive listing of everything delicious in Downtown. Get all the deets on GreenStreet’s dynamic dining options—from the festive flavors at Guadalajara Del Centro to the casual bites at Café Benne.
13 AN IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE The minds behind the contemporary music festival Day for Night believe they are onto something truly unique thanks to their integration of music with large-scale art installations and light and sound sculptures. 2015 was the festival’s inaugural year, and this winter attendees can expect an even more dynamic experience as Day for Night moves from the Warehouse District to Post HTX. BY TARRA GAINES
Check out theater listings, concerts, tours, festivals, special events and much more.
BY SANDRA COOK Questions or comments? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet two of the Theater District’s most influential players—one, June Christensen, has helped shape the direction of Society for the Performing Arts for more than two decades, and the other, Madeleine Onne, will be leading the next generation of dancers at Houston Ballet Academy starting this summer. See what both have to say about the state of the arts in Houston.
BY HOLLY BERETTO
THE BIG GAME
DESTINATION DOWNTOWN MAP
Are we ready for some football?
After years of planning and hours upon hours of prep work, the big game is finally here. And there’s no question Houston is ready for Super Bowl LI. We’ve focused on what needed to get done—whether it was training thousands of volunteers to guide visitors around the city or finishing important new developments like the Marriott Marquis and renovations to the George R. Brown Convention Center. We’re confident that Downtown will benefit from the media hype that is about to descend on Houston and excited about the activities surrounding the event. Learn how to get the most out of the big event starting on page 19. If football isn’t really your thing, there’s still plenty to love about Downtown this winter. The ICE at Discovery Green, holiday shows in the Theater District and the twinkling lights of Market Square Park are sure to put even the biggest Grinch in a celebratory mood. THERE’S NO QUESTION And if you haven’t had a chance to check HOUSTON IS READY out some of Downtown’s hottest spots to FOR SUPER BOWL LI. eat, now is the time. Plate, our rundown of restaurants, starts on page 40 and includes a helpful guide to the yummy options at GreenStreet. As always, you’ll find our extensive calendar of events and activities in datebook on page 27. We’re especially thrilled to introduce you to a surprising new performing art space—Rec Room. Their irreverent and innovative shows are drawing a diverse crowd of theatergoers. Whether it’s their hilarious take on the ‘90s classic My So-Called Life or their mobile phone film festivals, this inviting little theater is creating a buzz. Learn more starting on page 9. 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
Super Bowl Sunday may get most of the hype but for the host city, the big event means 10 days of celebration.
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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
BY JOEL LUKS
photo by Jose Leon
B AC K S TAG E
SOCIETY FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS Five decades of bringing the best international shows to the most diverse city in the country
June Christensen was barely 10 years old when she first walked into the lobby of Jones Hall. The swirling staircase, red carpet, expansive foyer and the promise of an artful adventure forged a palatial ambiance that any child would find beautifully overwhelming and thrilling. June was visiting the theater to support her sister, an accordion student with impressive skills who was a member of a larger melodeon band. While almost all of her immediate family had innate artistic abilities, June saw herself as more of a facilitator, having the kind of aptitude that, over time, would lead to a successful career in arts administration. She thought her fluency in Italian would come in handy when she applied for a permanent position with Texas Opera
“ I enjoy the challenge of working with a company that presents a broad spectrum of performing arts genres for a diverse and dynamic Houston audience.”
Theater, Houston Grand Opera’s then traveling educational troupe, and accepting the post offered her the opportunity to learn everything that happens backstage—operational logistics, costs and feasibility. Since 1989, June has been dedicated to the Society for the Performing Arts, today serving as the CEO and president. “I enjoy the challenge of working with a company that presents a broad spectrum of performing arts genres,” June explains. “With my team, we’re able to examine a show, identify the complexity of its components and discern whether the concept is suitable for a diverse and dynamic Houston audience.” For research, June travels frequently to balance SPA’s offerings with exciting, groundbreaking shows that reflect the complexity of a rapidly changing and growing urban center.
B AC K S TAG E photo by Todd Rosenberg Photography
“My talent is the lens through which I look at artists,” she adds. “I may see 20 dance companies within a three-day period and discern what will be important for Houston.” This year, SPA is celebrating a significant milestone—its 50th anniversary of bringing the best international performing artists to the Houston Theater District. Founded in 1966, SPA’s 50th anniversary season includes an expanded family series that features STOMP, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood; speakers David Sedaris and Neil Gaiman; the Houston debut of 13-year-old jazz prodigy Joey
impressive larger-than-life animal puppetry, the family-friendly performance includes strong men, contortionists, acrobats, musicians, knife throwers, high-wire acts and more. Looking back at five decades, a critical aspect that has flourished in SPA’s programming has been the nonprofit’s community engagement component, with an objective to delve more deeply into diverse segments of Houston to foster important conversations through aesthetic mediums. It’s also an opportunity to enrich the lives of Houstonians who might not be able to join SPA in Downtown Houston. “Because of the type of artists we bring in, we are really poised to be a strong vehicle to reach beyond the concert hall to different communities,” June explains. “Our artists speak different languages and come from all over the world—reflecting the spirit of the most diverse city in the country.” SPA had one more reason to party recently. The Jones Hall 50th Ball: A Mad Mid-Century Celebration combined a joyful concert with the Houston Symphony and acclaimed violinist Itzhak Perlman, who’s been a guest of SPA numerous times in the company’s history. Chaired by Alexandra and David Pruner and James Postl and honoring the substantial contributions of the Jones Family and the Houston Endowment, the gathering was created by the Friends of Jones Hall to subsidize a theater refresh.
“ Our artists speak different languages and come from all over the world—reflecting the spirit of the most diverse city in the country.” Alexander; and an original commissioned work from Jessica Lang Dance. The overall season spotlights shows new to Houston as well as audience favorites. When pressed to point to one show that personally tickles her imagination, June chooses Circus 1903—The Golden Age of Circus, June 9–11, 2017 at Jones Hall. Hailing from Australia, Circus 1903 is produced by the same company as the Illusionists in partnership with puppetry designers Significant Object, which theater goers will remember as the creative force behind War Horse’s fantastical characters. Alongside
With the support of Houston First and Houston Endowment, New York-based Ennead Architects and Scott D. Pfeiffer of Chicago-based Threshold Acoustics have been contracted to usher Jones Hall into its next 50 years. Ennead recently completed a two-year renovation of the Robinson Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 2015, Ennead re-designed the public spaces in the Frederick P. Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. Scott Pfeiffer has earned accolades as a fellow in the Acoustical Society of America for his achievements in the design of performing arts spaces. He serves on the Knowles Hearing Center Advisory Board at Northwestern University and the Univeristy of NebraskaLincoln Durham School Architectural Engineering Industry Advisory Committee. “Jones Hall is in need of a renewal,” June says. “Some of the hall features that were suitable back then do not meet the standards necessary for certain genres such as spoken word and small music groups. The public spaces in Jones Hall also need rethinking and redesigning to create an open, warm feeling with easy access to guest amenities. We need to bring Jones Hall into the 21st century while being able to accommodate the growing and changing needs of SPA, the Houston Symphony and other organizations that rent the performance space for public and private events.” And what will happen with SPA in the next 50 years? June hopes that SPA will continue to draw keenly from the international presence in Houston for programming inspiration. The health of SPA will be determined by the administration’s ability to tune into, and engage with, local cultures so that the presenter remains relevant and current. “When audiences change, the arts need to change with them,” she says.
B AC K S TAG E
PREPARING STUDENTS FOR LIFE New Houston Ballet Academy director brings decades of experience to more than 1,000 students annually
From exploring the rudimentary elements of ballet to preparing to embark on a distinguished career on the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most prestigious stages, students who enroll in the Houston Ballet Academy enjoy learning from experienced performers, choreographers and artistic directors. Established in 1955, the 61-year old institution recently announced the appointment of Madeleine Onne, currently the artistic director of the Hong Kong Ballet, as academy director beginning summer 2017. Onne is one of only five women to have received the Dancer of the Swedish Royal Court title from HRH King Carl XVI Gustaf. As a principal dancer of the Royal Swedish Ballet from 1984 to 2002, Onne was spotlighted in almost all female principal roles in the classical repertoire. While Onne prepares to relocate to the Bayou City and contemplates the responsibility of training so many young dancers, we chat with the future Houstonian about dance education in the 21st century.
B AC K S TAG E Q: Having held many prestigious positions in the ballet world, most recently as the artistic director of Hong Kong Ballet, what is it about Houston that appealed to you? I think Houston Ballet is one of the most interesting companies in North America right now. As I share Stanton Welch’s view of ballet and how to continue to develop this wonderful art form, I thought it would be a great challenge and experience to have the privilege to help him produce the kind of dancers he needs for his beautiful company. Q: What will you miss most about Hong Kong? The food! And of course my staff and the wonderful dancers. Q: Do you have a connection to Houston? When where you here last? My connection is Stanton Welch, whom I have met all around the world throughout the years since I started as an artistic director in 2002. The ballet world is, after all, quite small. While attending opening nights and ballets competitions around the globe, you get to know all the important people in the field.
Q: What do you think has been the legacy of the Houston Ballet Academy, and what are your hopes for it under your tenure? It’s a wonderful school and has been so from the beginning. The Academy has produced a lot of great dancers since it started—some of them big stars. Previous Academy directors have done a fantastic job, and I will do my utmost to continue to develop the Academy. In order to succeed, we all have to agree on where we are heading next. One thing is for sure, it’s a big honor to be part of Stanton’s team, the Academy and the Company. Q: Other than training emerging dancers, what benefits do you see in the development of performing artists that falls outside the art itself? It’s a big responsibility to educate and train young people! I have two sons myself, neither of whom are involved with ballet. But of course, I have been very focused on helping them succeed in their studies. I also feel that you have to develop students as whole persons in order for them to judge how to use their knowledge. I hope that together with the teachers of the Academy, we will not only produce mature dancers who have good technique, but also are hungry to learn more outside the ballet world. For different reasons, they might not end up as ballet dancers. No matter if their profession will be on stage or not, I think it’s our responsibility to prepare students for life.
Q: What’s an important lesson you’d like to impart to the students of the Houston Ballet Academy? Mutual respect and trust is something I believe is extremely important in order for students to flourish. I think that I can really contribute to preparing young artists for their professional careers. I have seen a lot of talented dancers earn gold medals from competitions, but they have no knowledge of how to function in a professional ballet company. Today many young people, not only those within ballet, want instant success. But it very seldom works like that in reality. Unless you are prepared to work hard, you won’t make it. On the other hand, if you have talent and put in a lot of effort, you will most likely have a very good career. Q: What’s your impression of Houston in general as an arts community? I have to admit that during my few days in Houston, I did not have time to see much. But everyone I talk to both within and outside Houston tells me that the art scene is fantastic. I am really looking forward to be able to explore all of that together with my family when we finally move to Houston. Q: Can we say welcome home? Yes! It surely feels like it’s going to be.
In order to do that, we also have to look beyond the ballet studio.
Houston Ballet Academy students photo by Amitava Sarkar
Not Your Grandma’s Theater Space
It’s Monday night, pouring rain, the water banging against the glass windows of the Rec Room, like a mad raven in a Poe poem. It’s the kind of weather that keeps people in, but you’d never know it by the packed house inside the arts space’s main theater. The diverse group of hipsters, 30-something lovers of 1990s-era TV shows and the occasional 40+ office worker trickle in, shedding umbrellas, balancing wine and take-out from Whole Foods, crowding into the seats for the organizations popular My So-Called Mondays, in which a cast of about a dozen—with a little help from the audience—enacts an episode of the popular ’90s coming-of-age comedy, My So-Called Life. And by enact, let’s be clear: not only do they say the lines, there’s a performer who reads the stage directions and settings. “Somebody typed up all the scripts and put them online,” says Stephanie Wittles Wachs, who along with Matt Hune founded the performing arts and co-working space. “So, we’ve been doing every episode of the series. We’ve got a core of seven actors who play all the parts, and
The Rec Room Brings Emerging Arts, Collaborative Energy to Downtown
By Holly Beretto
we’ll read out the typos in the scripts. Audience members might play Teacher #2 or Girl in the Bathroom. It’s a blast.” If that sounds like a much less buttoned up theater experience than you might experience elsewhere in Downtown—or Houston at large—that’s the whole point. Wachs and Hune deliberately set out to create a place where weird and wacky pieces could be performed by some of Houston’s established (Bree Welch, fresh from her Main Street Theatre sighting as Marie Antoinette in The Revolutionists was on stage as Amber) and emerging actors. More than that, they wanted somewhere that would be a beacon for collaboration, whether someone wanted to come along and produce a one-person show or host movie nights or even watch the presidential debates live, with the ability to offer random comments (and maybe throw the occasional bunch of popcorn) at the screen. “Matt started a black box theater in his living room,” said Wachs. (Both she and Hune are graduates of the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and have taught in elementary school classrooms prior to taking on this entrepreneurial venture.) “I put in stadium seating and an 11x11-foot stage,” Hune elaborates. “And whatever I hosted sold out.” It got to the point where Hune’s wife wanted their living room back, and Wachs, who was a new mom, needed a change. The friends teamed up with a mission to bring quality programming with minimal cost to Houston. Hune and Wachs had seen places like the Rec Room in both New York and Chicago, funky spots where groups of like-minded performers and artists gathered for pop-up shows and one-off events, as well as longer series. Talking to each other about the
Wachs and Hune deliberately set out to create a place where weird and wacky pieces could be performed by some of Houston’s established and emerging actors.
