downtown }art in the cit y: jim petersen welcomes window into houston connecting you to the center of houston
downtown explodes with new foodie + entertainment venues
Q Datebook Bugs Bunny
the Theater District Heats Up this summer with dazzling performances and their annual Open House
11 0 2 . 16 t es ver! p f r an e e m r th m e sus bigg it
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Jerry Seinfeld Fireworks Rolling Road Shows
downtown houston summer 2011
volume 3 number 4
Inside 16 Musical buzz
Downtown is buzzing with all kinds of development – and we couldn’t be happier.
5 must list
Snappy hats, fusion food and the perfect summer read fill out this issue’s list of have-to-haves!
6 NEWS + NOTES
University of Houston-Downtown gets closer to an MBA program; Fast Company Magazine gives Houston a prestigious nod; downtown says goodbye to blight and hello to historic renovation.
7 hot companies
Waste Management may have made its name with trash collection, but the downtown corporation now does everything from recycling to developing renewable energy technologies. by barbara linkin mendel
11 ARTS + CULTURE
2 publishers’ note
The Free Press Houston Summer Fest has defied the odds to become one of downtown’s hottest summer events. With its ever-expanding roster of local, regional and national bands, the festival is starting to draw attention outside of Houston. by david a. cobb
20 Taking it to the street
Downtown resident Jim Petersen wants art to be accessible to everyone. So he’s partnering with the Blaffer Museum at the University of Houston to make art part of the landscape of his little corner of downtown. by barbara linkin mendel
24 Bucking trends
It’s within the nature of a city to evolve, and downtown has seen plenty of change over the years. Happily, recent developments are bringing the city a great variety of entertainment and foodie options – including the much-anticipated Sundance Cinemas, Phoenicia Specialty Foods and a hot new jazz club at Houston Pavilions. by holly beretto, sandra cook and phil hudson
Rock ‘n’ roll, musical blockbusters and a family-friendly open house set the stage for a fun-filled summer in the Theater District. by HEATHER PRAY
Theater, concerts, tours, festivals, special events and much more.
Check out The Shops at Houston Center, where their updated food court has enough variety for even the pickiest eater in your office or family. And find the perfect spot to chill with “sip.”
48 destination downtown map Questions or comments? Drop us a line at email@example.com
Managing Editor/Creative Director Angie Bertinot, Downtown District Copy Editor Barbara Linkin Mendel, Mendel Creative Solutions Design ph Design Shop Photography Katya Horner, Slight Clutter Photography
Contributing Writers Holly Beretto, David A. Cobb, Sandra Cook, Lauren Covington, Phil Hudson, Barbara Linkin Mendel, Heather Pray Advertising Information Angie Bertinot, 713.650.3022/ firstname.lastname@example.org
houston cat club 59th annual charity cat show hits the george r. brown
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.
Blockbuster summer New restaurants, loft apartments, markets, gathering spaces, pubs and parks are slowly but definitely turning our urban center into an urban neighborhood. It’s an evolutionary process. And it’s brought with it plenty of endings – like the unexpected closure last summer of the Angelika Film Center. Luckily for us, this summer brings lots more beginnings. From the much-anticipated opening of Phoenicia Specialty Foods at One Park Place to the buzz over the coming arrival of Sundance Cinemas at Bayou Place and the new jazz club at Houston Pavilions there is plenty for us to be excited about. It’s a busy time for downtown and you can read all about it on page 24. We’re also introducing you to someone who dedicates much of his life to downtown and its cultural amenities. Jim Petersen has worked behind the scenes on everything from historic renovation to the creation of the Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark. Now he has turned his attention to the downtown art scene, and in partnership with the Blaffer Museum at the University of Houston, he is doing his part to make art accessible to the average downtown pedestrian. Interested? Find out more on page 20. And learn a little bit about Waste Management and their commitment not only to downtown, but to new green technologies on page 7 . Be sure you check out our extensive calendar listings, where you’ll find something you can do almost any night of the week. And don’t forget Plate when you’re looking for the trendiest new bistro or a pub where you can chill after a hard day’s work. Just keep this issue handy for whatever leisure activity you might be planning. Or check us out online at downtownhouston.org. And keep sending your comments and suggestions our way.
there is plenty for us to be excited about.
Houston Downtown Alliance
ON THE COVER Phoenicia's tangy teas, fresh-baked artisan breads, award-winning European pastries, boutique wines and beers, tasty prepared foods and all the grocery essentials will be coming soon to downtown at One Park Place.
your way around Downtown
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Today. Tomorrow. next Friday. Itâ€™s never too late - or early - to make a plan. Our calendar is just the tool for the job.
Explore DOWNTOWN. Use the Guide section to discover everything from food and entertainment to parks, education, fitness, shopping and more.
We love settling in with a great book, and summer is the perfect time to lose yourself in another world. But if you’ve got a hankering for non-fiction, you should pick up Onward, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz’s fascinating story of how he returned to his company in 2008 and turned it around despite an otherwise crumbling economy. Looking for something a little lighter? Steven Tyler’s memoir, Does the Noise in My Head Bother You, is a must-read for rock ‘n’ roll fans everywhere. Pick up either one or browse the best sellers at Books-A-Million over at Houston Pavilions. booksamillion.com
BCBGMAXAZRIA creates an effortless summer look with their stylish straw fedora. Available in both black and white, this classic piece screams chill with its flattering shape and contrast grosgrain ribbon trim. Perfect for sipping martinis on the deck at The Grove or grooving to live music at Market Square Park. Pick it up and complete your look with one of their lightweight summer scarves and a pair of strappy sandals. Perfection! bcbg.com
M U S T
When Bombay Pizza Co. opened at the corner of Main and Walker more than a year ago, they raised quite a few eyebrows with their concept – a fusion of Italian and Indian cuisines. But owner Viral Patel is having the last laugh as critics and customers alike rave about the causal eatery’s unique concoctions. The Saag Paneer pizza, with its collard greens, spinach, paneer, fontena, goat cheese and mozzarella, is a favorite menu item, as is the Slumdog, a crazy jumble of meats, onions, jalapeños and their Bombay Pizza Sauce. Word has spread about the tasty pies. Even Foodography's Mo Rocca stopped by to eat on a recent swing through the Bayou City. bombaypizzaco.com
Every summer the Alley Theatre provides the perfect distraction from the heat with their ExxonMobil Summer Chills series. This year, they’re bringing Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None to the Hubbard Stage. This classic whodunit is a great way to introduce live theater to first timers. You’ll be baffled as 10 houseguests invited to gather on a secluded island begin to disappear one by one. Just who is the murderous culprit? And who’s been stealing the carved Soldier Island figurines from the mantle. Find out starting June 29 through July 31. alleytheatre.org
HISTORIC makeover The Wilson Building at 500 Fannin will be getting new life, now that a private partnership has purchased the historic downtown structure at the corner of Fannin and Prairie. The 1932 building originally housed the Wilson Stationery & Printing Co. and was most recently owned by Hilcorp Realty. The new owners plan an extensive restoration of the four-story building, which also has a basement, and to rent it out to commercial tenants. The developer will have the help of a recently approved historic preservation grant of $888,000 from the Downtown Redevelopment Authority. The building has approximately 30,000 square feet of space. Construction is expected to begin later this year.
The University of Houston-Downtown is one step closer to offering an MBA after its Board of Regents approved a new degree program earlier this spring. "This has been a dream for the College of Business and the University for many years," said UHD President Bill Flores. "Our proposal would increase the number of area students who pursue an MBA and would help the UH System meet Houston's need for professionals with graduate degrees in business." UHD has designed the new degree program, which still needs approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, to help full-time working professionals attend school part-time and achieve their MBA in two years. It also will help the city meet the Greater Houston Partnership’s goal of creating an additional 600,000 jobs in the next 10 years. UHD's College of Business Dean Don Bates says students and alumni have been asking for this degree for some time, and they project enrolling about 90 students the first year.
THANKS FAST COMPANY Sure, we know Houston rocks, but let’s admit it, it’s nice when someone else notices, too. Fast Company Magazine recently gave Houston the nod as its Fast City of the Year. Editors cited the city’s welcoming attitude, can-do spirit, healthy economy, ethnic diversity and robust cultural scene. According to the magazine, “You’ll find plenty in diverse, surprisingly creative Houston, which urban theorist Joel Kotkin tips as ‘one of the world’s next great cities.’ ” We couldn’t agree more.
After more than two decades, downtown can bid adieu to a bit of urban blight. Brookfield Office Properties has bought the 28-story, long-vacant former Sheraton-Lincoln Hotel at 711 Polk. The building has been empty for the last 24 years. Brookfield owns the 35-story office building directly to the northeast at 1201 Louisiana and tenants have had close-up views of the decaying structure. The company has no plans for further development of the site once the building is demolished.
Bye bye blight
Rubbish to renewable energy... a company evolves
By Barbara Linkin Mendel
Mention Waste Management and many likely think of the ubiquitous green and gold trucks that rumble through Houston’s neighborhood picking up their weekly trash. But the downtown corporation is is much more than that. Waste Management is the leading provider of comprehensive waste management services in North America. Through their subsidiaries they provide waste collection, waste transfer, recycling and resource recovery. With approximately 45,000 employees across North America, they are a significant presence not just here but across the country. And for well over a decade, they have made downtown Houston their home, with offices in First City Tower and One City Centre. Waste Management’s Houston history began in 1998 when the Chicago company merged with Houston-based USA Waste and agreed to move their new headquarters here.
Everett Bass, vice president of public sector services and community relations, says the decision made sense then and continues to make sense now when you consider Houston’s economic strengh and the number of Fortune 500 companies who have made downtown their home. “There’s lots and lots of reasons for us to be in the center of the fourth-largest city in the country,” he says. Bass, who also serves on the board of the
Waste Management's recent environmental awards: Blogger’s Choice award in the environmental category for Mashable.com’s 2nd Annual Open Web Awards; 2009 Corporate Environmental Pioneer, New York League of Conservation Voters; Environmental Partnership award; 2009 Clean Air Circle Honoree; Environmental Responsibility Award, Industrial Environmental Association
»»»» WM at a glance
Headquarters: First City Tower and One City Centre employees worldwide: 45,000 employees in houston: 1,200 CEO: David P. Steiner other locations: 47 states, Washington D.C., Canada and Puerto Rico Business: Comprehensive waste management services, serving more than 20 million residential, industrial, municipal and commercial customers. Waste Management posted $12.52 billion in revenue in 2010. website: wm.com
Photos courtesy of waste management
right: Waste management is implementing a solar powered trash compactor pilot program outside their First City tower headquarters. below: A recycling sort line at one of their single-stream facilities.
A landfill gas-to-liquid natural gas facility. Houston Downtown Management District, says being downtown allows the approximately 1,200 employees at their corporate headquarters to take advantage of the city’s very best in dining, entertainment, sports and more. He himself enjoys being in the heart of the city. “For me, I basically walk to get something to eat every day,” he says. “I don’t need to get in my car. I can walk to the baseball games. I walk to the basketball games. It’s just so convenient when you work downtown.” Waste Management’s commitment to their hometown is significant, and Houstonians have likely seen their corporate logo on a variety of events, including the Thanksgiving Superfeast and the Chevron Houston Marathon. They are also a sponsor of the Green Office Challenge, a yearlong initiative that unites Houston building owners and tenants in a competition to improve the environmental performance of their operations by reducing energy use and waste and water use. ENERGY INITIATIVES Lynn Brown, vice president of corporate communications, says Waste Management is focusing a great deal of attention on other green initiatives and especially green technologies – some of which are quite cutting edge. The company is a recycling leader in North America, managing more than 7 million tons of recyclable materials in 2009 and anticipating nearly three times that amount by 2020. Just how do those numbers translate? It’s enough waste to fill a train of 17,000 cars, fill the Empire State Building more than a dozen times or fill more than 111,000 Boeing 737s. Waste Management also looks at ways to improve their consumption of energy. At the end of 2009, they had more than 800 natural gas-powered trucks in their fleet and reduced the amount of fuel their fleet of trucks burned. Their ultimate goal – to save 9 million gallons of fuel per year. They are also focusing attention on renewable energy technologies such as wasteto-energy (which involves burning waste materials – a cleaner process than burning fossil fuels) and landfill gas-to-energy facilities (which involves capturing the naturally occurring methane gas in landfills and piping the gas into plants where it can be turned into energy that powers homes and businesses.) In fact, the company uses waste to create
The company is forward thinking when it comes to new ideas...
T H E O N LY T H I N G WE DIDN’T CHANGE WA S T H E V I E W.
Facing the Future
While Waste Management has Already made significant strides in their focus on sustainability, they have set up some impressive goals for the future.
Waste Management produces enough energy to power more than 1 million homes every year. By 2020, they expect to double that output, creating enough power for more than 2 million homes. Waste is a renewable energy source. Landfill-gas-to-energy plants convert an otherwise powerful greenhouse gas, methane, into an energy source.
By 2020, they expect to nearly triple the amount of recyclable materials they manage, from 8 million to more than 20 million tons. Part of that will come from expanding on proven technology, such as single-stream processing plants, which make recycling easier for consumers. Another part will be investing in technologies for the future, such as converting roof shingles into an asphalt product, which is now being piloted in Texas.
Reduce emissions and increase efficiency of their fleet by 15 percent over the next 10 years. They currently have more than 18,000 vehicles, which includes more than 800 natural gas-powered trucks. When fully implemented, this is expected to save 9 million gallons of fuel per year.
By 2020, Waste Management hopes to achieve a fourfold increase in the number of facilities certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council. That means that 100 of their sites will be certified and they will have set aside more than 25,000 acres for conservation and wildlife habitat. At the end of 2009, they had certifications on a total of 73 facilities and had protected a total of 24,000 acres. The company is forward thinking when it comes to new ideas and technologies, says Brown. “You would be stunned by the number of things we’re doing,” she says. “It’s going to be the future of the industry.”
Modern is a style, a statement and a way of living. It refers to an era past, but also to an era in the making. Houston House is a progressive Houston skyline fixture that has reached its latest and most significant evolution. Floor by floor, extensive renovations and additions, like a full-sized basketball court and state-of-the-art workout facility, elevate this landmark dwelling to a new level of modernity, while a fully reimagined mid-century modern lobby harks to its historic designer roots. The only thing we didn’t change was the view.
enough energy to power more than a million residences each year. And by 2020, they expect to double their output, creating enough energy to power 2 million homes. Brown calls such initiatives the “future of the industry.” “The idea is how do you take stuff out of the waste stream and do something beneficial with it,” Brown says. “Our CEO David Steiner doesn’t call it trash anymore. He calls it materials. He sees it as material to be recovered and turned into something of a higher value.” In Houston, Waste Management is also providing single-stream recycling to several downtown buildings, including their home at First City Tower. Rather than requiring tenants to sort their materials, they can be tossed into one large container, much the way residential recycling works. The materials are then sorted elsewhere. “It’s pretty unique in Houston,” Brown says. “We don’t do it for everybody. The beauty of single-stream recycling is that it increases the amount people recycle by about 30 percent. So that’s a business we are trying to grow in Houston.”
1617 Fannin | 713.308.2000 houstonhouseapts.com
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Backstage by heathe r pray
art s & cultur e
Make plans for a razzlingdazzling good time this summer in the Theater District Connor Walsh and Melody Herrera in The Taming of the Shrew.
ouston’s summer is the right time to head inside for cool entertainment. Chill in the Houston Theater District with a season that rocks – literally. High society, contemporary dance, a big-city rock star and electrifying concerts mix it up with flamboyant music, mystery, fantasy and more – even Bugs Bunny and friends are in on the fun!
