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WINTER 2019–20









WINTER 2019–20 VOL. 12, NO. 2


Angie Bertinot, Downtown District


Barbara Linkin Mendel, Mendel Creative Solutions


CORE Design Studio

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Holly Beretto Dominique Davison Michael Dorsey John Luedemann Lauren McDowell Shelby Roth


Angie Bertinot 713.650.3022

QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS? Drop us a line at

07 ACCELERATE CHANGE MassChallenge helps innovators bring their ideas to life and is putting Houston on the map when it come to competing with other cities for the best and brightest minds. Meet three entrepreneurs and learn about the game-changing projects MassChallenge has made possible.

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12 CHANGING LANDSCAPE A multiphase transformation of the iconic Allen Center is coming to life with two new dining experiences and the spectacular new C. Baldwin, a luxury hotel named for Charlotte Baldwin Allen—the woman who helped build this city.




At Mendocino Farms, fresh greens and unique twists on sandwich classics combine for an outstanding dining experience.





16 LOOKING BACK With support from:

The Houston Theater District greets the season with holiday classics for the whole family. And meet Alex Navarro, who is lending his considerable talents to both Theatre Under The Stars and Houston Ballet.



The tale of Houston’s past can be found across Downtown—from the storied history of the building now known as the Rice Urban Lofts to the collection of homes in Sam Houston Park. Our feature gives you a glimpse of where we have been and introduces you to some of the men and women who made today’s Houston possible.



BY JOHN LUEDEMANN AND LAUREN MCDOWELL 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.


Winter’s calendar is chock full of performances, holiday events, NBA excitement and the best ice skating in town! We’ve got the scoop on everything you need to start making your plans!


And a Happy New Year! As Houstonians, we pride ourselves on our forward-facing attitudes. We like WE LIKE TO BUILD, to build, to innovate, to embrace change. We see ourselves as doers. After all, this TO INNOVATE, is the city that dredged a ship channel 50 TO EMBRACE CHANGE. miles inland and put a man on the moon. WE SEE OURSELVES In recent years though, we’ve also AS DOERS. come to recognize the importance of our history and how it can inform our decisions for the future. With that in mind, the feature starting on page 16 looks at how some of Downtown’s best-known buildings and spaces came to be, and how they have evolved to meet this city’s changing needs. From Union Station (now known as Minute Maid Park) to Rice Urban Lofts, which sits where Texas built its first Capitol, Houston has stories and places worth knowing. While we look to better understand and preserve our past, we are more committed than ever to cementing our position as a hub for the future. That’s where accelerators like MassChallenge come into play. MassChallenge helps entrepreneurs bring projects to life. Read more about how MassChallenge works and some of the game-changing projects it is supporting starting on page 7. And take a look at the evolution of Allen Center starting on page 12. One of Downtown’s best-known addresses, Allen Center has undergone a spectacular, multiphase transformation that celebrates Houston’s past while ensuring its relevance for decades to come. With a new hotel named for Charlotte Baldwin Allen (who played as critical a role in Houston’s founding as her husband, August) and two signature restaurants, Allen Center is re-establishing itself as a destination for more than just business. Don’t forget to check out our extensive listing of restaurants starting on page 34 and use our calendar of events and activities in datebook on page 44 to plan for the holidays. Be sure to visit us online at, where we always keep you up to date on what’s happening. And thank you for reading downtown!

Bob Eury

Angie Bertinot



ON THE COVER Main Street has changed dramatically since this image was captured ca. 1930s.






Photo by Jeff Fitlow

WINTER 2019–20



Deck the Theater District with boughs of great holiday performances! Theater District Houston organizations are preparing to spread some holiday cheer with some new—and traditional—performances that are sure to leave theatergoers in the festive spirit. From Alley Theatre’s A Christmas Carol to Houston Grand Opera’s El Milagro del Recuerdo/ The Miracle of Remembering these holiday shows have something for everyone. BY DOMINIQUE DAVISON

A L L E Y T H E AT R E continues their familyfriendly tradition with A Christmas Carol—A Ghost Story of Christmas. The re-telling of this Charles Dickens’ classic instills a powerful message about redemption and the spirit of the holiday season. Performances are Nov. 15 through Dec. 29 at the Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. For information, call 713.220.5700 or visit T H E AT R E U N D E R T H E S TA R S will have audiences in laughter with the return of their modern-day Christmas classic Elf—The Musical. Based on the 2003 holiday movie, Elf is a hilarious tale about a young orphan who is mistakenly transported to the North Pole. Buddy is raised unaware that he’s actually a human until his enormous size and poor toy-making skills cause him to face the truth. This warm-hearted Broadway musical is sure to have audiences embracing their inner elf. Performances are Dec. 7–22 at the Hobby Center for Performing Arts, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713.558.2600 or visit SOCIETY FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS has something new in store for their holiday audience with their production of Rudolph the RedNosed Reindeer. This beloved TV classic tells the story of Santa’s ninth reindeer—a young buck who has adolescent antlers and a glowing red nose. See all your favorite characters come to life this holiday season at Jones Hall. Performances are scheduled Dec. 26–27 at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713.227.4772 or visit






Photo by Erick Velazquez



Principle Melody Mennite as Clara. Photo by Amitava Sarkar.

H O U S T O N B A L L E T continues with one of Houston’s most cherished holiday productions, The Nutcracker. Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch’s version of this timeless classic returns to the stage for its fourth year. Let sugar plum fairies, snowflakes, dancing dolls, and a Christmas tree that reaches the sky, fill your head. This popular holiday tale follows Clara and Drosselmeyer as they travel together to the Land of the Sweets where the Sugar Plum Fairy is reunited with her prince—and where the magic happens. With grand sets and stunning costumes, The Nutcracker features the entire company of dancers as well as many Houston Ballet Academy students playing hundreds of fun and exciting roles. Performances are Nov. 29 through Dec. 29, giving the public a month of opportunities to experience this larger than life spectacular! Wortham Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713.227.2787 or visit

H O U S T O N S YM P H O N Y brings two performances to Jones Hall this holiday season—the family-friendly ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and the ever-glorious Handel’s Messiah. Based on the popular Christmas poem, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas features live music and narration plus a sing-along to festive favorites. Children of all ages are welcome to experience this classic story. Families can enjoy a craft station and other musical activities, like the Instrument Petting Zoo, in the Jones Hall lobby. Performances are Dec. 14 at Jones Hall. The holiday season wouldn’t be the same if it didn’t include Handel’s Messiah, a musical rite of the holiday season. This is one performance not to be missed as the Houston Symphony, chorus and guest soloists join forces to fill Jones Hall with joyous refrains and exultant arias, including the powerful Hallelujah Chorus. Performances are Dec. 20, 21, and 22 at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713.224.7575 or visit H O U S T O N G R A N D O P E R A captivates theatergoers this holiday season with their new production of El Milagro del Recuerdo/ The Miracle of Remembering. A world premiere and prequel to the mariachi opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, El Milagro del Recuerdo/The Miracle of Remembering brings audiences back to where it all began, Michoacán, Mexico. Set during Christmas, the opera lovingly explores the themes of traditions, familial bonds, while dealing with life-changing decisions and the dream of something more. Performances are Dec. 5–22 at Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713.228.6737 or visit


Gather the family and don’t miss the excitement of the holiday season in the Theater District!


Photo by Lynn Lane

WINTER 2019–20





Recording artist and Houston native brings his talents to the Theater District

Alex Navarro recently returned to his native city of Houston after almost 20 years working in Los Angeles and New York City. He is serving as resident music supervisor for Theatre Under The Stars, a first in the organization’s history, and as a pianist for the Houston Ballet. How did you begin your career and what lead to your involvement in the arts? I always loved music as a child. At the age of 7, my mother, who encouraged me despite our limited resources, bought me a small keyboard at Sears and I began taking lessons from the pianist at our church in Sugar Land. By the time I was 11, the pianist had retired and since there was no one else who played at the church, I took over her position as church pianist. I attended Elsik High School in Alief and made it my mission to be in anything and everything that involved music. Singing in and accompanying the choirs, playing in jazz band, playing in the pit for our musical productions, and even leading our handbell choir! I credit those early years in church and my musical experiences in high school in paving the way toward a career in music and the ability to work in a wide range of settings with various personalities. What exactly does a music supervisor do? I think this position varies between theater companies, but for Theatre Under The Stars specifically, I contract the orchestra through the local musicians union, I’m involved in the audition process of the actors, accompany rehearsals, conduct and music direct shows, edit and re-arrange / re-orchestrate the music for the orchestra or for the vocalists and work alongside the production and creative team to cover anything music related. How did you find your way back to the Houston Theater District? Summer of 2017, I was still living in New York and was contemplating moving back home. I left Houston after high school and had spent 10 years in Los Angeles and nine in New York City. I planned a trip back home at the end of that summer to meet with some musicians and contacts to get an idea of what work would be available in Houston. So, I was making some good connections, but I wasn’t completely sure if I should move back. At the end of that week, Hurricane Harvey hit. Thankfully, my family’s home was not damaged, but hearing of friends and contacts I had just met with losing their


homes and seeing the devastation throughout the city and in the Theater District broke my heart. But also seeing the beauty of the city coming together truly touched me and was a very powerful example to the entire country on unity and love. Through that tragedy, I fell deeper in love with my hometown and knew then I wanted to return to Houston to be close to family and to give back to a city that had given so much to me. What are you most excited to do in your new role? A goal of mine since returning back to Houston has been to be involved in the artistic community. I am thrilled to have this opportunity through TUTS and to give back to my city, drawing from my career experience while conducting, music directing, arranging, playing, planning … anything that my job involves, knowing that now, I’m doing it for Houston and for Houstonians. You have so many great accomplishments, but which are you most proud of? I began working with Engelbert Humperdinck in 2006 as an arranger and pianist on a project of his. We recorded the orchestra at the Capitol Records Studio in Hollywood. Engelbert later offered me the role of music director for his tour. A few years into the tour, we did a week-long run with the Omaha Symphony with a set that included those arrangements I had written for him. Our last performance fell on my birthday. Seeing the complete fruition of a creation of mine was maybe one of the best birthday gifts. Best career advice you’ve received? Two words…get good! Possibly the best advice I ever received, given to me by a dear mentor, friend and film composer in LA and a piece of advice that I continue to push toward. Which upcoming show are you most looking forward to? I am looking forward to Pure Country. It’s a new work and I always love getting my hands dirty in new projects and being in the trenches with other creatives. Anything you think people should know about being a music supervisor? The title or position requires so many hats and I feel like my entire career has been me going crazy at a hat shop! So in a funny way, it’s as if my 20 something years away, have prepared me for Houston and for this role specifically. Unsolicited advice to musicians—challenge yourself to be able to do any number of things, or more simply said, always say yes when an opportunity presents itself.

Photo by Trish Badger


In the world of innovation funding MassChallenge is a big deal, coming up in conversations alongside Techstars and Y-Combinator, and it’s poised to be yet another game-changer in Houston’s ever-evolving innovation ecosystem. One of MassChallenge’s greatest selling points is that it does not take equity from participants. Relying instead on government grants and funds from philanthropic and corporate partners, for startups looking to change the world, it’s an ideal situation to allow for growth without sacrificing ownership. That’s just one reason Central Houston, in partnership with the Downtown Redevelopment Authority and City of Houston, worked hard to bring the Boston-based accelerator to Downtown Houston in early 2019. City leaders knew MassChallenge Houston’s success wouldn’t just reflect the strength of innovation in the local market

but would also showcase how Houston complements innovator-friendly Austin, and eventually Dallas and San Antonio, making Texas competitive with powerhouses California and New York. Luckily for the MassChallenge Houston team, their inaugural (albeit abbreviated) cohort met and exceeded their standards. What started with 286 competitive applications became 25 teams that set the stage for their first full-length program, slated to start in 2020. Here’s what the newest companies can expect for the next round.

WINTER 2019–20




It all starts with a simple application that takes around 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Because MassChallenge is a nonequity accelerator, the selection criteria focus on more than just potential profitability. “What we want to know is, is the idea a game-changer? Will it create massive impact?” says Jon Nordby, managing director of MassChallenge Houston. “We want to know, how are you thinking about changing the world, and how big is the problem you're addressing? Can you execute on your plan, and is it sustainable?” Understanding how MassChallenge can help companies overcome obstacles and progress to the next stage is also helpful. A minimum of five judges reviews each application, and every startup gets feedback from experts. That means companies get feedback from five experts for free, just for applying.

After making the initial cut, participants attend an orientation the first week to learn the mechanics of the MassChallenge program. Because the companies are still running their businesses while participating, cohort members can choose to come into the office or attend sessions remotely in the following weeks. Sessions consist of content focused on topics like sales and marketing, legal and IP issues, early product validation, and industry-specific notes. But, according to Nordby, “The heart and soul of the process is the mentor connections.” “In the first week of boot camp, mentors show up and meet the companies, and the mentor matching is an ongoing thing. Startups can see all the mentors in the network, so they have the ability to reach out and set up sessions,” says Nordby. In addition to these experts, the MassChallenge staff provides office hours to participants to help them figure out where their challenges are, find the right mentors and work to connect them to the right people. According to Nordby, “Feedback has shown that's the most valuable thing ... the strongest value proposition to a lot of startups is the mentorships, and we are very specific about our partners.” At the end of the program, each startup, called a finalist, participates in a pre-final judging that consists of a 20-minute pitch. Based on scores and feedback from the judges, a variable number of finalists are selected, based on the strength of their pitch, the impact of the company, and what they gained from the program. Cash prizes go to the top teams, and judges decide who wins and how much each team receives. One to five cash winners are typical, though the number fluctuates between cohorts. Teams that don’t receive a cash award are eligible to reapply for another MassChallenge competition. From that first list of impressive applicants, we spotlight the three finalists that continue to make waves.