They’re looking for something different, something authentic. Something without a lot of rules, where they feel like they are part of it.
transitions they were facing in their lives, they realized there was nothing like this in Houston— and they were determined to bring it here. The blue-brick building in the shadow of Minute Maid Park shares the block with The Escape Room, an activity space where groups get locked into a room and have to work together to figure out the clues that will let them out. There’s something appropriate in this being the Rec Room’s neighbor. Both spaces seek to offer a good time, with the easy familiarity millennials so enjoy. There’s a feeling of organic fun to the businesses in the building, and the Rec Room manages to be cutting-edge while still feeling casual. The rambling space, with its cement floors and exposed brick walls is more than just performance space. The Rec Room also hosts a cozy bar, just off the front entrance, where the after-work crowd can drop in without seeing a show, and audience members can gather to grab a glass of wine or beer before one. Across the hall from the main performance space is a large, rectangular room, furnished with long tables that were sourced from an antique shop. They used to belong to a beer garden, and Wachs says they are the centerpiece of the Rec Room’s co-working space. For $10, nomad professionals can come in and take advantage of free Wi-Fi and all the
coffee they can drink. For both Wachs and Hune, the idea of a co-working space was a no-brainer; many millennials they know simply don’t go into the office on a daily basis. The Rec Room meets their need for being with other people, while being productive for their companies. In addition, artists and performance companies are able to rent out any of the Rec Room’s spaces, and Hune and Wachs are committed to being both affordable for the artist community and providing a place people want to use. There’s a reason they call the place both a creative space and a social club. “It’s about connections,” she says. “Maybe someone comes in here because she’s tired of being in her apartment, and she meets someone who does something similar, and they partner on a project.” That ability to improvise has served Wachs and Hune well. The two business partners do it all in the small space: before the show, Hune was pushing around an industrial rolling mop stand, cleaning the black and white floor and Wachs was unpacking a cooler of sodas and Lone Star to sell as concessions. Their days are much longer than they were when either of them was teaching full-time, but they don’t seem too phased by it. Building their business gives them as much energy as it drains.
“It’s our baby,” says Wachs. “And we’re creative people at heart. “We’re definitely not satisfied with a normal life,” quips Hune. That’s a good thing, given that the Rec Room is a bit shy of normal, compared to many of Houston’s other performance spaces. If you arrive late, they won’t keep you out of the theater. You’re encouraged to text and post about your experience to social media which, says Wachs, helps her and Hune keep marketing budgets down. The audience skews younger, which might explain the less-buttoned-up approach. “Most of our audience is between 25-35,” says Wachs. “They’re young, young professionals. Our age. They’re looking for something different, something authentic. Something without a lot of rules, where they feel like they are part of it.” Creating that kind of experience might prove daunting to other people, but Wachs and Hune used every bit of their own artistic training and ability to rally troops. Hune is on stage for performances of My So-Called Mondays. So are Wachs’ parents. Wachs is in the booth, running lights and sound. In fact, Wachs and Hune can set their own light and sound cues—and do battle with the computers when they crash. They’ve encouraged their equally creative
UPCOMING Dec. 5, 12, 19
My So-Called Mondays 8 pm
Deck the Rec: A Week of Holiday Fun 8 pm
Houston’s only live matchmaking show
Weird Sh*t New Works Play Festival 8 pm
Winter Le Film Festival de Mobile Phone 8 pm
performing friends to come and be part of their productions, which many of them do on Monday evening, when shows elsewhere are dark. Wachs’ husband created the logo for the business. The space feels immediately both home-grown and welcoming, as well as on the cusp of some new sort of entertainment. “We hosted a mobile phone film festival this summer,” says Wachs. “Starting this fall, we’re doing a live dating show, like The Dating Game. We have new plays we’re going to do. The mobile phone festival was such as success, we’ll do another one.” If there’s a philosophy the pair embraces, it’s to be entirely inclusive. Wachs and Hune want people to understand the Rec Room really is a space to come as you are and explore something new and kind of quirky. Wachs breaks out into a big grin when she explains that the audience is diverse, not just in ethnic background, but in what they do and how accepting they are of each other. It’s a tangible feeling you get sitting in the space; these are people who are not only interested in being together for a good time, but hoping you do, too. “Theater tickets are expensive,” says Wachs. “Here, we have a $10 fee, you can bring food and drink into the space, you’ll see something you won’t see anywhere else. Just come as you are. There are no rules here.”
photo by Julian Day
photo by Julian Day
photo by Julian Day
The innovative Day for Night festival goes global WINTER 2016â&#x20AC;&#x201C;17
photo by Julian Day
“ Our mission has been to try to keep people as engaged when they walk from stage to stage as when they’re staring at their favorite band performing.
And what better way to keep them engaged than with large-scale art installations.”
left: Omar Afra, founder right: Alex Czetwertynski, artist and curator
The traditional contemporary music festival, which presents multiple big name bands on several stages and may last several days and nights, has something of an audience energy problem, or so claims Free Press Summer Fest co-founder Omar Afra. Afra feels disheartened by the structure of the average music festival where audience energy rises with each performance but then steadily dissolves at the end of a set, leaving people wandering from stage to stage “listlessly until they find the next act that goes on and brings the intensity back up.” A year ago, Afra decided to defy those standard festival conventions by debuting a new kind of multi-day music event in Houston. Naming it after the cinematic technique to create night scenes when filming in the daylight, Day for Night integrated large art installations and immersive light and sound sculptures into the music programming. While this type festival where music meets and embraces computational and digital art was not the first of its kind, it had rarely been done before in the United States. “It was less of a question of why are we bringing them together as opposed to why were
they ever disassociated?” said Afra of this idea to merge music and art into one festival. “Our mission has been to try to keep people as engaged when they walk from stage to stage as when they’re staring at their favorite band performing, and what better way to keep them engaged and give them the ability to explore than with large scale art installations,” Afra explained. Not so coincidently, the type of digital and media art Afra had in mind for this festival also had some of its roots in largescale music concerts. “A lot of the hardware and components that are used to create generative and computational art, light art, are hardware and technology that have existed in the concert world for years, said Afra, noting what happens when artists begin to work with this technology. “What computational art really is is using technology, light and lasers, that already existed, but using them in a mindful and artful manner.” But why Houston? Why was the city such an ideal place to mount a radically new type of festival that lets the music and experimental and computational art inspire and compliment each other?
photo by Julian Day
“ The thing for us that was really beautiful last year was we saw how engaged the audience was. The audience was extremely interested in the work.” “We wanted to do an event on a national and international scale. First we asked ourselves that question and then we reversed it and asked: Why not Houston?” said Afra. He believes that as the most diverse city in the country, the fastest growing city, soon to be the third-largest city, Houston is naturally the perfect place for this type of concert and art festival. Houston also possesses one attribute that many other large U.S. metropolitans don’t have, the optimal climate for an indoor and outdoor winter music and art festival. Houston is “one of the very few cities in the country where you can have a festival of this size in December,” he says. That idea to marry art and music seamlessly into one festival finally came to fruition in the first Day for Night held in December 2015 at the Silver Street Studios and the surrounding blocks. The eclectic lineup with names like Kendrick Lamar, New Order and the Phillip Glass Ensemble brought Houstonians with diverse musical tastes out to the Washington Avenue area. The massive light and sound installations and interactive media art kept them engaged as they wandered the warehouses and streets between the performance stages. Artist and computer programmer Zach Lieberman worked on two installations for Day
for Night 2015, a work he helped create with his students at the School for Poetic Computation in New York and his own piece Reflection Studies. His Reflection Studies evolved from writing software to simulate rays of light bouncing off objects and eventually grew into an interactive projection where people could manipulate the objects and light that then became abstract and dynamic images projected on a warehouse’s outer walls. “It was really exciting to see the art was not secondary but a main part of the festival,” said Lieberman of his Day for Night experience. “The way the art was integrated within the physical location, you would go from one venue to another and move through installations. In other festivals, usually you would see art in a separate tent or to the side, but to see it presented side by side and on equal footing, that was really exciting for us.” On December 17 and 18, 2016, Day for Night returns, not at its inaugural place on Silver Street, but Downtown in the 1.5 million square feet of indoor and outdoor space at Post HTX, the former Barbara Jordan Post Office at 401 Franklin Street. The lineup of performers such as Aphex Twin, ODESZA, Butthole Surfers, Blonde Redhead
photo by Julian Day
“Everywhere they go there’s a surprise, an installation tucked away or that they’re walking toward or seeing from a distance.”
photo by Roger Ho
photo by Julian Day
and Björk will likely draw a national and perhaps even international crowd, but it’s the 15 individual and collective visual artists, including United Visual Artists (UVA), Björk Digital, Golan Levin, Tundra, Damien Echols, and NONOTAK, who might help to bring about a new global perception of Houston’s place in the art world. Digital artist Alex Czetwertynski, who curated the first Day for Night visual artist lineup and returns as both artist and curator for the second, believes the move Downtown will help alleviate one unexpected problem they faced during the first Day for Night. “The thing for us that was really beautiful last year was we saw how engaged the audience was. The audience was extremely interested in the work,” remembered Czetwertynski. People would not only interact with the work, they would “take it in for a long time.” Czetwertynski noticed audiences weren’t in a rush to see everything and then get back to the nearest stage area for the next concert to begin; instead, they lingered and explored, which for him, “felt like a great testament to the interest of the Houston audience towards this kind of work.” While the audiences’ meaningful reaction and interaction with the art work was a good problem
to have, it did lead to some long lines for those installations confined to smaller spaces where only a few people could view the piece at a time. Having become very familiar with what the former post office campus has to offer, Czetwertynski looks forward to seeing what his selected artists can do inside the raw, industrial space that Afra also describes as filled with “cavernous places to explore.” “The one thing that we learned from last year is that we want to give people a lot of room to move around and to wander in this expansive space and take the art in, without being blocked by long lines,” said Czetwertynski. He knew about the venue change before selecting the digital artists in the final lineup and looked for artists who would embrace creating installations in such spaces, believing that the architecture of the environment will contribute to the works’ final form. “We ask artists to create a piece that is site specific,” said Czetwertynski. “The location is extremely important because we don’t want people to bring an installation that they’ve already shown. We want them to have an interaction to the space. What we feel is that the relationship between the architecture of the space and visual arts is that
it’s like a conversation. And we want people to be engaged as they move across the venue from stage to stage. Everywhere they go there’s a surprise, an installation tucked away or that they’re walking toward or seeing from a distance.” Houston Arts Alliance President and CEO, Jonathon Glus has been keeping a close eye on Day for Night for the festival’s potential impact on the local art community and how it might influence international views of Houston as an art town. He feels the move to the Post HTX site might be a trend in the way Houstonians create and interact with art in the city, where we’ve taken to putting art in the strangest places and abandoned spaces. “Part of being in this unbridled place, we don’t control zoning and design to the extend that other cities do, but that’s given us all these spaces that are really great to work with,” said Glus “As we become more and more dense, we’re going to have to think about the way we use spaces in different ways. The idea of doing it at the post office is fantastic for the very reason we’re asking about it. It’s like: what the hell? They’re putting it in the post office. That’s crazy, but that’s part of what’s going to be really unique about this.”
2016 LINEUP HIGHLIGHTS Mykki Blanco Kamasi Washington Matmos BANKS Wild Moccasins MNYMNS Kaskade Travis Scott RZA Marcel Khalife LIARS Fat Tony
Lieberman’s most recent Houston installation, the interactive media piece más que la cara (more than the face), which is a part of the Art Blocks at Main Street Square, is installed in the windows of the parking garage that was once the Sakowitz department store, so the artist understands how art can thrive in unusual spaces. Even before the festival begins, Afra confesses they’re doing some soul searching as to whether Day for Night will move every year to some new and surprising spot in the city in order to give attendees a chance to explore new terrain or if they’ll settle into a permanent place like the Post HTX site. But no matter where Day for Night lands in years to come, Afra and Czetwertynski appear definitive on ensuring the festival will maintain a connection with Houston audiences and artists. “Houston has a reputation as being an important art city just because of the quality of the museums and institutions that are here, but I think in general those institutions are known for more traditional art forms,” believes Czetwertynski. “I think Day for Night is becoming a sort of beacon for this new type of art, that’s in an emerging state, but it’s becoming more and more important. We hope Day for Night creates a global interest in this type of work and for Houston being a sort of center for it. And we’re already seeing that as people are coming from all over the world for the festival this year.” Glus agrees that Day for Night could create ripples back and forth through Houston and bring us to a prominent place in the international art scene. “Our global cultural brand is evolving right now. This festival is going to be one of those anchors that helps create the brand we’re all collectively creating right now in Houston,” Glus maintains. “When you look at international festivals, this is new. So it isn’t just that there’s other cities that are doing this and we’re going to be able to do it. This is a brand new niche that we’re laying claim to, and that’s special.” Glus didn’t have to look far to make a comparison to another familiar Houston art program and what it has done for international perceptions of Houston as an art city and how such an event can produce a ripple effect within an artistic community. “FotoFest has positioned Houston within the global fine arts photography world,” Glus said. “What is the ripple effect? Well, you have the media that works in the world internationally. They know about Houston. They know about FotoFest. They come to the
This festival is going to be one of those anchors that helps create the brand we’re all collectively creating right now in Houston
city they write about it. They go back to Tokyo and write about it. They go back to Mexico City they write about it. It impacts our universities. It impacts our collecting.” Also mentioning Art Basel and its impact on the art scene, galleries, art institutions and individual artists in Miami, Glus went on to make some rosy predictions about Day for Night and Houston. “There are those benchmark events that take place in different cities that really mark the evolution of those cities. I really believe this festival is one of those things that will put us on the map internationally.” Though changes probably won’t happen rapidly, Glus believes Day for Night has the potential to change how Houstonians look at art and how the rest of the world views Houston art. “It’s going to take a couple of festivals for it to find its place in the community, and we’ll start seeing how it does have an impact,” said Glus. “You’re going to see museums and galleries responding to this in a bigger way. You’re going to see collectors responding, and you’re totally going to see international media responding to this and that is going to impact the way that people think about Houston and the way that people travel to Houston.”