American Idol finalist Constantine Maroulis) and they fall in love to the tunes of the greatest bands of the ‘80s including Journey, Night Ranger, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar and more in Rock of Ages. Theatre Under The Stars will blow your mind and melt your face in this arena-rock love story through June 12. Six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards, a Grammy and thousands of standing ovations are part of the package when Society for the Performing Arts brings Chicago to Wortham’s Brown Theater, June 24-26. This sensational tale of sin, corruption and all that jazz will have you on the edge of your seat with one showstopper
after another. It will put the sizzle in your summer. New York City, 1922, is where we meet Millie Dillmount, a transplant to the city in search of a new life for herself. Masquerade Theatre presents Thoroughly Modern Millie, a zany 1920s-style musical, July 22-31 at Hobby Center, featuring a full score of new songs and bright dance numbers. What’s the best way to fight the midsummer’s heat? Summer Chills at Alley Theatre, of course. Ten houseguests gather on a secluded island in a situation ripe for misfortune. Celebrate the 64th year of And Then There Were None at Alley Theatre, July 2 through July 31. catherine ASHMORE
Professor Henry Higgins bets that he can transform Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle into a lovely lady and pass her off in high society with one of George Bernard Shaw’s most popular plays, The Pygmalion, at Alley Theatre through June 12. You may also know it as the 1965 musical My Fair Lady, which was inspired by this play. Despite opening in 1913, this five-act play continues to transcend time in its strikingly contemporary view of sexual politics and the science of romance. Fast forward to 1987 on the Sunset Strip, where a small town girl meets a big city rocker (Tony-Award nominee and
The cas t of Chi cag o.
Classics are in the making when Houston Ballet presents powerhouses of 21st-century ballet through June 5 with Raising The Barre. Mix together a world premiere by Jorma Elo and company premieres by Christopher Bruce and Christopher Wheeldon and enjoy an evening of electrifying movement onstage. End the 2011 Houston Ballet season with John Cranko’s The Taming of the Shrew, a staple of the international repertoire. Many critics praise Cranko’s ability to create a fulllength ballet full of emotion and comedy, while making the story accessible to today’s audiences. This masterful choreographic depiction of Shakespeare’s perpetually battling lovers comes complete with lavish scenery, costumes and a stunning array of dramatic moods, virtuoso dancing and vivid characterization.
Stu den ts of Hou sto n Bal let II.
Raising beautiful voices beyond human limits was the gift of the castrati. Their songs come alive in Forbidden Pleasures, which includes works by Alessandro Scarlatti written during the prohibition of opera in Rome. Countertenors John Holiday and Ryland Angel make their Ars Lyrica debuts on June 10 at Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. The next night at the Hobby, Houston Pride Band celebrates music of Hou sto n Sym pho ny pre sen ts a Americans, by Americans in Americana. The mus ical jou rne y to Mid dle Ear th. patriotic program includes Copland’s The Promise of Living and Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever. SaxWorx, HPB’s saxophone quartet, also performs pieces, including famous works by Ellington and Gershwin. Electrifying classics of a completely different time powered by the accompaniment of a full symphony take stage with The Music of The Who with Houston Symphony on July 1. Picture a rock band positioned in front of the entire symphony playing all your The Who favorites for one night only at Jones Hall and go back in time. $1 seats will also take you back in time (or for reserved seats, $10) with the Houston Chronicle Dollar Concert. It’s a 50-year tradition that honors the first-prize winner of the Ima Hogg Young Artist Competition with an annual concert. Music Director Hans Graf will lead the orchestra in Brahms’ Second Symphony and Medea’s Dance of Revenge by Samuel Barber. A “wascally wabbit” headlines Jones Hall on July 14 with Bugs Bunny at the Symphony. Bugs and his friends, including The Flintstones, Scooby Doo and others, celebrate the 20-year concert legacy first started by Bugs Bunny on Broadway. This edition still includes Chuck Jones’ inspired What’s Opera, Doc? and The Rabbit of Seville and also features newly-added Warner Bros. classics like Friz Freleng’s Home Tweet Home and Rhapsody Rabbit and the virtuoso orchestral roller coaster ride of the Road Runner epic Zoom and Bored. Susan Calloway makes an appearance as part of Distant Worlds – Final Fantasy with Houston Symphony on July 16. Calloway appeared on Distant Worlds: music from Final Fantasy, so gamer fans, it won’t be just the music you recognize, it will be the voice, too, at this multi-media concert experience. You’ll embark on a brand-new, exciting journey to Middle Earth as you watch the full-length film of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring alongside 250 musicians and singers. Relive your journey into Middle Earth as Frodo and Sam, with the help of the
Fellowship, undertake the perilous quest of taking the Ring of Power to the land of Mordor. It will be a trip unlike any other.
While the rest of us will be attending barbecues, watching fireworks and slathering on sunscreen by the pool, a few in the Theater District have other plans. Houston Ballet hosts their annual Summer Intensive Program in the new Center for Dance. Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy welcomes more than 180 dancers ages 9-20 from 33 states and four countries from June 20 through July 29. Students will work with Houston Ballet dancers, get courses in ballet technique as well as character dance, modern dance, musical theater and jazz, downtownhouston.org
Da Camera Young Artists conceive and perform an exciting series of unconventional public concerts as part of Da Camera’s Beyond The Concert Hall programs...
Ho ust on Bal let' s art isti c dir ect or, Sta nto n We lch .
Da Cam era You ng and help them recover from the rigorous Arti sts at Ava ntG arde n. training with studies in Pilates, body conditioning and dancer health. These six weeks culminate in a final performance in collaboration with American Festival for the Performing Arts in the Margaret Alkek Williams Dance Lab. If a getaway to the Berkshires sounds good, join Houston Ballet’s Artistic Director Th ea te r Di st ric t Stanton Welch as he preOp en Ho us e mieres a new work created especially for the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival 2011 Season Opening Gala on June 18. Houston Ballet has only participated once in this revered festival (in 1979) and this is Welch’s first appearance. He also will launch their summer curriculum allowing only 11 men and women to receive a range of coaching in solo work, pas de deux, musicality and performance analysis. Da Camera of Houston will be recruiting instrumentalists, singers and composers for their budding Young Artist Program. Da Camera Young Artists conceive and perform an exciting series of unconventional public concerts as part of Da Camera’s Beyond The Concert Hall programs, including two at The Wortham Theater Center as part of the A Little Day photo courtesy of houston ballet Music series, two at The Menil Collection as part of the Stop, Look and Listen! series and performing artists, plenty of activities to two at AvantGarden nightclub. Igniting the keep the kids at bay and a free Houston upcoming 2011-2012 season is the neverSymphony concert to end the day. to-be-missed Capital One Bank Theater District Open House set for Sunday, August Get your calendar out, visit 28. In its 18th year, Theater District Open houstontheaterdistrict.org, and make House never fails to impress with free perplans to step inside, cool off and enjoy formances highlighting what’s coming in some of the most extraordinary the next season, meet-and-greets with performing arts Houston has to offer!
SIX-OPERA PACKAGES START AT JUST $90 SUBSCRIBE AND SAVE UP TO 60% HoustonGrandOpera.org
r e m m u S
PUTS spotlight on Houston's music scene By David A. Cobb
Houston's fledgling music scene has long had an inferiority complex, with only a handful
of local bands generating national buzz and many musicians and fans bemoaning the fact that the city's scene is largely ignored for the greener musical pastures of Austin and Dallas. Over the past few years, however, there's been a shift in the amount of attention paid to local music. One could argue several factors responsible for the change – better talent, more local press, the Internet – but a major influence no one would question is the advent of Free Press Summer Fest. The brainchild of Free Press Houston editor Omar Afra and local booking agent Jagi Katial of Pegstar Concerts, Summer Fest grew out of the now-defunct Westheimer Street Festival. Free Press Houston staged its semiannual Block Party in the Montrose area for several years, with local and regional bands taking center stage at local clubs. "It was a no-brainer," Afra says of the impetus behind Free Press Summer Fest. "Jagi was booking some big name national acts [and] I was putting on the festival. Basically, the Block Party had reached a crescendo of the amount of people we could have and the kind of bands we could pull off." "With his involvement in live music and where I was going as far as booking live shows in town, it just seemed like it was time for both
of us to do something like this," says Katial, who also recently took over the management of local club Fitzgerald's. Free Press Summer Fest (not to be confused with Milwaukee's longtime Summerfest) is a relatively stripped-down affair when compared to the California desert's Coachella, Chicago's Lollapalooza, Tennessee's Bonnaroo, and the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Much like Free Press Houston itself, Summer Fest seems much less concerned with "what's hot" at the moment and instead focuses on the music itself. This includes featuring dozens of local bands. "For us, we want to have a festival of actual caliber but at the same time be able to showcase all of the great local music in Houston," Afra says. Katial agrees. "Omar and I come from a belief that having one of the best festivals in the country and showcasing local bands aren't mutually exclusive," he says. The duo also says they are pleased with the turnout and response to the festival so far from those outside the city, and sponsored a party at March's South By Southwest Music and Media Conference in Austin to help spread the word about Summer Fest III. "We were just
at South By Southwest, and whoever we talked to about the festival everyone's response has been totally encouraging and supportive," Katial says. "And they were impressed about the fact that what they thought was a city with no music scene has such a large event centered only around music." Quinn Bishop, co-owner of local record store Cactus Music – which hosts free weekly in-store showcases that feature local and national acts – finds it "exciting that Houston
now has an established multi-genre indie-fest that can compete with our neighboring cities. This year is the best lineup yet. Let's hope it continues to grow." Past Summer Fests included festival standbys The Flaming Lips, Canada's Broken Social Scene, free-jazz trio Medeski Martin and Wood, and Austin instrumental rockers Explosions In The Sky. Free Press Summer Fest III again includes a slew of varied national musical acts – rock, country, soul, indie, hip-hop, experimental, and nearly everything in between. The lineup includes legendary acts Killing Joke and Ween alongside classic popsters Weezer and indie favs The Black Angels, Lower Dens, Cut Copy, and Yeasayer, with a few well-known hiphop acts (Bun B, Tobacco, Big Boi), new soul icons (Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears), and country acts (Hayes Carll, Junior Brown). Local bands play a major part in filling out Summer Fest's roster, with acts Espantapajaros, Co-Pilot, Fat Tony, Linus Pauling Quartet, Roky Moon & BOLT, Tax The Wolf, Something
Fierce, and the newly reformed By The End Of Tonight among the acts on the roster. "I think we can build this festival to a high enough caliber that we are actually a platform for local bands to be considered as something more than 'another local band,' " Afra says. (See sidebar for more information on local bands playing this year's Summer Fest.) "I’ve been impressed with the quick growth," says Houston entertainment writer Andrew Dansby. "But more than that, I've admired the commitment to giving a big stage with a sizable audience to so much local talent. The summer festival phenomenon kind of grew until it could grow no more, and I think some of them have lost a sense of identity and have in a way lost a sense of local ownership. This thing, though, has a wonderful identity because of its grassroots qualities. It's been nice to see the organizers grow it while still maintaining that local essence. I just feel like it is of Houston and it belongs to Houston." "It's a great thing for local bands, however, it's also a great thing for a lot of these national touring bands," Afra contends. Bands that get exposure during Summer Fest often come back to Houston and garner a wider audience than they might normally have otherwise. "We've had bands play maybe once in Houston that
Sharon Jones Right: Hayes Carll
did a few hundred people, then play Summer Fest, and by the time they make it back to Fitz's three months later, they were doing 800 people." This year's Summer Fest also expands the amount of electronic music featured during the two-day event. New for 2011, an electronic stage has been added – curated by Gritsy and
This year we have the luxury of taking raw data from last year and trying our best to make it as comfortable and efficient as possible," SAYS BEN AfrA.
Black Angels Above: Weezer
Free Press Summer Fest runs June 4-5, 2011, in Eleanor Tinsley Park in downtown Houston. For more information on Free Press Summer Fest, to view the entire lineup, or to purchase tickets to the event, visit freepresssummerfest.com
Local bands play
integral part at Summer Fest The list of local bands chosen to perform at Summer Fest this year touches nearly every genre imaginable. From the summery 60’s pop of singer-songwriter Chase Hamblin to the low-key, country-tinged folk of Robert Ellis, the experimental hiphop of B L A C K I E, punk band The Hates, Wild Moccasin's indie-pop, the worldly Tyagaraja, and Omotai's crunching metal, Summer Fest III has something to offer everyone. In past years, bands like Young Mammals, Southern Backtones, The Manichean, Grandfather Child, The Watermarks, Sideshow Tramps, The Small Sounds, Giant Princess, and Spain Colored Orange graced Summer Fest's stages. Most of these bands return in 2011, along with more than 60 others.
Reprogram Multimedia – which features local electronic artists Ceeplus Bad Knives, Grrrl Parts, Yppah, and Mr. Castillo alongside Chromeo, Lil Keke, and Neon Indian, to name a few. "It's not necessarily an extension into electronic music, but electronic music expanding into the consciousness of mainstream music followers," Afra says. "We're trying our best to incorporate electronic music into the scope of the whole festival, " Katial adds. "We believe that it is important not to dichotomize genres of music just because they're distinct. " In the Free Press Houston tradition of bucking trends, low ticket prices are also important to the Summer Fest team. Prices for passes start at $40 – roughly half of what most of the other music festivals charge – although the festival offers early-bird discounts. "I think an affordable festival that is both a great festival and that also showcases local bands don't have to be disparate goals." Logistically, planning for Summer Fest is a full-time job. The kinks from the inaugural Summer Fest were worked out for last year's fest, and 2011's event looks to be flowing smoothly as well. With the first festival, Afra says, it was a gamble. "We didn't know whether 500, or 5,000, or 20,000 people would show up. We tried to be as best-prepared as we could." "This year we have the luxury of taking raw data from last year and trying our best to make it as comfortable and efficient as possible... we're constantly striving for creative solutions. Luckily, Jagi and I have a big team of really passionate and really smart – a lot smarter than we are – people who are on it around the clock."
Espantapajaros Rivers Black Leather Jesus Featherface Wild Moccasins Finnegan GoREALah Soul Wicked Poseur Art Institute Limited Pasadena Napalm Division Clockpole Free Radicals Delicious Milk Cavernous Somos uno American Fangs The Handshake Woozy Helmet The Grass Skirts The Niceguys Venomous Maximus Linus Pauling Quartet
The Hates Tha PhounDation Young Girls Glasnost Female Demand Simple Success Black Congress Buxton Defending The Kingdom Disfrutalo BLACKIE Perseph One Yppah Roky Moon and BOLT Dead Revolt Muhammadali Nosaprise Rusted Shut Robert Ellis Cop Warmth Organ Failure Giant Princess
Poopy Lungstuffing Limb Omotai The Annoysters Los Skarnales Jody Seabody and the Whirls State vs. Judd Sideshow Tramps Co-Pilot The Watermarks sIngs Giant Battle Monster Young Mammals Fat Tony Vivian Pikkles and the Sweethearts Uber Alles Grandfather Child The Tontons The Manichean Tax the Wolf The Mahas By The End Of Tonight Tyagaraja Spain Colored Orange Generation Landslide Brains For Dinner Chase Hamblin Something Fierce Born Again Virgins downtownhouston.org
Small steps, 20
J big impact
im Petersen is passionate about two things – art and downtown Houston. And it shows in the sleek urban home (and art showcase) that he’s created out of near rubble on the edge of the city’s center. The former Magnolia Ice House and Brewery had been slated for demolition by the city in the mid 1990s, but a group of architects convinced leaders the building could be salvaged and then bought it for a song. Petersen laughs when he remembers “the pretty story” that kept the structure from the wrecking ball but masked its true state of disrepair. The brewery had been abandoned during Prohibition, and the impressive edifice that once stretched its way across Buffalo Bayou was partially washed away by a massive flood in 1935. Much of the brewery now lies at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, Petersen says with a smile. What he didn’t find amusing were the buyers’ development plans. “The people that owned this building were going to put a bail bonding company on the second floor, an ice house on the first floor and law offices on the third and fourth floor,” he said. “And I really, really didn’t want people to come into downtown and the first thing they see is a bail bonding company and a bar – and a low-end bar at that.” Already a longtime downtown resident and devotee, he bought the building and set to work bringing it back to life. As an engineer, he quickly learned he had his work cut out for him.