Photos by Meilin Hyde

Like companies, experts also apply to MassChallenge. They indicate which programs they're interested in and what they want to do (that could include mentor, judge, or speaker). When the judges' feedback is in, the MassChallenge staff looks at the scores and invites the top 30-35 percent of applicants to come in for round two in person, where they’ll have 20 minutes to pitch their companies and engage in a question-and-answer session with three to five judges. Judging panels are made up of experts in their industries, paired with companies pitching in specific sectors like health tech, energy, or consumer-packaged goods, to name a few. At the end of this judging cycle, expert feedback will determine the finalists invited to the cohort, less than 10 percent of original applicants.

NEURORESCUE A (LITERALLY) COOL COMPANY With nearly 20 years of experience as a paramedic and firefighter, it should come as no surprise that Rob Maher has a genuine interest in helping others. An inventor and serial entrepreneur based in central Ohio; Maher saw the shortcomings of using traditional cold packs to maintain a patient's body temperature following a cardiac arrest.

“We came right in as a new startup company and had all the resources comparable to any other big city” —Rob Maher

He began his development of a cerebral cooling cervical collar in late 2010, and ultimately partnered with two area neurosurgeons, Dr. Phillip Immesoete and Dr. Christian Bonasso, in search of a solution. “We came together because we wanted to solve a common problem in both the prehospital and hospital space, which is cooling patients post-cardiac arrest,” Maher explained. “For the first time, our product allows EMTs and paramedics in the field to do that, while seamlessly transitioning to the hospital for follow-on care.” The trio co-founded NeuroRescue, and after extensive research and development, including multiple prototypes, they began the arduous process of gaining FDA approval for the device in late 2014. After winning Accelerate South in 2018, NeuroRescue relocated its headquarters to Lafayette, Louisiana, to take advantage of the momentum and relationships it had developed. “We were able to capture a testing facility for when a trial is needed, we were able to partner with the medical director of Acadian, the second-largest ambulance company in the United States, and we were able to secure a lot of champions around our device and our team,” Maher said. The success led them to participate in the recent MassChallenge in Houston, where the company saw an incredible opportunity awaiting them in the Texas Medical Center. However, what they found was something different. “It was here in Houston that we were encouraged to shift our go-to-market strategy to a sports line,” said Maher.

Despite their progress, the FDA approval process was seen as holding back more immediate potential. “When we began speaking to investors, they saw that as a hurdle,” he explained. “So, we'll be going to go to market with a sports line intended to cool athletes on the sidelines and increase their performance by keeping them comfortable. It will allow us to drive positive revenue to the company and return to investors on a shorter timeline, while we continue to pursue our previous medical indications.” The decision to shift their short-term focus was only reinforced by the Houston Texans' involvement as a sponsor of MassChallenge. NeuroRescue plans to participate in the sports vertical cohort next year. “The Texans are a leader in health and innovation and safety for their players, and throughout the league,” Maher said. “So, we hope to begin working with them diligently when we take the athletic piece to market.” “We came right in as a new startup company and had all the resources comparable to any other big city,” added Soeder. “And with MassChallenge, you are in the database for life. In addition to all the local partners that we were connected with, any resource you need worldwide, you can go into the portal, and find someone that can help you.”

WINTER 2019–20


NOLEUS TECHNOLOGIES, INC. THE DOCTOR WILL SEE YOU NOW, IN THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPACE In the early aughts, Dr. Swarna Balasubramaniam hesitated to pursue an idea she had for a new surgical technology, only to see someone else develop a similar concept into a successful product. So, when inspiration struck again in 2015, she was determined not to let it pass her by.

“It was an opportunity to tap into a larger network and a little bit different mentorship network, and it has really worked out well.” —Dr. Balasubramaniam


Dr. Balasubramaniam's latest vision, a temporary implant that prevents swelling in the intestinal wall after abdominal surgery, was born out of the frustration that she repeatedly saw in her Sugarland surgical practice. A visit to an experienced patent attorney confirmed her idea's potential and placed her on the path to creating Noleus Technologies, Inc., which ultimately became her full-time focus. “We made a little prototype, and then we started showing it to people. And at that point, we got a lot of positive reinforcement,” explained Dr. Balasubramaniam. “I just kept developing it until it got to the point where basically, in 2018, I had to cut my practice back to half-time. And then, I had to go one way or the other. I couldn't do both, and so I had to stop practicing.” Following success at several accelerators and business plan competitions, Dr. Balasubramaniam saw MassChallenge as an opportunity to expand her contacts beyond the life sciences startup community and introduce Noleus to a different audience of advisors and investors. “It was an opportunity to tap into a larger network and a little bit different mentorship network, and it has really worked out well. And, I think that was a pretty good lesson for me that you shouldn't write off people who aren't necessarily life science investors, because everyone has friends here and there, doing different things,” she said. She also appreciated the value that came with meeting fellow entrepreneurs from as far away as Israel, Switzerland and Korea, and

sharing experiences and feedback among the cohort. The addition of MassChallenge to Houston's entrepreneurship scene was reflective of the remarkable growth in resources that Dr. Balasubramaniam has seen in the five years since founding Noleus Technologies. “When I had this idea in 2015, the entrepreneurial community was just so tiny and nascent. And now it has grown by leaps and bounds. I mean, there was no talk about it before. You could barely find any information on it. And now when you search Houston entrepreneurship, there's like a gazillion hits,” she said. Having visited some of the country's best cities for startups in her role as founder of Noleus, Dr. Balasubramaniam sees the city where she got her entrepreneurial start continuing to trend upward. Currently, Noleus Technologies is progressing on the long path toward FDA approval, with pre-clinical and animal trials underway, and is finalizing plans for its next round of funding. Thankful that she followed through on the pursuit of her idea, Dr. Balasubramaniam's detour from practicing physician to entrepreneur has come with at least one surprise. “I didn't expect to enjoy it this much. I'm just having a great time doing it,” she said. “And I think that is a credit to all of the people who are very generous with their time and support. I mean, that's what entrepreneurship is, and I try to pay it back to other people who are starting up by being willing to give them a hand, because that's how you get started.”

SENSYTEC TWO UH ALUMNI CEMENT A SUCCESSFUL FUTURE In the wake of the 2010 Macondo blowout and resulting BP oil spill, the University of Houston received Department of Energy funding to search for technologies that could prevent similar disasters in the future.

“So, you have so many specialty experts in this city, and we’re moving toward figuring out a way to get everybody in the same room and working together.” —Ody De La Paz Co-Founder of Sensytec Inc.

By 2015, two of the university's students, Ody De La Paz and Anudeep Maddi, had become intrigued by the potential of intellectual property resulting from that effort. Participating in a collaborative program within the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, business student De La Paz and engineering student Maddi teamed up to test the market viability of one of UH’s resulting technologies. “So, we put a plan together, and we went out and competed in various business plan competitions around the nation,” explained De La Paz. “We won a couple of them and took second or third in others, so we were pretty successful at that.” Based on their success, the pair received an opportunity to license the intellectual property from the University of Houston and pursue a commercialization strategy, leading to the creation of Sensytec. Currently, the company offers two products that enhance quality control and monitor cement and concrete structures. Smart Cement features the technology licensed from the University of Houston. It combines a proprietary additive and hardware to send and receive electrical frequencies via steel rebar. The accompanying software can analyze the data in real-time to monitor the concrete and identify problems throughout the life of the structure. The company's other product, Sensyroc, offers short-term monitoring using wireless sensors embedded in the concrete to provide feedback on strength and quality during the early phases of construction.

Following their participation in an energy accelerator in Norway, Sensytec saw Houston’s MassChallenge event as an opportunity to get better plugged into what they consider the company's hometown. The experience showcased the entrepreneurial diversity that De La Paz believes is a strength the city can capitalize on going forward. “I can be talking to an aerospace engineer one day, and a neuroscientist the next,” he said. “So, you have so many specialty experts in this city, and we're moving toward figuring out a way to get everybody in the same room and working together.” As for Sensytec, De La Paz and his co-founder are working to raise awareness of their products through partnerships and effective distribution channels, while continuing their efforts to develop additional industry solutions. While De La Paz sees the technology as a way to address problems as ubiquitous as potholes, particularly in environments like Houston where temperature fluctuations and flooding are common, he knows it has a much more impactful role to play in the industry. Hopefully, by preventing tragedies like the one that inspired its origins.

WINTER 2019–20


By Michael Dorsey

Anyone looking for further evidence of Downtown Houston’s lifestyle evolution need look no further than Exhibit A. As in Allen Center. The iconic complex that towers over Smith and Dallas streets on the western edge of Downtown has been home to three office buildings for nearly half a century on a city block designated for working and named for the New York real estate speculators who rolled the dice on a seemingly uninhabitable swath of land 50 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. That was before Brookfield Properties began transforming the campus into a vibrant mixeduse destination made for eating, drinking, sleeping and all around merry-making—further solidifying Downtown’s growing reputation as one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the city.


“C. Baldwin represents the best of what downtown Houston has become while recognizing the women intertwined in its history,” As it happens, women loom large in the multiphase transformation of the newly modernized Allen Center, starting with C. Baldwin—a hyper-localized luxury hotel brand located in the former Doubletree Houston Downtown inspired by Charlotte Baldwin Allen, the unsung Houston hero who used her inheritance to finance pretty much everything needed to start a city from scratch in a mosquito-infested swampland. Considered by some to be the city’s third founder, Charlotte Allen has long been overshadowed by her more buzzed-about husband—math-teacher-turned city co-founder August Chapman (A.C.) Allen and his 26-yearold younger brother, hat salesman John Kirby Allen. Together with A.C.’s wife Charlotte, the Allen Brothers boldly traversed the banks of Buffalo Bayou by steamer boat and onto their eponymous landing with promises of rolling hills, flowing rivers, oceanfront views, and 1836style American dreams. Dubious marketing tactics aside, John Kirby’s premature demise of bilious fever and A.C.’s early exit on a one-way ticket to Mexico would make the quietly resolute Charlotte suddenly rich, secretly single and the primary financial driver of the lawless muddy town’s entire construction industry. Though she couldn’t own land at the time as a woman, it was Charlotte who bankrolled the city’s navy before building the short-lived Capitol of the Republic of Texas. When the state capital moved to Austin in 1939, Charlotte breezily repurposed the Capitol of the Republic into the Capitol Hotel, later selling it for a handsome profit to Rice Institute founder William Marshall Rice, who added a five-story annex and rebranded into—you guessed it!— the Rice Hotel. Had she accepted her friend Sam Houston’s suggestion to decree Houston Charlottesville rather than suggesting a more famous name that would better serve the greater good, Charlotte Allen’s brand awareness might have taken a much different trajectory. Until now.

Photo by Jenn Duncan

CHARLOTTE Enter C. Baldwin—a new hospitality concept that pays homage to the kick-ass woman former Houston First Lady Andrea White says Charlotte actually was. The 354-room contemporary show palace includes 14,000 square feet of meeting space surrounded by abundant green space and a celebrity chefdriven restaurant plus lobby bar—all of which launched in a manner befitting its namesake with an invitation-only bash in October that attracted more than 2,000 movers and shakers representing the who’s who of Houston and firmly positioning the property as the undisputed social anchor of the reimagined Allen Center in the process. “C. Baldwin represents the best of what Downtown Houston has become while recognizing the women intertwined in its history,” said Maggie Rosa, general manager, C. Baldwin. “A concerted effort was made not only to involve female decision makers in the hotel’s development, but to also create spaces that would appeal to the female traveler while naturally intriguing their male counterparts.” Like its namesake, C. Baldwin is a monument to strong female visionaries brought to life by internationally renowned Lauren Rottet of Rottet Studio in addition to award-winning ROHE Creative’s Kate Rohrer, who created a vibrant aesthetic for the hotel’s 145-seat restaurant, Rosalie Italian Soul.

WINTER 2019–20


Chef Chris Cosentino

“I’m taking a lot of the dishes that I grew up with and breathing in a little bit of new life for this little region of Italy known as Houston.”

Photo by Julie Soefer Photography

ROSALIE The brainchild of Top Chef Masters winner Chris Cosentino and business partner Oliver Wharton, Rosalie is named for the chef’s great-grandmother Rosalie Cosentino, a firstgeneration Italian immigrant who inspired his career in cooking. Think classic red-sauce dishes, pizzas, house-made foccacia, freshmade pastas and family-style plates like bistecca Fiorentina and whole chicken Milanese. “This menu represents immigrant cuisine in America,” said Cosentino. “When Italians immigrated to the U.S., it was difficult to acquire the same product that they had at home in Italy, which is why Italian American food was created. Ingenuity happened. I’m taking a lot of the dishes that I grew up with and breathing in a little bit of new life for this little region of Italy known as Houston.”


To that end, Cosentino collaborated with Philadelphia-based Rohrer on an Italian midcentury design to create a dining experience that weaved together Rosalie Cosentino’s 1970s-era kitchen with the comforts of home by using contrasting materials, geometric forms and timeless accessories to showcase an eclectic but elevated concept. Hollywoodstyle booths overlook the room from a raised platform in the main dining room while the custom walnut shelving displays retro TVs, vinyl records, receivers, boom boxes and art that speak to Cosentino’s childhood. Banquettes featuring denim-inspired upholstery and 10 hand-embroidered rose and floral patches by Canadian artist Sam Eldridge round out the room.