KEEPING SCORE CAPITALIZING ON
SUPER BOWL LI
The stage is set for America’s biggest party By now you have heard a certain football game is coming to town. Hosting the Super Bowl LI means so much more than a big party Downtown, a bunch of celebrity sightings and, yes, the NFL Championship game being played at NRG Stadium. Those are all big news, but the even bigger news, and more importantly, the long-lasting benefits of being selected as the host city for the largest single-day sporting event in the world is this: Houston has the opportunity to broadcast to a worldwide audience our personality and the reasons to love living, working and playing in Houston. It’s our chance to show approximately 100 million people what’s great about our city, to bust out of the stereotypes and show them our true personality, diversity, creativity and ingenuity. “This is our opportunity to tell Houston’s story on an international stage,” says Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Many people outside the city don’t see Houston as the most diverse city in the
country—many people are still surprised by that. We are more than cowboy hats and cowboy boots. We have a lot of creative talent with our artists, plus our Museum District, outdoor theaters, the world’s largest medical center, the Port of Houston, the petrochemical industry; we are a city of innovation.” He goes on to cite, as he often does, the global nature of Houston, where 142 languages are spoken and 92 consulates are present. That is why local business leaders spent their time, money and energy on the bid. And, according to Ric Campo, chairman of the Houston Super Bowl host committee and CEO of Camden Property Trust, “the planning and prep started in May 2013 when Houston got the bid, and we’ve been meticulously planning ever since.” For the record, the big game takes place at NRG Stadium on Feb. 5, at approximately 5:30 pm. Teams TBD; Lady Gaga headlines the halftime show. Right here in Houston. Boom.
“ Being the host city of the Super Bowl offers a tremendous platform for Houston to communicate to the world that Houston is a great place to live, work and play.” 20
HOSTING IS HUGE FOR HOUSTON Campo explains it’s not only the game and those who are attending, but the eyes of the entire world that follow this event. “Being the host city of the Super Bowl offers a tremendous platform for Houston to communicate to the world that Houston is a great place to live, work and play,” says Campo. “We are a city of the future with a diverse population.” “This is our chance to show people from all over who we are firsthand,” says Turner. “We offer urban chic with southern hospitality. You can’t beat our restaurants. People are surprised to see our great parks and green spaces, and we continue to build those across the city. We have a fantastic zoo … there’s so many things that Houston can showcase. This is our opportunity to demonstrate who we are—we dream big, we make big things happen.” Turner believes the lasting effects of hosting the Super Bowl will be determined by the impression that people take away from the city, whether they are visiting our city or viewing it on TV or online media. “Many people who will visit or tune in during the Super Bowl festivities will be doing so for the first time or first time in many
years,” says the mayor. “We want them to walk away with a very positive impression of the city.” He explains that the idea is to win people over who can in turn bring conferences and conventions to Houston, to inspire them to plan vacations to Houston, or recommend Houston as a travel destination to others. “For international visitors, when they think of the U.S., we want them to think of Houston, not just New York or L.A. or San Francisco,” he says. “We want Houston to be in the top tier of business and leisure travel destinations.” “A Super Bowl can yield 3.5 billion media impressions,” says Campo. “We will have 5,000 credentialed media writers, photographers and broadcasters working out of the George R. Brown for 10 full days. We have to make the most of that spotlight.” Campo further emphasizes his point with a Super Bowl broadcast stat: of the Top 20 TV broadcasts of all time—19 out of 20 are Super Bowls (the other is the M*A*S*H finale).
IT’S EVERYONE’S GAME The Host Committee wants Super Bowl LI to be something all locals can enjoy and take part in, versus something we all have to tolerate or
endure so that a limited number of wealthy or well-connected VIPs can go to the game. That’s why 10 days of free—free!—festivities leading up to Super Bowl LI are planned for Downtown Houston. Anyone is welcome. This past fall, via the Super Bowl LI Touchdown Tour, Campo, the mayor and members of the host committee brought pep rally-style events to 11 schools and neighborhood parks across the area. “We want the entire city and region to feel a part of the Super Bowl experience,” says Turner. The idea is to create connections to the big game and the festivities for everyone in the Houston area, so that the visitors and media will be exposed to the contagious spirit of Houston.
SUPER BOWL LIVE: FREE FUN FOR ALL The host committee, led by president and CEO Sallie Sargent, hopes Super Bowl Live draws locals from Houston and the surrounding region to share in the excitement of being the host city and being a sports fan. During the weekdays, school groups will be able take field trips to Super Bowl Live at Discovery Green.
“We want to create positive impact, create shared experience, help people feel good about for this city and this community and to remind them the community is not something that is run by politicians, but the community is made up of individuals, the people are the community,” says Campo. Approximately 100,000 of those individuals are expected to attend Super Bowl Live daily, that’s potentially 1 million over 10 days. The free Super Bowl Live event takes place Jan. 27–Feb. 5 at Discovery Green, and even spreads beyond the park onto four blocks that lie just south of the park, (three surface parking lots and Root Memorial Square). “That entire footprint, totaling 750,000 square feet, will be a giant festival with food and beverage, a concert stage, and the WOW Factor, which is a big attraction for us,” says Sargent. Festivalgoers won’t want to miss the NASAengineered virtual reality ride called the WOW Factor. This first-of-its kind experience offers a virtual journey to Mars. Can you say, wowo?! For those who’d rather not take the ride, the experience also features a fascinating educational display on space exploration,
manned by NASA experts—no seat belts required. It’s the ultimate example of the Super Bowl of the Future in the City of the Future. “Fox Sports, official broadcaster of the game, will set up their studio in Discovery Green and broadcast live for the entire week before the Super Bowl. They are a great partner,” says Sargent. Additionally, CNN and NFL Network will also broadcast from the park area. ESPN will set up in Midtown. The Houston Super Bowl Host Committee has taken a unique approach to sponsor participation. Unlike past Super Bowls that have featured various individual points where sponsors create a fan experience, within Houston’s Super Bowl Live festival zone will be an area called Houston Live. This is where major sponsors will engage with fans to showcase the story and personality of Houston, in addition to promoting their business. Houston Live will also showcase the local performers selection from the open call for auditions, so keep an eye (and ear) out for your talented friends and neighbors! While you’re Downtown, you can enjoy some basketball too during three Houston Rockets games taking place during the festivities (See Know Before You Go to plan your route and transit options). And look to the sky as a
fireworks display is planned for each of the 10 nights during Super Bowl Live. Located inside the George R. Brown Convention Center is the NFL Experience, the NFL’s traveling interactive fan experience. The ticketed event features a variety of NFL-themed games to test your football skills, plus the NFL PLAY 60 Zone for younger kiddos. Fans will get the opportunity to meet some of their favorite NFL players of the past and present, including autograph sessions. The event also features exhibits on the history of the game, including all past Super Bowl championship rings and a photo-op with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Ticket prices were $25 for kids, $35 for adults at the last Super Bowl. “We want to avoid having the hoopla of the game just come and go and locals not get to
experience any part of the events and festivities, and not have lived through some part of the Super Bowl experience,” Turner says. That notion was the inspiration for the Touchdown Tour, which brought the excitement of the game and fueled civic pride across Houston and Harris County. An additional outreach effort has been through charitable donations. The Houston Super Bowl host committee developed Touchdown Houston as a charitable program, designed to provide a positive impact on the Houston community long after Super Bowl LI has been played. The program expects to donate a minimum of $4 million, $1 million of which is donated by the NFL Foundation, to nonprofit organizations throughout the community with a focus on three key areas: education, health, and community enhancement.
“ We want to avoid having the hoopla of the game just come and go and locals not get to experience any part of the events and festivities, and not have lived through some part of the Super Bowl experience.” photo by Roswitha Vogler
GET THE APP. KNOW BEFORE YOU GO GO PUBLIC. RIDE A BIKE. GIMME A SIGN. CLEAR PATH TO THE BASKET. S U P E R B OW L L I V E
JANUARY 27–FEBRUARY 5
Discovery Green and nearby blocks
GET THE APP.
Be sure to download the Super Bowl LI app for easy access to transit and parking info, plus all the scoop on the festival and game.
Leave the cars and trucks at home or park well outside of the Super Bowl Live area and use our stellar public transit options, such as METRO’s additional routes and frequent service for the events—as always, just $1.25 per ride on rail or bus. Take the Downtown District’s free Greenlink shuttles, running the standard Green and Orange routes, plus a special Silver route to and from the East side during Super Bowl events. METRO will also be running an Uptown-Downtown express shuttle all week.
RIDE A BIKE.
GIMME A SIGN.
Watch for those digital signs on the freeways— The VMS, or variable messaging system, will help route traffic to detours upon exiting. No ramps are expected to close. Find current messaging via the Houston Transtar website, under Message Signs.
CLEAR PATH TO THE BASKET. Sports diversity anyone? There are three Rockets games that week: Jan. 31 against the Kings, Feb. 2 against the Hawks and Feb. 3 against the Bulls. Trying to drive to the arena and park in your regular spot will put you in foul territory. If you want to cheer on the Rockets, then check the Super Bowl LI app and plan your approach like a true citizen of Clutch City. Go Rockets!
Park your bike at the BikeHouston valet on Rusk Street, near Crawford, or grab a BCycle. Check the BikeHouston and Houston BCycle sites for more info.
VOLUNTEERS DELIVER OUR CAN-DO SPIRIT Members of the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee went to Super Bowl 50 in the San Francisco Bay area, as did a number of representatives of the Houston Fire Department and Police Department, the City’s Department of Special Events and Houston First. “We got to observe how they were planning things and how things turned out,” says Turner. “One of the things we noticed was the lack of volunteers at all the different hotels and other locations.” Thinking about the fan and visitor experience, from the airports, to parking in and around Downtown, and entering the festival footprint, the committee identified the need for 10,000 volunteers. These folks will each work three shifts, yielding 30,000 shifts. “This is where our
volunteers become ambassadors for Houston, helping visitors experience the hospitality that we can deliver,” says Sargent. “Plus they will be well-trained and well-informed to help with wayfinding, answering questions and be wearing highly visible, bright red uniforms.” At the first volunteer orientation rally at Toyota Center in October more than 9,000 volunteers showed up, representing every zip code in the Houston area, ranging in age from 18 to 88. (Way to go Houston!) “We are so pleased that our volunteer corps is representative of Houston,” says Sargent. “We had 9,000 people at the volunteer orientation rally,” says Campo. “To hear them all chanting ‘Houston, Houston…’ was electric. You could feel the spirit, camaraderie and civic pride.”
“The volunteer program gives 10,000 people the opportunity to participate and be a part of that collective voice that tells the story of Houston,” says Turner. “Those people will not only serve the community, but they will also get to enjoy aspects of the events from an up-close and personal perspective.”
TRAFFIC & TRANSPORTATION PLAN Hosting the Super Bowl takes a great deal of preparation,” says the mayor. “We’ve been prepping for the last two years, especially for security and transportation with folks like HPD and the Sherriff’s Department and federal partners.” “We’ve worked with local law enforcement, METRO, TxDot and every agency in between to determine the most efficient way to channel
I f we do enough things well and show off the genuine personality of Houston, we can get on the short list of host cities.
people to Downtown,” says Sargent. “After two years of regular meetings we have a very robust plan in place and we are putting the word out via our ‘Know Before You Go’ messaging,” says Sargent. “Also, METRO and the Downtown District have been great partners for us,” says Sargent. “I have to give them a shout-out, especially Bob Eury, who’s been our Mobility Czar since day one.” “We’ve looked at every detail, evaluated street closures, wayfinding, public transit,” says Campo. “It’s all been carefully assessed, planned and coordinated for the best way to get ready, host the events and the game, and then promptly tear it down to make way for the Rodeo.”
If we do enough things well and show off the genuine personality of Houston, we can get on the short list of host cities. “We are optimistic after receiving positive responses from NCAA for Final Four and Copa Américas,” says Turner. “We’re hoping that it won’t be another 12 years before we get to host again.” The next four host cities have been announced: Minneapolis, Atlanta, South Florida, Los Angeles, which means the next possible spot will be Super Bowl 56 in 2022.
BEYOND THE GAME S U P E R B OW L L I
BEYOND THE GAME WHAT DO WE GAIN?
DEBUNKING “IT’S NOT WORTH IT”
This is about competition. It’s about making sure we set the groundwork for future growth.
Skeptics scoff at projections of economic impact reaching hundreds of millions of dollars. And it doesn’t pan out for every host city, but Houston has financial advantages over past host cities. Our stadium was built years ago and any infrastructure improvements or new hotel projects, such as the Marriott Marquis, even the enhancements to the George R. Brown Convention Center are permanent. Those don’t go away and that will raise Houston’s profile as an attractive convention, business travel and leisure destination. “These are legacy benefits,” says Ric Campo. The GRB renovation and Marriott Marquis would not have happened if Houston had not won this Super Bowl bid. Additional lasting major improvements include the Houston First Tower and the Broadway Boulevard Beautification project near Hobby Airport. These are great dividends to many Houstonians beyond the Super Bowl. Furthermore, all of the events—the game at NRG Stadium, the NFL Experience and Super Bowl Live at Discovery Green—all happen within the city limits as are all the major hotels and venues hosting NFL related events. So a significant amount of revenue and tax dollars will stay in Houston. According to Campo, funding for Super Bowl LI comes primarily from private businesses, the corporate sponsors, and also from touristgenerated taxes via the state’s Major Events Reimbursement Program, known as MERP.