Downtown scion and collector Jim Petersen does his part to develop an art scene By Barbara Linkin Mendel downtownhouston.org
It was in very bad shape,” he said. “Of what you see right now only the exterior walls are original. And the steel beams. The building needed so much more repair. We had no idea.” It took seven years to rebuild, but the results are simply spectacular. Massive windows look out on downtown’s historic district and bring light to Petersen’s beautiful contemporary art collection. And now it is more than his home. It is the space for Window into Houston – a partnership between Petersen and the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston. Window into Houston takes Petersen’s commitment to his two loves and merges them into a downtown public art space that is both whimsical and accessible to anyone walking by his building on Milam between Franklin and Commerce.
says. “And you see art. You may like it, you may not, but at least for a moment you’ve had art in your day.” Schmuckli says public response to the windows has been “tremendous.” “People are genuinely excited about this very public venue to see and experience art outside the museum context and the exposure it affords for local artists,” she says. “We have installed labels for passersby to take away, and it seems that we can never refill the box fast enough in response to people’s curiosity.” The idea that one person can have that sort of big impact on another is part of the reason Petersen spent so much time, money and energy rebuilding something that others would have condemned. “I’ve been fortunate to travel quite a bit and I’ve seen what other downtowns are like all over the world,” he said. He’s excited about downtown and the prospects for bringing art there. And it frustrates him when he encounters negativity when it comes to revitalization efforts for downtown. He points out that not every effort needs to be on the scale he took with the rebuilding of his historic home. Small actions (like the window displays with Blaffer) can be very effective, he says. “It just takes a little more thought,” he says. “That’s all it is. A little bit of care.” “And it takes people that are willing to do both, he continues. “I think that in the end a beautiful building, a beautiful interior is going to make lives better.” Schmuckli, for one, is grateful for his passion when it comes to Houston, downtown and art. “Jim does nothing half-heartedly,” she says. “When he embraces an idea he will pursue its realization passionately. He was already a great supporter of the museum, but working with him on the Window into Houston project has been an incredibly rewarding experience. His enthusiasm and commitment have been the driving force behind making this new exhibition series a reality and success.”
“You’re walking down the street,”
he says. “And you see art. You may
like it, you may not, but at least for a
moment you’ve had art in your day.”
wo street-level display windows have been turned over to Blaffer for rotating exhibitions that started this spring with Elaine Bradford: The Sidereal, the artist’s first solo presentation in a Houston museum. The next presentation will open on June 22 and will be a work by Patrick Renner, who will create a display that deals, in part, with the history of Petersen’s building. The current exhibition by Bradford reimagines the two windows as dioramas that display the habitats of small, crocheted creatures — a collection of animal specimens “discovered” by the fictitious fringe scientist Dr. Thomas Harrigan during his explorations into a dimension known as 22
The Sidereal. The idea for the window display grew out of a brainstorming session during dinner with Petersen and Blaffer director and chief curator Claudia Schmuckli. The two had been discussing plans for renovations to Blaffer and whether a downtown satellite location could be created to house exhibitions during the construction work. While discussing possible spaces, Petersen showed Schmuckli his display windows. It was an “aha” moment for both of them. “It was a happy convergence of interests,” says Schmuckli. “Blaffer had been tossing around ideas for an off-site venue for a while with a particular interest in downtown, and Jim was thinking about using the windows as an active exhibition space. When he expressed interest in us programming it on a regular basis, we eagerly jumped at the opportunity.” It was a simple thing Petersen could do, but he believes it yielded a huge impact. “You’re walking down the street,” he
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ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS and more than 70 HEALTH PLANS
bucking trends New retail, dining and entertainment venues prove downtown development is alive and kicking
imes may be tough. But that does not mean downtown Houston is struggling. In fact, the opposite is true, with new retail and entertainment players creating a buzz among foodies, cinephiles and music lovers. Want to catch the latest indie flick? Sundance Cinemas is
taking the Bayou Place space abandoned late last summer by the Angelika Film Center. And from a cool new jazz club at Houston Pavilions to the arrival of international food emporium Phoenicia at One Park Place – downtown is Houston’s hot spot for new development.
Like any neighborhood, downtown continues to evolve. We detail
some of those big changes on the following pages, but don’t just take our word for it. Take some time to get to know downtown all over
New retail, dining and entertainment venues prove downtown development is alive and kicking
again. There’s always something fresh and fun happening.
Doris Ting/Phoenicia Specialty Foods
Fresh retail concepts are hitting downtown
S U M M ER 2 0 1 1
Global Market Place yummy comes dow n tow n In the gu ise of a n inte rnatio nal f ood emporium
by holly beretto
aig Tcholakian sits sits at a long café table, facing the bakery department in Phoenicia Specialty Foods’ flagship location on Westheimer. It’s just after 5 p.m. and the store looks a little bit like the corridors of the United Nations. Two men of Middle Eastern descent sit at a nearby table, drinking coffee; a suburban mom pushes a shopping cart, complete with a cute kid and designer bag; a woman in professional dress is speaking Spanish on her cell phone, looking at the bread selection. “It looks very much like your clientele is a composite of Houston at large,” I offer. “Diversity personified.” Tcholakian agrees. “It really is. When we first opened, we had a lot of ethnic customers, looking for things they loved in their home countries, but couldn’t find here. And, as Americans became more aware of world cuisine, they began coming in, too.” Houston abounds with high-end grocery stores with gourmet offerings. What sets Phoenicia apart are both its roots, and its family-run approach to food. Tcholakian’s parents, Zohrab (“Bob’) and Arpi, came to the U.S. from Lebanon in 1978, and his father went to work for an architectural firm. With Houston’s 1980’s oil bust, Zohrab left his architecture job, thinking he might do better out on his own. He and Arpi began Phoenicia as a small restaurant, catering to Middle Eastern and Mediterranean tastes. “It all began with a shawarma,” laughs Tcholakian. “Mom’s chicken and beef shawarmas built all this.” From the restaurant’s beginnings grew the massive marketplace that Phoenicia is today. The restaurant still exists, re-branded as Arpi’s Phoenicia Deli, and it still serves the popular shawarma sandwich, a blend of spiced chicken, beef or lamb, roasted on a spit and shaved to order, dressed with accompaniments like potato, tomato, onions and house-made whipped garlic sauce. Meanwhile, the market carries more than 6,000 products from more than 50 countries including France,
Greece, Spain, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Turkey, Germany, Lebanon, Chile, Argentina, Portugal, Switzerland, Netherlands, Russia, Egypt, Armenia, Brazil and Sweden. “Bob” and Arpi are still integral to the day-today operations, and all three of their children, Raffi, AnnMarie and Haig work full time for the business. “We’re an international food store, trying to bring cultures together,” says Ann-Marie, Tcholakian’s sister. She handles human resources, marketing and running the kitchens and catering end of the family business. “Food is so important to our culture,” says Tcholakian. “We’re Armenian from Lebanon, and the way that we share time together is through food. This is what we know.” Tcholakian’s grandfather ran a small grocery store in Lebanon, so the family has always had a background in food retailing. He says his parents, as immigrants to the U.S., showcased their entrepreneurial spirit through Phoenicia and still work seven days a week, either at the main grocery outlet or at the deli. Building from their Middle Eastern roots, Phoenicia’s offerings expanded as customers began asking for different items. “They were immigrants, too,” says Tcholakian. “Or they were from somewhere else working in the energy industry and they missed this or that, and they’d say to my parents,
Doris Ting/Phoenicia Specialty Foods
It all began with a shawarma, laughs Tcholakian
1. Zo-Rob’s Italian Olive Oil Dipping Mix: A blend of Italian spices created by Tcholakian’s father, Zohrab. “I can’t eat pasta without this on top,” Haig says. 2. Ülker Bitter: A dark chocolate with pistachios, imported from Turkey. Be warned – Haig called it addictive. 3. Muhammara: “Many nights, dinner has been this spread on pita bread,” Haig confesses. 4. Chicken Shawarma Sandwich: “This is the one that started it all.” 5. Zaatar French Fries: A favorite at Arpi’s Phoenicia Deli, these shoestring fries are tossed with lemon, olive oil and thyme.
‘Can you get this for us?’ ” They did. Phoenicia serves as an importer, as well as a specialty food purveyor, so the retailer is able to bring in products from around the world. Not having to rely on a distributor as a middleman helps to keep costs competitive, says Tcholakian, who acts as a buyer for the family business. In addition to the international product lines, Phoenicia also makes hundreds of products for its inhouse label, everything from pita breads to spice mixes. And it’s all coming to downtown. With Phoenicia’s summer opening on the ground floor of One Park Place, downtowners will be able to experience the famed global grocer for themselves. “It’s a true experience,” says Tcholakian. “Part culture, part food, part geography lesson.” He takes us through the aisles, pointing out the strawberry preserves from Armenia, the cured beef from Lebanon, gingerbread cookies from Poland and coffee from Bosnia. We sample Phoenicia’s in-house creations: the eggplant Ikra, a sweet concoction of eggplant and tomato
Tcholakian says is known as “eggplant caviar;” spicy muhammara, a spread of roasted red peppers, walnuts and pomegranate syrup that traces its roots back to Syria; the dense and delightful apple baklava, one of the bakery’s most popular items. Above our heads, conveyor belts intertwine, serving as the transportation system that runs the homemade pita breads from the kitchen ovens to the center of the store. All these, too, will be coming to the 28,000 square feet of downtown space. Tcholakian says the goal of opening the downtown location was to bring Phoenicia’s signature products and global offerings inside the Loop – as well as catering to the lunch and after-work crowds through an expanded seating section in the café, where the menu will include both items from the store, along with popular dishes from Arpi’s Phoenicia Deli, and a line of pizzas. The MKT Bar will offer tapas and wines for happy hour and evening noshing. Additionally, the store itself will carry an array of household goods and paper products, catering to those who live and work in the downtown area.
OPENIN G n o w t h r o u g h f a l l 2 0 1 1
Urban renewal revisited
Bayou Place, dow ntow n’s early en tertainme nt pi onee r, revs up for the fut ure
by sandra cook
he Bayou Place complex was a novel concept back in the late 1990s. Back then, Houston wasn’t exactly known for repurposing old buildings, and downtown Houston was not broadly considered an entertainment hub beyond the Theater District venues. So when it opened in December of 1998, Bayou Place was a remarkable project for downtown Houston. Brought about by a then-rare public-private partnership between The Cordish Companies and the City of Houston, Bayou Place received the Urban Land Institute Award of Excellence in 1999 for transforming the vacated Albert Thomas Convention Center into a thriving entertainment destination. The property sits at the eastern edge of downtown at Texas Avenue and Smith Street. Throughout the year, Bayou
Place’s patios, balconies and walkways offer lively views of theater patrons entering and exiting Theater District venues, such as the Wortham Center, Alley Theatre and Jones Hall, many choosing to linger for conversation on Fish Plaza and Jones Plaza. The reinvented space got off to a strong start, with many of its original tenants lasting more than 10 years. Houston audiences and performers alike frequently list the Verizon Wireless Theater as a favorite venue for concerts. Even the departed Angelika Film Center and Mingalone were anchors of the Bayou Place scene for the complex’s first decade. Hard Rock Café moved from its Kirby Drive location in May 2000 and is still rocking. Sure, other restaurant and club concepts have come and
gone, but fads, fashion and food trends change. According to Blake Cordish, a vice president with The Cordish Companies who oversees their development projects, the company expects such tenant changes as part of the natural progression of an entertainment destination. “Cordish takes a long-term approach to all of its development projects,” says Blake Cordish. “Shifting public interest and evolution of tenants is the nature of the entertainment industry.”
Fresh faces An influx of new tenants is helping to build new Bayou Place momentum initiated by the openings of Samba Grille and The Blue Fish Sushi, Sake & Martini in late 2010 and earlier this year. Samba Grille, a South American churrascaria-style restaurant has received rave reviews for its extensive lunch selection of appetizers, homemade soups, fresh salads and choice meats and seafood. Dinner features the famous gauchos (the guys, the pants, the steaks of the same name) almost dancing through the dining room during churrascaria service. The Blue Fish Japanese restaurant at Bayou Place is the first of two that the small, but wildly popular chain from Dallas has opened in Houston this year. Amid a palette of ocean blues, the sleek sushi bar and dining room serves up artful, delicate creations against the downtown backdrop that pours in through the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows. So, what has sparked the recent momentum in this more than 12-year old project? “Bayou Place was initially a new concept and image for downtown Houston,” says Cordish. “Like anything in life it’s going to evolve. The current changeover is a natural, positive evolution. The Bayou Place structure itself can accommodate a wide variety of tenants. Blake Cordish points out that the restaurant, bar and club operators they considered over the past year for spaces at Bayou Place were drawn to the venue’s attractive location on two main access thoroughfares into the downtown entertainment areas. Bayou Place is also conveniently located within walking distance of major office towers, is accessible from all arterial highways feeding the central business district and is located directly above more than 4,500 parking spaces.
Sundance Cinemas, part of Robert Redford’s Sundance Group, has taken over the shuttered Angelika space and 18,000 square feet of the property’s second level are being converted into a fourclub concept known as Live! at Bayou Place.
The first quarter of 2011 brought major announcements of more coming attractions. Sundance Cinemas, part of Robert Redford’s Sundance Group, has taken over the shuttered Angelika space and 18,000 square feet of the property’s second level are being converted into a four-club concept known as Live! at Bayou Place. An additional lineup change was announced in April. Mingalone’s vacated space will be replaced by Norton’s Sports Bar. Northsiders may be familiar with Norton’s Willowbrook and Atascocita locations. “We really got the best of the best in Sundance Cinemas,” says Blake Cordish. “Their president and CEO Paul Richardson is one of the leaders in the industry, plus the strength of the Sundance brand goes along with that. It’s a real coup for Bayou Place – a real coup for the city.” The Houston venue will be the third cinema location for Sundance Cinemas, offering the same unique patron experience of Sundance’s two other theaters, located in San Francisco, CA and Madison, WI. Richardson, the former president and CEO of Landmark Theaters, is no stranger to Houston. Richardson attended the University of Houston architecture program during the early 1970s and says he fell in love with Houston back then. “As the president and CEO of Landmark Theatres for many years I had a special place in my heart for Houston, because of my college experience and the many friends that lived there,” Richardson wrote in an interview via email. “The River Oaks was the third ‘new’ theater in our chain, opening in 1977. Some years later Landmark acquired the Greenway 3 from AMC. So coming back to Houston is like coming home. During the years that Angelika operated the theater, the downtown area continued to evolve and mature. It’s better than ever now.” Richardson reports that the general layout of the eight-screen venue will remain the same, but the entire space will feature a new decor that is pleasing and comfortable, in keeping with the Sundance aesthetic. The auditoriums will feature reserved seating and digital stereo sound. With community outreach as part of the Sundance philosophy, Houston audiences can expect to see works by local and regional filmmakers in the Sundance Houston lineup. Food and beverage service will be quite
simple. The self-service set-up will allow patrons to take food and drink selections to their seats to enjoy during the movie. “The food is designed to be easily portable, alcohol friendly, and eaten in the dark without spilling it all over yourself,” Richardson said. A bar will offer premium wines and beers, along with cocktails. Look for listings when Sundance Houston opens in November.