GRACE Cosentino isn’t the only celebrity chef tapped for the reimagined lifestyle destination. Denverbased Troy Guard of TAG Restaurant Group has just opened his modern American steakhouse Guard and Grace in the glass box at One Allen Center. The Hawaii native first earned his culinary stripes under the tutelage of longtime mentor, the legendary chef Roy Yamaguchi, before putting down roots in Denver where he launched his first restaurant—TAG—in 2009. The prolific chef/restaurateur now owns and operates nine brands in 11 locations under the TAG umbrella, including TAG Burger Bar, Los Chingones, FNG, Mister Tuna and HashTAG, but he chose Guard and Grace for his first venture outside the Mile High City—no doubt a result of Houston’s insatiable appetite for all things steak. “Everyone I’ve met in Houston has been so welcoming and hospitable, and I love the diversity more than anything. It’s a melting pot of cultures from so many different countries, and I love exploring different neighborhoods trying authentic Thai, Ethiopian, Cajun, and on and on like that,” said Guard.

Chef Troy Guard

Named after Guard’s daughter Grace, Guard and Grace at One Allen Center is double the size of the original Denver location, making its Houston outpost Guard’s most ambitious restaurant to date. Ensconced in a 15,000-square-foot glass box, the totality of the space includes a 350-seat-square-foot main dining room, three kitchens, four bars, a 100seat patio that will open in 2020, a mezzanine level with multiple state-of-the-art private dining rooms, a temperature-controlled wine tower complete with lockers for guests to stash their private reserve bottles and unobstructed views of the building’s newly landscaped oneacre green space aptly named The Acre. The oak firewood-cooked steaks have given Guard and Grace a reputation as one of the top steakhouses in the country and made Troy Guard a household name in Denver along the way. The menu—which will change seasonally— features everything from prime certified Angus and local grass-fed cuts of beef, dry-aged ribeye, hangar steak to fresh local seafood, house made pastas, charcuterie, artisanal cheeses and vegetarian dishes like oak-fired carrots with herb yogurt, set in a stunning contemporary interior awash in natural light from the restaurant’s 40-foot tall floor-to-ceiling windows.

“It’s a melting pot of cultures from so many different countries, and I love exploring different neighborhoods trying authentic Thai, Ethiopian, Cajun, and on and on”

WINTER 2019–20



By Holly Beretto

IN the FOOTSTEPS OF THE PAST History is All Around Downtown—All You Have to do is Look Walking around Downtown Houston, visitors and Houstonians alike could be forgiven for thinking the city is merely another modern metropolis, with its steel-and-glass skyscrapers reaching to the clouds, and sleek mid- and high-rise residences adding to the streetscape. But Houston was birthed in the 19th century, on the sleepy banks of Buffalo Bayou’s brown waters. In the nearly 185 years since its founding, the city itself—and its Downtown core—have grown to become one of the most dynamic cities in the country, home to Fortune 500 companies, forward thinkers, and innovators and entrepreneurs. In today’s rapidly changing technological times, it’s easy to forget the history that came before. Wander the streets of Downtown, however, and you’ll encounter history at nearly every turn, drawn from the city’s earliest days as a merchant outpost, progressing on a timeline through the heady days of the turn of the 20th century when Houston became a center for commerce and oil, the beacon of the South that gave birth to the Ship Channel. Houston has always been a city on the move. And Downtown has always been where its origin story begins.

WINTER 2019–20



SAM HOUSTON PARK 1000 Bagby St. Perhaps now best known for the collection of historic houses, Sam Houston Park’s roots date back to 1899, when Mayor Sam Brashear appointed a committee to create a city park. Its gently curving footpaths and a placid stream echoed its Victorian Era counterparts around the country. As Houston hit the mid-20th century, and began tearing down older homes to make way for newer offices and towers, the Houston Heritage Society was created with a mission to save them. The first one preserved, the Kellum-Noble House, sits in Sam Houston Park, alongside about a dozen other structures preserved and looked after by the society, which has offices adjacent to the park. Modern Houstonians still use Sam Houston Park for its intended use today, whether for major Downtown events, or a quiet lunchtime stroll.



JULIA IDESON BUILDING 550 McKinney St. Julia Bedford Ideson was Houston’s first librarian, hired in 1903. Under her watchful eye, the library’s collection expanded, and its services increased. The building that now bears her name was also her brainchild, opened in 1926 and designed to be the template for other Houston city libraries. The Spanish Renaissance Revival building of cream-colored brick has lovely archways, and a knock-out interior of detailed woodwork and marble columns. It served as the Houston Public Library main branch until 1976, when the more modern multistory Jesse H. Jones Building opened next door. Renovated in 2011, today it’s home to the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, an impressive collection of books, articles and research focused on Houston and Texas history.


SWEENEY CLOCK Tranquility Park The timepiece originally stood outside the J.J. Sweeney and Co. Jewelry Store on the corner of Main Street and Prairie Avenue from 1908 to 1928. It would be placed in storage until Houston City Councilmember Lee McLemore saved it and had it placed here in 1968.

WINTER 2019–20




Bayou Place 500 Texas Ave. A bustling dining and entertainment hub today, with spots such as the Hard Rock Café, Revention Music Center and the Ballroom at Bayou Place, the 130,000-square-foot Theater District landmark is the former Albert Thomas Convention Center. Thomas spent 29 years as a Houston Democratic congressman and was instrumental in bringing NASA operations to Houston. The convention center opened after his death in 1967, and when Bayou Place was developed about 30 years later, a replica of Thomas’ office was built, complete with a U.S. Congressional seal on the wall and photos of Thomas with luminaries like President John F. Kennedy.



St. Germain 705 Main St. Built in 1913, this eight-story terracotta treasure was an immediate destination for Houston shoppers, who flocked here for clothing and home goods. S.H. Cress & Co. began as a five-and-dime store, but would evolve into a department store as well-known as Macy’s and Lord & Taylor. Now luxury loft condos, the St. Germain captures the essence of historic Houston with nearly century-old original wood floors, high ceilings and huge windows, while embracing the necessities of 21st century life, like a roof deck, state-of-the-art kitchens and concierge services.




Lancaster Hotel 500 Texas Ave. The longest-operating hotel in Houston, this Texas Historic Landmark was built in 1926, beginning its life as the Auditorium Hotel. The kind of place that attracted the likes of Clark Gable and Gene Autry, it hosted a Stage Door Canteen for enlisted servicemen during World War II. The Italian Renaissance building was renovated in 1982, when it was re-christened as the Lancaster. In 2017, after four generations of ownership by the Lusk and DeGeorge families, it was sold to artist Jay Shinn, who renovated it yet again and filled the 93-room property with works from his own art collection.

WINTER 2019–20




Rice Urban Lofts 909 Texas Ave.


charlotte baldwin allen (1805–1895) Born in Onondaga County, New York, Charlotte married Augustus Chapman Allen in 1831, then followed her husband and his brother to Texas. After John’s death and Augustus’ relocation to Mexico, Charlotte remained in Houston, managing the family’s business operations. She and Augustus would separate in 1850, although they never divorced. She would go on to be one of Houston’s most famous citizens, growing her real estate business through the sale of properties that would become the site of The Rice Hotel and deeding her home on the site of Market Square to the city for what would become its first City Hall. The C. Baldwin Hotel, newly opened in 2019, is named for “the mother of Houston.” She died in 1895 and is buried in Houston’s Glenwood Cemetery.


Easily one of Houston’s most iconic buildings, Rice Lofts also has one of the most stunning histories of any building in Downtown. From 1837 to 1839, the land on which it sits would serve as the Texas Capitol building, before Austin took that designation. In 1883, it would be bought by William Marsh Rice. The founder of Rice University opened a hotel on the site and named it after himself. Rice would sell the place to another Houston icon, Jesse H. Jones, who would demolish it and sink $2.5 million into it, re-opening the Rice Hotel in 1913. By the 1920s, its cafeteria became the first public air-conditioned space in the city; by 1948 all the guest rooms would have AC, too. And throughout the mid-20th century, it was the space for global luminaries to hang their hats when they came to Houston. Mick Jagger slept there. So did FDR. The day before their fateful trip to Dallas, President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy stayed at the Rice. The hotel shuttered in 1977, following new fire codes that declared it unsafe, and it would be added to the National Register of Historic Places in the next year. In 1998, following a $28 million renovation, the Post Rice Lofts opened, providing luxury residential and retail space. Today, it’s known as Rice Urban Lofts, and it remains one of Downtown’s most prestigious addresses.



Keyser-Stafford Residence 515 Caroline St. This Italian Renaissance Revival structure was dedicated on April 8, 1929, the 59th anniversary of the invention of the cash register, from which it takes its name. At street level, a showroom housed the company’s products, while upstairs there was space for their construction. Seventy-seven years later, following stints as an FDIC storage facility, a wine vault and a bail bonds company, Deborah Keyser and James Stafford decided to turn it into a paragon of Downtown residence life. The couple created a space that encompasses their law office, home and a striking rooftop garden that offers views of the city core. Their efforts showcase a marriage between the historic and the modern. The couple raised the ceilings and kept details like the original brick and arched windows, as well as the original hardwood floors. They added items like a reclaimed marble counter-top in the kitchen and a custom-created bathroom mirror made out of an antique door.



Majestic Metro 911 Preston St. When it opened its doors as a movie theater in 1926, the Ritz was the first cinema in Houston with air conditioning. Designed by William Ward Watkin, who also designed the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Ritz was an ornate affair that could seat nearly 1,000 people for its shows. Today, the former movie palace is a private-event space, gorgeously restored with a dance floor and sound and lighting systems and capable of accommodating 250 guests.

WINTER WINTER 2019–20 2019




Islamic Da’Wah Center 220 Main St. Houston National Bank began in 1876. Fifty-two years later, it moved into this columned edifice on the corner of Main and Franklin streets. Hedrick and Gottleib Architects built the bank in a neo-classical style, complete with cast-iron doors set with intricate detailing. The bank would remain here from 1928 through its merger with Tennessee Bank and Trust Company in 1964. In 1994, Hakeem Olajuwon, former Houston Rockets legend, bought the building to have it restored and converted into an Islamic Center. Today, it’s recognized as one of the nation’s leading centers for Islamic worship and culture, with more than 1,500 visitors from across the globe visiting and attending prayer services every week. The Da’Wah Center’s interior boasts a gorgeous gold-domed ceiling with stunningly detailed tilework, rich red carpets and carved marble accents. It houses not only a mosque, but also a museum, meeting spaces and a library dedicated to Islamic history and scholarship.



University of Houston Downtown One North Main St. Commonly called the M&M Building, this massive edifice was built in 1930, and was the largest building in Houston at the time, sprawling across 14 miles of floor space and 600,000 square feet. It could accommodate hundreds of tenants, but the Great Depression quashed enthusiasm for the space, which would eventually prove too costly to operate. Purchased by South Texas Junior College in the 1960s, it was sold to the University of Houston Downtown-College in 1974 (College would be dropped from the name in the 1980s). Today, the One Main Building is the centerpiece of UHD’s campus, home to the school’s administrative offices, classrooms, gatherings spaces and an art gallery.


John Kirby Allen

Agustus Chapman Allen

THEY MADE HOUSTON past/present

ALLEN'S LANDING 1005 Commerce St. Just past the intersection of where White Oak Bayou meanders into the easy currents of Buffalo Bayou sits Houston’s birthplace. New Yorkers Augustus Chapman Allen and his brother John Kirby Allen came ashore in August 1836, mere months after Texas declared independence from Mexico. The developers purchased approximately 6,600 acres and set about turning their investment into the city we know today. Given its location as a natural turning basin, it was an obvious choice for a wharf, and in 1841 it became the original Port of Houston, launching the city as an economic gateway. Allen’s Landing now houses a park and is straddled by the University of Houston Downtown. The name Allen’s Landing, however, is a 20th century invention, created, according to a 2008 Houston Chronicle article, by the Chamber of Commerce.

Fun Factoid In the late 1960s, the Sunset Coffee Building was home to the city's premiere psychedelic nightclub, Love Street Light Circus Feel Good Machine, where bands with names like Bubble Puppy and Neurotic Sheep performed mind-expanding music accented with strobe lights and pastel projections.

the allen brothers Augustus Chapman Allen (1806–1864) and John Kirby Allen (1810–1838) were both born in present-day Sullivan, New York, a tiny town a couple hours west of Albany. In 1826, John invested in a hat store with a friend; a year later, he sold his interest and he and his brother, by then a math professor, packed up and moved to New York City, investing in the H. and H. Canfield Company. They’d come to Texas by way of Galveston, settling in St. Augustine in 1833. In 1836, using money from Augustus’ wife Charlotte’s inheritance, the duo purchased the land along Buffalo Bayou that would become Houston, named for General Sam Houston, one of the heroes of the Texas Revolution. John would be elected to Texas’ Congress, representing Nacogdoches County, where he successfully lobbied to have Houston named the capital of Texas. After John died in 1838, Augustus, citing his own ill health, decamped to Mexico, signing over his business interests to Charlotte. He remained in Mexico until 1864 when, gravely ill, he moved to Washington, D.C. He would never recover, dying that January.