We are projecting an economic impact of $372 million for the Houston area, and $45 million in local and state tax revenue. That means no actual funds from city and county budgets, because the money comes from sponsors and tourists. “We are projecting an economic impact of $372 million for the Houston area, and $45 million in local and state tax revenue,” say Campo. “Tourists don’t go to a city unless they have heard about it and read about it,” says Campo. “Businesses don’t relocate to a city unless they’ve heard a lot about it and been there. If you don’t compete with other cities they will draw your talent from you, period. This is about competition. It’s about making sure we set the groundwork for future growth.” Hosting the Super Bowl is worth spending a lot of time on. “It’s not about football, it really isn’t,” says Campo. “It’s about using the platform—the biggest one-day sporting event in the world.” Our job is to tag onto that platform, and send your message to the world. That’s why cities spend big money to get to host the Super Bowl: to raise the profile of the city.
datebook. EDITED BY NICOLE M ARIN
Performing Arts 27 Discovery Green 32 Festivals + Special Events 34 Market Square Park 37 and more
PERFORMING ARTS LANDING HOLIDAY CONCERTS
Through Dec 22 There are many ways to celebrate the holiday season, and music is one of the most immediate. The Landing Theatre will host a series of benefit concerts featuring a diverse mix of bands jamming the night away. A complete list of groups can be found on their website. Tickets $25 (suggested donation). 8 pm. Landing Theatre @ the Docks, 1119 East Freeway (Providence Street). 562.502.7469.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Through Dec 27 Snowflakes. Sword fights. Dancing dolls. And a Christmas tree that reaches the sky. Stanton Welch’s opulent new production promises everything you love about The Nutcracker, brighter and more splendid than ever. In this, the most traditional tale, Clara and Drosselmeyer travel together to the Land of the Sweets where the Sugar Plum Fairy is reunited with her prince—and where the magic happens. With grand sets and stunning costumes, The Nutcracker features the entire company of dancers playing hundreds of fun and exciting new roles. Tickets $19–$123. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.2787. houstonballet.org
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Through Dec 29 A Christmas Carol—A Ghost Story of Christmas returns this year with a re-telling of Charles Dickens’ classic story, which follows Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey with the three ghostly spirits that visit him on Christmas Eve. Tickets $21–41. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org
Dec 1–31 Company Artist Todd Waite reprises his role as “Crumpet the Elf” in the outlandish and true chronicles of David Sedaris’ experience as a worker in Macy’s SantaLand display. This compact, one-character comedy is a hilarious cult classic, featuring comic encounters during the height of the holiday crunch. Tickets $19. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700.
JUBILEE OF DANCE
Dec 2 Houston Ballet presents Jubilee of Dance, a one-night-only event showcasing the depth and range of the company in a program of premieres and highenergy excerpts from signature works and beloved classics. Tickets are also available for the Jubilee of Dance Onstage Dinner immediately following the performance where patrons have the opportunity to dine and mingle with company dancers. Tickets starts at $35. 7 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.ARTS.
VERY MERRY POPS
Dec 2–4 This year, Steven Reineke is taking the reins of Houston Symphony’s Very Merry Pops celebration and dazzles you with holiday merriment. The program includes classics like “Carol of the Bells” and a fresh interpretation of “Jingle Bell Rock.” In typical Very Merry Pops tradition, expect a “Winter Wonderland” which includes sweeping sounds of the Houston Symphony Chorus, beautiful new arrangements by their maestro—and of course, Santa! Tickets $25–$138. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Dec 2–15 Houston Grand Opera presents the world premiere of It’s a Wonderful Life, a fresh take on the holiday classic tale of a troubled banker whose guardian angel helps him realize the lasting impact each person makes on those around him. Tickets start at $15. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.228.6737.
12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
Dec 3 The holidays are happening at the Houston
DECK THE REC: A WEEK OF HOLIDAY FUN! Celebrate the holidays at Rec Room with a different variety show for each day of the week! Dec 6 A Very Claymation Christmas Dec 7 Holiday Hump Night: Couple Friends Dec 8 Latkes Live! A Very Hanukkah Christmas Dec 9 Nog, Nosh & Narative Dec 10 Rec Room Holiday Hop! Featuring The Phantom Royals Tickets $10 per event or $40 for the whole week. 8 pm. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. 713.344.1291. recroomhtx.com
Symphony with a very merry celebration of the classic 12 Days of Christmas favorite! Join the orchestra, along with the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts Chorale, to hear calling birds, French hens, turtle doves and, of course, a partridge in a pear tree, performed on stage in an interactive program. 10 am and 11:30 am. Tickets $25–$35. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.
CECILE MCLORIN SALVANT
Dec 3 Cecile McLorin Salvant’s 2015 recording For One To Love won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Soon after winning the prestigious Thelonious Monk competition, she made her first appearance on Da Camera’s jazz series, and since then her career has skyrocketed. She continues to impress with her unique interpretations of unknown and rarely-recorded jazz and blues compositions and with her own original songs. Tickets $37.50–$67.50. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com
MY SO-CALLED MONDAYS
Dec 5, 12, 19 All 19 episodes of the brilliant-butcanceled ‘90s cult TV show, My So-Called Life, performed live. The most exciting part of the project is that each night, various audience members will be selected to round out the cast and perform various small roles in that evening’s episode. Tickets $10. 8 pm. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. 713.344.1291. recroomhtx.com
THE BOOK OF MORMON
photo by Joan Marcus
INTO THE WOODS
JASON VIEAUX photo by Tyler Boye
WIERD SH*T PLAY FESTIVAL
Dec 9 Described as “perhaps the most precise and
Dec 14–17 Rec Room is hosting its first New Works
is about Cinderella, a baker and his wife, Jack (of ‘beanstalk’ fame), Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, a witch and a couple of princes and a host of fairytale companions as they journey into the woods and face wolves and giants, only to discover what really happens when wishes come true! Tickets $38.50–$106.00. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.558.2600. tuts.com
soulful classical guitarist of his generation,” Jason Vieaux will make his Da Camera debut with a musical self-portrait, an unusually personal program ranging from 20th-century German composer Hans Werner Henze to jazz greats Pat Metheny and Duke Ellington to the traditional classical guitar repertoire. Tickets $42.50–$72.50. 7:30 pm. The Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.524.5050.
Play Festival and it’s gonna be weeeeird! The public is invited to submit a 10-minute or one-act play (visit website for more info). Join the audience for a live, literary roller-coaster! Tickets $5. 8 pm. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. 713.344.1291. recroomhtx.com
A LITTLE DAY MUSIC
performed by the Houston Symphony as you accompany the extraordinary journey of George Bailey (James Stewart) and his guardian angel. Tickets $22– $115. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.
premier performances of Handel’s Messiah. This timeless classic is brought to life through brilliant Baroque arias and rousing choruses. From Ev’ry Valley to the famed Hallelujah chorus, Handel’s Messiah is a true Houston Symphony holiday tradition. Tickets $29–$85. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.
Dec 7 A Little Day Music is the
longest running free concert series in Houston. Presented at noon on the first Wednesday of the month, each concert is designed to deliver Da Camera’s signature programming as the audience enjoys their own lunches. Free. Noon. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com
WE THREE KINGS—AN IRISH TENORS HOLIDAY
Dec 7 The Irish Tenors will bring their signature brand of traditional singing mixed with a little humor and a lot of heart to Jones Hall this winter for a holiday concert like no other! Combining enchanting Irish music with sweeping holiday selections such as White Christmas, Jingle Bell Rock, and We Three Kings, this will be a holiday show to remember. Experience the dazzling technique and the depth of feeling that defines the Irish Tenors when they return to the Jones Hall stage. Tickets $43–$103. 8 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4772. spahouston.org
Dec 6–Dec 18 Into The Woods
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Dec 9 Watch It’s a Wonderful Life with music
Dec 10 Vivaldi’s Gloria is one of sacred music’s most uplifting choral works—full of high drama and unbelievable genius. Now, experience this dazzling work paired with other classics by Vivaldi. Tickets $19–68. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.533.0080.
Dec 16–18 Celebrate Christmas with Houston’s
GAME GRUMPS LIVE!
Dec 17 Come hang out with Arin and Danny for a live episode of Game Grumps! The two will be playing games, making jokes and having a blast in front of a live audience; ending the night with an intimate Q&A session. Tickets $25–$35. 7:30 pm. Revention Music Center, 520 Texas. 800.745.3000.
WINTER MOBILE PHONE FILM FESTIVAL
TAKE THE J TRAIN
Dec 21 Rec Room’s Phone Film Festival is a quarterly
an acclaimed group of musicians and dance artists as well as a spoken word poet in a dynamic collaboration to create an experimental immersive multimedia experience. Tickets $10. 8 pm. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. 713.344.1291. recroomhtx.com
festival happening at the beginning of each season. Every film is made entirely on mobile devices. The public is invited to submit their works for consideration by Dec 16 (visit website for more info). Otherwise, join the audience on Dec 21. Tickets $10. 8 pm. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. 713.344.1291. recroomhtx.com
Dec 13 Multimedia artist Lynn Lane brings together
datebook. MOM PROM
MATT & BEN
Dec 23 Rec Room co-owner, Stephanie’s mom, never
Jan 12–31 Actors Rachel Logue & Chelsea McCurdy
attended her high school prom because her dumb boyfriend broke up with her the night before. Heartless! The absence of this teenage milestone has been a lifelong void that we will now attempt to fill. Punch bowl (and adult beverages) provided. Photo booth. Prom attire please. $10. 8 pm. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. 713.344.1291. recroomhtx.com
(Rogue Productions) present the hilarious Matt & Ben, written by Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers and winner of the 2002 New York International Fringe Festival. When the screenplay for Good Will Hunting drops mysteriously from the heavens, the boys realize they’re being tested by a higher power. Matt & Ben depicts its Hollywood golden boys before they were golden. Tickets $10. 8 pm. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. 713.344.1291. recroomhtx.com
Dec 26–Jan 2 There was a time when the world was full of magic and splendor, as if all on Earth existed in harmony with heaven. You could see it in the arts, feel it in the air, and hear it in the beat of a drum. This was a land of heroes and sages, dragons and phoenixes, emperors and immortals. Shen Yun invites you to journey back to China’s Land of the Divine, and experience this mystic culture with unrivaled artistic mastery. Tickets $76.50–$206.50. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 832.487.7041. shenyunperformingarts.org
BACHANALIA: CANTATAS FOR THE NEW YEAR
Dec 31 A festive all-Bach program rings in the
New Year with cantatas J. S. Bach wrote specifically for this holiday plus other celebratory works. Ars Lyrica’s annual gala and silent auction follows as a holiday tradition for many Houstonians! Tickets start at $37. 8 pm. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.558.2600. thehobbycenter.org
THE BOOK OF MORMON
Jan 3–15 Described by Entertainment Weekly as, “the funniest musical of all time,” The Book of Mormon, follows the misadventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries, sent halfway across the world to spread the Good Word. Don’t miss the nine-time Tony Awardwinning Best Musical, when it returns to Houston. Contains explicit language. Tickets starts at $50. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.558.2600. thehobbycenter.org
CIRQUE GOES TO THE MOVIES
Jan 6–8 Cirque de la Symphonie has captivated audiences throughout the world with their amazing aerial acrobatics and athleticism. These gravity-defying Cirque performers are back—but this time, they’re choreographing their brilliant acts to film scores performed by the Houston Symphony! Enjoy genres like classic Hollywood masterpieces Gone with the Wind, to western adventures The Magnificent Seven, to Spielberg staples E.T. and more. Tickets $25–$143. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
SMALL JOKES ABOUT MONSTERS (WORLD PREMIERE)
Jan 12–Feb 4 Presented as a part of the 2016 New American Voices Play Reading Series and a semi-finalist at the O’Neill Center, Small Jokes explores how one family comically grapples with trauma after the funeral of the patriarch—who has left them an envelope to be opened after his death. Tickets $25 (suggested donation). 8 pm. Landing Theatre @ the Docks, 1119 Providence St. 562.502.7469. landingtheatre.org
BALÉ FOLCLÓRICO DA BAHIA
Jan 13 The only professional folk dance company of its kind in Brazil, this 38-member company made up of dancers, musicians, and singers with artistic direction by José Carlos Arandiba, reflect the best in Bahian folkloric art. Drawing from their Brazilian-African roots, their performances include capoeira, samba, and all the excitement, color and unstoppable energy of the legendary Brazilian celebration of Carnival. 8 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4772. spahouston.org
Jan 14 It’s a one-of-a-kind concert—a perfect blend of amazing music paired with onscreen drama! Journey to Ellis Island as the Statue of Liberty appears; witness the creation of the iconic New York City skyline; and experience the thrilling tension of man’s race towards sky and space—accompanied by music from legendary American masters like Gershwin, Barber and Glass. Tickets $19–$68. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 832.487.7041. mercuryhouston.org
NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON
Jan 17 Exploding on to the scene in 2014 with his FOX series Cosmos, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson brought astrophysics and the science of the world around us into the living rooms of homes across America. This celebrated author, expert, and professor brings his live stage show to Houston, with an evening full of engaging conversation on science and exploration, witty observations on the world around us, and much more. 8 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4772. spahouston.org
Jan 20 With a mix of shadow theater, dance, circus, and concert elements, Pilobolus’ Shadowland is a one-of-a-kind show that’s been called “an amazing spectacle of inventiveness” (Le Parisien). Using multiple moving screens of differing sizes and shapes to create a performance that merges projected images with traditional choreography, Shadowland has inspired countless imitators. With a moving story and an unforgettable original score, Houston audiences will not want to miss Shadowlands when it makes its premiere in Houston. 8 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4772. spahouston.org
Jan 20 Ten-time Grammy Award winner, Emmy Award recipient, six-time Billboard Award winner and 2015 Hispanic Heritage Award recipient, trumpeter and composer Arturo Sandoval brings his own band to Houston to dazzle audiences with their infectious jazz sounds! Tickets $37.50–$67.50. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com
CORAL KINGDOMS, EMPIRES OF ICE
Jan 10 Uncover remote undersea worlds with
photographers David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes as they explore the rich and diverse waters of Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea, and part of the Coral Triangle. Follow them into the world beneath the Antarctic ice, then north to the Gulf of St. Lawrence to see whales, wolffish and harp seals. Tickets $15–$65. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
BEETHOVEN’S EMPEROR CONCERTO
Jan 12–15 Hailed by The Telegraph as “a gift from God” after his 2010 win at the London International Piano Competition, Behzod Abduraimov makes his Houston Symphony debut with Beethoven’s majestic Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor. In-demand American conductor and Houston favorite, James Gaffigan, also conducts Strauss’ swashbuckling Don Juan and Liszt’s poetic Les Préludes. Tickets $25–$136. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
BALÉ FOLCLÓRICO DE BAHIA
photo by Vinicius Lima
RED BULL FLYING BACH
Jan 20–22 In a clash of cultures, Red Bull Flying Bach turns the international classical music world upside down. World champion b-boy crew Flying Steps visualizes and revives Johann Sebastian Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier in a creative performance that combines classical music and urban culture. Note by note. Step by step. With piano, harpsichord and electronic beats. Tickets start at $29.50. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.558.2600. thehobbycenter.org
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME
NIXON IN CHINA
Jan 20–28 Nixon in China, an original HGO commission now firmly ensconced in the operatic repertoire, returns to HGO’s stage on the opera’s 30th anniversary. The work focuses on President Richard Nixon’s 1972 peacemaking visit to China; blending fact and fantasy, the work presents an insightful and compassionate portrayal of a presidential figure often vilified. Tickets start at $15. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.228.6737. houstongrandopera.org
Jan 20–Feb 12 The same week his private equity firm
NIXON IN CHINA
photo by Joan Marcus
forced massive layoffs at a national grocery chain, Rick threw himself an extravagant engagement party, setting off a publicity nightmare. Fortunately, Seth, one of Rick’s partners, has a win-win deal to invest in an Americanmade luggage company for a song and rescue his boss from a PR disaster. But Jenny, Seth’s counterpart, has an entirely different plan: to squeeze every last penny out of the company, no matter the consequences. The game is on in Sarah Burgess’ gripping, razor-sharp new play about the price of success and the real cost of getting the deal done. Tickets $29–$73. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org
ODD SQUAD LIVE!