Nightlife times four PBR is the first of the nightclubs to open, debuting in March. The almost 9,000-square-foot club features professional bull riders on mechanical bulls along with country-western music and dancing. “We have put together a collection of entertainment venues with broad appeal,” says Blake Cordish. “PBR is one of the fastest growing sports concepts in the country and this club concept extends it into a country-western atmosphere.” Cordish compares the popularity of PBR – that’s the sport of professional bull riding – to NASCAR. In fact, PBR Inc. boasts more than 100 million annual television viewers worldwide. Additional clubs include a cigar lounge called Chapel Spirits, an ‘80s and ‘90s music club called Shark Bar, and a casual hangout dubbed Lucy’s Liquors. Shark Bar features a retro surf theme with beach-inspired cocktails and dance music from the late 20th century’s danceable decades. Chapel Spirits is a cigar and whiskey lounge. The 3,000-square-foot venue boasts a luxe décor, fireplace and a glass-enclosed patio. The Cordish Companies worked with the same venue operators at their successful Baltimore and Kansas City developments. “We are fortunate to have long-term relationships with our business partners and operators,” says Blake Cordish. “The Baltimore Live! has been going 15 years, Kansas City Live! has been running just over three years.”
Proven partnership “We have a very long-term partnership with the City of Houston,” says Cordish. “We are thrilled with how the city has lived up to its end of the bargain. We are both looking toward the same direction, so we have a shared vision. We have both delivered and therefore earned trust. That’s part of the success of this development.” “Bayou Place is positioned to capture different slices of the pie – convention traffic, office workers, weekend crowds – so we have to be able to appeal to a broad base of people,” Cordish continues. Cordish – like many Houstonians – is eagerly anticipating the opening of Sundance Cinemas. “Sundance is going to be awesome, especially if you love the movies. By November, when we’re all open and everything is happening it will make for a really great night, filled with that fun energy that, in my opinion, you can only get in a downtown.” That’s what Bayou Place is meant to be.
OPENIN G f a l l 2 0 1 1
reiventing a classic gertner brin gs sexy, chic and ki ller views of d ow ntow n t 0 housto n’s music scene
t’s hard to recreate a landmark, so why try? That was Scott Gertner’s point of view when he set out to find a new home for Skybar. After 11 years at its location on Montrose Boulevard, the building was closed and Gertner had to make a move. “From the beginning, I knew that Skybar could not be duplicated,” said Gertner. “What will continue is my drive to create an amazing atmosphere with the highest quality musical talent. So, I started to look around the city. I wanted to take my time with the decision because location is so critical. Then it hit me. Skybar always had an amazing view of downtown. Why not be right in the heart of downtown with the view all around us?” Scott Gertner’s at Houston Pavilions will open its doors in early fall on the third floor of Houston Pavilions, the first downtown mixed-use development of its kind in 20 years, with dining, entertainment, retail and office space. The new venue will complement the existing tenant mix on that floor which includes the House of Blues, Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge and
by phil hudson 30
Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar. “I envision Houston Pavilions as a three-block oasis in downtown,” said Gertner. “It’s an upscale retail/ restaurant/entertainment mega complex. The team there offered me a wonderful corner location including the ability to build a fourth floor, open-air rooftop lounge. No one else in downtown will have what we will have. Just imagine the view on the 4th of July, New Year’s Eve … any time there are fireworks or festivals. It’s going to be amazing.” As envisioned by Gertner, Scott Gertner’s at Houston Pavilions is designed as a bi-level venue with approximately 8,200 square feet of space in the main area, and it will boast outdoor spaces including a 3,500-square-foot rooftop deck with a full bar, cabanas, lounge seating and couches and a DJ booth. Destined to be the next cool spot in downtown Houston, the venue will have a sophisticated look and feel – Las Vegas meets Miami, with views of the city from every angle. The chic architecture and interiors are designed by Isaac Preminger. Gertner promises that upon arrival, guests will enter an atmosphere pulsing with excitement and coolness. “The place is going to be so sexy,” said Gertner. “That’s been one of my favorite parts about this venture – I have been able to build it from scratch and put every concept that I enjoy into it. I like the fact that Scott Gertner’s at Houston Pavilions will provide an upscale experience for everyone. There’s a raised VIP area to see your favorite celebrities, areas for private events, an expansive bar, and that’s just the first floor.” A grand staircase will lead to the sprawling
3,500-square-foot rooftop with an enclosed bar decked out with highdefinition televisions, cigar lockers, and Mediterranean hookah pipes. The rooftop doors will open onto the terrace where crowds will gather for the breezes starting in the late afternoon as the 5 o’clock whistle blows. And after dark, the place will literally vibrate with a DJ and dancing under the stars. The terrace will boast six cabanas with bottle service. Nightlife sprawls all over Houston, but the good times will be rolling in downtown for sure. The intimate venue will host local and national performers on an arena-style stage with dancing throughout. During its 11-year run, Skybar hosted an array of famous talent including Patti Labelle, Luther Vandross and the O’Jays, along with numerous local musicians and bands. Gertner and his band will be performing on Wednesdays for Ladies Night and Saturdays for Saturday Night Live. On Thursdays, Scott Gertner’s at Houston Pavilions will present Salsa Night with Latin music. The night will start off with free dance lessons, live salsa bands inside and a “house” style DJ on the rooftop accompanied by a percussionist. Friday nights will consist of live entertainment early in the evening followed by nationally renowned DJs for dancing the night away. Sundays will usher in Sunday Funday with the rooftop party starting at 1 p.m. with mimosas, Jell-O shots, | a tapas-style menu, great DJs, as well as fun activities, such as fashion shows on the terrace. “We’re so pleased that Scott chose Houston Pavilions as the new home of his venue,” said Geoff Jones, principal/ developer of Houston Pavilions. “It’s in lockstep with the mix we initially envisioned for the development. It will be a new interpretation of a Houston institution, with a loyal following and an atmosphere that is perfectly in keeping with our desire to make Houston Pavilions a destination unlike any place in the city. Scott’s new space is the perfect wedding of a location to a use.” “When it came time to sign the lease with Houston Pavilions, there was one thing that I had to make sure they would give me – it had to offer free valet and self parking to all of my female patrons,” said Gertner, a wisecracking bachelor who clearly loves the ladies. Scott Gertner’s at Houston Pavilions also will serve food daily, starting at 11 a.m. on the terrace with a tapas-style menu starting nightly at 5:30 p.m. The freewheeling menu will take diners on a journey from New Orleans to Italy and beyond.
datebook Theater 34 : Festivals & Special Events 35 : Concerts 37 : Market Square Park 38
Funny-man Jerry Seinfeld comes back to H-town June 24 at Jones Hall. Get tickets at ticketmaster.com
datebook THEATER PYGMALION May 20-Jun 12 A unique masterpiece, and one of George Bernard Shaw’s most popular plays, Pygmalion is the story of phonetics professor Henry Higgins, who bets that he can transform Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle into a lovely lady and pass her off in high society. The story inspired the well-known 1956 Lerner and Loewe musical My Fair Lady. Recommended for general audiences. Tickets $21-$70. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org ROCK OF AGES May 31-Jun 12 In 1987 on the Sunset Strip, a small town girl met a big city rocker and in LA’s most famous rock club, they fell in love to the greatest songs of the 80s. It’s Rock of Ages, an arena-rock love story told through the mind-blowing, face-melting hits of Journey, Night Ranger, STYX, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison, and more. Tony-award nominee and American Idol finalist, Constantine Maroulis, will reprise his acclaimed performance as Drew. Dream big, play loud and party on! Tickets start at $24. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.558.TUTS. tuts.com CHICAGO Jun 21-26 There’s never been a better time to experience Chicago, Broadway’s razzle-dazzle smash. This triumphant hit musical is the recipient of six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards, a Grammy and thousands of standing ovations. If you’re looking for your first Broadway musical, Chicago has everything you could want: knockout dancing, an edge-of-your-seat story and one showstopper after another. Tickets $32-$92. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org
Angel. Tickets $31.25-$41.25. 7:30 pm. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby.713.315.2525. arslyricahouston.org
charities. Tickets $20-$34. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.222.5400. explorehouston.org/ticketing
GEORGE LOPEZ Jun 10-11 George Lopez returns to Houston for a stellar comedy show. Tickets $63.52-$75.70. 8 pm. Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas. 800.745.3000. livenation.com
LIES CHELSEA HANDLER TOLD ME TOUR WITH HEATHER, JOSH AND BRAD Jun 17 Wildly successful comedian Chelsea Handler, known for shaking up the television, literary and stand-up world with her outrageous brand of comedy, is at it again with Brad Wollack, Josh Wolf and Heather McDonald, friends and regulars on her hit show Chelsea Lately. Tickets $80.97-$102.87. 7 pm. Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas. 800.745.3000. livenation.com
NIGHT COURT 2011: LAWS IN SPACE Jun 15-18 Night Court 2011: Laws in Space beams down to the Wortham Center to parody pop culture, current events, politics and the legal profession. Boldly going where no lawyer has gone before, an assortment of well-known heroes and villains (portrayed by more than 50 lawyers and judges) will gather to deliver plenty of laughs and surprises. The show combines the camp and vision of science fiction with the entertainment and farce of comedy, with music ranging from Broadway to boy bands. Night Court raises money for local
JERRY SEINFELD Jun 24 Due to popular demand, America’s premier comedian is hitting the road in a return to his first love – stand-up comedy. Hailed as “the master stand-up comic of his generation” and “the best comedian of our time” in a Washington Post article by Tom Shales, Seinfeld has an uncanny ability to joke about the little things in
THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE Jul 22-31 The final production of Masquerade’s 2010-2011 season is Thoroughly Modern Millie, the zany 1920’s jazzstyle musical that has taken Broadway by storm. Taking place in New York City in 1922, Thoroughly Modern Millie tells the story of young Millie Dillmount, who has just moved to the city in search of a new life for herself. This is a show that will leave you laughing and singing all the way home. Tickets $36.25-$66.25. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. masqueradetheatre.com THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS Aug 12-13 The Screwtape Letters creates a topsy-turvy, morally inverted universe set in an eerily stylish office in hell, where God is called the “Enemy” and the devil is referred to as “Our Father Below.” The play follows His Abysmal Sublimity Screwtape, Satan’s top psychiatrist, played by award-winning actor Max McLean, and his creature-demon secretary Toadpipe, as they train an apprentice demon, Wormwood, on the fine art of seducing an unsuspecting human “patient” down the “soft, gentle path to hell.” The Screwtape Letters is still one of C.S. Lewis’ most popular and influential works. Tickets $29-$59. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.222.5400. explorehouston.org/ticketing
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW Jun 9-19 Featuring lavish scenery and costumes, John Cranko’s staging of The Taming of the Shrew is a masterful depiction of Shakespeare’s perpetually battling lovers, Petruchio and Katherina, and of Petruchio’s determination to bend the feisty, independent-spirited and tempestuous Katherina to his will. Incorporating a stunning array of dramatic moods, virtuoso dancing and vivid characterization, The Taming of the Shrew is like no other ballet. Tickets $18-$168. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.ARTS. houstonballet.org FORBIDDEN PLEASURES Jun 10 Ars Lyrica’s 2010-2011 season concludes with the flamboyant music of the castrati, including works by Alessandro Scarlatti written during the prohibition of opera in Rome. Making their Ars Lyrica debuts with this program are countertenors John Holiday and Ryland
PERFORMING ARTS RAISING THE BARRE May 26-Jun 5 Houston Ballet’s spring repertory program will feature a powerhouse of 21st-century ballet. Christopher Bruce’s Grinning in Your Face evokes a Midwestern American community in the 1940s, and features many of the hallmarks of his work: conflict, love, rejection and folksy humor. Tickets $18-$168. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.ARTS. houstonballet.org
Jun 21-26 There’s never been a better time to experience Chicago, Broadway’s razzledazzle smash. This triumphant hit musical is the recipient of six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards, a Grammy and thousands of standing ovations. And now it’s coming to Houston! If you’re looking for your first Broadway musical, Chicago has everything you could want: knockout dancing, an edge-of-your-seat story and one showstopper after another. Tickets $32-$92. Wortham Center. 501 Texas. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org
life that relate to audiences everywhere. Tickets start at $55. 7 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 800.745.3000. ticketmaster.com THE MUSIC OF THE WHO Jul 1 The concept of a rock band playing with an orchestra may seem strange, but it is one of the most electrifying concerts you’ll ever experience. Houston audiences have embraced the concept of showcasing timeless rock classics with the power of a full symphony orchestra with favorites like Windborne Music’s The Music of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Queen. Tickets $25-$105. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org CHRONICLE DOLLAR CONCERT Jul 9 Enjoy the Houston Symphony in Jones Hall for $1 per ticket as Music Director Hans Graf continues this more than 50-year-old summer tradition. The concert also celebrates the talent of first-prize winner of the Ima Hogg Young Artist Competition. Tickets $1$10. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org BUGS BUNNY AT THE SYMPHONY Jul 14 Bugs Bunny at the Symphony combines live music with classic Looney Tunes on the big screen to celebrate the 20-year concert legacy first started by Bugs Bunny on Broadway. This special anniversary edition still includes Chuck Jones’ inspired What’s Opera, Doc? and The Rabbit of Seville, while featuring newly added Warner Bros. classics like Friz Freleng’s Home Tweet Home and Rhapsody Rabbit. Enjoy special guest appearances by Tom and Jerry and other guest stars from the larger Warner Bros. animation family. Tickets $15-$79. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org DISTANT WORLDS – FINAL FANTASY Jul 16 Prepare to embark on a multi-media concert experience that includes music from a large section of the new FFXIII scores plus classics. Vocalist Susan Calloway is featured in FFIX: Melodies of Life, FFX: Suteki da ne, FFXII Kiss Me Good-bye, FFXI: Memoro de la Stono - Distant Worlds and more. Tickets $20-$109. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org THE LORD OF THE RINGS Jul 22-23 Join us for an exciting, brand-new journey into the realm of Middle Earth. More than 250 musicians and singers will perform the movie soundtrack live as you watch the full-length film, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. See it from the beginning as Frodo and Sam, with the help of the Fellowship, undertake the perilous quest to take the Ring of Power to the land of Mordor. Tickets $20-$112. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org SPEAKER SERIES AUTHORS IN ARCHITECTURE Jun 16 Meet Barbara White Bryson, FAIA, MBA, after she discusses her book The Owner’s Dilemma: Driving Success and Innovation in the Design and Construction Industry, co-authored with Canan Yetman, at Architecture Center Houston. The Owner’s Dilemma emphasizes how building project owners are uniquely positioned to drive innovation and profound change in the design and construction industry. Free. 6 pm. ArCH, 315 Capitol, Ste. 120. 713.520.5455. aiahouston.org HILL/FINGER LECTURE Jun 16 Houston has grown quite a bit since the Allen Brothers landed on the banks of the Buffalo Bayou, and every bit of that expansion required streets. Just how did those highways and byways get their intriguing names? Learn who made the area great, who had a sense of history and who had a sense of humor in Historic Houston Streets: The Story Behind the Names by Marks Hinton. $5 admission for non-members. noon-1 pm. The Heritage Society, 1100 Bagby Street. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org
FESTIVALS & SPECIAL EVENTS FREE PRESS SUMMER FEST Jun 4-5 This music and arts festival will feature more than 50 local and national acts, including Weezer, Cut Copy, Beirut, Chromeo, Houston country hotshot Hayes Carll and Austin favorite, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears. Tickets start at $40. 10 am-10 pm. Eleanor Tinsley Park. freepresssummerfest.com 2011 SUMMER NATIONAL SENIOR GAMES OPENING CEREMONY Jun 16 The statewide National Senior Games Olympic torch relay ends with the Flame Arrival Ceremony and lighting of the Games Cauldron. Free. 7 pm. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. 713.400-7336. nsga.com/2011-national-games 2011 SUMMER NATIONAL SENIOR GAMES CELEBRATION OF ATHLETES Jun 21 A combination of the traditional Olympic opening and closing ceremonies, the COA will include music, entertainment and a parade of the flags of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several foreign countries that will participate in the Games. Free. 6 pm. Toyota Center. 1510 Polk. 713.758.7200 nsga.com/2011-national-games
one canned food item as a donation to Houston Food Bank. 4-10 pm. Eleanor Tinsley Park. 832.393.0863. houstonspecialevents.org THEATER DISTRICT OPEN HOUSE Aug 28 Visit the Alley Theatre, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, Jones Hall and the Wortham Theater Center. Grab an event program when you arrive and check out what’s happening throughout the day. Performances will be offered on stage at several venues, downtown restaurants will offer bites to eat and backstage tours. There also will be an opportunity to purchase season subscriptions to member performing arts organizations. Those organizations include Alley Theatre, Da Camera of Houston, Houston Ballet, Houston Broadway Series, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony, Society for the Performing Arts and Theatre Under The Stars. Free. Noon-5 pm. Alley Theatre, Hobby Center, Jones Hall, Wortham Center. 713.658.8938. houstontheaterdistrict.org
FREEDOM OVER TEXAS Jul 4 Mayor Annise Parker’s official Fourth of July. Over 100,000 families celebrate the holiday that all Americans share at Houston’s largest signature event. This patriotic celebration is jampacked with entertainment, educational opportunities, activities, rides, food beverages and a firework spectacular. Free with
ADVANCED MS OFFICE COMPUTER CLASSES Mondays in Jun Move beyond the basics. Exact computer topic will vary each week. 10 am-noon. STRESS RELIEF & RELAXATION SERIES Mondays in Jun Unwind at this yoga series and learn how yoga can benefit your body and mind. Yoga mats will be provided. Wear comfortable clothes that allow easy movement. Noon-1 pm. STRESS-BUSTER SERIES WITH SHARON HUGHES Tuesdays in Jun Join Sharon Hughes as she presents ways to de-stress and relieve muscle strain through breathing exercises, yoga postures, and other techniques you can do at your desk and at home. Wear comfortable clothes that allow easy movement and bring a yoga mat or large towel. 1-2 pm. CUSTOMIZE YOUR SEWING PATTERNS Tuesdays in Jun Bring a pattern and learn how to customize it with Houston Public Library’s own Usha Shah. 3-4:30 pm.