SEE FOR YOURSELF Tours provide an up-close look at Houston

h Buffalo Bayou Partnership 30-minute boat tours take visitors through Houston’s history with a local historian. The organization also offers seasonal bayou cruises with food and drinks, as well as a cruise from Allen’s Landing to the Port of Houston Turning Basin. WINTER 2019–20


SEE FOR YOURSELF Tours provide an up-close look at Houston

h Preservation Houston These nonprofit advocates provide expertise on preserving Houston’s past. Architecture Walks are offered the second Sunday of the month from January to November at a cost of $10 per person.

h AIA Houston The city’s chapter of the American Institute of Architects hosts walking and cycling tours throughout the year, focusing on different areas of the city. Tours run Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., October through May and are $10 per person.



MAIN STREET A walk along Main Street is a self-guided expedition through Houston’s past. The Scanlan Building at 405 Main dates to 1907 and at 11 stories was briefly the tallest building in the city. Just down the way, at 301 Main, you’ll find the Sweeney, Coombs & Fredericks Building, a stunning example of Victorian architecture with curving bay windows and 1880s details. Virtually every style of architecture and every period of Houston history is here in some fashion, from the city’s earliest beginnings to the sleek, modern MetroRail that now runs along the corridor.



La Carafe 813 Congress St. Wine lovers know La Carafe as a favorite Market Square watering hole, its cozy, dimly lit interior a great place to while away sultry summer days. One of the oldest structures in Houston, the building began its life in 1847. Built by Nathaniel Kellum, it became the Kennedy Trading Post in the 1860s, where merchants, travelers and neighboring Native Americans all migrated to ply their wares and make purchases. Through five generations, the Kennedys owned the building, which served as a pony express station, a drug store and even a hair salon before La Carafe opened shop there in the 1960s. In addition to the brick-and-wood interior and exterior, the space can boast it’s the oldest continually operational commercial building in the city.

” Side Notes La Carafe is said to be haunted by a former bartender—or bar manager, depending on who's telling the story—named Carl; some claim to have heard a disembodied voice shouting out “last call” there on occasion, and have attributed it to Carl. Employees have reported hearing footsteps, breaking glass and heavy objects moving around upstairs when no one was supposed to be up there; other people claim to have seen Carl’s silhouette through a secondfloor window after closing time. Another ghost rumored to haunt La Carafe is the “Lady in White,” who supposedly has pushed attractive women down the stairs; this is said to be the ghost of a woman who ran a boarding house near La Carafe years ago that was rumored to be a house of prostitution.

WINTER 2019–20




Market Square Park 301 Milam St. Part of the very fabric of Houston almost from its birth, the space that is now Market Square was donated to the city by Augustus Allen in 1854. His intent was the space be used as an open-air market, where farmers and tradesman could gather to sell goods. Given its proximity to Allen’s Landing, the space quickly became a thriving gathering place. It would also house Houston’s first City Hall, a sprawling towered affair on the corner of Prairie Avenue and Travis Street built in 1841 and destroyed by fire in 1870. It was rebuilt, but fire consumed it again in 1901. By 1939, City Hall had moved to its current Babgy Street location. Market Square would fall into disrepair, only to be revived and reimagined as Market Square Park, today one of Downtown’s most-loved spots.



Jesse H. Jones past


The Jones on Main 712 Main St. This soaring Art Deco skyscraper was completed in 1929. It would remain the city’s tallest building until 1963, when the Exxon Building surpassed it. Officially called The Jones at The JPMorgan Chase & Co. Building, today the mixed-use, multiblock space is a stunning marriage of past glory and modern amenities. Luxury residential space shares quarters with smart office arrangements, and a host of retail including the bustling Finn Hall food hall. It retains many of its original details, including wide gathering spaces, stratospheric ceilings and striking art deco architectural touches.

(1874–1956) Visionary. Industrialist. Houstonian. The superlatives for Jones are as limitless as his ambition. Born in Tennessee, he moved with his family to Dallas as boy, coming to Houston in 1898, where he rented a room in the Rice Hotel. Jones would make his fortune in an array of business endeavors, including timber, construction and real estate. As his fortunes grew, so did his influence. He was instrumental in the construction of the Houston Ship Channel, following the devastation of Galveston from the Hurricane of 1900. He lobbied that an inland port would be safer. He and his wife Mary became prominent Houston philanthropists, founding the Houston Endowment in 1937. He served as Secretary of Commerce from 1940 to 1945. He died in 1956 at the age of 82, leaving behind a legacy of entrepreneurship and civic giving that remain hallmarks of Houston to this day.

WINTER 2019–20



ESPERSON BUILDING 808 Travis St. This incredible complex in the heart of Downtown is also the heart of an exquisite Houston love story. Niels Esperson was a Danish immigrant involved in real estate in Oklahoma when he met Mellie Keenan, a Kansas native who moved to the Sooner State with her mother and stepfather as a young woman. Married in 1893, the two moved to Houston in 1903 quickly establishing themselves as the power couple of their day. As Niels became a developer of the Humble oilfield, Mellie learned the ins and outs of the oil business. Niels died in 1922, leaving Mellie a wealthy widow. Five years after his death, she would construct the Italian Renaissance tower that bears his name above the entrance, having traveled to Europe for building inspiration. Nearly two decades later, the adjacent Mellie Esperson Building would be built, a grand art deco design that was the largest building project in Houston during the Great Depression.







Hermann Lofts 204 Travis St. George Hermann was one of Houston’s visionary businessmen, with interests in everything from real estate to cattle operations. His bequest to the city gave birth to Hermann Park, now one of the Houston’s outdoor showplaces. The building on Travis Street that bears his name dates to 1917 and was converted to its current set of 26 individual condominiums, all while preserving the building’s original details.

202 Travis St. Originally a three-story building completed in 1884, the ornate structure was a thriving spot for Texas’ cotton trade. The industry grew so rapidly a fourth story was added in 1907, and the exchange would eventually need to move to larger digs by the 1920s. Today, it’s home to Public Services Wine and Whiskey, but the exquisite interior harkens to Houston’s past.

WINTER 2019–20



THE CHURCH OF THE ANNUNCIATION 1618 Texas Ave. Houston’s second-oldest Catholic church, this classic Gothic house of worship was an outgrowth of St. Vincent’s Church, founded in 1839. Construction began on Annunciation in 1867, with the cornerstone laid in 1869. It would be completed in 1873 and remains in use today. Its striking interior features elaborately adorned columns, soaring archways and intricately detailed stained glass windows. Its iconic bell tower still announces the Mass, which is held in both English and Latin.



Minute Maid Park 501 Crawford St. When it was conceived in 1909, Union Station, which would serve as the rail hub for Houston, was estimated to cost $1 million. When it was finally dedicated two years later, its actual cost would be five times the estimate. But what a space it was! Its granite, limestone and terracotta exterior opened into a massive marble interior, with waiting areas, soaring ceilings and massive columns. For seven decades, it would be the center of passenger transportation in the Bayou City. The station shuttered in 1974 when its last train line jumped ship to the Amtrak station across town; it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Twenty years later, ground would break on what today is Minute Maid Park. The project was originally called The Ballpark at Union Station, and the new baseball stadium, designed to replace the Astrodome, would keep components of its railroad history. Union Station’s main concourse is now the stadium’s lobby, and fans know that whenever the Astros hit a home run, a miniature train chugs around the park’s perimeter.




Theodore Rex 1302 Nance St. Tucked below the shadows of the I-10 freeway sits this block-wide, red-brick warehouse, its angled front slouching into the corner of Nance and Richley streets. Today’s Houstonians know it as Theodore Rex, a haven for foodies that’s helmed by James Beard Award winner chef Justin Yu. But before it was a trendy restaurant, 1302 Nance was the Erie City Iron Works Warehouse, a store-all for the iron, steel and other metals that made their way to the Bayou City via the twisting rail lines crisscrossing the Downtown of yesteryear. Those materials would be stored in this one-story building until they sold for construction projects. The building dates to 1906 and in the century since its inception, it’s been home not only to the city’s building materials, but artist lofts and Yu’s former restaurant iteration, Oxheart.



CityView Lofts 15 N. Chenevert St. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this tawny-colored structure has lived on this corner since its construction in 1910. Back then, the building was the bustling regional headquarters for Nabisco’s southern operations. Designed to be both office space and baking facility, the building cranked out cookies in the shadow of Union Station (today Minute Maid Park). Now converted to chic apartments, CityView Lofts pays homage to the space’s baking heyday. Each floorplan is named for a different Nabisco cookie or cracker with monikers like Lorna Doone, Oreo and Ritz. CityView retains much of the National Biscuit Company’s architectural details, including exposed brick walls and pipes, iron detailing, and the original stone walls and ceilings in several public spaces.

WINTER 2019–20







EAT HAPPY! Mendocino Farms 609 Main


plate. These listings are not reviews but are a guide to Downtown dining spots. “Recommended” restaurants are selected by downtown editors and are based on food quality, menu selection, service, ambiance and value. v RECOMMENDED NEW! JUST OPENED B Breakfast BR Brunch L Lunch D Dinner LN Late Night

Average Price of an Entrée $ $10 or less $$ $11–$19 $$$ $20–$29 $$$$ $30+

For a searchable database of downtown Houston restaurants by cuisine, location and price, visit and click on Guide.

1600 Bar + Grille American Located on the lobby-

level of the Hilton Americas–Houston hotel, 1600 Bar + Grille brings farm-fresh ingredients to the menu for a just-picked flavor. Featuring locally-sourced seasonal fresh produce, plus Certified Angus Beef and Gulf seafood dishes prepared from scratch, you can guarantee farm-to-fork freshness. 1600 Lamar, 713.739.8000. B, L & D Daily. $$ v Andalucia Restaurant & Bar Tapas/Spanish Dim lighting, large wooden tables and heavy iron accents provide for a cozy, rustic atmosphere. The menu features large dishes, such as paella for up to 16 people, and tapas that range from the traditional such as gambas al ajillo (shrimp cooked in olive oil and garlic) and empanadas, to veal tongue and oxtail. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, 832.319.6675. L Mon–Fri, D Mon–Sat. $$ v Azuma Sushi & Robata Bar Japanese/Sushi Voted “Best Sushi in Houston” by, 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. 909 Texas, 713.223.0909. L & D Mon–Sat. $$

Ballpark Café American Enjoy the all-American cuisine

and a nostalgic atmosphere for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just across the street from Minute Maid Park, Ballpark Café is a great place to have a pre/post-game meal. The Westin Houston Downtown, 1520 Texas, 713.228.1520. B, L & D Daily. $ v Barnaby’s at Market Square American A local favorite, Barnaby’s serves up oversized sandwiches, salads and burgers, putting a Southwest spin on traditional deli dishes. Colorful murals adorn the walls of the restaurant along with large windows for a perfect view of the park. 801 Congress, 713.226.8787. B & L Mon–Sat; D Fri–Sat. $ v Batanga Tapas + Drinks Latin This tapas joint whips up delicious dishes inspired from Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Chile—anywhere that sangria is served. The spacious patio is as good as it gets when it comes to outdoor dining with its festive twinkle lights, great music and stellar views of the Historic District and Market Square Park. 908 Congress, 713.224.9500. L & D Daily; BR Sat & Sun. $$

Benihana of Tokyo Japanese While some restaurants allow their guests to view the kitchen, this Japanese grill brings the kitchen to you. Benihana chefs set up shop right in front of your table. The meal is made from scratch, and you can witness the entire show. 1318 Louisiana, 713.659.8231. L & D Daily. $$$

v Biggio’s American Biggio’s is not your average sports bar. The two-story sports haven named after the Houston baseball legend, Craig Biggio, boasts a large drink selection, upscale bar food, and seats that come with views of flat screen TVs as far as the eye can see. 1777 Walker, 713.654.1777. L & D Daily. $$

BirdDog Saint American The spacious two-story bar is a great place to enjoy live music, sports, and mingle with friends. Opt for any of their savory gourmet pizzas, the BirdDog Burger, or sit at the raw bar and indulge in fresh ceviche. 711 Main. 832.767.5574. L, D & LD Mon–Sat. $$

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. 500 Louisiana, 713.224.9494. L, D & LN Daily. $$ The Bistro American The Bistro is a full-service

restaurant serving up breakfast and dinner in a casual atmosphere. Courtyard by Marriott, 916 Dallas, 832.366.1600. B & D Daily. $ v Blue by Massa Seafood This upscale and elegant restaurant offers up a fine selection of American and Seafood cuisine. Among the esteemed list of favorites, the Lobster Bisque is a standout. Superior service and a great dining atmosphere allow guests to enjoy a memorable dining experience. Blue also offers occasional live entertainment and dancing is highly encouraged! 1160 Smith, 713.650.0837. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$

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. 550 Texas, 713.225.3474. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$

v Bombay Pizza Co. Indian Fusion Fusing the cuisines of India with pizza, innovative creations are served on a homemade, dense, thin and crispy crust. Try the saag paneer, which is topped with fresh spinach and four cheeses or the Gateway to India topped with cilantro, tandoori chicken, garlic and artichoke hearts. 914 Main, 713.654.4444. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $ v Boomtown Coffee Main St. Coffee House Part coffee shop, part bar, Boomtown’s drink menu includes everything from specialty coffees and cocktails to healthier options like Kombucha. Satisfy your appetite day or night with their breakfast, lunch, dinner or brunch options. 300 Main Street. 281.846.6995. B, L, D & BR Daily. $$

Bouray’s Burrito Bar Fast Food Bouray’s offers

made-to-order Mexican and Vietnamese food using ingredients that are prepared fresh daily. 609 Clay, 713.652.5999. L Mon–Fri. $