Jan 21 Based on the PBS Kids series, Odd Squad Live! brings kid agents Olive and Otto right here to Houston. The Odd Squad follows the extraordinary adventures of two young government agents who, together with the audience, use math skills and teamwork to decode, decipher, and unravel the strange occurrences on the stage. 5:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4772. spahouston.org
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME
Jan 24–29 Fifteen-year-old Christopher has an
extraordinary brain; he is exceptionally intelligent but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. When he falls under suspicion for killing his neighbor’s dog, he sets out to identify the true culprit, which leads to an earthshattering discovery and a journey that will change his life forever. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.558.2600.
GERSHWIN & RACHMANINOFF
Jan 27–29 The brilliant young Russian pianist Denis Kozhukhin returns to Houston to perform Rachmaninoff’s ultra-romantic Piano Concerto No. 3. The program also celebrates American music with Gershwin’s jazzy An American in Paris and John Adams’ Doctor Atomic Symphony, a work inspired by Robert Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
ANDRÉS & WEST SIDE STORY
Feb 2–3 Andrés leads a program of music from the Americas, featuring Revueltas’ serpentine tone poem Sensemayá and Piazzolla’s brooding Tangazo. Principal Double Bass Robin Kesselman also performs a virtuoso concerto by the legendary Serge Koussevitzky, while the raucous rhythms and gorgeous photo by Michael Cooper
melodies of Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story bring the program to a close. Tickets $25–$136. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.
Feb 3–Mar 5 “Now what you hear is not a test/I’m rapping to the beat!” Gordon wants to learn how to rap, thinking it will gain him respect, admiration, and the attention of a beautiful woman. What he doesn’t know is that his journey to learn how to rhyme will take him not just deeper into Hip Hop, but deeper into his legacy and his purpose. Based on true events, NSangou Njikam leads us on a lyrical ride to discover what it really takes to freestyle. Tickets $45. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org
Feb 4 Andrés welcomes superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma back to the Houston Symphony for Dvorák’s Cello Concerto. One of the world’s most beloved musicians, Yo-Yo Ma has entranced audiences since his performance for Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy at age seven. After an epic solo concert at the 2015 BBC Proms, one reviewer reflected, “Without doubt, we were in the presence of a great musician, and a great man. One to file in the concerts of a lifetime” (BBC Music Magazine). 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
A LITTLE DAY MUSIC
Feb 8 A Little Day Music is the longest-running free concert series in Houston. Presented at noon on the first Wednesday of the month, each concert is designed to deliver Da Camera’s signature programming as the audience enjoys their own lunches. Free. Noon. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com
Houston Public Library Central Library 500 McKinney
Julia Ideson Library 550 McKinney
STORYTIME CINEMA AT THE LIBRARY
All events free and open to the public. 832.393.1313. houstonlibrary.org
Dec 10 In partnership with Aurora Picture Show
Jan 7, Feb 18 Van Gogh, Da Vinci, and why not
and in celebration of the art of creative storytelling, join Houston Public Library for a special program of imaginative, international short films that is true fun for all ages! 2 pm. Julia Ideson Library
you? Explore talented artists and try your hand at mimicking their signature styles to create your own work of art. 3 pm. Central Library
Jan 28, Feb 11 Explosions, gadgets, and pulleys,
get crafting! Create an exciting project that you can show off at home. Kids ages 5–12. 3 pm. Central Library
Oh, my! Join us for exploratory activities that make Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math FUN! Kids ages 5–12. 3 pm. Central Library
Dec 17 Bring your imagination to the library and let’s
STEM @ YOUR LIBRARY
FAMILY FUN MONDAYS Toddler Story Time, 11:30 am Preschool Story Time, 1 pm
TUESDAYS Toddler Yoga, 10:30 am Toddler Playtime, 11:30 am
WEDNESDAYS Lego Mania, 3 pm
THURSDAYS Minecraft, 3:30 pm
Feb 10–12 The phenomenon, now in its 25th year, is returning for Society for the Performing Arts’ 50th Anniversary Season! With matchboxes, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters, and more filling the stage, Stomp is the inventive and invigorating stage show that’s part dance, part concert, part theatrical performance, all blended together in one electrifying rhythm. Tickets TBA. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4772. spahouston.org
Feb 10–18 Too grief-stricken to attend the funeral of Italian poet and novelist Alessandro Manzoni, Giuseppe Verdi composed a memorial in the form of a requiem to honor his memory. Created for four soloists, double choir and orchestra, this masterpiece features sublime melodies, and dramatic contrasts to express profound loss, fear and ultimately hope and joy. HGO will perform the work with a chorus of 120 professional singers, the largest chorus in HGO history. Tickets start at $15. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.228.6737.
RAMEU’S LES INDES GALANTES
Feb 11 Featuring 18th Century paintings projected behind the orchestra in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Tickets start at $19. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 832.487.7041.
mercuryhouston.org photo by Junichi Takahashi
photo by Katya Horner
Discovery Winter Green Calendar 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.
CAN’T MISS ART INSTALLATIONS
THE ICE POWERED BY GREEN MOUNTAIN ENERGY
Through Jan 8 This interactive exhibition is a vibrant canopy of LED lights by acclaimed Burning Man artist, Christopher Schardt. Guests are invited to gather under the structure as the LED lights display celestial, playful, psychedelic and brightly abstract images. A continually changing musical element will engage visitors’ senses creating an enveloping, comforting, communal environment below.
Through Feb 19 Enchanted Promenade by the French art and design collective TILT, features colorful, giant peony bouquets along the majestic Brown Promenade. Enchanted Promenade will come to life through colorchanging LED lighting. At night, the stamens grow brighter with a blazing red light that emanates through its petals and scatters warm light throughout.
The events listed are confirmed at the time of printing. For a full listing of Discovery Green’s winter events, please visit the calendar at discoverygreen.com
Through Feb 5 Ice skating returns to Downtown
Houston this holiday season! Lace up your skates and get ready for a memorable winter experience on the largest outdoor ice skating rink in the Southwest. Admission $14 in person or $17 online, $2 discount for Green Mountain Energy employees and customers, veterans, current military and law enforcement officials. For schedule of events, holiday hours and more information visit discoverygreen.com/ice.
VISIT HOUSTON FIRST, SANTA!
Dec 3–23 Ice skaters can write a letter to Santa at
WEEKLY SKATE EVENTS CHEAP SKATE NIGHTS
Dec 5 & 12, Jan 9, 23 & 30 Glide around The ICE for half the price on select Monday nights! $8 including skate rental and tax. 4–10 pm.
BE SOCIAL TUESDAYS
Tuesdays, Dec 6–Jan 31 Take pictures in the Selfie Zone and share using #DGICE or #DiscoveryGreen for a chance to win free skating passes! 4–10 pm.
DATE NIGHT WITH JAZZ ON ICE
Wednesdays, through Feb 1 Bring your date and skate to live jazz music from Jawad under special snow effects! 7–9 pm.
BANK OF AMERICA SCREEN ON THE GREEN
Thursdays Watch a great throwback movie from the
hill or catch a peek from The ICE! Skating discounts for Bank of America card holders and employees. 7 pm. Dec 1 Cool Runnings (PG) 1993, 98 min. Dec 22 Toy Story (G) 1995, 81 min Dec 29 *Double Feature* Finding Nemo (G) followed by Finding Dory (PG)
HOT NIGHTS ON ICE!
Fridays, Dec 2–Feb 3 Mix, mingle and turn up the heat with your favorite top 40 tunes! 7–9 pm.
SKATE WITH SANTA OR STORYBOOK STARS PRESENTED BY OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM
Santa’s Letter Workshop Station. Santa’s mailboxes will be available throughout the rink and on Saturday afternoons, Santa will stop by to pick up his letters. Santa’s helpers will also be onsite to help write letters.
Saturdays, through Feb 4 Skate with Santa Claus
DISCOVERY GREEN FLEA
Sundays, Dec 4–Feb 5 Houston’s top figure skaters
Dec 17 A destination market featuring an array of
before Christmas, and skate with princesses after the holiday! 5–6 pm.
HOUSTON SKATING STARZ
dazzle on The ICE. 6–6:15 pm.
artful kitsch, vintage items, mid-century furniture, recycled and repurposed objects and collectibles with live music, food trucks and more! 11 am–5 pm.
RAINBOW ON ICE
Jan 14–15 The official Chevron Houston Marathon
Jan 20 The annual citywide LGBT celebration returns to The ICE! Celebrate the season with the ultimate dance party and electrifying entertainment. 7–10 pm.
WE ARE HOUSTON RUNFEST
weekend post-race celebration for runners, family and friends. Check website for times.
datebook. SCALABLE HEIGHTS
Feb 12 Fast passagework? High notes? No problem for the greatest virtuosos of the early 18th century, whose talents inspired some of the most spectacular music of the late Baroque. Bach’s Jauchzet Gott headlines this program, which also includes showstoppers by Vivaldi and Scarlatti. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.558.2600. thehobbycenter.org
CHRISTIAN TETZLAFF & LARS VOGT
Feb 16 Da Camera proudly presents world-renowned violinist Christian Tetzlaff and pianist Lars Vogt in their long-awaited Houston recital debut. Known to Houston audiences from their appearances as soloists with Houston Symphony, the illustrious duo play treasured works by Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert as well as a new piece by celebrated German composer Jörg Widmann. Tickets $42.50–$72.50. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.524.5050. dacamera.com
JOEY ALEXANDER TRIO
Feb 17 Born on the island of Bali, this 13-year-old jazz prodigy is now wowing audiences all over the world, including star-studded galas in New York City for Jazz at the Lincoln Center, the Jazz Foundation of America at the Apollo, and the 2016 Grammy Awards, where he was also a winner. Joey Alexander will be making his Houston debut as a part of the 50th Anniversary Season of Society for the Performing Arts. 8 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4772. spahouston.org
MARDI GRAS MENAGERIE!
Feb 18 It’s a jazzy, fun-filled celebration of Mardi Gras with a menagerie of friends from the animal kingdom! Joining the jubilee is Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals including elephants, kangaroos and feathery friends vividly brought to life by the orchestra and duo pianists. Associate Conductor Robert Franz is
also taking us on an icy, dancing excursion with music from Happy Feet, featuring his party-pal penguin Mumble. Come dressed as your favorite animal and get ready to party symphony-style! Tickets $22–$32. 10 am, 11:30 am. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.
UNDER THE STREETLAMP
Feb 18 Under the Streetlamp, America’s hottest new vocal group, perform an electrifying evening of classic hits from the American radio songbook. Exuding the irresistible rapport of a modern day Rat Pack, the quartet deliver an evening of unforgettable entertainment featuring doo-wop, Motown, old time rock ‘n’ roll and all of your favorite songs from The Drifters, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, and a showstopping salute to their mentors, The Four Seasons. Tickets $50–$80. 8 pm. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 832.487.7041. worthamcenter.org
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS
Feb 21–Mar 2 An American in Paris is the new Tony Award-winning musical about an American soldier, a mysterious French girl and an indomitable European city, each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war. Tickets start at $30. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.558.2600. tuts.com
JESUS HOPPED THE ‘A’ TRAIN
Feb 23–Mar 18 Angel Cruz is awaiting trial for shooting the leader of a cult in the “ass.” After the cult leader dies on the operating table, and the charge against Angel changes to murder, Angel is transferred to a special 23-hour lockdown wing of protective custody, where his only source of human contact is Lucius Jenkins—a sociopathic serial killer awaiting extradition. Tickets $25 (suggested donation). 8 pm. Landing Theatre @ the Docks, 1119 Providence. 562.502.7469. landingtheatre.org
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
Feb 17–Mar 19 Supernatural thriller, Let the Right One In, is a brutal and tender vampire myth told through the turbulence of a coming-of-age romance. Oskar, a lonely boy from a broken home, is bullied at school and longing for friendship. Eli, the young girl who moves in next door, doesn’t attend school and rarely leaves home. When a series of mysterious killings plagues the neighborhood, these two young misfits, sensing in each other a kindred spirit, forge a deep connection. But the shocking truth about one of them tests their young friendship—and love—beyond all imaginable limits. Tickets $48–$73. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org photo by Manuel Harlan
PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION
Feb 23–26 The Houston Symphony celebrates John Adams’ 70th birthday with a performance of his Saxophone Concerto from the virtuoso who inspired it, native Houstonian, Timothy McAllister. Former Music Director Hans Graf also conducts Ravel’s classic orchestration of Mussorgsky’s colorful and wildly imaginative Pictures at an Exhibition. Tickets $25–$136. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS
photo by Matthew Murphy
FESTIVALS & SPECIAL EVENTS photo by Richard Carson
54TH ANNUAL CANDLELIGHT TOUR
Celebrate with an international holiday festival and brunch highlighting art, music, traditions and customs from around the globe. Entertain the family with holiday crafts, cookie decorating, cultural performances and live music. This year, you can take also take classes with Mrs. Claus and her elves to learn her secrets on keeping Santa so jolly! Bring a toy to donate towards the Houston Fire Department’s (HFD) Operation Stocking Stuffer and snap a photo with Santa. Free. 9 am–2 pm. Phoenicia Specialty Foods Downtown, 1001 Austin. 832.360.2222.
with historic characters and 19th century crafters, participate in children’s activities in Santa’s Workshop, and hear stories of Houston’s past residents, cultures and communities. The Art Market will include vendors and local artists for that special gift. Musical and interactive entertainment will be spread throughout the park, allowing guests to stroll at their leisure. Candlelight Café will have a variety of items for children and adults from Phoenicia Specialty Foods. Tickets $5–10. 1100 Bagby Street. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org
Dec 3 Go global and give back this holiday season!