REGGIE’S WORKOUT Saturdays in Jun A modern form of total body exercise, which can be adapted to any fitness level and set to fantastic music, will keep beginners and veterans coming back for more. 5:30 - 6:30 pm.
HOUSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
HOUSTON AUDUBON SOCIETY Jun 2 Soar into the world of birds and discover how amazing our feathered friends truly are. This program features live birds, lots of hands-on activities, bird song and dance, fun books and much more. Great for all ages! 10:30 am. PUBLIC POETRY Jun 4 Public Poetry exists to bring the public and the poetry community together for a lively, not-to-bemissed, free monthly series with some of Houston’s very best poets. June features Dr. John Gorman, Carol Louise Munn, Evangelina Vigil-Pinon and Kevin Prifer. 2 pm.
KATHY HOOD CULMER CHILDREN’S AUTHOR Jun 16 Kathy Hood Culmer is an author, storyteller, speaker and teacher; come enjoy her folktales and historical stories. 10:30 am. AN EVENING WITH AUTHOR DAVID EAGLEMAN Jun 16 Join us for a special visit from author David Eagleman, who will discuss and sign copies of his latest book, Incognito. 6-8 pm. BRAZILION ARTS FOUNDATION, CAPOEIRA PERFORMANCE Jun 21 Capoeira is a truly unique art, combining martial arts, dance and music; students will learn essential moves and strategies. 10:30 am. HAPPY THE CLOWN Jun 23 Happy the Clown brings the party to the library with music, audience participation and fun! 10:30 am. MILDRED’S UMBRELLA THEATER Jun 28 Children will experience several of Aesop’s Fables by this exciting theater. 10:30 am. BRAZILIAN ARTS FOUNDATION, CAPOEIRA CLASS FOR TEENS Jun 28, Jul 19 Teens will enjoy an amazing Capoeira performance. Capoeira is a truly unique art, combining martial arts, dance and music; students will learn essential moves and strategies. 10:30 am. DOTTIE ENDERLE CHILDREN’S AUTHOR Jun 30 Dotti Enderle, author and storyteller, brings the flavor and humor of Texas folklore to life in her interactive presentation for children. 10:30 am. PUPPET PIZZAZZ Jul 5 Professional puppeteer, Greg Ruhe, shares an array of puppets from shadow puppets to giant puppets to puppets made from recycled materials. 10:30 am. NON-TOXIC BAND Jul 7 Non-Toxic Band plays lively, interactive, original music about who we are, where we live, and how things work with guitar, singing, harmonica and percussion. 10:30 am.
REGGIE’S WORKOUT Tuesdays in Jun A modern form of total body exercise, which can be adapted to any fitness level and set to fantastic music, will keep beginners and veterans coming back for more. 5:30 - 6:30 pm. INSPIREMENT WORKSHOP Tuesdays and Wednesdays in Jun Join us for an interactive retirement workshop with John Kern from Active Retirement Planning, and learn about the rarely discussed, non-financial areas of retirement, such as productivity, identity, emotional and cognitive health, lifestyle, and intergenerational relationships. Tue 1:303:30 pm, Wed 11 am-noon. LAUGHTER YOGA WITH LAINIE DIAMOND Wednesdays in Jun Laugh your way to health and joy with this fun and life-changing laughter yoga (Hasyayoga) exercise group. No mats or exercise clothing needed, just bring yourself. 5:30-6:30 pm. CONVERSATIONS IN SPANISH Thursdays in Jun Whether you are learning Spanish or just want to brush-up, join us to practice your conversational skills in a relaxed setting. Noon-1 pm. CONVERSATIONAL ENGLISH Saturdays in Jun Whether you are learning English or just want to brush-up, come join us to practice your conversational skills in a relaxed setting. 11 am-noon.
SOCIAL MEDIA, NETWORKING AND TECHNOLOGY COMPUTER CLASSES Jun 4 Learn about various social media and technology tools. Exact topic will vary each week. 2-4 pm. EXPRESS CHILDREN’S THEATER Jun 7 The Adventures of Tom and Huck. We’ll follow these rascals and their friends – and foes– as they whitewash a fence, play hooky, find a cure for warts, attend their own funeral, get lost in a cave, and solve a murder mystery. 10:30 am. YARN PEOPLE Jun 6, 20; Jul 11, 25; Aug 8, 22 Beads and baubles, shimmer and shine, yarn to jewelry in just no time. Bring buttons, jewelry findings, crochet hooks or knitting needles and yarn. Noon-2 pm. MICH CORLEY – STORYTELLER Jun 9 Follow Mick Corley on an exciting trip back to the future. Books are the fuel that drives kids’ imaginations as they travel back in time through history and archeology to find how the past leads them to the future. 10:30 am. MAD SCIENCE Jun 14 Mad Science provides fun and entertaining activities that instill a clearer understanding of what science is really about, and how it affects the world around us. 10:30 am.
EXPRESS CHILDREN’S THEATER Jul 12 Classic fairy tales we all know and love are told with a unique twist in Father Goose. Meet up with characters like the Three Pigs, the Bear family, Little Red Riding Hood and many more. Very interactive and just plain fun. 10:30 am. JULIAN FRANKLIN Jul 14 Dig Up a Good Book with Simple Machines is an entertaining program that also promotes reading for children. 10:30 am. JUNGLE JIM Jul 19 Jungle Jim brings bugs, both live and dead, from all over the world for this exciting program! 10:30 am. CLAUDE SIMS – JUGGLER Jul 21 Sims entertains with his zany humor, juggling and balancing feats, and audience interaction. 10:30 am. THUNDERBIRD THEATER Jul 26 Sheriff Jack & the Three Little Pigs. 10:30 am. STORYBOOK OPERA Jul 28 Houston Grand Opera’s teaching artists animate children’s stories and mathematical concepts through the words and music of The Dog Who Sang at the Opera. Pasha is a vain wolfhound who upstages the diva one night at the opera – and not just any opera – but the Metropolitan Opera in New York. 10:30 am. All events at Houston Public Library’s Central Library are free. Check their website for additional summer programming. Central Library, 500 McKinney. 832.393.1313. houstonlibrary.org.
calendar is regularly updated. Check online for more info and to purchase tickets. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.4HOUTIX. toyotacentertix.com
HOUSE OF BLUES Jun 3 Bell Biv Devoe Jun 4 Brooke Fraser Jun 8 Buddy Guy Jun 10 Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine Jun 11 The Fab Four – Tribute to The Beatles Jun 12 The Doobie Brothers Jun 15 LG Ones to Watch Presents: Panic At The Disco Jun 16 Average White Band Jun 18 The Bright in the Bronze Peacock Jun 24 Fan Halen featuring Guns 4 Roses Jul 6 Steve Earle and the Dukes (and Duchesses) featuring Allison Moorer Jul 7 Natasha Bedingfield Jul 8 Marc Broussard Jul 10 Cinderella Aug 5 LG Ones to Watch Presents: 100 Monkeys Aug 27 The Go-Go’s HOB’s concert calendar is regularly updated. Check online for more info and to purchase tickets. House of Blues, Houston Pavilions, 1204 Caroline. 888.402.5837. hob.com
CITY HALL FARMERS MARKET
Wednesdays in Jun The market hosts more than 40 vendors around the City Hall Reflection Pool with an array of locally grown fruits and vegetables as well as a variety of prepared lunch items made from local ingredients. Free. Downtown at City Hall, 901 Bagby. Wed 11 am - 2 pm. 832.393.1010. houstonspecialevents.org
FOOD & DRINK LATIN BEATS Through Sep 30 Come for the food and drinks, stay for the free salsa lessons from the pros. Enjoy salsa music from the DJ, with a live band on the last Friday of each month. Houston Aquarium, 410 Bagby. Free. 7-11 pm. 713.223.3474. aquariumrestaurants.com EXHIBITS & VISUAL ARTS CULTURE IN FRONTIER TEXAS Through Sep 4 The rich decorative history of Texas, initially made up of items produced to “make do,” are now actively collected and proudly displayed as “Made in Texas.” The Heritage Society will display objects from its permanent collection and from local private collections in celebration of the rich, diverse culture of frontier Texas. Free. Tue-Sat 10 am-4 pm, Sun 1-4 pm. The Heritage Society Museum, 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org GRANDALISM FEATURING W3R3 Through Jun 11 Houston-based graffiti artist, W3R3, creates large-scale, eye-popping works on the DiverseWorks dock to give viewers a unique look into the fantasy world where letters come alive in a vibrant array of color and movement. Commissioned by DiverseWorks and curated by GONZO247 of Aerosol Warfare. Free. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. 713.223.8346. diverseworks.org THIS IS DISPLACEMENT: NATIVE ARTISTS CONSIDER THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LAND AND IDENTITY Through Jun 11 Featuring the work of nearly 50 contemporary Native American artists from 19 tribal nations across the U.S., this exhibition featuring various disciplines of work relates to experiences of displacement – its effects, ills, joys, discomforts, and never-ending complexities. Curated by Carolyn Lee Anderson and Emily Johnson. Free. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. 713.223.8346. diverseworks.org LUCK OF THE DRAW 10: REVOLUTION Jun 22 It’s time to revolutionize your art collection. DiverseWorks celebrates its 10th annual summer auction with Luck of the Draw 10: Revolution. This annual fundraiser gives art activists a chance to capture amazing art pieces while supporting the transformative art space. 6:30-9:30 pm. Tickets $25-$500; Sponsorships $510-$5,010. DiverseWorks ArtSpace, 1117 East Freeway. 713.223.8346. diverseworks.org
SPORTS HOUSTON DYNAMO For schedule info and tickets, call or check the website. University of Houston Robertson Stadium, 4800 Calhoun. 713.276.7600. houstondynamo.com HOUSTON ASTROS For schedule info and tickets, call or check the website. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. 877.927.8767. astros.com CONCERTS VERIZON WIRELESS THEATER Jun 10 George Lopez Jun 12 Earth, Wind & Fire Jun 17 Lies Chelsea Handler Told Me Tour with Heather, Josh and Brad Jul 25 LG Ones to Watch Presents: Owl City Aug 7 Chicago Verizon’s concert calendar is regularly updated. Check online for more info and to purchase tickets. Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas. 713.230.1600. livenation.com
EXPOS HIGH CALIBER GUN & KNIFE SHOW Jun 4, 5, Jul 30, 31 See hundreds of displays of new and old guns, ammo, gun parts, books, knives, sharpening tools, coins, camouflage and related items at discount prices. Tickets $8. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 281.331.5969. highcalibergunshow.com HOUSTON CAT CLUB 59th ANNUAL CHARITY CAT SHOW Aug 27 - 28 Check out all the latest in cat accessories, cat toys, cat jungle gyms and even a cat obstacle course! Sat 10 am-5 pm, Sun 9 am-4 pm. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. houstoncatclub.com HOUSTON WEDDING SHOWCASE Aug 27 Meet Houston’s top wedding professionals without driving all over town. See spectacular fashion shows, get new ideas and take advantage of expert advice. Tickets $10 (cash only); 12 and under free. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 713.952.5252. houstonweddingshowcase.com TOURS SECOND SATURDAY BUFFALO BAYOU BOAT RIDES Jun 11, Jul 9, Aug 13 These 30-minute pontoon boat cruises are a great way to spend the afternoon with your family and friends. First come, first serve, no reservations, 21-person max per trip. June hours: 10 am-2 pm; Jul and Aug: 5-8 pm. $7 adults and $5 for children 4-12. Sabine Promenade dock along Buffalo Bayou. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org
TOYOTA CENTER Jun 5 R Kelly Jun 10 Motley Crue Jun 11 Luis Miguel Jun 25 NKOTBSB (i.e. New Kids on the Block / Backstreet Boys) Jul 2 Mana Jul 9 Rihanna Jul 13 Britney Spears Jul 23 Sade Jul 29 Katy Perry Toyota Center’s concert
TWILIGHT TOURS ON BUFFALO BAYOU Jun 4, 18; Jul 2, 16; Aug 6, 20 These 30-minute pontoon boat cruises are a great way to see downtown under a moonlit sky. First come, first serve, no reservations, 21-person max per trip. 5-8 pm. $7 adults and $5 for children 4-12. Sabine Promenade dock along Buffalo Bayou. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org
datebook Special Events
BAT TOURS BY PONTOON BOAT Jun 10, 24; July 10, 24; Aug 8, 22 You’ll enjoy an amazing view of the bats’ dusk emergence and learn more about these magnificent flying mammals that share the city with us. Cancellations must take place 48 hours prior to the boat tour. Depart at dusk. $35 adults and $20 for children 4-12. Allen’s Landing, 1001 Commerce. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org
DISCOVER HOUSTON TOURS Ghost tours, tunnel walks and rail tours, architecture tours and more are available. Tour guide Sandra Lord is the resident expert and has been conducting downtown and Houston tours since 1988. Ticket prices vary. 713.222.9255. discoverhoustontours.com
2011 SUMMER NATIONAL SENIOR GAMES
Jun 16-30 Competition will take place in archery, badminton, basketball, bowling, cycling, golf, horseshoes, race walk, racquetball, road race, shuffleboard, softball, swimming, table tennis, tennis, track & field, triathlon and volleyball. Free. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 713.853.8777. NSGA.com/2011-national-games
Park, 501 Crawford. 713.259.8687. astros.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. $10 adults, $8 seniors and free for kids under 18. Tue-Sat 10 am, 11:30 am, 1 pm, 2:30 pm; Sun 1 pm, 2:30 pm. Heritage Society, 1100 Bagby. 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. $9 adults, $7 seniors and $5 for kids 3-14. Mon-Sat 10 am, noon, 2 pm. Minute Maid
TOYOTA CENTER’S BACKSTAGE TOUR The one-hour backstage tour will take you behind the scenes of Houston’s premier destination for sports and entertainment. $7 adults and $5 for seniors and kids 12 and under. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.758.7715. houstontoyotacenter.com SAINT ARNOLD BREWING COMPANY TOURS Come visit Texas’ oldest craft brewery in their new location. Every Saturday, the doors open at 11 am and groups rotate in and out of the facility in an openhouse format until the final group is allowed in at 2 pm. If Saturdays don’t work for you, check out their weekday open house at 3 pm. After the tour, guests are
THIRSTY THURSDAYS Jun 2 Get happy with happy hour specials at Niko Niko’s and live music sponsored by the Houston Press. Free and dog friendly. 5-8 pm. ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE ROLLING ROADSHOW PRESENTS INDIANA JONES & THE LAST CRUSADE Jun 18 In honor of Father’s Day, join Indy Jones and his feisty father Dr. Jones Sr. for a movie in the park. Bring your blankets, fedoras and enjoy a night of adventure in historic downtown Houston. Free and dog friendly. 8 pm. ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE ROLLING ROADSHOW PRESENTS JAWS Jul 13 Cool off with classic beach thriller Jaws. The Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow always brings something extra to the party. Beach blankets and apparel encouraged. MARKET SQUARE PARK BIRTHDAY BASH & NEIGHBORHOOD SHINDIG Aug 28 Come over for some family-friendly fun and celebrate the first anniversary of Market Square Park (of
welcome to stay for a free tasting. $7 adults, all minors under the age of 21 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. No reservations required. 2000 Lyons at I-10. saintarnold.com FREE SELF-GUIDED AUDIO WALKING TOURS Put on your headphones, hit play and let local insiders, captivating voices and an original soundtrack envelop you in stories of Houston’s past and present. No need to worry about which way to go or what to look for, we’ll point out everything along the way. Three tours are available: The Ultimate Downtown Tour, Museum District Walk & Roll and A Walk in the Park: Discovery Green Walking Tour. Tours are free and available to download to your iPod or MP3 player at downtownhouston.org or as a podcast on iTunes. Be sure to also download the accompanying map for reference.