Bovine & Barley American Bovine & Barley is a

beautifully designed urban bar and eatery with a heavy focus on beef and beer. The space has an industrial feel which is complimented by warm wood accents and huge HTX letters that hang illuminated on an exposed brick wall. Highlights from the menu include brisket tacos, meatloaf muffins on top of jalapeno mash, 1836 beer can chicken and a variety of burgers. Not to metion over 42 beers and six hand-crafted cocktails on tap! 416 Main, 832.742.5683. L Sat–Sun; D, LN Daily. $$

v Brasserie du Parc French Located in the luxury high rise, One Park Place, the interior design and the menu at this beautiful French restaurant were inspired by classic Parisian brasseries and offerings include classic dishes like risotto, steak frites and crêpes, along with delicacies such as escargots and chicken liver pâté. 1440 Lamar, 832.879.2802. L & D Daily. $$$ v Bravery Chef Hall Food Hall The first of its kind, Bravery Chef Hall is a next generation food hall with five chef-driven concepts and a Gaggenau Concept Kitchen with a rotating roster of guest chefs. Culinary options include Atlas Diner, The Blind Goat, BOH Pasta & Pizza, Cherry Block Craft Butcher & Kitchen and Kokoro. The chef hall also houses three bars including Bravery Wine Bar, Lockwood Station and Secret Garden. 409 Travis. L, D, LN Daily. $$$ NEW! BurgerIM Fast Casual BurgerIM is an Israel-based mini-burger concept known for serving 3oz. patties in a mix-and-match format. Choose from options like dry-aged beef, chorizo, turkey, salmon, veggie and more. The unique eatery also offers two different bun options, nine sauces and 10 different toppings making for an extremely customizable burger experience. BurgerIM also offers chicken strips and wings, milkshakes, family boxes and a variety of sides including onion rings and sweet potato fries. 800 Preston. L, D, LN, Daily. $

Burger Theory American Located at street-level of

Downtown’s Holiday Inn, Burger Theory specializes in gourmet burgers, casual American fare and boasts a beer-centric bar. They also serve a mean breakfast! 1616 Main St. B, L, D & LN. $

Buzz Barista Coffee House This full-service espresso bar offers much more than caffeinated beverages for a morning fix. People on the go can grab fresh-baked pastries, Naked juices, yogurt parfaits and fruit cups along with their brewed delights. 811 Main, 713.228.3033. B & L Mon–Fri. $

The Cafe American Located in the lobby of the Hilton Americas. An elaborate buffet is offered for breakfast, with a la carte selections from the menu available for lunch and dinner. Hilton Americas, 1600 Lamar, 713.739.8000. B, L, D & LN Daily. $$

Café Cosmopolita Coffee House Inspired by the

cultural and gastronomical diversity in European cafes, this local coffee shop offers a surplus of coffee, pastries made from scratch, breakfast items, and natural smoothies. 1625 Main Street, Suite A-1. 708.890.2041. B Daily. $

Cafe Express Fast Casual Need to grab a quick lunch? Cafe Express is an informal yet sophisticated choice. You can always find a variety of delicious entrees, salads and sandwiches. 650 Main, 713.237.9222. B & L Mon–Sat. $

China Garden Chinese A popular Chinese restaurant, China Garden has been serving downtown for more than 30 years. Their egg rolls and lemon chicken have become favorites. 1602 Leeland, 713.652.0745. L Mon–Fri; D Daily. $

Chipotle Mexican Known for its large portions,

this Mexican fast casual spot offers a variety of wholesome menu items. 909 Texas, 713.225.6633. L & Early D Mon–Fri. $

WINTER 2019–20


Farm Fresh meets

D OW N TOW N By Shelby Roth

Downtown is the mecca for superb lunch spots, but our latest obsession is Mendocino Farms. The Californiabased sandwich and salad restaurant opened early November at 609 Main, its third location in Houston.

The Original Pork Belly Banh Mi


Known best for its unique sandwich options, which incorporate local ingredients from farms just down the road, Mendocino Farms has a cult following of Mendo fans. The new location is as bright and airy as the California sky, and their employees are some of the friendliest you’ll find Downtown, even amid a lunch rush. This is Mendo’s thing—selling happy. And who can refuse a dose of happy in the middle of a workday?

The menu is unique, perhaps one of the most unique we’ve encountered at a Downtown lunch spot. One of their most popular sandwiches is the Original Pork Belly Banh Mi, made with a rich, caramelized pork belly that takes two full days to cook, accented with spicy chili aioli and housepickled daikon and carrots, all perfectly set between a panini-pressed ciabatta. The pork belly melts in your mouth, and the freshness

plate. Christian’s Tailgate American Christian’s Tailgate has

of each ingredient makes for a one-of-a-kind sandwich experience. If you’re more of a traditional sandwich person, don’t worry, Mendo’s got you covered. The Farm Club (Mendo’s version of a turkey club) and The Hot Italian (or Italian hoagie) will rival your go-to lunch sandwich any day. They’ve also got selections for our vegan friends, and once you taste The Impossible Burger Queen, you’ll consider going vegan yourself. But wait, there’s more! If you’re like us, a hearty salad is just what one needs to avoid the 3 p.m. slump. The Sophisticated Chicken & Prosciutto Salad incorporates some of our favorite things, from Italian prosciutto, roasted chicken breast and roasted vegetables to fresh mozzarella, marinated red peppers and honey-roasted almonds, all on a heavenly bed of mixed greens and chopped romaine. The star of the show comes last—the basil pesto balsamic vinaigrette (don’t be afraid to ask for extra on the side). Mendocino Farms’ deli sides are unique takes on originals. The Spicy Dijon Potato Salad and Italian Farro Salad are fan favorites, but we love the Basil Pesto Shells and Curried Couscous, both of which could be a meal if ordered as a large. The space itself features plenty of communal seating and comfortable banquettes, but if online ordering is more your thing, you can bypass the line and be in and out within a few minutes.

The Fa

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arguably one of the best burgers in town and now you can enjoy them Downtown! The notable Houston burger joint in Downtown’s Historic District boasts daily food specials, 30 beers on tap, 40+ TVs, a pool table, shuffle board, video games and an awesome outdoor patio! 1012 Congress, 281.556.1010. L, D & LN. $ v Conservatory Beer Garden & Food Hall Conservatory Underground Beer Garden & Food Hall is the first food hall in Houston to showcase a curated list of food vendors, including Moku Bar, Arte Pizzeria, Bird Haus, Noble Rot Wine Bar, Treacherous Leches, and The Pho Spot each of which serve elevated yet casual cuisine. The food hall also features pop-up food carts serving specialty items every week and a beer garden with 60 beers on tap serving an eclectic mix of local craft breweries, foreign imports, and wine. 1010 Prairie, 713.398.7697. L, D & LN Daily. $$

Corner Bakery Fast Casual A bakery cafe, offering

fresh breads, salads, sandwiches, soups and sweets in a casual atmosphere. Located right on Main Street Square, you can’t beat the people watching or just relax and watch the rail line and Main Street Square’s jumping fountains. 1000 Main, 713.651.0673. B & L Mon–Fri. $

Coterie American Coterie brings a café-style dining

Mendocino Farms is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., with phone lines open at 8 a.m. to accommodate early catering orders.

Check it out… we guarantee you’ll become a big

M E N D O FA N !

experience right to the Historic Market Square neighborhood. The luxurious cafe is located on the ground floor of Market Square Tower and offers on-thego pastry favorites, Neapolitan-style pizzas, burgers and other tasty menu items. 737 Preston. B, L, D Daily. $$

Cultivated F+B American Cultivated F+B is the perfect spot for a meal with friends, a power breakfast or post-performance nosh. Dine al fresco on the patio or soak in the contemporary art indoors as you indulge in a sophisticated American menu that features braised short rib tacos, Fernando’s chilaquiles and other exquisite items. 701 Texas Avenue, 800.231.0336. B, L & D Daily. $$

Diana American Grill American Nestled inside the

Hobby Center, this upscale restaurant is an ideal place for pre-show dining and Downtown lunches. Menu items include a lobster cocktail, red snapper with gulf crab, ribeye steak and other delectable dishes created by James Beard Award-winning chef Robert Del Grande. 800 Bagby, 713.315.2562. L & D Tue–Sun. $$$

The District American The District offers classic

American cuisine in a modern setting. Perfect for lunch or dinner before a show! The menu includes a variety of options like burgers, salads, pasta and small plates. There’s definitely something for everyone! 610 Main St. L & D. $$

Domino’s Pizza 975 McKinney, 713.227.3030. $ v 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. 410 Bagby, 713.223.3474. L & D Daily. $$

Eats Mesquite Grill Classic American Craving a

burger downtown? Popular for its juicy burgers and great-tasting fries, Eats makes for a great lunchtime stop. Guests can make their burgers exactly how they like them. 804 Milam, 713.223.3287. L Mon–Fri. $

WINTER 2019–20


Edgar’s Hermano Mexi-South Edgar’s Hermano is a

southern American restaurant with a Mexican-inspired twist located inside The Whitehall Hotel. It perfectly blends Houston’s native Tex-Mex cuisine with classic southern fare offering menu items like Texas corn cakes with pork chicharon and cotija cheese, mac and queso with chipotle-grilled Gulf shrimp, and award-winning southern fried stuffed chicken with masa grits and candied bacon jam. 1700 Smith, 713.739.8800. B, L & D Daily. $$

Einstein’s Bagels Deli Known as a great place to grab freshly-baked bagels and coffee for breakfast, they also serve up delectable lunch choices that include paninis, melts and pizza bagels. Be an office hero and use the catering service to treat your work pals. 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4775. B, L & LN Mon–Sun. $

El Big Bad Mexican Brought to you by the El Gran

Malo crew, this casual Tex-Mex restaurant brings hand-crafted tequila infusions, specialty margaritas and craft beers to the table. The gastrocantina-inspired menu is chock full of tasty tacos with fresh toppings like pomegranate salsa, charred scallions, pumpkin seeds and more. 419 Travis, 713.229.8181. L, D & LN Mon–Fri; D & LN Sat & Sun, BR Sun. $$

Fabian’s Latin Flavors Latin Looking for dinner with a side of salsa dancing? If so, Fabian’s Latin Flavors is the place for you! From carne asada tacos and empanadas to popular Salvadorian beer and salsa nights, you’ll get a taste of Latin America at this Downtown hotspot. 301 Main. 713.227.0440. L & D Daily. $$

v Finn Hall Food Hall The upscale food hall serves delicious cuisine from 10 independently operated eating establishments including Craft Burger, Oddball Eats, Goode Co. Taqueria, Dish Society, Yong, Amaya Coffee, Pizza Square, Sit Lo and Low Tide. Come eat your heart out during breakfast, lunch, and dinner or enjoy a cocktail at either of Finn Hall’s elevated bars during happy hour. 712 Main, 713.357.5115. B, L, D, LD Daily. $$

v The Grove American Rustic This two-story, ultra-urban restaurant is found at Discovery Green. The menu features rustic American cuisine such as Gulf Coast seafood, steaks and signature rotisserie dishes. Discovery Green, 1611 Lamar, 713.337.7321. L & D Daily. $$$

v Irma’s Southwest Grill Mexican Irma’s second location is a hip spot to satisfy a Mexican food craving. Enjoy tasty foods and great drinks for lunch or dinner. Only a few short blocks from Minute Maid Park. 1475 Texas, 713.247.9651. L & D Mon–Sat. $$

v Guadalajara del Centro Mexican This familyowned 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 coworkers or friends. Great happy hour specials. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, 713.650.0101. L & D Daily. $$

The Isles Eatery & Rhum Bar Caribbean

NEW! Guard and Grace Steakhouse A take on the modern steakhouse, prominent Denver Chef Troy Guard’s first foray into the Houston dining scene features rows of wood-burning grills with a bright, airy atmosphere that differs from the usual dark tone of a steakhouse. Guard and Grace boasts a menu offering everything from charcuterie and sushi to pan roasted halibut and a filet mignon flight for one deliciously contemporary dining experience. One Allen Center, 500 Dallas. 346-326-0789. L,D, H, Daily. $$$

v Jackson St. BBQ Barbecue This laid-back spot by renowned Houston chefs Bryan Caswell, Bill Floyd and Greg Gaitlin offers smoked brisket, ribs, chicken, sausage and classic southern fixins like potato salad, baked beans, collard greens and cole slaw! Conveniently located across from Minute Maid Park, stop by this Downtown favorite before or after Astros games! 209 Jackson St, 713.224.2400. L & D Sat–Sun.