Dec 3 Bring your pets, family and friends to The Lawn at GreenStreet for pet photos with Santa, live music, a pet pop-up shop and adorable puppies for adoption with Pup Squad Animal Rescue. Free. Noon–3 pm. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin. greenstreetdowntown.com
Dec 8 Join the Mitchell Center in collaboration with
MAYOR’S HOLIDAY CELEBRATION
CITY HALL FARMERS MARKET
Through Dec 14 It’s a food-lovers delight at Urban Harvest’s City Hall Farmers Market. The public can enjoy a variety of locally prepared, ready-to-eat 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. 11:30 am–1:30 pm. Hermann Square, 901 Bagby. 713.880.5540. urbanharvest.org
MAYOR’S HOLIDAY AND TREE LIGHTING CELEBRATION PRESENTED BY RELIANT
Buffalo Bayou Partnership, for an interactive holiday event, Unsilent Night. Taking the form of a street promenade, participants download one of four tracks of music created by New York composer Phil Kline onto their smart phone. When participants play their different parts simultaneously, listen to the special sound of the piece. 6–9 pm. Free. The Water Works at Buffalo Bayou Park, 105 Sabine St. 713.752.0314.
8TH ANNUAL GINGERBREAD BUILD-OFF
Dec 10 Architecture Center Houston will host the 8th Annual Gingerbread Build-Off at City Hall’s Hermann Square. Over 30 competing teams will create their masterpieces using 100 percent edible materials. More than 3,000 spectators are expected to attend and cheer on the teams, play in the kids’ construction zone, and see Santa! All of that entertainment is free and open to the public! Free event. 10 am–4:30 pm. Hermann Square, 900 Smith. 713.520.0155. aiahouston.org
Dec 10–11 Guests will tour decorated homes, interact
TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA
Dec 23 The famous rock orchestra known for its elaborate concerts and pyrotechnics returns to Houston just in time for the holidays! The group includes an orchestral string section, full rock band, multiple vocalists, a narrator, extensive pyrotechnics, a stunning laser and light show and snowfall! Tickets $34–$74. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk.
NEW YEAR’S EVE GLOBAL DANCE PARTY AT MKT BAR
Dec 31 Embark on a culinary and musical adventure
at MKT BAR’s NYE Global Dance Party with a mix of festive and upbeat grooves from around the world that will spark your travel desires in 2017. Delight your senses with international musical genres paired with its cultural cuisine, topped off with guilty pleasures at midnight to keep you satisfied and dancing all night. Tickets $45 presale; $55 at the door. VIP Packages with table reservations, bottle service and party favors $100 and up. 9 pm–2 am. MKT BAR, 1001 Austin St. 832.360.2222. nyemktbar.eventbrite.com
NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY AT HYATT REGENCY
Dec 31 Houston’s longest-running New Year’s Eve
party boasts a 50,000 balloon drop from the hotel’s 33-story atrium, two live bands, a DJ and fabulous room packages. 713.654.1234. nyehouston.hyatt.com
Dec 2 Ring in the season with the 97th Annual Mayor’s Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting presented by Reliant. This spectacular event is a holiday tradition of music, Santa, fireworks and family fun, leaving behind a towering holiday tree, glowing with lights, shimmering ornaments and a stunning star topper to light up the streets of Downtown Houston this holiday season! Free. 6 pm. City Hall, 901 Bagby. houstontx.gov
Dec 2 You may remember Brian Regan from his scene-stealing cameo in Chris Rock’s film Top Five, or Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Don’t miss this hilarious comedian when he graces the stage at Revention Music Center on December 2. Tickets $45–$55. 8 pm. Revention Music Center, 520 Texas. 800.745.3000. reventionmusiccenter.com
photo by David Brown
CHEVRON HOUSTON MARATHON
SPEAKER SERIES SHARKEY’S NEW YEAR’S EVE
Dec 31 Celebrate the New Year with Sharkey and the rest of his underwater friends, complete with a buffet, balloon drop, contests and giveaways for the kids! Reservations required. Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby. downtownaquarium.com
2017 CHEVRON HOUSTON MARATHON & ARAMCO HALF MARATHON Jan 15 With more than 250,000 participants,
volunteers, and spectators, the Chevron Houston Marathon Race Day is the largest single-day sporting event in Houston. Watch the excitement at Discovery Green, where the races begin and end, or stake out a place along the route to cheer on the participants. Please note that with all the development and construction underway in Houston, the route may be different from previous years.
INPRINT PRESENTS ANNIE PROULX READING
AUTHORS IN ARCHITECTURE —THE EIGHTH WONDER OF THE WORLD: THE LIFE OF HOUSTON’S ICONIC ASTRODOME
Jan 23 Annie Proulx, Pulitzer Prize and National Book
Astrodome, nicknamed the Eighth Wonder of the World, captured the attention of an entire nation, bringing pride to the city and enhancing its reputation nationwide. It was a Texas-sized vision of the future, an unthinkable feat of engineering with premium luxury suites, theater-style seating, and the first animated scoreboard. The book, The Eighth Wonder of the World, tears back the facade and details the Astrodome’s role in transforming Houston as a city while also chronicling the building’s pivotal 50 years in existence and the ongoing debate about its preservation. Free. 5:30 pm. Architecture Center Houston, 315 Capitol, Suite 120. 713.520.0155. aiahouston.org
HOUSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY QUARTERLY AUTHOR SERIES PRESENTS: TERRY MCMILLAN AT THE ALLEY THEATRE
Dec 8 When it opened in 1965, the Houston
Award-winning author of The Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain, will read from her latest novel Barkskins as part of the 2016–2017 Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series, followed by an on-stage interview, book sale and signing. Tickets $5. 7:30 pm. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.521.2026. inprinthouston.org
Feb 6 New York Times bestselling author of Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Terry McMillan, discusses her latest book, I Almost Forgot About You. Free. 7 pm. Alley Theater, 615 Texas.
SAINT ARNOLD ONE POT SHOWDOWN
SUPER BOWL LI
Jan 27–Feb 5 Houston is center stage for the country’s biggest sporting event. Downtown is going to erupt with fun: from the ultimate fan fest to live music to Houston-centric activities, you will not want to miss the excitement. housuperbowl.com
SAINT ARNOLD ONE POT SHOWDOWN
Jan 29 Back for a 9th year, Saint Arnold Brewing
Company’s annual anything goes cook-off will pit amateur chefs against each other in an effort to create the best beer infused dish. Tickets go fast, so visit their website in early January. saintarnold.com
EXHIBITS & VISUAL ARTS YOU ARE HERE: MAPS OF TEXAS
CONCERTS BAYOU CITY BLITZ
Through Jan 7 Maps tell us many interesting stories
Jan 18–Apr 29 Houston is a city that thrives on football.
about the past. The Heritage Society will exhibit a selection of maps such as the 1869 W.E. Wood Map of Houston, along with maps of Texas on loan from private collectors and institutions. Free. Weekdays, 10 am–4 pm. The Heritage Society, 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org
A sold-out NRG Stadium and a lengthy waiting list for Texans season tickets are only the latest manifestations of a gridiron fixation that dates back more than a century. From the NFL to colleges, high schools and pick-up games in the park, Houstonians love the pigskin like few other cities in America. Visitors to the exhibit will explore Houston’s football past through iconic photographs and video, vintage equipment, trophies, uniforms, programs and other memorabilia. Free. Weekdays, 10 am–4 pm. The Heritage Society, 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912.
PRINTS AND PLATES
Through Jan 12 Arts Brookfield presents Prints and Plates, A Selection of Matrices, a collaboration with Flatbed Press and artists in an exhibition of prints and the plates in which they were made. Free. Weekdays, 8 am–6 pm. 1600 Smith (concourse level). 713.336.2280.
artsbrookfield.com PRINTS AND PLATES
ON MY JOURNEY NOW— THE LEGACY OF JOHN BIGGERS
GEOMETRY AND MOVEMENT—THE LANGUAGE OF COLOR IN MOTION
Jan 24–Apr 19 Arts Brookfield presents Geometry of Movement—The Language of Color in Motion, a vibrant collection of works by Marta Chilindron and Graciela Hasper. Free. Weekdays, 8 am–6 pm. Total Plaza (Lobby), 1201 Louisiana. 713.336.2280.
Jan 11–Apr 6 Arts Brookfield presents On My Journey
Through March Art Blocks is a yearlong public art
Now—The Legacy of John Biggers, an important exhibition of selected early works by John Biggers, founder of the Art Department at Texas Southern University, accompanied by works of his accomplished and respected students. Free. Weekdays, 8 am–6 pm. Two Allen Center (Lobby), 1200 Smith. 713.336.2280.
project where colorful and compelling public art infuses the three-block promenade of Main Street Square Downtown. Explore and interact with four installations—Main Street Marquee, Color Jam Houston, Trumpet Flower and más que la cara (more than the face). Main Street Square, between Walker and Dallas. artblockshouston.org
REVENTION MUSIC CENTER
Dec 1 Partynextdoor Dec 9 SoMo Dec 13 Young Thug Dec 16 Flosstradamus
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
HOUSE OF BLUES
Dec 7 Audra Day Dec 8 Los Lonely Boys Dec 11 Children of Bodom Dec 14 Kelsea Ballerini Dec 15 Band of Horses Dec 16 Jim James Dec 18 Turnpike Troubadours Dec 23 Appetite for Destruction Dec 29 Toadies Jan 6 Brothers Osborne Jan 11 Locash – The Fighters Jan 12 Lukas Graham Jan 19 Iliza Shlesinger Jan 21 Kane Brown 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.
Dec 3 Maxwell & Mary J. Blige Dec 11 Andrea Bocelli Dec 15 MercyMe Jan 7 Red Hot Chili Peppers Toyota Center’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.4HOUTIX.
BAND OF HORSES
Market Square Park
BUFFALO BAYOU CHRISTMAS CRUISES
EXPOS Dec 1–3 The 60th Annual Houston Money Show Dec 10–11 High Caliber Gun & Knife Show Jan 7–8 Bridal Extravaganza 2017 Jan 14–15 2017 Chevron Houston Marathon Expo Feb 25–26 Premier Gun Show
DESIGNCRAFT HOLIDAY MARKET
DON’T MISS DESIGNCRAFT HOLIDAY MARKET
Dec 3 DesignCraft is AIGA Houston’s 7th Annual
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
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
Holiday Market featuring the work of local artists, crafters, creatives and more. Find the perfect gifts and enjoy demonstrations by local artisans, live music and local food trucks. 10 am–5 pm.
Dec 10 Nine intertwined stories examine the
complexities of the one emotion that connects us all: love. (R) 2003, 135 min. 7 pm.
Dec 4, Jan 1, Feb 5 Bayou Bikers meet at Market
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.
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.
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.
BUFFALO BAYOU CHRISTMAS CRUISES
Dec 3, 9–10, 17 Celebrate the holiday season with 30-minute pontoon boat rides along Buffalo Bayou served up with plenty of decorations, music and cheer! $7 adults and $5 children (4–12). Cash only. 5–7:30 pm. Allen’s Landing, 1005 Commerce. 713.752.0314.
TOWERS & TREES DOWNTOWN WALKING TOUR
Dec 10, Feb 25 Towers and Trees explores the magnificent architecture between Hermann Square and Discovery Green as well as the changing dynamics of Downtown. We’ll look at the partially realized civic center plan surrounding Hermann Square, the historic backbone of Main Street, the ambitious 1970 proposal that would become Houston Center, the internationally recognized icons from the skyscraper boom of the ‘70s and ‘80s, and Discovery Green, the newest catalyst for Downtown development in Houston. Tickets $10 10 am. Hermann Square, 900 Smith. 713.520.0155.
HOLIDAY MOVIE NIGHT: LOVE ACTUALLY
RECREATION BAYOU BIKERS
Dec 30, Jan 27, Feb 24 Critical Mass is an informal 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.
ROCK BUILDING STONES: DOWNTOWN GEOLOGY & MATERIALS TOUR
Dec 17 This architectural and geological walking tour of Downtown goes beyond the typical architectural focus to include the provenance and geology of the buildings’ materials. These sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks have come from all over the world and now call Houston home. The tour is inspired by similar walks in Europe and adapted from the Houston Geological Society’s 1995 tour, Houston Building Stones. Tickets $10. 10 am. Meet on the southeast corner of Austin and McKinney.713.520.0155. aiahouston.org
BUFFALO BAYOU: FROM MASTODONS TO MARATHONS WALKING TOUR
Dec 17, Jan 14, Feb 18 Enjoy a free, one-hour walking tour presented by Buffalo Bayou Partnership and Katy Prairie Conservancy. Led by Texas Master Naturalists, the discussion highlights 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. 10:30 am. The Water Works at Buffalo Bayou Park, 105 Sabine. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org
BUFFALO BAYOU WALKING TOUR
Dec 31 Explore the city from a vantage point most people don’t see: the waterway that gave Houston life and has been its backbone for 175 years. Architecture Center Houston (ArCH), with the cooperation of Buffalo Bayou Partnership, invite you to a stroll along Buffalo Bayou Parkway for an overview of Downtown Houston’s history and architecture from its beginnings in 1836 to the efforts to revitalize the central city today. The tour showcases the innovative bayou reclamation efforts of the City of Houston, Harris County, and Buffalo Bayou Partnership, while topically discussing history and preservation, contemporary architecture, the bayou, and adjacent parkland. Tickets $10 10 am. Northeast corner of Market Square Park, 301 Milam. 713.520.0155. aiahouston.org
Feb 14 Hop aboard Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s Spirit of the Bayou pontoon tour boat for a cozy cruise with your Valentine. Bubbly beverages and chocolate bites will be provided during a romantic evening boat ride with spectacular views of Downtown Houston. Reservations required. 5:30 pm and 7 pm. $40 per person. Sabine Promenade, 150 Sabine. 713.752.0314.