MARKET SQUARE PARK 2011
KAYAK TOURS Jun 18 Celebrate Houston in a whole new way and join the Buffalo Bayou Partnership for a kayak adventure through Houston’s stunning urban wilderness. All equipment is supplied for you including the tandem (twoperson) sit-on top kayaks. 9 am-noon. $60 per person (reservations required). Tour begins at I-610 and Woodway and ends at Allen’s Landing. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org
Summer Calendar the new and improved park, that is). Enjoy some afternoon music, ice cream and bday cake. 2-4 pm. Food and non-alcoholic beverages are welcome in the park. Beer and wine can be bought at Niko Niko’s. Metered on-street parking is available Mon- Sat and is free after 6 pm and all day Sun. $5 parking is available daily at Market Square Garage at 300 Milam. Market Square Park, 301 Milam. marketsquarepark.com
SPECIAL EVENTS 2011 SUMMER NATIONAL SENIOR GAMES FLAME ARRIVAL CEREMONY Jun 16 After an eight-day journey through Texas, the Reliant Energy Torch Relay Across Texas will end at Discovery Green with the AstraZeneca Flame Arrival Ceremony. There will be entertainment, food and drink, music and the lighting of the Games Cauldron, which will burn on the Green during the Games. Fireworks will mark the official beginning of the Games. Free. 6:30 pm. RAINBOW ON THE GREEN PRESENTED BY LAND ROVER HOUSTON CENTRAL Jun 24 Citywide GLBT celebration and concert hosted by Tye Blue and featuring Broadway’s own film and stage actor Anthony Rapp. Show-stopping performances by Houston’s best GLBT recording artists with dancing, GLBT-friendly vendors and more. Cosponsored by mygayhouston.com, OutSmart, Out at TUTS and Bud Light. Free. 8 pm. DOCKDOGS Jul 1-3 DockDogs showcases four-legged athletes from across Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana in high-jump and long-jump competition on a 20-foot dock into a 40-foot pool of water. Pet-friendly vendors round out the scene. Free. Check online for schedule events. ENTERTAINMENT SERIES DISCOVERY GREEN THURSDAY CONCERT SERIES PRESENTED BY CAPITAL ONE BANK Rock out at our free, family-friendly concerts showcasing the best music of Texas and the Gulf Coast. Blankets, lawn chairs and picnics are welcome. Food, beer and wine are available for purchase. No glass containers or outside alcoholic beverages. Free. 6:30 pm. Jun 2 Raul Malo** Jun 9 The Fab 5 and Ted Roddy Jun 23 The Mother Truckers Jun 30 Beans Barton and the Bi-Peds** **Recycle your empty Saint Arnold six-pack carriers for double reward points at this concert.
IKEA HOUSTON SCREEN ON THE GREEN – YOGI BEAR Jun 11 Picnic in the park while you catch up with Yogi Bear, his sidekick Boo-Boo, and Ranger Smith. Free 8:30 pm. ART SERIES AURORA PICTURE SHOW PRESENTS EL GESTO EN EL MOMENTO (THE GESTURE IN THE MOMENT) Jun 3 Groove with Colombian music and short films. Free. 7 pm. KUHF SILENT FILM CONCERT SERIES – DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE Jun 10 Invincible Czars perform an original score to this classic starring the great John Barrymore (1920, 67 min. NR). Free. 8:30 pm. HEALTHY LIVING SERIES DISCOVERY GREEN TOURS PRESENTED BY HOUSTON GREETERS Jun 5 Meet the Houston Greeters in front of the Alkek Building and learn more about the gardens, art, architecture and history of Discovery Green. Free. 1 pm.
URBAN HARVEST FARMERS MARKET AND CRAFT BEER GARDEN Sundays in Jun Peruse this showcase of locally grown produce, artisan breads, and regional goods from area farms and craftsmen. Presented with support from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. Stop by the Craft Beer Garden, taste local micro-brews, listen to live music and chill. Noon-4 pm. STRICTLY STREET SALSA Saturdays in Jun All the music, soul and passion of street-style salsa. Free. 11 am-noon.
RECYCLING SATURDAYS Saturdays Bring your glass, paper, plastic and aluminum to recycle at Discovery Green. Please note: Recycling container is provided by the City of Houston Solid Waste Management. The schedule is subject to change, but park staff will accept your recycling on Saturdays from 10 am-2 pm regardless of whether the container is on site. 10 am-2 pm. White Promenade and McKinney. FITNESS BUM-BA BEFORE YOU ZUMBA Mondays in Jun Tighten and tone your bum and abs, no ifs, ands, or butts about it! Free. 6:30-7:30 pm. FITNESS IN THE PARK – JOYFUL YOGA Tuesdays in Jun A full workout for body, mind and soul. Free. 6:307:30 pm. FITNESS IN THE PARK – ZUMBA! Wednesdays in Jun The exercise craze that has everyone moving to the beat. Free. 6:30-7:30 pm. FITNESS IN THE PARK – SLOW FLOW YOGA Saturdays in Jun The antidote to our fast-paced world. Free. 9:30-10:30 am. FITNESS IN THE PARK – DISCOVERY HOOP DANCE Sundays in Jun Have a blast while burning calories. Free. 10:30-11:30 am. FAMILIES & CHILDREN ALL ABOUT TURTLES Jun 4 Have fun learning about the different species of turtles, their habitats, food and lots of interesting facts about turtles. Free. 1 pm.
FITNESS IN THE PARK – DISCOVERY HOOP DANCE
Sundays through June 29 Have a blast while burning calories. 10:30 – 11:30 am. Free.
HOUSTON AUDUBON SOCIETY Jun 18 Soar into the world of birds and discover how amazing our feathered friends truly are. This program features live birds, lots of hands-on activities, bird songs and dance, fun books and much more! Great for all ages. Free.1 pm. GYMBOREE Jun 21, 28; Jul 6, 13 Storytime presentation with bubbles, finger puppets, and parachute activities. Free. 10:30 am. Free. TEXAS SNAKES AND MORE Jun 25 Educational program about snakes. Children can touch a variety of non-venomous snakes. Free. 1 pm. YOUNG WRITERS WORKSHOPS Saturdays in Jun Writers in the Schools, HPL Express and Discovery Green team up to offer Houston’s only free and open writing workshop for kids. Free. 10:3011:30 am. HOUSTON ZOO MOBILE Jul 2 The world is full of different cool animals. This program discusses the basics of living things and talks about the unique coverings and other traits of each group. Free. 1 pm. JUNGLE JIM Jul 9 Insects from all over the world, large live animals, a collection of preserved animals and lots of snakes. Free. 1 pm. FERRETS AT HPL EXPRESS Jul 9 Members of the Houston Area Ferret Association bring a variety of ferrets to interact with children. Free. 1 pm. ABUBAKR KOUYATE AT HPL EXPRESS Jul 9 Storytelling and drumming. Free. 3 pm. WII GAMING AT HPL EXPRESS Fri-Sun through Jul 31 Come and test your skills and enjoy all the fun and excitement of Wii gaming. Free. 1 pm.
CRAFT TIME FOR KIDS AT HPL EXPRESS Wed-Sun through Jul 31 Craft time can bring together all members of the family. Limited supply, please call 832.393.1375. Free. 3 pm.
Independence Day! Colombian foods, drinks, arts and crafts and an atmosphere fun for the entire family. The main stage will be playing the great sounds of Salsa, Merengue, Reggaeton, Vallenato and more. Noon - 10 pm. Tickets $15 presale; $20 gate.
EVENTS PRESENTED BY… Discovery Green welcomes these public events to the park. Ticket prices may apply.
JULYDOSCOPE - CINEMA ARTS FESTIVAL HOUSTON Jul 30 Mid-summer kaleidoscope of film, music and dance performances, art walk and roller skating. 6-10 pm. screening of Xanadu at 8:20 pm. Free. cinemartsociety.org.
KPRC COMMIT FOR LIFE BLOOD DRIVE Jun 24-25 Help save lives with KPRC Local 2 as they host a blood drive with the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center to help ensure an adequate blood supply during the summer. Individuals who donate or attempt to donate and credit Channel 2 will receive a commemorative blood drive T-shirt. Free. 1-7 pm. TARGET’S GIANT SPRINKLER Jun 24-26 Discovery Green will be home to a supersized sprinkler as part of Target’s mission to Make Summer Funner. Just bring a swimsuit to Discovery Green’s Jones Lawn.11 am-7 pm. Free. UNIVISION COPA AMERICA VIEWING PARTY Jul 12 Watch the rematch of Mexico vs. Uruguay in the quarterfinal of South America’s Copa America. 6:30 pm. Free. COLOMBIAN FESTIVAL Jul 17 Celebrate Colombia’s and Venezuelan’s
INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL Aug 6-7 The Houston International Jazz Festival presents the most exciting Jazz artists from around the world, bringing a diverse mix of styles to Houston. It has established its place among notable events as thousands of loyal fans turn out for smooth Jazz at Discovery Green. 4-10 pm. Tickets $25/$35 presale; $30/$40 at gate. jazzeducation.org. New events are added frequently. Sign up at discoverygreen.com for their weekly email newsletter to learn about all the activities at the park each week. Blankets, lawn chairs and picnics are welcome; food, beer and wine are available at the Lake House. No glass containers or outside alcoholic beverages, please. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney, 713.400.7336. discoverygreen.com
The Guide to eating downtown
Angie Bertinot & Lauren Covington
The Shops at Houston Center So many choices, so little time, Whether you're craving Mediterranean, barbecue or a midday sweet, you'll find it at The Shops' food court. Page 43.
L17 Restaurant New American Found in the lobby of the luxurious Alden Hotel, this lush and lavish destination oozes elegance. Detailed American cuisine and smart service make this a restaurant of note. aldenhotels.com. Alden Hotel, 1117 Prairie, 832.200.8800. L by reservation only; D Daily. $$$$ L Andalucia Restaurant & Bar Tapas/Spanish Dim lighting, large wooden tables and heavy iron accents provide for a cozy, rustic atmosphere. The menu features large dishes, such as paella for up to 16 people, and tapas that range from the traditional such as gambas al ajillo (shrimp cooked in olive oil and garlic) and empanadas, to veal tongue and oxtail. andaluciatapas.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, 832.319.1200. L Mon-Fri, D Mon-Sat. $$ L Artista American Artista offers inspirational contemporary American cuisine and theatrical ambiance with high ceilings, glass walls and sweeping views of the Houston downtown skyline. cordua.com. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby, 713.278.4782. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat (Open for L & D on Sunday only if a theater performance is scheduled). $$$ Atrium Lobby Lounge Contemporary Located inside the Doubletree Hotel overlooking Allen Center courtyard. Relax after a busy day and enjoy your favorite beverage or a bite to eat while you catch up on the day’s news on the wide screen TV. Doubletree Hotel, 400 Dallas, 713.759.0202. L, D & LN Daily. $$ L Azuma Sushi & Robata Bar Japanese/Sushi Voted “Best sushi in Houston” by Citysearch.com, this new-age 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. $$ L BB’s Café Cajun A relaxed café atmosphere with a menu of “Tex-Orleans” fusion food, which includes nearly two dozen overstuffed signature po’ boys, mouth-watering Mexico City-style tacos, homemade gumbo and more. bbscafe.com. 509 Louisiana, 713.236.8269. L, D. $ Ballpark Café American Enjoy the all-American cuisine and a nostalgic atmosphere for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just across the street from Minute Maid Park, Ballpark Café is a great place to have a pre/post-game meal. innattheballpark.com. Inn at the Ballpark, 1520 Texas, 713.228.1520. B & L Daily. $ L Benihana of Tokyo Japanese While some restaurants allow their guests to view the kitchen, this Japanese grill brings the kitchen to you. Benihana chefs set up shop right in front of your table. The meal is made from scratch, and you can witness the entire show. benihana.com. 1318 Louisiana, 713.659.8231. L & D Daily. $$$ 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. $$ L Bistro Lancaster New American Located in the historic Lancaster Hotel, this cozy getaway is a great place to dine before catching a show in the Theater District. You’ll find hearty soups, sizzling steaks and savory seafood. thelancaster.com. Lancaster Hotel, 701 Texas, 713.228.9502. B, L & D Daily. $$$$ new! Blue Fish Sushi Japanese Not your typical Japanese restaurant. Don’t expect small, minimal décor. Be prepared for innovative sushi in a high-energy atmosphere at Bayou Place. thebluefishsushi.com. 550 Texas, 713.225.3474. D Mon-Sat; L Mon - Fri. $$ L 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. $
Bon Jour Café Deli Offering soups, sandwiches and salads. 945 Capitol , 713.237.0419. B & L Mon-Fri. $
Domino’s Pizza 804 Main, 713.227.3030. $
Bouray’s Burrito Bar Fast Food A burrito bar with tons of ingredients and sides that allow you to create the burrito of your dreams. bourays.com. 609 Clay, 713.652.5999. L Mon-Fri. $
Don Patron Bar & Grill Mexican Good Mexican food and margaritas, Don Patron is great for lunch and a good spot for an after-work happy hour. Available on weekends for private parties. donpatron.com. 500 Dallas, One Allen Center.B, L & D Mon-Fri. $$
Brazos Restaurant American Upscale seafood and casual American fare come together in a Texas-chic atmosphere. Newly refurbished, black booths and white tablecloths offer elegance and décor not typically found in hotel restaurants. Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1700 Smith, 713.495.7854. B, L & D Daily. $$$
L 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. $$
L Brown Bag Deli Fast Casual Located in the Houston Club building, Brown Bag Deli serves up tasty, fresh sandwiches “just like you like it.” Known for its fluffy, soft bread you won’t be disappointed and neither will your wallet. thebrownbagdeli.net. 810 Capitol, 713.224.7000. L Mon-Fri. $
Downtown Donuts Bakery This little shop puts out a large assortment of breakfast goodies. Daily fresh baked choices include glazed, iced or filled donuts, bear claws, cinnamon rolls and turnovers and they also have kolaches—be sure to try the spicy boudin kolache. 1207 Prairie, 713.236.0500. B & L Mon-Fri. $
Burger King Fast Food 810 Capitol, 713.223.4114. B & D Mon-Sat; L Daily. $
Downtown Hunan Café Chinese Fast casual spot offering all your Asian favorites. 613 Clay, 713.759.0515. L Mon-Fri. $
B.U.S. Sports Grill and Bar American The ultimate hangout spot before or after a ballgame. Come and enjoy your favorite cold beverage or bite to eat while cheering the home team to victory. B.U.S. is also a great place to catch the latest sporting event on the big screen! Two locations. Before/after Rockets games, 1410 Bell. Before/after Astros games, 1800 Texas. $ L Byrd’s Market & Cafe American Byrd's features a chef- driven, casual dining menu. Also, a prepared food market where you can find freshly baked breads and pastries and a limited selection of wines, grocercy essentials and basic household necessities. Grab a seat on the mezzanine level, overlooking Main Street and enjoy a butternut squash roasted pork sandwich with sweet potato fries! byrdsmarket.com. 420 Main, 713.225.0100. B & L Daily; D Mon-Fri. $ Cabo Mexican The “Mix-Mex” grill is a spicy blend of South and Central American flavors. A fun downtown spot with the ultimate outdoor balcony for dining overlooking the historic streets of downtown. cabomixmex.com. 419 Travis, 713.225.2060. L & D Mon-Sun; LN Mon-Sat. $$ 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. $$ L Cafe Express Fast Casual Need to grab a quick lunch? Cafe Express is an informal yet sophisticated choice. One of the originals in the fast casual restaurant category, you can always find a variety of delicious entrees, salads and sandwiches. cafe-express.com. 650 Main, 713.237.9222. B & L Mon-Sat; D Mon–Fri. $
L 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 greattasting fries, Eats makes for a great lunchtime stop. Guests can make their burgers exactly how they like them. 804 Milam, 713.223.3287. L Mon-Fri. $ new! Einstein’s Bagels Deli Known as great place to grab freshly-baked bagels and coffee for breakfast, but also serving up delectable lunch choices that included paninis, melts and pizza bagels. Be an office hero and use the catering service to treat your work pals. einsteinbros.com. 1200 Louisiana. Mon-Sun B & L. $ L El Rey Taqueria Cuban/Mexican This fast casual Cuban and Mexican eatery is home to tasty plantains and juicy roasted chicken. El Rey opens early for those craving breakfast tacos and is open late on weekend nights for night owls craving a Cuban sandwich. elreytaqueria.com. 233 Main, 713.225.1895. B & L Mon-Fri. $ new! ERA Italian/American Located at Market Square, this new joint serves up pizzas, salads and sandwiches inspired from all over the world. Try the Tai Thai pizza for a taste of Asia or the Meat-Head if you’re looking to pack protein. era809.com. 809 Congress, 713.225.1066. L & D Mon-Sat. $
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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 MonFri; D Daily. $
These listings are not reviews but are a guide to downtown dining spots. "Recommended" restaurants are selected by Downtown Magazine editors and are based on food quality, menu selection, service, ambiance and value.