Hard Rock Café Classic American What do you

your sandwich or salad exactly how you like it. 901 McKinney, 713.650.1500. B & L Mon–Fri. $

get when you mix a music-themed diner with an allAmerican menu? Hard Rock is a great family-friendly spot serving up items such as burgers,nachos and chicken varieties. Bayou Place, 570 Texas, 713.227.1392. L, D & LN Daily. $$ v Hearsay Gastro Lounge New American Located in a beautifully refurbished historic building, this upscale restaurant and lounge serves up delicious sandwiches, salads and entrées. They feature an extensive wine list, numerous beers on draft and bottle and premium liquors with a focus on Scotch whisky. 218 Travis, 713.225.8079. L Daily; D Mon–Sat; LN Fri–Sat. $$

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. 705 Main, 713.228.7468. L, D & LN Daily. $

v Hearsay on the Green American Located inside the Embassay Suites in Downtown’s Convention District, this upscale restaurant and lounge serves up the finest craft cocktails, New-American dishes and a chic dining experience. The drink menu features an extensive wine list, numerous bottle and draft beers and premium liquors. 1515 Dallas, 832.377.3362. L & D Daily; LN Fri–Sat; BR Sun. $$

Foundation Room American Escape, indulge and

Home Plate Bar & Grill Classic American

Flying Saucer Pub Fare Offering more than 200 beers,

elevate your nightlife in Foundation Room at House of Blues, Houston’s luxe downtown hideaway. Foundation Room features an elegant private dining room and plush lounge perfect for after-dinner drinks and socializing. From starters like seared jumbo shrimp in a Cajun lemon beurre blanc to the 16oz. cowboy ribeye, the inspired menu draws from seasonal and international flavors with a distinctively Texas twist GreenStreet, 1204 Caroline, 888.402.5837. D Wed–Sat. $$$ v Frank’s Pizza Pizza Home of the “late-night slice,” Frank’s Pizza has built a quality reputation for itself serving up delicious food in a great atmosphere. Not only can you grab a slice of pizza, Frank’s also serves up darn good hamburgers, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, Buffalo wings, lasagna and salads. 417 Travis, 713.225.5656. L & D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $ v Grotto Ristorante Italian This trendy Italian eatery is conveniently located on Downtown’s restaurant row— Avenida Houston! Enjoy spectacular views of nearby Minute Maid Park and Discovery Green as you experience a revolutionized take on Italian cuisine from small and sharable plates, to fresh salads and traditional dishes like Neapolitan thin crust pizzas and house made pastas. 1001 Avenida de las Americas, 713.658.0752. L & D Daily. $$$


A great hangout spot before or after an Astros ballgame. Enjoy a full menu of all-American favorites. 1800 Texas, 713.222.1993. L & D Daily (may close earlier during off–season so call first). $

House of Blues Restaurant and Bar American

From daytime to playtime, House of Blues Restaurant & Bar draws inspiration from across the South, including iconic dishes, signature Southern-inspired recipes, as well as a wide range of burgers, sandwiches and salads. Enjoy live music most nights and don’t miss Houston’s best Jazz ‘n’ Blues Brunch every Saturday! GreenStreet, 1204 Caroline, 888.402.5837. L & D Daily. $$ v Hubcap Grill American Classic Small but packs a punch. One of the best burger joints in town. 1111 Prairie, 713.223.5885. L Mon–Sat. $ v Irma’s Mexican Irma Galvan has been crowned Houston’s Tex-Mex goddess. This authentic spot is a longtime favorite among Houston politicos and downtown business people. Traditional, home-cooked Mexican cuisine is served for breakfast and lunch on weekdays. 22 North Chenevert, 713.222.0767. B & L Mon–Fri; D Thu–Sat. $$

The restaurant offers flavorful Caribbean dishes including Mofongo and Ensalada Calamari de Pulpo, along with an astonishing collection of 56 plus island rums used to create custom cocktails rooted in the regional rhythms of the islands. 1515 Pease, 713.739.9039. L, D, LN Tue–Sun. $

Jason’s Deli Deli Order to please, Jason’s will make

Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches Deli All subs

are served on your choice of fresh-baked French bread or thick-sliced seven-grain bread or try the low-carb lettuce wrap: all the regular sandwich ingredients without the bread. 820 Main, 713.222.9995. L Mon–Sat. $ v Kulture Caribbean Dubbed “an urban komfort kitchen,” the restaurant explores food, spirits, art and music through cultural contributions of the African diaspora, including Caribbean and Southern cuisine and daily happy hour specials in a casually elevated, yet comfortable dining atmosphere. 701 Avenida De Las Americas. 713.528.8561. L & D. $$

The Lake House Fast Casual Offering family-friendly food, featuring burgers, Kobe beef hot dogs, salads, shakes, wine and beer. Located on Kinder Lake, there is a large patio where you can watch model boats race across the water or listen to some live music from the nearby stage. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. L & Early D Mon–Sun. $

v La Calle Mexican Located in Downtown’s historic Market Square, this cozy restaurant serves authentic Mexican street tacos, tortas and tostadas. Your visit isn’t complete without an Agua Fresca or pit stop at the funky digs’ lucha libre themed bar, La Cantina! In addition to the savory tacos, you’ll find plenty of Mexican beers, drafts, and frozen margaritas. 909 Franklin, 832.735.8226. L, D & LN Daily. $ v La Fisheria Coastal Mexican Located in Downtown’s Historic District, La Fisheria serves authentic Mexican Seafood such as sweet shrimp tamales, perfectly prepared fish tacos and a variety of crudos and ceviches. 213 Milam, 713.802.1712. L & D Daily. $$

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. $ v Last Concert Cafe Mexican Tucked away in the Warehouse District, this Tex-Mex cafe was born in 1949 and still supplies tasty food and local music today. Spend some time on the leafy back patio and you’ll swear you’re in your neighbor’s backyard throwing back a cold one. 1403 Nance, 713.226.8563. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sun; LN Fri–Sat; Bar & live music Tue–Sat. $

plate. Line & Lariat Modern American An award-winning

dining experience located in the historic lobby of Hotel Icon’s landmark bank building. The intimate dining room is extravagant, and the exquisite dishes from the Gulf Coast and South Texas emphasize fresh ingredients. A contemporary lounge with a modern setting for cocktails and an elegant after-work meeting place. Hotel Icon, 220 Main, 832.667.4470. B Daily; D Mon–Sat. $$$

Little Napoli Italian Theater and moviegoers can now

enjoy these southern Italian dishes before the big show! The healthy options, such as whole wheat pizza crust and low-fat cheeses, are a nice touch. 540 Texas, 713.225.3900. $$ v Local Foods American Local Foods is a culinary expression of all things local. The scratch gourmet sandwich shop showcases seasonal salads, fresh soups, farmers market sides, home-made snacks for the taking, and a raw bar with ceviche and oyster shooters. 420 Main, 713.227.0531. L Daily; BR Sat–Sun. $$

Lone Star Taco Tex-Mex Fast-casual Tex-Mex

restaurant, specializing in great tacos! Lone Star Taco quickly serves artisanal quality, made-fresh tacos at an affordable price. 1001 Texas St, 713.223.8226. B, L & D Daily. $

Louie Coffee Coffee House Louie Coffee is housed

at GreenStreet with a menu that includes a variety of coffees, teas, breakfast tacos, sandwiches, yogurt parfaits and other sweet treats. This cozy coffee shop is the perfect place to sit back, relax and escape the bustling Downtown streets. 1201 Fannin, 713.255.2363. B & L Mon–Sat. $

Luby’s, etc. American Enjoy an incredible view of

downtown along with 10 food stations offering a wide variety of goodies: a build-your-own salad bar, madeto-order grill, pizza by-the-slice, delightful deli, global café and traditional Luby’s cafeteria line with all the classic dishes. 1301 Fannin, 13th Floor, 713.759.9954. B & L Mon–Fri. $ v Lucienne Mediterranean Not only will the chic brass accents throughout this glamorous gem impress you, but the French-inspired dishes like Gravlax with rye toast, caper berries, dill and mustard sauce will tempt your taste buds into coming back for more. You’ll find this glamorous gem sitting on the second level of Hotel Alessandra. Hotel Alessandra, 1070 Dallas, Second Floor. 713.242.8555. B, L & D Mon–Fri; BR Sat–Sun. $$

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. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, Level 3, 713.343.3300. L, D & LN Daily. $$

Mademoiselle Louise Bakery Coffee House In addition to a quaint European vibe, Mademoiselle Louise Bakery offers chocolate croissants, tarts, eclairs, a variety of freshly baked bread and other classic French pastries. Conveniently located on the first floor of Skyhouse Main. 1715 Main, B & L Sun–Fri. $

Main Kitchen American Named Main Kitchen to

reflect its location on Main Street and the hopes of becoming a staple in Houston’s culinary scene, the restaurant seats 120 and boasts an exhibition kitchen providing guests with an insight into the chefs’ creative process. 806 Main St, 713.400.1245. B, L, D Daily. $$

Mango Tree Thai Bistro Thai A casual Thai joint that

keeps booths packed with hungry downtowners looking for eclectic dishes to satisfy their spice cravings. And there’s a pretty tempting happy hour for drinks and nibbles under $5. 914 Main Street, #125, 713.659.1600. L & D Mon–Sat. $$ v McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood The extensive menu changes daily depending on each day’s fresh seafood deliveries. With more than 80 preparations on the menu each day, every guest is sure to find something to satisfy their palate. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin, 713.658.8100. L & D Daily. $$$

McDonald’s Fast Food 808 Dallas @ Milam, 713.651.9449. B & L Daily; D Mon–Fri. $

NEW! Mendocino Farms American California-based Mendocino Farms is a one-stop shop for gourmet sandwiches and salads. The fast-casual concept offers twists on classics like a Vietnamese bahn mi, Cubano, tuna melt and more. Drawing inspiration from both its home state and many cities across the nation, Mendocino Farms strives to introduce fresh, unique ingredients in approachable adventurous foods. 609 Main. L,D, Daily. $.

v Mia Bella Italian You’ll enjoy an eclectic variety of Italian cuisine blended with a Mediterranean feel. A longtime favorite, this intimate little bistro’s simple, yet appealing décor, makes it a downtown standout. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, 832.319.6675. L & D Daily; BR & LN Fri & Sat. $$

Minuti Coffee Coffee House The coffee is created by a

roast master in Italy, before making its way into the hands of talented baristas. This is the perfect place to bring the laptop and take advantage of Minuti’s free Wi-Fi. They also have beer and wine, which makes it a great pre/post theater spot. Be sure to sample some of the fresh-baked pastries and smoothies, too. 909 Texas, 281.265.3344. B, L, D & LN Daily. $ v MKT BAR International Part of Phoenicia Specialty Foods, it’s the perfect place to stop when you need a chill moment. The bar offers coffee, pastries, wine, beer, gourmet pizza and other yummy nibbles for which Phoenicia is known. 1001 Austin, 832.360.2222. B, L & D Daily. $ v The Moonshiners American The Moonshiners Southern Table + Bar offers up a rebellious respite in the bustling urban backdrop of Downtown Houston. The restaurant celebrates and elevates southern culinary traditions serving up moonshine and whiskey in mason jars alongside generous portions of southern comfort foods such as fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and pulled pork sandwiches. 1000 Prairie, 713.226.7717. L & D Mon–Fri; LN Fri & Sat. $$ v Morton’s Steakhouse This award-winning steakhouse offers an outstanding menu. The downtown location features its new bar concept, Bar 12•21, which includes an impressive wine and martini menu along with its specially priced “bar bites.” 1001 McKinney, 713.659.3700. L Mon–Fri; D Daily. $$$$

Murphy’s Deli Deli Indulge in a variety of sandwiches

and salads. Hot or cold, Murphy’s specializes in creating your sandwich any way it’s ordered. 601 Jefferson, 713.652.4939. 1900 Main, 713.650.3354. 440 Louisiana, 713.247.9122. 700 Louisiana, 713.547.0660. 1415 Louisiana, 832.663.6113. 500 Dallas, 713.654.0033. B & L Mon–Fri all locations. $ v Niko Niko’s Greek & American Houston icon Dimitri Fetokakis opened his cafe in 2010 at Market Square Park. Favorites 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. Market Square Park, 301 Milam. B, L & D Daily. $

v Osso & Kristalla Italian Osso & Kristalla serves up authentic Italian fare in a modern, yet relaxed atmosphere. The casual trattoria features housemade pastries, pastas, wood-fired pizzas and more Italian eats, along with wine, beer, cocktails and local Katz coffee. Enjoy views inside their open concept kitchen or on their breezy outdoor patio. 1515 Texas, 713.221.6666. B Mon–Fri; L & D Daily. $$ v The Oyster Bar Seafood Housed inside Prohibition Supper Club, The Oyster Bar is a street-friendly, neighborhood-centric concept serving an extensive seafood menu including fried shrimp, fried oysters, Gulf Coast & East Coast oysters, pan roasted market fish, and roasted cauliflower & mushroom fettuccine. Get your seafood and burlesque fix all in the same place. Prohibition, 1008 Prairie, 281.940.4636. D Daily. $$

Padthai Thai Restaurant Thai A traditional Thai

restaurant located at the ground level of the loft residence Hogg Palace. The warm and cozy atmosphere offers a great setting for a dinner escape and is a local favorite. 401 Louisiana, 713.225.4900. D Daily. $ v Pappadeaux This local favorite serves up some of the finest and freshest seafood with a Cajun twist! Start with the crispy fried alligator or a bowl of gumbo, try the Chilean Sea Bass or the pasta mardi gras, and top it all off with the praline bread pudding soufflé. 1001 Avenida de las Americas, 713.654.5077. L Fri–Sun; D Daily. $$$v Pappas BBQ Barbecue Voted one of Houston’s best year after year, this barbecue joint offers an excellent selection with Texas-sized portions. Traditional favorites such as brisket, ribs, sausage and ham are served with Pappas’ flare. Delivery and take-out are available. 1217 Pierce, 713.659.1245. L & D Daily. 1100 Smith, 713.759.0018. L & D Mon–Fri. $ v Pappas Bros. Steakhouse Steakhouse Pappas Bros. Steakhouse puts immeasurable care into everything they do, all to provide their guests with a dining experience like no other. They buy the highest-quality ingredients, use a timeless recipe, and cook it flawlessly each and every time. 1200 McKinney, 713.658.1995. D Mon–Sat. v Pappasito’s Cantina Tex-Mex One of Houston’s most popular casual Tex-Mex restaurants, Pappasito’s specializes in sizzling fajitas, creamy queso and tortillas that almost melt in your mouth! The Downtown location offers six unique ceviches and crudos that can’t be found at any of the other restaurants. Hilton Americas-Houston, 1600 Lamar St, 713.353.4400. L & D Daily. $$ v The Pearl Seafood The Pearl at the Sam Houston Hotel is a coastal-inspired restaurant with a passion for seafood and steak. The menu satiates guests with savory appetizers and salads, entrees like classic shrimp and grits, scallops carbonara and short ribs, and a la carte selections such as premium cuts of steak alongside simply grilled fish and shrimp dishes. 1117 Prairie, 832.200.8800. B, L & D Daily. $$ v Perbacco Italian An adorable little spot located at street level of one of Houston’s skyscrapers, Perbacco serves up Italian cuisine in a modern and fresh atmosphere. Catering to downtown workers and the theater crowd, you always get quick and friendly service and tasty food. 700 Milam, 713.224.2422. L Mon–Fri; D Thu–Sat. $

WINTER 2019–20


v Phoenicia Specialty Foods International If you are in search of yummy food on the go, Phoenicia Specialty Foods is the place for you! This urban gourmet market boasts an incredible salad bar, made-to-order shawarmas and pizzas, grab-n-go sushi, sandwiches and various meat and seafood entrees. This is a one-of-a kind downtown destination where you can appreciate down-to-earth gourmet food prices and a unique variety of flavors. 1001 Austin, 832.360.2222. B, L & D Daily. $$ v Potente Italian A sophisticated Italian restaurant, Potente is a dining experience like no other focused on using local products and only the highest quality ingredients. Menu items include daily seafood selections, steaks, homemade pastas and the signature veal osso bucco. 1515 Texas, 713.237.1515. D Daily. $$$

Salata American This next-generation salad bar allows

you to create your own, tossed-to-order salad or wrap complete with a variety of fresh greens, a large selection of veggies, fruits, nuts, cheeses and more. Top your order off with one of their signature dressings and your choice of chicken, seafood or tofu! GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin, 713.275.1088. L & D Daily. $ NEW!