DISCOVER HOUSTON TOURS Choose from ghost tours, tunnel walks, rail tours, architectural tours and more. 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 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. heritagesociety.org
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 $10, 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 WWE SMACKDOWN LIVE
Dec 6 WWE Smackdown returns to Houston with WWE Champion Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles, Intercontinental Champion The Miz with Maryse, and Bray Wyatt. Plus, Becky Lynch, Natalya and many more. $20–$105. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 866.446.8849.
NCAA COLLEGE CUP FINALS
Dec 9, 11 Enjoy a night of fierce competition as the top teams in NCAA Division 1 Men’s Soccer go head-to-head in the semi finals and then in the championship game. Tickets $23–$47. BBVA Compass Stadium, 2200 Texas. 713.276.GOAL. bbvacompassstadium.com
LONE STAR SHOOTOUT
Dec 17 College basketball fans in Houston will be treated to a holiday feast when Texas A&M battles Arizona and Texas plays Arkansas in a nationally televised doubleheader. $20–$400. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 866.446.8849. houstontoyotacenter.com
ASTROS FAN FEST
Jan 21 Fans of all ages can enjoy autograph sessions, fan forums, kids activities and a vendor expo. Free. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. 877.927.8767. astros.com
Dec 5 Rockets vs. Boston Celtics Dec 7 Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Dec 10 Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks Dec 12 Rockets vs. Brooklyn Nets Dec 14 Rockets vs. Sacramento Kings Dec 16 Rockets vs. New Orleans Pelicans Dec 20 Rockets vs. San Antonio Spurs Dec 26 Rockets vs. Phoenix Suns Dec 30 Rockets vs. Los Angeles Clippers Dec 31 Rockets vs. New York Knicks Jan 2 Rockets vs. Washington Wizards Jan 5 Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Jan 10 Rockets vs. Charlotte Hornets Jan 13 Rockets vs. Memphis Grizzlies Jan 18 Rockets vs. Milwaukee Bucks Jan 20 Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors Jan 31 Rockets vs. Sacramento Kings Feb 2 Rockets vs. Atlanta Hawks Feb 3 Rockets vs. Chicago Bulls Feb 7 Rockets vs. Orlando Magic Feb 11 Rockets vs. Phoenix Suns Feb 15 Rockets vs. Miami Heat Feb 25 Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Feb 27 Rockets vs. Indiana Pacers For schedule info and tickets, call or visit website. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.758. 7200. rockets.com
EDITED BY NICOLE M ARIN
THE GUIDE TO EATING DOWNTOWN
Guadalajara Del Centro Frosty margaritas, sizzling fajitas and zesty salsa make this the perfect spot to enjoy lunch or dinner
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. $$
Ballpark Café American Enjoy the all-American cuisine and a nostalgic atmosphere for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just across the street from Minute Maid Park, Ballpark Café is a great place to have a pre/post-game meal. westin.com/Houston-Downtown. The Westin Houston Downtown, 1520 Texas, 713.228.1520. B & L Daily. $ v Barnaby’s at Market Square American A local favorite, Barnaby’s serves up oversized sandwiches, salads and burgers, putting a Southwest spin on traditional deli dishes. Colorful murals adorn the walls of the restaurant along with large windows for a perfect view of the park. barnabyscafe.com. 801 Congress, 713.226.8787. L Mon–Sat; D Fri–Sat. $ v Batanga Tapas + Drinks Latin This tapas joint whips up delicious dishes inspired from Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Chile—anywhere that sangria is served. The spacious patio is as good as it gets when it comes to outdoor dining with its festive twinkle lights, great music and stellar views of the Historic District and Market Square Park. batangahouston.com. 908 Congress, 713.224.9500. L & D Daily; BR Sat & Sun. $$
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. $$$$ v Blue by Massa Seafood This upscale and elegant restaurant offers up a fine selection of American and Seafood cuisine. Among the esteemed list of favorites, the Lobster Bisque is a standout. Superior service and a great dining atmosphere allow guests to enjoy a memorable dining experience. Blue also offers occasional live entertainment and dancing is highly encouraged! massas.com. 1160 Smith, 713.650.0837. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$
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. $$ v Cafe Express Fast Casual Need to grab a quick lunch? Cafe Express is an informal yet sophisticated choice. You can always find a variety of delicious entrees, salads and sandwiches. cafe-express.com. 650 Main, 713.237.9222. B & L Mon–Sat. $
Caffé Bene Coffee House The first Houston location from the International chain, Caffé Bene, is housed at GreenStreet with a menu that includes a variety of coffees, Belgian waffles, sandwiches, Italian gelato and other sweet treats! This cozy coffee shop is the perfect place to sit back, relax and escape the bustling downtown streets. caffebeneusa.com. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin. 713.255.2363. B, L, D daily. $
Blue Fish Sushi Japanese Not your typical Japanese
Calabash Island Eats Caribbean A unique dining
restaurant. Don’t expect small, minimal décor. Be prepared for innovative sushi in a high-energy atmosphere at Bayou Place. thebluefishsushi.com. 550 Texas, 713.225.3474. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$
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. $$
v Bombay Pizza Co. Indian Fusion Fusing the cuisines of India with pizza, innovative creations are served on a homemade, dense, thin and crispy crust. Try the saag paneer, which is topped with fresh spinach and four cheeses or the Gateway to India topped with cilantro, tandoori chicken, garlic and artichoke hearts. bombaypizzaco.com. 914 Main, 713.654.4444. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $
Bouray’s Burrito Bar Fast Food Bouray’s offers madeto-order Mexican and Vietnamese food using ingredients that are prepared fresh daily. bourays.com. 609 Clay, 713.652.5999. L Mon–Fri. $ v Bovine & Barley American Bovine & Barley is a beautifully designed urban bar and eatery with a heavy focus on beef and beer. The space has an industrial feel which is complimented by warm wood accents and huge HTX letters that hang illuminated on an exposed brick wall. Highlights from the menu include brisket tacos, meatloaf muffins on top of jalapeno mash, 1836 beer can chicken and a variety of burgers. Not to metion over 42 beers and six hand-crafted cocktails on tap! bovineandbarley.com. 416 Main, 832.742.5683. L, D & LN Daily. $$
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
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. $
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. $ v 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
plate. 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. $ 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. $
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. $$ v Einstein’s Bagels Deli Known as a great place to grab freshly-baked bagels and coffee for breakfast, they also serve up delectable lunch choices that include paninis, melts and pizza bagels. Be an office hero and use the catering service to treat your work pals. einsteinbros.com. 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4775. B, L & LN Mon–Sun. $
El Big Bad Mexican Brought to you by the El Gran Malo crew, this casual Tex-Mex restaurant brings hand-crafted tequila infusions, specialty margaritas and craft beers to the table. The gastrocantina-inspired menu is chock
full of tasty tacos with fresh toppings like pomegranate salsa, charred scallions, pumpkin seeds and more. elbigbad.com. 419 Travis, 713.229.8181. L, D & LN Mon–Fri; D & LN Sat & Sun, BR Sun. $$
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. $$
Fonda Daily Menu lunch special served every weekday
11am - 3pm appetizer entree (with sides) and a mini desert!
$12 different everyday
HAPPY HOUR MON - FRI 3pm - 7pm $5 Margaritas $7 Appetizers OOOOOOOOOOO
v Hearsay Gastro Lounge New American Located in a beautifully refurbished historic building, this upscale restaurant and lounge serves up delicious sandwiches, salads and entrees. They feature an extensive wine list, numerous beers on draft and bottle and premium liquors with a focus on Scotch whisky. hearsayhouston.com. 218 Travis, 713.225.8079. L Daily; D Mon–Sat; LN Fri–Sat. $$ 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 premium 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). $
Holiday Party in our private room! up to 80 guests *certain restrictions apply
213 Milam Street Houston, TX 77002 (713) 802 1712 WINTER 2016–17
Mon–Thu 6 am–8 pm; Fri 6 am–10 pm; Sat 10 am–10 pm; Sun 8 am–8 pm
GREENSTREET DINING OFFERS VARIETY BY HOLLY BERET TO
GreenStreet is a warren of restaurants, offices and hangout spots, providing a bounce of energy in its corner of Downtown. The food and beverage options are as diverse as the city of Houston itself, and diners can take a culinary tour of the world without ever leaving the Bayou City.
Mon–Thu 11 am–10 pm; Fri 11 am–11 pm; Sat 4–11 pm; Sun closed
Mon–Thu 11 am–10 pm; Fri 11 am–11 pm; Sat 4 pm–11 pm; Sun closed
This GreenStreet steakhouse is a clubby spot, perfect for business lunches and dinner—and after-business get togethers. Oysters from around the country grace the raw bar, multiple slider options are offered at lunch, and the 48-ounce Tomahawk Ribeye anchors a dinner menu loaded with steaks, chops and seafood. A standout is the double-cut pork chop, with a sweet and sassy peach glaze. An abundant wine list provides perfect pairings for your surf and turf. This is definitely the sort of place to settle in for a spell.
The flavors of Spain come to Houston with Andalucia, an elegant tapas bar featuring bites big and small, just ready to be shared. Paellas dot the lunch menu, with offerings of seafood and vegetables, and you’ll also find quesos, salads and empanadas. For dinner, tuck into appetizers of marinated eggplant, Serrano ham and manchego cheese, and ceviche of shrimp, scallop and tilapia. Entrees include rack of lamb, grilled shrimp and chicken tangine, the entire menu an homage to Spain’s Mediterranean geography with an occasional African vibe. Take advantage of the happy hour, where bites are under 10 bucks and there are daily drink specials. Live music began last fall, adding to Andalucia’s easy atmosphere.
This European-style coffee house lives up to its name (good coffee, in Italian) with a menu of espresso drinks, sandwiches and pastries, perfect for a morning office escape, casual lunch or endof-the-day relaxation spot before the commute home. Cappuccinos, lattes, mochas, iced drinks and a regular cup of joe are available, along with a menu including waffles and gelato, honey bread, and a waffle with banana and whipped cream that eats like a banana split. More than just a coffee shop, Caffe Bene provides an artisan touch to your daily caffeination.
Guadalajara Del Centro
Mon–Thu 11 am–10 pm; Fri–Sat 11 am–11 pm; Sun Noon–9 pm For casual and tasty Mexican, drop into this bouncy favorite where the portions are big, the margaritas are bigger and the fun may be biggest of all. Order the fajitas with the Guadalupe lime beef for a sizzling, sassy, sharable meal. The mesquitegrilled mahi mahi filet is a smoky seafood delight, and the charro combo offers a third-rack of baby back ribs, with sausage and center-cut brisket. Guadalajara has always been a great place for large groups, making it a perfect place for a workplace party. Drop in for happy hour, when special pricing on margaritas gets the party started right.
Mon–Thu 11 am–10 pm; Fri 11 am–11 pm; Sat 11 am–11 pm; Sun 11 am–9 pm
House of Blues
McCormick & Schmick
houseofblues.com/houston Lunch: Mon–Sat 11 am–4 pm; Sun Noon–4 pm; Dinner: Sun–Thu 4–10 pm; Fri–Sat 4 pm–11 pm
mccormickandschmicks.com Mon–Thu 11 am–10 pm; Fri 11 am–11 pm; Sat 4–11 pm; Sun 4–9 pm
Renowned for its live music and over-the-top gospel brunch, House of Blues is Houston’s premier address for the best in live entertainment. Groups large and small take to the stage, and the food is always excellent. During the week, the restaurant sizzles with St. Louis style ribs, steaks and burgers and sandwiches. The cocktail and specialty drink list won’t quit, with daily delights like Monday’s featured pineapple chile, Cadillac or watermelon margarita or the weekend Sweet Home Chicago Bloody Mary. Happy hour is every day from 3–7 pm, making this GreenStreet spot a rocking gathering place.
Part of the Landry’s empire, this seafood spot brings in the best from around the country, serving it with both flair and precision. Mahi mahi, salmon, Canadian oysters, Gulf redfish—you name it, if it swims, it’s on the menu. Landlubbers will enjoy the steaks, chops and chicken. A generous happy hour includes cocktails (the lemon drop is a standout, as is the mojito) and bargain bites like sliders and firecracker shrimp. An inviting ambiance, terrific service and a wine list heavy on American options to pair with your dishes help make this a go-to address.
An Italian standout with a long history in Downtown, Mia Bella is the place for posh atmosphere and elegant cuisine, all served with a welcoming vibe. The mushroom risotto croquettes are superb, as are the steamed mussels, done simply in garlic, lemon wine and a tomato butter. Don’t miss the smoked duck tortelloni, packed with savory goodness, or the Italian sausage rigatoni, a heartier option with peas, roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes. The wine list is a veritable tour of Italy, with options from around the country, and the daily happy hour provides a chance to sample antipasti for $4 off. (Ladies can have happy hour all day on Wednesdays, and everyone can indulge from 3 pm–close on Mondays)
bowlluckystrike.com/locations/houston Sun–Thu 11 am–Midnight; Fri–Sat 11–2 am Bites, bowling and booze take center stage here, where the atmosphere is hip and lush, the food outstanding and the drinks ever-flowing. Perfect for an office party, Friday night date, or even lunch in the middle of the day, Lucky Strike serves up the kind of fun that makes everyone feel like a VIP. Wings and dips dot the appetizer menu. The ahi poke is a standout on the flatbread options, but don’t miss the sausage and pepper choice. There’s an array of burgers and street tacos, and the happy hour features $6 cocktails, $5 house wines and $4 premium drafts.