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. $
L recommended new! just opened
new! Convey Sushi A very cool new sushi spot located at Market Square. The same owner as next door neighbor, Les Givral’s Kahve, Convey is affordable sushi. A conveyer belt, thus the name, runs down the center of the bar or you can also get table service. Lots of natural light and a modern aesthetic make this a feel-good neighborhood restaurant. conveysushi.com. 803 Congress, 713.518.7219. L & D daily. $$ L 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. $
average price of an entrée $ - $10 or less $$ - $11-$19 $$$ - $20-$29 $$$$ - $30+ B: Breakfast L: Lunch D: Dinner LN: Late Night
>For a searchable database of downtown
Houston restaurants by cuisine, location and price, visit downtownhouston.org and click on Dining.
The Shops at houston center
1200 Mckinney shopsathc.com
FOOD COURT MECCA
A trip to The Shops is more than just lunch By Lauren Covington Maybe you’ve stood in line for Doozo’s famous dumplings. Or perhaps you’ve sat down at Potbelly Sandwich Shop enjoying a pizza sandwich while listening to live music. If you’ve ever worked in central downtown, chances are you’ve lunched at The Shops at Houston Center. With more than 30 food options and several internationally inspired cuisines, The Shops is the ultimate spot to grab quick breakfast or lunch. In December 2010 the food court started changing. The carpet was replaced, six plasma TVs were installed and 24 comfortable booths were added. Each booth is equipped with bar-height glass counters and stools, breaking up the space and providing a more intimate dining experience for customers. The seating increased from 600 to 720; providing more spots for the food court’s 6,000 daily visitors.
“Seven people from one office can swing by for lunch, each eating to their own preference. Everybody’s happy and everyone can still sit together,” said Robert Hustwit, The Shops’ senior property manager. “Often, they’ll take their lunch back to the office, which is why we’ve introduced concepts that include catering options such as d’lish and Otto’s Barbecue.” A few years ago, The Shops was only familiar with the office crowd. These days, families pop in from Discovery Green to get Freshii’s made-to-order salads, Chick-fil-A or Au Bon Pan; choices to please mothers and children alike. Word got around fast to the students of neighboring South Texas College of Law about the free Wi-Fi. With a dozen places serving breakfast (including Ninfas for breakfast tacos!), two Starbucks and newcomer Robek’s Juice, the food court is the perfect place to hunker down and get work done at any hour. The next big thing for The Shops? Treebeards and Tejas Grill & Sports Bar are both slated to open in June. “Customers jump out of their seats when they ask about Treebeards,” says customer relations manager, Karen Stewart. “We couldn’t be more excited to have them join The Shops’ lineup and Tejas Grill will be a great addition as one of downtown’s few sports bars.” The good stuff doesn’t stop at breakfast and lunch. Satisfy your sweet tooth with frozen yogurt from Robek’s Juice or earn some brownie points at the office by bringing back a cookie cake from Great American Cookie. Any way you cut it, The Shops at Houston Center provides endless possibilities that hit the spot. downtownhouston.org
plate Falafel Frenzy Mediterranean This quaint spot serves up all your Mediterranean favorites, including beef and chicken kabobs, hummus and of course falafel. 914 Prairie, 713.237.8987. L Mon-Fri. $ L 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. $ L 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. $ L The Grove American Rustic This two-story, ultra-urban restaurant is found at Discovery Green, downtown Houston’s newest park. The menu features rustic American cuisine such as Gulf Coast seafood, steaks and signature rotisserie dishes. The Tree House roof deck bar features casual bar snacks and a see-and-be-seen atmosphere for cocktails. grovehouston.com. Discovery Green, 1611 Lamar, 713.337.7321. L & D Daily. $$$ L 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. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, 713.650.0101. L & D Daily. $$ Hard Rock Café Classic American What do you get when you mix a music-themed diner with an All-American menu? Hard Rock is a great family-friendly spot serving up items such as burgers, nachos and chicken varieties. hardrock.com. Bayou Place, 570 Texas, 713.227.1392. L, D & LN Daily. $$ L 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. $$ Home Plate Bar & Grill Classic American A great hangout spot before or after an Astros ballgame. Enjoy American food with all menu items (except for sampler platters) less than $10. homeplategrill.com. 1800 Texas, 713.222.1993. L & D Daily (may close earlier during offseason so call first). $ Hong Kong Diner Chinese A favorite of downtown locals, Hong Kong Diner will not disappoint with its expansive menu and delicious chef’s specials. Be sure to try the dumplings. 909 Franklin, 713.236.1688. L & D Mon-Sat. $ L House of Blues Southern Classic HOB serves Southern-inspired signature classic dishes such as voodoo shrimp, Tennessee baby back ribs and the Cajun classic, Creole jambalaya. Praise the Lord and pass the biscuits, you can’t miss House of Blues’ famous Sunday Gospel Brunch. hob.com. Houston Pavilions, 1204 Caroline, 888.402.5837. L & D Daily. $$ Houston Tamales Factory Mexican Family recipes made with fresh ingredients. Great breakfast tacos and of course the tamales are the specialty of the house. houstontamalesfactory.com. 1205 Travis. B & L Mon-Sat. $ L Hubcap Burger Grill American Classic Small but quaint burger joint. 1111 Prairie, 713.223.5885. L Mon-Sat. $ Humble Cafe American The Humble Cafe 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. $ L Hunan Downtown Chinese You’ll be impressed by the elegant décor, and their Chinese cuisine is as impeccable as the restaurant itself. Guests can indulge
in traditional favorites or try new creations. 812 Capitol, 713.227.8999. L & D Mon-Sat. $$ L Irma’s Mexican Irma Galvan has been crowned Houston’s Tex-Mex goddess. This authentic spot is a longtime favorite among Houston politicos and downtown business people. Traditional, home-cooked Mexican cuisine is served for breakfast and lunch on weekdays. 22 North Chenevert, 713.222.0767. B & L Mon-Fri; D Thu-Sat. $$ L Irma’s New 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. Open on Astros baseball game days and nights three hours before first pitch. $$ Jason’s Deli Deli Order to please, Jason’s will make your sandwich or salad exactly how you like it. jasonsdeli.com. 901 McKinney, 713.650.1500. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches Deli All subs are served on your choice of fresh-baked French bread or thick-sliced 7-grain bread or try the low-carb lettuce wrap: all the regular sandwich ingredients without the bread. jimmyjohns.com. 820 Main, 713.222.9995. L Mon-Sat. $ Korma Sutra Indian The name comes from the chef’s love affair with fine Indian cuisine. The fine Indian establishment takes a menu-less approach where every dish can be custom ordered to your liking. Wait staff will let you know the daily specials, but if your palate is set on chicken masala or lamb curry, they will happily oblige. We also recommend trying the cilantro-mint limeade! korma-sutra.com. 706 Main, 832.721.9977. L & D Mon- Sat. $$ L The Lake House Fast Casual The Lake House offers 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 amphitheater stage. thelakehousehouston.com. Discovery Green, 1611 Lamar. Tue-Wed 11-3; Thu-Sun 11-8. $ L 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. 1403 Nance, 713.226.8563. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sun; LN Fri-Sat; Bar & Live Music Tue-Sat. $ L 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. $ L Les Givral’s Kahve Vietnamese Winner of the 2006 “City’s Best” award for Vietnamese restaurants in Houston, Les Givral’s offers up a delicious menu and great service. Located in downtown’s historic Market Square. lesgivrals.com. 801 Congress, 713.547.0444. B Mon-Fri; L Mon-Sat; D Fri & Sat. $ new! Latin Bites Café Latin American This place puts a new twist on Latin food from Chef Roberto Castre, whose influences come from Japanese, Chinese and French styles. Find fresh flavors such as Peruvian-style cebiche or Sashimi tiraditio. Tue-Sat; L Tue-Sun. latinbitescafe.com. 1302 Nance, 713.229.8369 $$ Little Napoli Italian Offering southern Italian items in a casual setting, you can opt for indoor seating or take a spot on the large patio right on Main Street. The healthy options, such as whole wheat pizza crust and low-fat cheeses, are a nice touch. littlenapoli.net. 1001 Texas, 713.225.3900. L, D & LN Daily. $$
Luby’s, etc. American Enjoy an incredible view of downtown along with 10 food stations offering a wide variety of goodies: a build-your-own salad bar, made-to-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. $ L Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge American Bowlers and patrons relax on sleek leather couches and enjoy floor-to-ceiling video screens that flash movie clips and music videos as DJs deliver danceable grooves. Delectable munchies are available lane-side and in the lounge. bowlluckystrike.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, Level 3, 713.343.3300. L, D & LN Daily. $$ L Macondo Latin Bistro Latin The menu is a tasty fusion of Latin dishes with a strong influence of Colombian cuisine. Try the migas on an English muffin for breakfast. Macondo also has a full coffee bar, featuring delicious Colombian coffee, a juice bar and a great selection of affordable wines and beers. macondobistro.com. 509 Main, 713.229.8323. B &L Daily; D Fri & Sat. $ Mandarin Hunan Restaurant Chinese This upscale eatery gives its guests an engaging experience in Chinese cuisine. Located in the Skyline District, Mandarin’s floor-to-ceiling glass windows provide a great view of the streetscape. 777 Walker, 713.224.1212. L & D Mon-Fri. $ L Market Square Bar & Grill American This Chicago-style neighborhood hangout is a local favorite. Boasting a handful of “fire-powered” burgers, Market Square offers plenty of reasons to stop by for a meal or drink. The backyard patio, friendly staff and full bar add flavor. marketsquarehouston.com. 311 Travis, 713.224.6133. L, D & LN Mon-Sat. $ L Massa’s Restaurant Seafood An upscale and elegant restaurant offering a fine selection of American and seafood cuisine. Superior service and a great dining atmosphere allow guests to enjoy a memorable experience. massas.com. 1160 Smith, 713.650.0837. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat. $$ L Massa’s Seafood 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 great spot for lunch and dinner. massas.com. The Shops at Houston Center, 1331 Lamar, 713.655.9100. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat. $$ L McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood The extensive menu changes daily depending on each day’s fresh seafood deliveries. With more than 80 preparations on the menu each day, every guest is sure to find something to satisfy their palate. mccormickandschmicks.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 Fannin. 713.658.8100. L & D Daily. $$$ McDonald’s Fast Food 808 Dallas @ Milam, 713.651.9449. B & L Daily; D Mon-Fri. $ L 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. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, 832.319.6675. 320 Main, 713.237.0505 L & D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $$ L Minuti Coffee Coffehouse The coffee is created by a ‘roast master’ in Italy, before making its way into the hands of talented baristas. This is the perfect place to bring the laptop and take advantage of Minuti’s free Wi-Fi. They also have beer and wine, which makes it a perfect pre/post theater spot. Be sure to sample some of the fresh-baked pastries and smoothies, too. minuticoffee.com. 909 Texas, 281.265.3344. B, L, D, LN Sun–Sat. $ Molly’s Pub Pub Fare A good ol’ Irish bar with tasty food to soak up the beer. Your standard pub fare— sandwiches, dogs and pretty much anything that’s not good for you. mollyspubs.com. 509 Main, 713.222.1033. L, D & LN Daily. $ L Morton’s The Steakhouse Steak House This award-winning steakhouse offers an outstanding menu. The downtown location features its new bar
concept, Bar 12•21, which includes an impressive wine and martini menu along with its specially priced “bar bites.” mortons.com. 1001 McKinney, 713.659.3700. D Mon-Sun. $$$$ 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. 601 Jefferson, 713.652.4939. 1021 Main, 713.275.1912. 440 Louisiana, 713.247.9122. B & L Mon-Fri all locations. $ New Orleans Cajun Po-Boy Fast Food A great place to grab a fried shrimp or crawfish po-boy. 648 Polk, 713.750.0007. L Mon-Fri. $ L Niko Niko’s Greek & American Houston icon Dimitri Fetokakis opened his cafe last fall 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. $ L 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. $ Paul’s Snack Shop Deli Sandwiches, salads and snacks to-go.1213 Prairie, 713.224.4701. B & L Mon-Fri. $ L 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. $ Ponte Vecchio Ristorante Italiano Italian Don’t let the cafeteria-style service at Ponte Vecchio fool you, everything is prepared from scratch. You’ll find many delicious, healthy selections on the menu at this luncheon eatery, all at a reasonable price. alpontevecchio.com. 507 Dallas, 713.659.9400. L Mon-Fri. $ Popeye’s Fast Food 1116 Travis, 713.571.8600. L & D Mon-Sat. $ L 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 Sandwich Shop Deli A good little sandwich shop. 421 San Jacinto, 713.223.3913. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Red & White Bistro International A Chef’s Table buffet features a variety of world cuisines and an assortment of delectable desserts. Compliment your meal with a selection from Red & White’s two 1,500-bottle wine towers. houstontoyotacenter.com. 1510 Polk, 713.758.7534. Open 90 minutes prior to the start of Toyota Center events; call ahead for reservations. $$$ The Sam Bar American Casual The Alden Hotel's relaxed dining option where you'll find a breakfast buffet and a great bar menu with tasty appetizers, salads, burgers and sandwiches every day of the week. A good spot for a fast lunch or a bite before the ballgame, you'll also love the happy hour and cocktail offerings. aldenhotels.com. Alden Hotel, 1117 Prairie, 832.200.8800. B, L & D Daily. $$ new Samba Grille South American Samba Grille offers a vast lunch selection of appetizers, homemade soups, fresh salads and choice meats and seafood. At dinner service, gauchos weave their way through the dining room to bring the most exquisite churrascaria service, from their meat-loaded rotisserie spears, directly to the plate. sambagrillehouston.com. 530 Texas at Bayou Place, 713.343.1180. L Mon-Fri & Sun; D daily. $$-$$$