Saltgrass Steak House Steakhouse Most

famous for its Certified Angus Beef steaks, Saltgrass is an award-winning steakhouse with a menu featuring a variety of fresh seafood, chicken, burgers, sandwiches and more including favorites like BBQ Baby Back Ribs, Surf & Turf and Chicken Fried Steak. For delicious bar bites and beverage specials, swing by their No Bull Lounge during Happy Hour Monday through Friday from 3 pm to 7 pm. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 713-277-7375. L,D, Daily. $$

Prelude Coffee & Tea Coffee House Get your

coffee fix at this espresso bar located inside Hines’ 609 Main building and pair it with your favorite breakfast and lunch options from local favorite, Morningstar. 609 Main, 832.382.3466. B & L Mon–Fri. $

v Sambuca New American A hip, trendy and upscale restaurant right in the mix of Main Street. The menu includes a wide variety of favorites and combined with the live music, Sambuca is Houston’s ultimate supper club. 909 Texas, 713.224.5299. L Mon–Fri; D & LN Daily. $$$

v Prohibition American Prohibition is the home of the Moonlight Dolls who dazzle audiences with their sexy yet fun burlesque performances. Beaming with glitz and glamour, this upscale supper club has an exquisite menu featuring fresh Gulf seafood and steaks cooked to perfection! 1008 Prairie, 281.940.4636. D Thu–Sat; BR Sun. $$$

v Sapporo Japanese Sushi & Bar Asian Sapporo Japanese Sushi & Bar offers everything from sushi and yaki soba to shrimp vegetable tempura and smoked taipan yaki filet mignon. Daily happy hour favorites include hot sake, fried oysters and an assortment of house wines. 801 Congress, 832.491.0337. L, D , LN Daily. $$

v Quattro Contemporary Italian Vivid colors, creative lighting and a unique design create a sophisticated and inviting ambience for guests. Located in the Four Seasons Hotel, Quattro is one of downtown’s best restaurants. Four Seasons Hotel, 1300 Lamar, 713.652.6250. B, L & D Daily. $$$

v Shake Shack American East Coast burger chain, Shake Shack is heatin’ up Downtown Houston with cult favorites like the Shack Stack, Chick’n Shack, crinkle cut fries, creamy shakes and Texas-exclusive, the Lockhart Link Burger. 702 Main. L, D, Daily. $

Quizno’s Fast Food

The Shops at Houston Center Food Court

1119 Commerce, 713.228.9000. L & D Mon–Sun. $

Rachel’s Café American Rachel’s Cafe is an old fashioned hamburger joint inside the historic Londale Building. This quaint little café has an extensive menu with lots of simple classics like burgers, fries, sandwiches and salads—all made fresh! 421 San Jacinto, 713.229.7067. L & D Mon–Sat. $

Roma’s Pizza Italian Located just across from the

Preston Station on the METRORail, Roma’s Pizza offers New York-style pizza by the slice or pie, as well as a variety of salads, lasagnas, ravioli, and chicken dishes. 223 Main, 713.222.1184. L & D Daily. $ NEW! Rosalie Italian Soul Italian Located inside the C. Baldwin Hotel, Rosalie Italian Soul is named after and inspired by Chef Chris Cosentino’s great-grandmother, a first-generation Italian immigrant whom he credits for his cooking career. With a menu featuring classic red sauce dishes, traditional Italian starters and other staples of this cuisine like pizzas, housemade pastas and shared plates, Rosalie blends traditional Italian cuisine with the ingredients of Houston. C. Baldwin Hotel, 400 Dallas. B, L, D, LN, Daily. $$.

Russo’s New York Pizzeria Italian Inspired by the

traditional Italian values of family, friends & food, this Houston original doesn’t disappoint when it comes to fresh, delicious, homemade Italian meals. And they serve more than just pizza—try one of their specialty calzones, sandwiches or pastas! 604 Polk, 713.759.9800. L & D Daily. $


Bullritos, Chick-fil-A, Doozo’s Dumplings & Noodles, Great American Cookie, Leaf & Grain, Murphy’s Deli, Otto’s Barbecue & Hamburgers, Pho Huy Vietnamese Noodle House, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Pretzel Time, Quizno’s Subs, Salata, Simon’s Homestyle Café, Starbuck’s Coffee, Subway, Thai Basil, Treebeards, Wok & Roll. 1200 McKinney, 713.759.1442. Mon–Sat, hours vary. $ v Shula’s Steakhouse Dark wood, sports memorabilia and menus hand painted on official NFL game footballs makes Pro Hall-of-Famer Don Shula’s Steak House stand out from the rest. Become a member of the 48oz Club by finishing a 48-ounce Shula Cut. Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4777. B, L & D Daily. $$$

Skyline Deli Deli With their freshly baked bread, Skyline makes a great deli sandwich. 717 Texas, 713.571.0509. B & L Mon–Fri. $

Sol Cafe Mejicano Mexican A family-owned cafe

offering traditional Tex-Mex breakfast and lunch dishes made from fresh ingredients. 1205 Travis, 713.651.0049. B & L Mon–Fri. $ v Spindletop American A favorite Houston seafood restaurant and fine dining experience ideal for birthday parties, family reunions, anniversaries and engagements. Perched on the 34th floor of Hyatt Regency Downtown, this glass-walled restaurant makes one revolution every 45 minutes, ensuring you’ll enjoy 360-degree views of the city and all of its famous landmarks. Hyatt Regency, 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4775. D Tue–Sat. $$$

Stack Burger American This Downtown burger joint is far from ordinary. Serving more than just your everyday burgers, Stack Burger also offers coffee, breakfast, fusion sandwiches and a whole lotta Houston art. 703 St. Joseph Pkwy, 713.651.0227. B & L Daily. $

Sub Roc Fast Casual Located inside 1021 Main you’ll find Sub Roc, a quaint little space offering a diverse menu of breakfast and deli lunch options like soups and salads. Whether you’re taking a coffee break or a grab and go sandwich in hand, Sub Roc strives to make every guest’s experience pleasant with a smiling face and a relaxing environment. 1021 Main, Suite 200. 713.337.3530. B & L. $

Subway Fast Food 405 Main, 713.227.4700. Daily. $ Table 7 Bistro American Table 7 Bistro is a combination of an upscale, yet casual atmosphere. Weekday happy hour includes $4 well drinks and $2 domestic beers, and it’s happy hour all weekend with $2 mimosas all day on Saturdays and Sundays. 720 Fannin @ The Club Quarters, 713.227.4800. B, L & D Daily. $

Tejas Grill & Sports Bar American Located at The Shops at Houston Center, Tejas offers the perfect tailgate menu and full-service bar. 1201 Lamar at The Shops at Houston Center, 713.739.8352. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$

Thai Cafe Asian Make your way to the Historic District

and treat your tastebuds to the authentic flavors of Thai fusion at this local hub. Menu favorites include a variety of Thai dishes including their Crispy Shrimp & Spicy Tamarind Sauce and Kao Soi. 917 Franklin. 713.228.8424. L & D Mon–Sat. $$ v Theodore Rex American Enjoy an intimate dining experience at James Beard Award–winning Chef Justin Yu’s modern American bistro, Theodore Rex. Expect fresh local produce in your dishes coupled with warm hospitality as you walk in. 1302 Nance St, 832.830.8592. D Mon–Thu. $$

III Forks American Upscale, warm atmosphere and

impeccable service sets the stage for the sophisticated steakhouse. New York Strip and Filet Mignon, Bone-In Ribeye, Rack of Lamb, and a full range of steakhouse sides served a-la carte. Seafood items include Chilean Seabass, Atlantic Salmon, Seared Scallops, and Lobster Tails. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, Level 1, 713.658.9457. Mon-Fri, D Mon–Sat. $$$$ v Treebeards Southern A downtown institution for more than 30 years, Treebeards offers tasty Cajun dishes that are sure to satisfy. Favorite menu items include the chicken and shrimp gumbo, red beans and rice and étouffée. For dessert, try the famous butter bar. 315 Travis, 713.228.2622. Cloisters at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas, 713.229.8248. L Mon–Fri. $

Trofi Restaurant Continental Trofi’s menu is described

as Continental with a Mediterranean and Latin flair and the ambience is simple, yet sophisticated. Lunch buffets are available Monday through Friday. 400 Dallas, Doubletree Hotel, 713.759.0202. B, L & D Daily. $$ v Understory Food Hall Located at the base of Bank of America tower, this expansive 40-foot atrium which doubles as a lively food hall is filled with natural light, an abundance of community gathering spaces and features diverse food and drink experiences such as Seaside Poke, Flip n' Patties, Boomtown Coffee, MONA Fresh Italian Food, Mama Ninfa’s Tacos & Tortas, East Hampton Sandwich Co and Silver Lining Bar. 800 Capitol. B, L, D, Daily. $$

plate. v Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse This world-class steak house is one of the most elegant dining locations in Houston. It boasts rich mahogany woodwork and one-of-a-kind hospitality. Located in the heart of the Ballpark District and across from Minute Maid Park, Vic & Anthony’s is the ideal spot for entertaining business clients, a special celebration or a pre/post-game dinner. 1510 Texas, 713.228.1111. L Mon–Fri; D Daily. $$$$

Walker St. Kitchen American Walker Street Kitchen

serves the freshest offerings from the Gulf Coast, fusing cultural and geographical influences into a culinary feast. 1777 Walker, 713.654.1777. B, L & D 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. $


Wokker at Craft Beer Cellar Asian Food truck

favorite, Wokker, is now housed inside CraftBeer Cellar. Combining spices and cultures that blend harmoniously, Wokker is known for creating unique dishes that incorporate the wok, proteins and Texas cooking techniques. 907 Franklin, 713.227.0199. L & D. $ v Xochi Mexican Named after Xochitl, the goddess of the flowers, Xochi specializes in the authentic cuisine of Oaxaca, the culinary capital of Mexico, and incorporates traditional Oaxacan herbs and ingredients throughout its menu. Highlights include the barbacoa de res de zaachila, lechon, and sopa de piedra, an ancient traditional fish and shrimp soup. ¡Buen provecho! 1777 Walker, 713.400.3330. L & D Daily. $$$

Your Pie Italian Your Pie is a “down-the-line” pizza

concept offering customers the opportunity to build their own 10″ hand-tossed pizza which cooks in a gas-fired oven in less than five minutes! Their bar menu includes 25 taps of craft beer and a selection of boutique red and white wines. 1625 Main (inside SkyHouse Houston), 832.767.2544. L & D. $

Zero’s Sandwich Shop Deli A great little spot for a

freshly made deli sandwich. 809 Dallas, 713.650.3333. 1110 Lamar, 713.655.7722. 507 Dallas, 713.739.9955. B & L Mon–Fri. $

Zutro Restaurant & Bar American

Nestled inside Le Meridien Hotel, Zutro Restaurant & Bar offers reliable quality in a relaxed upscale environment. Tasty dishes are made with locally sourced ingredients and include favorites like Duck and Andouille Gumbo, Crab Gratin and Chicken Fried Pork Tomahawk. 1121 Walker, 346.330.3446. B, L, & D Daily. $$ v Zydeco Louisiana Diner Cajun This cafeteria-style Cajun joint brings Louisiana dishes to the Hospital District of downtown Houston. Traditional Cajun items such as po-boys, jambalaya and gumbo make Zydeco a great lunch stop. A casual atmosphere adds to the enjoyment. 1119 Pease, 713.759.2001. L Mon–Sat; D Tue–Sat. $

Looking for a spot to go after a long day or for a fun night out with friends? Check out some of our favorites!