Mon–Fri 11 am–8 pm
At this DIY salad place you can have a different dish every time you arrive. With a fixings bar that seems to go on for miles and everything from artichoke hearts to zucchini, it’s a terrific way to eat healthy and indulge when you get a craving. Also offered are soups and baked desserts. A small salad here will make you feel perfectly full. Order a large, and you’ll have leftovers.
photo by Stu Mullenberg
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. $$ v Jackson St. BBQ Barbecue This laid-back spot by renowned Houston chefs Bryan Caswell, Bill Floyd and Greg Gaitlin offers smoked brisket, ribs, chicken, sausage and classic southern fixins like potato salad, baked beans, collard greens and cole slaw! Conveniently located across from Minute Maid Park, stop by this Downtown favorite before or after Astros games! jacksonstbbqhouston.com. 209 Jackson St. 713.224.2400. L,D Sat–Sun.
Jason’s Deli Deli Order to please, Jason’s will make your sandwich or salad exactly how you like it. jasonsdeli.com. 901 McKinney, 713.650.1500. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches Deli All subs are served on your choice of fresh-baked French bread or thick-sliced seven-grain bread or try the low-carb lettuce wrap: all the regular sandwich ingredients without the bread. jimmyjohns.com. 820 Main, 713.222.9995. L Mon–Sat. $ v La Fisheria Coastal Mexican Located in Downtown’s Historic District, La Fisheria serves authentic Mexican seafood such as sweet shrimp tamales, perfectly prepared fish tacos and a variety of crudos and ceviches. lafisheriahouston.com. 213 Milam. 713.802.1712. L, D Daily. $$
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 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. $ NEW! La Calle Mexican Located in downtown’s Historic Market Square, this cozy little restaurant serves authentic Mexican street tacos, tortas and tostadas. Your visit isn’t complete without an Agua Fresca and a side of rice and beans! lacalletacos.com. 909 Franklin. 832.735.8226. L, D, LN, 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
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. $$ v Minuti Coffee Coffee House The coffee is created by a roast master in Italy, before making its way into the hands of talented baristas. This is the perfect place to bring the laptop and take advantage of Minuti’s free Wi-Fi. They also have beer and wine, which makes it a great pre/post theater spot. Be sure to sample some of the fresh-baked pastries and smoothies, too. minuticoffee.com. 909 Texas, 281.265.3344. B, L, D & LN Daily. $
downtown along with 10 food stations offering a wide variety of goodies: a build-your-own salad bar, madeto-order grill, pizza by-the-slice, delightful deli, global café and traditional Luby’s cafeteria line with all the classic dishes. lubysetc.com. 1301 Fannin, 13th Floor, 713.759.9954. B & L Mon–Fri. $
v MKT Bar Mediterranean Part of Phoenicia Specialty Foods, it’s the perfect place to stop when you need a chill moment. The bar offers coffee, pastries, wine, beer, gourmet pizza and other yummy nibbles for which Phoenicia is known. phoeniciafoods.com. 1001 Austin, 832.360.2222. B, L & D Daily. $
Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge American Bowlers
v The Moonshiners American The Moonshiners Southern Table + Bar offers up a rebellious respite in the bustling urban backdrop of Downtown Houston. The restaurant celebrates and elevates southern culinary traditions serving up moonshine and whiskey in mason jars alongside generous portions of southern comfort foods such as fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and pulled pork sandwiches. 1000 Prairie. 713.226.7717. L, D Mon–Fri; LN Fri & Sat. $$
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 Mango Tree Thai Bistro 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. mangotreethaibistro.com. 914 Main Street, #125, 713.659.1600. L & D Mon–Sat. $$
Morningside Thai Thai Diners can expect the same great quality and service at the Downtown location that they enjoy at the original Houston staple. Menu favorites iniclude a variety of different curry dishes like the Panang Curry and the Roasted Duck Curry. morningsidethai.com. 917 Franklin. 713.228.8424. L & D. $ v Morton’s Steakhouse This award-winning steakhouse offers an outstanding menu. The downtown location features its new bar concept, Bar 12•21, which includes an impressive wine and martini menu along with its specially priced “bar bites.” mortons.com. 1001 McKinney, 713.659.3700. L Mon–Fri; D Daily. $$$$
plate. Murphy’s Deli Deli Indulge in a variety of sandwiches and salads. Hot or cold, Murphy’s specializes in creating your sandwich any way it’s ordered. murphysdeli.com. 601 Jefferson, 713.652.4939. 1021 Main, 713.275.1912. 440 Louisiana, 713.247.9122. B & L Mon–Fri all locations. $ NEW!
Myth Kafé Mediterranean Myth Kafé is a local
family-owned Greek concept which prides itself on quality products, authentic cooking and the Mediterranean tradition of good health and hospitality. Their limited lunch menu includes Greek mainstays such as tzatziki or hummus with toasted pita, gyros, a Greek salad and herb marinated chicken! mythkafe.com. 1730 Jefferson. 832.397.6373. L, Daily. $ v Niko Niko’s Greek & American Houston icon Dimitri Fetokakis opened his cafe in 2010 at Market Square Park. Favorties such as the gyro and kebob are on the menu along with new items such as the breakfast pita. Specialty coffee drinks, beer and wine also available. nikonikos.com. Market Square Park, 301 Milam. B, L & D Daily. $ v Oxheart New American Often lauded as the #1 restaurant in Houston, Oxheart is a small informal tasting-menu concept in Downtown’s Warehouse District which gathers Texas’ best ingredients, cooked in a focused, creative way. oxhearthouston.com. 1302 Nance St. 832.830.8592. D Th–Mon. $$$$
Padthai Thai Restaurant Thai A traditional Thai restaurant located at the ground level of the loft residence Hogg Palace. The warm and cozy atmosphere offers a great setting for a dinner escape and is a local favorite. padthaithairestaurant.com. 401 Louisiana, 713.225.4900. D Daily. $ v Pappas BBQ Barbecue Voted one of Houston’s best year after year, this barbecue joint offers an excellent selection with Texas-sized portions. Traditional favorites such as brisket, ribs, sausage and ham are served with Pappas’ flare. Delivery and take-out are available. pappasbbq.com. 1217 Pierce, 713.659.1245. L & D Daily. 1100 Smith, 713.759.0018. L & D Mon–Fri. $ v Pappas Bros. Steakhouse Steakhouse Pappas Bros. Steakhouse puts immeasurable care into everything they do, all to provide their guests with a dining experience like no other. They buy the highest-quality ingredients, use a timeless recipe, and cook it flawlessly each and every time. pappasbros.com. 1200 McKinney. 713.658.1995 D Mon–Sat. v Pappasito’s Cantina Tex-Mex One of Houston’s most popular casual Tex-Mex restaurants, Pappasito’s specializes in sizzling fajitas, creamy queso and tortillas that almost melt in your mouth! The Downtown location offers six unique ceviches and crudos that can’t be found at any of the other restaurants. pappasitos.com. Hilton Americas-Houston, 1600 Lamar St, 713.353.4400. L & D Daily. $$ 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. $$$ v Quattro Contemporary Italian Vivid colors, creative lighting and a unique design create a sophisticated and inviting ambience for guests. Located in the Four Seasons Hotel, Quattro is one of downtown’s best restaurants. Four Seasons Hotel, 1300 Lamar, 713.652.6250. B, L & D Daily. $$$
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, Doozo’s Dumplings & Noodles, Freshii, Fusion Grillerz, Great American Cookie, Great Wraps, Luisa’s Pasta, Murphy’s Deli, Otto’s Barbecue & Hamburgers, Pho Huy Vietnamese Noodle House, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Pretzel Time, Quizno’s Subs, Salata, 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. $
Shula’s Steakhouse Dark wood, sports memorabilia 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. $$$
Skyline Deli Deli With their freshly baked bread, Skyline makes a great deli sandwich. 717 Texas, 713.571.0509. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Sol Cafe Mejicano Mexican A family-owned cafe offering traditional Tex-Mex breakfast and lunch dishes made from fresh ingredients. 1205 Travis, 713.651.0049. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Spaghetti Warehouse Italian Making its home in an old warehouse, this Italian-American eatery offers up large portions for lunch and dinner. Traditional menu items such as spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna and pizza allow the Spaghetti Warehouse to cater to all ages and appetites. meatballs.com. 901 Commerce, 713.229.0009. L & D Daily. $$ v 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. $$$
Springbok South African Springbok features a contemporary take on classic South African dishes such as local game, house-made sausages, burgers and curries. Enjoy an amazing selection of local and international beer and cocktails while watching rugby and other national and international sporting competitions. thespringbok.com. 711 Main, 818.201.6979. L, D & LN Daily. $$
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. $$ v III Forks American Upscale, warm atmosphere and impeccable service sets the stage for this sophisticated steakhouse. New York strip and filet mignon, bone-in ribeye, porterhouse, young rack of lamb and veal chop are served with duchess potatoes, off-the-cob cream Oand perfectly cooked vegetables. Seafood items corn, include Chilean sea bass, Ahi tuna, salmon, halibut, scallops and lobster tails, which are flown in daily. iiiforks.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, Level 1, 713.658.9457. L Tue–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$$$
WINTER 2016–17 Toasters Café American Toasters is a quaint little café in downtown’s Warehouse District which serves up classic favorites in a modern setting. Try their fresh baked pastries and French toast for breakfast, or enjoy a salad and a wide variety of sandwiches for lunch. toastershouston.com. 1004 N. San Jacinto, 713.261.1562. B, L Mon–Fri. $ v Treebeards Southern A downtown institution for more than 30 years, Treebeards offers tasty Cajun dishes that are sure to satisfy. Favorite menu items include the chicken and shrimp gumbo, red beans and rice and étouffée. For dessert, try the famous butter bar. treebeards.com. 315 Travis, 713.228.2622. Cloisters at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas, 713.229.8248. L Mon–Fri. $
Trofi Restaurant Continental Trofi’s menu is described as Continental with a Mediterranean and Latin flair and the ambience is simple, yet sophisticated. Lunch buffets are available Monday through Friday. 400 Dallas, Doubletree Hotel, 713.759.0202. B, L & D Daily. $$
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/postgame 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 down-home favorites. 632 Polk, 713.652.0123. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Your Pie Italian Your Pie is a “down-the-line” pizza concept
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
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
Barringer Bar | 108 Main
The Commoner | 410 Main, Downstairs
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
Boots ‘n Shoots | 506 Main This Texas-themed bar conveniently located right off the METRORail, features a wide variety of whiskey. If you’re feeling adventurous, try out the super fun largerthan-life PLINKO board which decides your fate when the time comes to take a shot! Wed–Sat 4 pm–2 am. bootsnshootshouston.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
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.
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 bar menu includes 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. $
Looking for a spot to go after a long day or for a fun night out with friends? Check out some of our favorites.
The Boulevardier | 410 Main, Downstairs
Zero’s Sandwich Shop Deli A great little spot for a freshly made deli sandwich. zerossandwichshop.com.
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 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
806 Lounge | 806 Main 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
LIKE US AT FACEBOOK.COM/VISITDOWNTOWNHOUSTON 1820 Bar | 1820 Franklin This cozy little bar is located just one block north of Minute Maid Park. It’s the perfect place for a pre-game drink or a strong night cap during the week. Eighteen Twenty Lounge shares a door with Joystix Classic Games which is open on the first and last Friday of every month where $15 gets you all night access to practice your Pac-Man skills. Daily 4 pm–2 am. 1820lounge.com
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
sip. The Honeymoon Cafe+Bar | 300 Main
Lone Star Saloon | 1900 Travis
The Pastry War | 310 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
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.
Houston Watch Company | 913 Franklin
MKT Bar | 1001 Austin
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
Houston Watch Company is located in the lobby of the Bayou Lofts at 913 Franklin and gets its name from the former timepiece company that occupied the space over 100 years ago. From its name to its drinks, Houston Watch Company is the essence of old-school. We suggest trying one of their 4 different versions of an old fashioned or the strawberry shrub cocktail made with fresh fruit! Mon–Sat 4pm–2 am, Sun 4pm–midnight. houstonwatchcompany.com
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
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 place to pre-game before cheering on the home team or to celebrate after a big victory! htxfantavern.com
La Carafe | 813 Congress
Public Services Wine & Whiskey | 202 Travis
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 secondfloor balcony provides excellent views of Main Street and Downtown. Daily 11 am–2 am. mollyspubs.com
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
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 hand- crafted 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
Last Concert Café | 403 Nance
The Nightingale Room | 308 Main
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
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
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
Lilly & Bloom | 110 Main St. Located in the historically chic Raphael Building, this beautiful two-story lounge is known for its specialty cocktails and guest bartenders every Tuesday night. Prepare to be amazed! Daily 4 pm–2 am. lillyandbloom.com
Little Dipper | 304 Main This spot is a cool, blue neighborhood bar with pinball machines, cheap bourbon and a bad-ass jukebox. Daily 4 pm–2 am. twitter.com/LittleDipperBar
LIVE Sports Bar & Grill | 407 Main 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 ever-evolving selection of beer on tap. Daily 11 am–2 am. livesportsbarhouston.com
Two dueling pianos and a sing-along, clap-along, drinkalong, have-one-helluva-good-time-along bar! Wed–Sat 7 pm–2 am, showtime @ 8 pm. petesduelingpianobar.com
Molly’s Pub | 509 Main
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.
Lawless Spirits & Kitchen | 909 Texas
Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar | 1201 Fannin at GreenStreet
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
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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UP ALL NIGHT with no end
YOUR ADVENTURE BEGINS DOWNTOWN. From happy hour with friends to local live music, downtown is the place to be. And with a bold and ever-expanding bar scene, there are countless ways to kick back and have a good time. THE NIGHTINGALE ROOM