L 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. $$$ SG’s Express Vietnamese Vietnamese You’ll find all your Vietnamese favorites here: vermicelli bowl, the sandwich, egg drop soup, egg rolls and many different smoothie flavors. 1225 Travis, 713.659.0200. L Mon-Fri. $ Shay McElroy’s Pub Fare This authentic Irish pub offers up a menu of appetizers, sandwiches, salads and soups. mcelroyspub.com. 909 Texas, 713.223.2444. L Mon–Fri. $ The Shops at Houston Center Food Court Au Bon Pain, Chick-Fil-A, Chicken Kitchen, d’lish, Doozo Dumpling & Noodles, Droubi Bros. Grill, Freshii, Great American Cookies, Longhorn Uptown Café, Mediterranean Grill, Murphy’s Deli, Ninfa’s, Otto’s Barbeque, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Quizno’s, Robek’s Juice, Roman Delight, Salata, Simon’s Homestyle Café, Starbucks, Subway, Teppanyaki, Wall Street Deli, Wok & Roll. shopsathc.com. 1200 McKinney, 713.759.1442. Mon-Sat, hours vary. $ L Shula’s American Steak House Steak House Dark wood, sports memorabilia and menus hand-painted on official NFL game footballs makes Pro Hall-of-Famer Don Shula’s Steak House stand out from the rest. Become a member of the 48oz Club by finishing a 48-ounce Shula Cut. donshula.com. Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4777. B, L & D Daily. $$$ Skyline Deli Deli With their freshly baked bread, Skyline makes a great deli sandwich. 717 Texas, 713.571.0509. B & L Mon-Fri. $ L 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. 901 Commerce, 713.229.0009. L & D Daily. $$ L Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops Steak House An ideal location to enjoy a great steak, Spencer’s offers top-quality beef and boasts an extensive wine list. The atmosphere is light, engaging and conducive to conversation. Hilton Americas, 1600 Lamar, 713.577.8325. L & D Daily. $$$$ L Spindletop Seafood A favorite Houston seafood restaurant and fine dining experience ideal for birthday parties, family reunions, anniversaries and engagements. Perched on the 34th floor of Hyatt Regency Downtown, this glass-walled restaurant makes one revolution every 45 minutes, ensuring you'll enjoy 360-degree views of the city and all of its famous landmarks. houstonregency.hyatt.com. Hyatt Regency, 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4775. D Tue-Sat. $$$ State Bar Pub Fare Located on the second floor of Post Rice Lofts with a beautiful balcony overlooking Texas Ave., this upscale lounge also serves appetizers and hearty sandwiches with your martinis and margaritas. thestatebar.com. 909 Texas, Suite 2A, 713.229.8888. Mon-Sat. $ L Strip House Steak House Only minutes from the convention center and Toyota Center, Strip House’s mouth-watering steaks are accompanied by a seductive ambiance. Red walls and carpet give this steak palace a unique interior. An international collection of wines puts the finishing touches on the restaurant. striphouse.net. The Shops at Houston Center, 1200 McKinney, 713.659.6000. L Mon-Fri; D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $$$$ Subway Fast Food 405 Main, 713.227.4700. 805 Dallas, 713.651.1331. Daily. $ L Table 7 Bistro American Table 7 Bistro is a combination of an upscale, yet casual atmosphere. The bistro serves a selection of artistically and generously presented cuisine. Happy hour weekdays offer $4 well drinks and $2 domestic beers, and its happy hour all weekend with $2 mimosas all day on Saturdays and Sundays. district7grill.com. 720 Fannin @ The Club Quarters, 713.227.4800. B, L & D Daily. $
Thepthidaa Thai Thai A traditional Thai restaurant located at the ground level of the loft residence Hogg Palace. The warm and cozy atmosphere offers a great setting for a dinner escape and is a local favorite. 401 Louisiana, 713.225.4900. D Daily. $ L III Forks American Upscale, warm atmosphere and impeccable service sets the stage for this sophisticated steakhouse. New York strip and filet mignon, bone-in ribeye, porterhouse, young rack of lamb and veal chop are served with duchess potatoes, off-the-cob cream corn, and perfectly-cooked vegetables. Seafood items include Chilean sea bass, Ahi tuna, salmon, halibut, scallops and lobster tails, which are flown in daily. iiiforks.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, Level 1, 713.658.9457. L Tue–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$$$ L Treebeards Southern A downtown institution for more than 30 years, Treebeards offers tasty Cajun dishes that are sure to satisfy. Favorite menu items include the chicken and shrimp gumbo, red beans and rice and étouffée. For dessert, try the famous butter bar. treebeards.com. 315 Travis, 713.228.2622. Cloisters at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas, 713.229.8248. L Mon-Fri. $ Trofi Restaurant Continental Trofi’s menu is described as Continental with a Mediterranean and Latin flair and the ambience is simple, yet sophisticated. Lunch buffets are available Monday through Friday. 400 Dallas, Doubletree Hotel, 713.759.0202. B, L & D Daily. $$ L Vic & Anthony’s Steak House This world-class steak house is one of the most elegant dining locations in Houston. It boasts rich mahogany woodwork and one-of-a-kind hospitality. Located in the heart of the Ballpark District and across from Minute Maid Park, Vic & Anthony’s is the ideal spot for entertaining business clients, a special celebration or a pre/post-game dinner. vicandanthonys.com. 1510 Texas, 713.228.1111. L Fri; D Daily. $$$$ L Voice Restaurant & Lounge Modern American An award-winning dining experience located in the historic lobby of Hotel Icon’s landmark bank building. The intimate dining room is extravagant, and the exquisite dishes from the Gulf Coast and South Texas emphasize fresh ingredients. A contemporary lounge with a modern setting for cocktails and an elegant after-work meeting place. hotelicon.com. Hotel Icon, 220 Main, 832.667.4470. B Daily; D Mon-Sat. $$$ Warren’s Inn Fast Casual Let the good times roll with a killer jukebox, excellent drinks and a fun, bohemian environment. Quick sandwiches and other items are served during the day; you can order in from nearby restaurants at night if you have the munchies. 307 Travis, 713.247.9207. L Mon-Fri; LN Daily. $ 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. $ Yao Restaurant and Bar Asian The menu at Yao’s is a mix of standard American-Chinese fare, like sesame chicken and kung pao chicken, along with more exotic dishes like braised abalone. Sushi rolls include the Yao Roll, with snow crab and black caviar topped with lobster. yaorestaurant.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 Main, 713.739.9267. L Mon-Fri, D Mon–Sat. $$ Zero’s Sandwich Shop Deli A great little spot for a freshly made deli sandwich. zerossandwichshop.com. 809 Dallas, 713.650.3333. 1110 Lamar, 713.655.7722. 507 Dallas, 713.739.9955. B & L Mon-Fri. $ L Ziggy's Bar & Grill American Ziggy’s offers healthy comfort food in their new Main Street location. Counter service is offered during the day and table service at night. Happy hour specials include pomegranate martinis and Ziggyritas made with fresh citrus juice. The location is conveniently located along the light rail line and just a few short blocks from the Theater District. Brunch Sat & Sun 9-3. ziggysbarandgrill.com. 702 Main, 713.527.8588. B, L & D Daily. $ 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-Fri. $
Looking for a spot to go after a long day or for a fun night out with friends? Check out some of our favorites—from the quintessential dive to swanky lounges, you’re sure to find something that will quench your thirst!
The Brewery Tap | 717 Franklin
Last Concert Café | 403 Nance
Sit at one of the long wooden picnic tables (think biergarten) and chill with one of the 35 beers on tap. Laid-back and friendly, a great place to catch a soccer game and play some darts. Mon-Thu 4-10 pm; Fri & Sat 4 pm-1 am; Sun 4-11 p.m.
One of Houston’s best kept secret treasures! 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 Tue through Sun nights. Tue-Fri 1 am-2 am, Sat 5 pm-2 am, Sun 3-9 pm. lastconcert.com
Chapel Spirits | 534 Texas @ Live! at Bayou Place Chapel Spirits is a sophisticated bar, ideal for happy hour, an engagement party, a bachelor party or late nite VIP experience. Great balcony seating for scenic views of downtown and people watching. chapelspirits.com
Char Bar | 305 Travis Char Bar offers stiff drinks alongside custom suits. Drenched in nostalgia, Char Bar is proud of its history, as reflected in the old photos of family members who have worked in the space since the 1930s. Strike up a conversation with gregarious Weldon Renfro, who has a permanent shoe shine booth at the entrance; he’s never met a stranger. Mon-Wed 10 am–midnight, Thu-Sat 10 am-2 am
Dean’s | 316 Main Part vintage clothing store and part bar. Much of the original building was preserved when the 30s department store was converted into a bar. If you’re lucky, you can snag the table in Houston’s first electric elevator tucked away in the corner. Listen to live music by local artists every night, buy the local art on the walls, sift through vintage clothes and drink frozen cosmos while taking in the everchanging downtown scene. Sun-Wed 8 pm-2 am, Thu-Sat 5 pm-2 am
1820 Bar | 1820 Franklin Located just one block north of Minute Maid Park. Small flat-screen TVs dot the bar, allowing patrons to keep tabs on games while not being the center of attention. This isn’t the place for screaming sports nuts, this is more the place for friends to kick back in the black leather chairs and discuss the game in a civil manner. On the first and last Friday of every month Joystix Classic Games and Pinball next door is opened up and $15 gets you all night to practice your Ms. Pac-Man skills. Daily 4 pm-2 am
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. A cool and relaxed atmosphere along with a hip crowd gives downtown visitors a great place to enjoy the night. 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
House of Blues | 1204 Caroline Street @ Houston Pavilions A well-known national franchise with a lively, fun atmosphere. A 1,500-person concert venue is onsite and some of the best touring shows in the country come through on a weekly basis. A members-only Foundation Room is available for VIPs. Show times and events vary nightly. Call or check out the website for details. hob.com
La Carafe | 813 Congress The oldest building in Houston, this dark and cozy hideaway boasts a great jukebox, moody atmosphere and an extensive beer and wine selection. Sit on the outside patio or balcony and look up in awe at the amazing downtown skyline. Cash only. Mon-Fri noon-2 am, Sat & Sun 1 pm-2 am
Lone Star Saloon | 1900 Travis Located across the street from the main Metro bus station and a few blocks from the Greyhound hub, 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 havebeen-to-hell-and-back stories. Daily noon-2 am
Lucie’s Liquors | 534 Texas @ Live! at Bayou Place Go to Lucie’s for taste of vintage Vegas, quality drinks and a night to remember. The attitude at this place is to remember a time when the Rat Pack was at the top and the ladies called the shots. Great balcony seating for scenic views of downtown and people watching! Tue & Thu 8 pm – 2 am. Fri & Sat 9 pm – 2 am. luciesliquors.com
Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge | 1201 San Jacinto @ Houston Pavilions Swanky upscale bowling alley with a separate restaurant/ lounge area. Bowlers and patrons relax on sleek leather couches and enjoy floor-to-ceiling video screens that flash movie clips and music videos as DJs deliver danceable grooves. Great lunchtime and Sunday brunch bowling specials. Sun-Thu 11 am-midnight, Fri & Sat 11 am-2 am. bowlluckystrike.com
Molly’s Pub | 509 Main This classic Irish pub offers a variety of Irish whiskeys and international beers. Tables and coves lead you to the back, where pool and darts can be found and a second-floor balcony provides excellent views of Main Street and downtown. Daily 11 am-z2 am. mollyspubs.com
Notsuoh | 314 Main The name is Houston spelled backwards. A bar full of random weirdness: Think grunge lounge and artsy. You’ll find people playing chess, and drinking beer, live music, lots of crazy, weird artwork and maybe walk in on a night of punk-rock karaoke. Live bands on weekends. Daily 8 pm-2 am.
both classic and new mixologist creations. Sun-Thu 11 ammidnight, Fri & Sat 11 am-1 am. aldenhotels.com
Sambuca | 909 Texas @ Post Rice Lofts Guests can enjoy live music most nights of the week in this upscale and eclectic environment. The plush interior and elegant design make for an amazing location. Enjoy your favorite drink inside or hang outside on the patio with the locals. Sun-Wed 11 am-midnight, Thu 11 am-1 am, Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat 4:30 pm-2 am. sambucarestaurant.com
Shark Bar | 534 Texas @ Live! at Bayou Place No need to drive to Galveston to get to the beach. This surf bar is an endless party with pail punch, pina coladas and retro dance music that will take you to the North Shore. The surf at Shark Bar is always good and the rum runners are frosty! Great balcony seating for scenic views of downtown and people watching. Thu & Fri 5 pm–2 pm, Sat 9 pm–2 am. sharkbartx.com
Shay McElroy’s Pub | 909 Texas @ Post 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 who enjoy colorful dialogue and witty conversation. Mon-Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat & Sun 1 pm-2 am. mcelroyspub.com
State Bar | 909 Texas @ Post Rice Lofts Located on the second floor of the Rice Lofts, this upscale bar presents a classic richness all its own. Much of the furniture and memorabilia are from the old Rice Hotel’s Capitol Club. Leather couches make for great seating and conversation, while a grand veranda overlooks the city outside. Mon-Fri 3 pm-2 am, Sat 6 pm-2 am. thestatebar.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.
PBR Houston | 534 Texas @ Live! at Bayou Place Cowboy cool meets urban chic in this country bar in the city. Grab a cold beer, hard drinks and try your hand at a little bull riding. This is place is you want to two-step, hang low, or just meet a pretty little lady or urban cowboy. Great balcony seating for scenic views of downtown and people watching. Wed, Fri & Sat 9 pm – 2 am. pbrhouston.com
Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar | 1201 Fannin @ Houston Pavilions Two dueling pianos and a sing-along, clap-along, drinkalong, have-one-helluva-good-time-along bar! Wed-Sat, 7 pm-2 am Wed-Sat 7 pm-2 am, showtime @ 8 pm. petesduelingpianobar.com
The Sam Bar | 1117 Prairie Street @ Alden Hotel Located in the Alden Hotel. This upscale bar is furnished with dark leather banquettes and a menu of 30 cocktails,
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