40 Below | 520 Texas Ave. (inside Revention Music Center)

Located forty steps below Revention Music Center, this luxurious lounge has an exclusive entrance with access to the main music hall and a private bar offering premium food and beverages creating the ultimate pre-show hangout space.

BASE | 801 Congress

This underground basement club in Downtown’s Historic Market Square neighborhood boasts a highend nightlife experience with a sleek, mysterious vibe. Guests can expect signature cocktails, world-class DJ’s, high-end VIP bottle service and more. Tue, Fri & Sat 10 pm–2 am.

Bardot | 1070 Dallas

Perched on the second floor of Hotel Alessandra above the atrium, Bardot offers luxurious ambiance and menu options poised to please. Unwind with a hand-crafted cocktail at the end of the day, or start your evening with a glass of wine and a light bite sure to delight your taste buds. Sun–Thu 3 pm–midnight; Fri–Sat 3 pm–2 am.

Bayou & Bottle | 1300 Lamar

Bayou & Bottle is a chic bourbon concept located in the lobby of Four Seasons Houston. The bar serves over 150 varieties of bourbons and whiskeys along with flavorful cuisine inspired by Houston’s melting pot of cultures. Unique features include the first-ever Topgolf® simulation golf experience, Angels’ Share private dining room, and personalized bourbon lockers. Mon–Wed 11 am–midnight; Thu–Sat 11 am–1 am; Sun noon–midnight.

Boots ’n Shoots | 506 Main

This Texas-themed bar conveniently located right off the METRORail, features a wide variety of whiskey. If you’re feeling adventurous, try out the super fun larger-than-life PLINKO board which decides your fate when the time comes to take a shot! Wed–Sat 4 pm–2 am.

The Boulevardier | 410 Main, Downstairs

This beautiful lounge provides an upscale yet comfortable respite to Main Street every Thursday through Saturday serving the finest craft cocktails. Thu–Sat 6 pm–2 am.

Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge | 308 Main

Cottonmouth Club | 108 Main

A fun and quirky bar that doesn’t take itself too seriously (hence the name), but the cocktails are seriously good. Patrons enjoy the speakeasy vibe and the patio terrace for prime people watching. Mon–Sun 4 pm–2 am.

For guests of The Cottonmouth Club, the cocktail experience will start before the first drop of liquor is poured. A brainchild of Reserve 101’s Mike Raymond, the bar combines its come-one-come-all atmosphere with world-class cocktails and private barrel-blended whiskey. Daily 4 pm–2 am.

Casablanca Lounge | 312 Main

Craft Beer Cellar | 907 Franklin

This Guatemalan-inspired bar offers drink specials every day of the week, plenty of flat screen TVs to keep up with the latest sporting events and features live DJ’s on the weekends. Tue–Sat 4pm–2 am, Sun 4 pm–midnight.

Cellar 7 Wine & Bar Bites | 610 Main

Located in the Historic Market Square neighborhood, Craft Beer Cellar is a bottle shop and bar with a full wall of local, national and international beer options. Stop by and have a drink at the bar or fill up a growler and take one to go! Mon–Sat 10 am–10 pm; Sun 11 am–7 pm.

From wine 101 classes and event tastings to enjoying cocktails with friends before a theater show, Cellar 7 is a go-to destination in the skyline district. Wind down after work with a glass of wine or a Texas brew and pair it with a side of grilled oysters or any of the delectable bar bits on their menu. Daily 4–11 pm.

Dean’s | 316 Main

Char Bar | 305 Travis

The Dirt Bar | 1209 Caroline

Under new ownership and with a new look and feel, Dean’s adds to the cool vibe found on the 300 block of Main. Great attention from the bartenders and the trendy crowd make it a unique place to socialize. Mon–Thu 8 pm–2 am; Fri–Sat 5 pm–2 am.

Char Bar offers stiff drinks alongside custom suits. Drenched in nostalgia, Char Bar is proud of its history, as reflected in the old photos of family members who have worked in the space since the 1930s. Enjoy the second floor balcony or chat it up with Weldon Renfro, who has a permanent shoe shine booth at the entrance. Mon–Wed 10 am–midnight; Thu–Sat 10 am–2 am.

The non-venue rock ‘n’ roll lounge is a popular preand post-show destination spot that has become famous for its performer patronage. Drawing crowds and artists from every venue in the city has allowed The Dirt to host hundreds of memorable after-show events, including Lady Gaga, Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon. Daily 6 pm–2 am.

The Commoner | 410 Main, Downstairs

A dive bar built for good vibes, you get the best of both worlds at this lounge with a mixture of free play arcade games, drinks and music by some of the best local DJs and international artists. Fri–Sat 9 pm–2 am.

Simple, straightforward. Cocktails, beer and wine. Mon–Sun 4 pm–2 am; Sun noon–midnight.

Coterie | 701 Texas Avenue

The wine-centric bistro offers an extensive selection of wines, seasonal cocktails, coffee, and everything in between. Opt for a vintage wine from their walk-in wine tower, let the bartender fix you a cocktail at the bar, or get your espresso fix any day of the week. Mon–Wed 6:30 am–11pm; Thu–Fri 6:30 am–1 am; Sat 7:30 am–1 am; Sun 7:30 am–10 pm.

The Dive | 809 Pierce

1820 Bar | 1820 Franklin

This cozy little bar is located just one block north of Minute Maid Park. It’s the perfect place for a pre-game drink or a strong night cap during the week. Eighteen Twenty Lounge shares a door with Joystix Classic Games which is open on the first and last Friday of every month where $15 gets you all night access to practice your Pac-Man skills. Daily 4 pm–2 am.

WINTER 2019–20


Etro Lounge | 114 Main

Follow the bright lights and fun music flowing along Main Street to Etro Lounge! Known as a longtime staple in the Houston club scene, Etro spins the best in 80s dance and hip-hop as well as, contemporary electronic music. Tue–Sun 9 pm–2 am.

El Big Bad | 419 Travis

El Big Bad is a gastro-cantina that specializes in infused tequilas, fresh juice margaritas and cocktails, Mexican and Texan Craft Beer and scrumptious fare. Sun–Thu 11 am–midnight; Fri & Sat 11 am–2 am.

El Segundo | 306 Main

Kick back at the bar with a spiked agua fresca, frozen mojito slush or any other delicious concoction at El Segundo for a fun night of boozing. If you get hungry, the bar’s $2.50 tacos along with their inexpensive burgers, fries, and quesadillas will fill you right up. Sun–Wed 10 am–Midnight; Thu 10–2 am; Fri–Sat 10–3:30 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. 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.

Frank’s Backyard | 413 Travis

Forget about ordering pizza to-go and enjoy a slice or two at Frank’s Backyard. Whether you take a seat at the beer garden’s nifty airstream trailer housing 40 beers on tap or enjoy a glass of bourbon on their upper level deck, this local hotspot will take your traditional “pizza night” to the next level. Daily 3 pm–2 am.

Henke & Pillot | 809 Congress

Where past meets present, and drinks and dining blend in flawless harmony. Henke & Pillot is more than a dynamic Downtown cocktail lounge. Named after the Houston grocery store chain that occupied the space in the 800 block of Congress over 150 years ago, the simple yet sophisticated setting offers patrons inspired cocktails that are paired with mouthwatering dishes. Wed–Sat 4 pm–2 am.

High & Dry Rum Bar | 306 Main, Suite 200

Offering more than 50 different types of rum behind the tiki-themed bar, High & Dry is your go-to destination for all your rum-based cocktail needs. Order a classic or try out the bar’s upgraded infusions of the Mai Tai and Hurricane, or maybe both! Thu–St 4 pm–2 am.

Houston Watch Company | 913 Franklin

Houston Watch Company is located in the lobby of the Bayou Lofts at 913 Franklin and gets its name from the former timepiece company that occupied the space over 100 years ago. From its name to its drinks, Houston Watch Company is the essence of old-school. We suggest trying one of their four different versions of an old fashioned or the strawberry shrub cocktail made with fresh fruit! Sun–Tue 4 pm–midnight; Wed–Sat 4 pm–2 am.

HTX Fan Tavern | 1800 Texas

HTX Fan Tavern is a sports-centric bar conveniently located across from Minute Maid Park. It’s the perfect place to pre-game before cheering on the home team or to celebrate after a big victory!


The Isles Eatery & Rhum Bar | 1515 Pease

LIVE Sports Bar & Grill | 407 Main

KiLand’s Live | 530 Texas Ave.

Lone Star Saloon | 1900 Travis

Immerse yourself in this Caribbean hotspot and choose from an astonishing collection of 56 plus island rums used to create delightful cocktails rooted in the regional rhythms of the islands. Tue 4 pm–2 am; Wed & Thu 4–11 pm; Fri 3 pm–2 am; Sat & Sun Noon–2 am. This underground basement club in Downtown’s Historic Market Square neighborhood boasts a highend nightlife experience with a sleek, mysterious vibe. Guests can expect signature cocktails, world-class DJ’s, high-end VIP bottle service and more. Tue, Fri & Sat 10 pm-2 am. $$

Kanaloa | 311 Travis

Bring on the mai tais, bamboo backdrops and vibrant island vibes! Kanaloa brings a full-on tiki experience to Historic Market Square. Lay back with a pain killer cocktail in hand or bite into any of the delicious KoreanMexican fusion menu items from Oh My Gogi. Tue 4–Midnight; Wed–Sat 4–2 am; Sun 2 pm–Midnight.

La Cantina by La Calle | 909 Franklin

This authentic Mexican sports bar is draped in vintage lucha libre threads, and is the perfect hangout to throw back a few Micheladas, enjoy your fix of tacos and catch your facorite soccer, boxing or UFC match on one of their large 82″ screen TVs. If you get too carried away, drop by La Cantina’s sister concept, La Calle the next morning or the perfect hangover cure—a big bowl of menudo or caldo! Mon–Wed 3 pm–midnight; Thu–Fri 3 pm–2 am; Sat 11 am–2 am; Sun 11 am–midndight.

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.

Last Concert Café | 403 Nance

Located in Historic Market Square, Live Sports Bar & Grill makes you feel like you’re sitting at the game amongst all the action! Watch your favorite team on a number of TVs while you enjoy good eats and a drink from their ever-evolving selection of beer on tap. Daily 11 am–2 am. The Lone Star Saloon is a true classic Texas dive bar that seems misplaced in its urban setting. The crowd, half aging townies and half world-weary road dogs, are always willing to share have-been-to-hell-and-back stories. Daily noon–2 am.

MKT BAR | 1001 Austin

Part of Phoenicia Specialty Foods, MKT BAR is a hip wine and beer bar offering light bites and an urban, yet relaxed setting to hang out with friends on the weekend or unwind with coworkers after a long day. The bar is a local favorite with DJs, bands and fun theme nights. Mon–Wed 7 am–9 pm; Thu 7 am–2 am; Fri & Sat 9 am–2 am; Sun 9 am–8 pm.

Molly’s Pub | 509 Main

This classic Irish pub offers a variety of Irish whiskeys and international beers. Tables and coves lead you to the back, where pool and darts can be found and a second-floor balcony provides excellent views of Main Street and Downtown. Daily 11 am–2 am.

The Nightingale Room | 308 Main

The Nightingale Room—named for the famous songbird—also references Houston music legend Sippie Wallace, known as the Texas Nightingale during her prime in the 1920s. This entertainment-focused bar is a casual, comfortable spot to listen to vinyl during the week and will turn up the energy on weekends with live music—dancing is encouraged! Expect a variety of music from all genres. The drink menu features a small selection of house drinks, shots, as well as beer, wine and champagne. Tue–Sat 4 pm–2 am.

Noble Rot Wine Bar | 1010 Prairie

You have to knock three times on the red door to gain entry to the unmarked house in the Warehouse District (well, not anymore). With a backyard stage and sandpit, hoola-hooping and tiki bar, Last Concert has live music most nights. Tue–Fri 11 am–2 am; Sat 5 pm–2 am; Sun 3–9 pm.

Noble Rot is a laid back wine bar inside the Conservatory with a list of fantastic & easy drinking wines. The bar staffs a superstar team of stewards who are there to guide anyone that may not drink much wine to a glass that’s their perfect fit. Sun–Wed 11 am–midnight; Thu 11–1 am; Fri–Sat 11–3 am.

Lawless Spirits & Kitchen | 909 Texas

Notsuoh | 314 Main

Lawless Spirits & Kitchen is an establishment with flair. A place that gives rise to the iconic visions of Teddy Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Frank Sinatra or Steve McQueen leaning on the bar with a stiff, well-crafted Rye Manhattan. Lawless is detailed with glitzy style, featuring revolutionary cocktails accompanied by comfortable finger foods and satisfying bites. Daily 4–11 pm.

Lilly & Bloom | 110 Main St.

Located in the historically chic Raphael Building, this beautiful two-story lounge is known for its specialty cocktails and guest bartenders every Tuesday night. Prepare to be amazed! Daily 4 pm–2 am.

Little Dipper | 304 Main

This spot is a cool, blue neighborhood bar with pinball machines, cheap bourbon and a bad-ass jukebox. Daily 4 pm–2 am.

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.

One-Armed Scissor | 208 Travis

Chill vibes, tempting libations, and an intimate experience will keep you coming back to this hotspot located in the Historic Market Square neighborhood. Tue–Thu & Sun 3 pm–Midnight; Fri–Sat 3 pm–2 am.

The Original OKRA Charity Saloon | 924 Congress

Houston’s first charity bar is a true collaboration from Houston’s finest, including owners from Anvil, Paulie’s, Grand Prize and more. Expect classic cocktails and brews in a gorgeous historic building. Every drink purchase earns you a vote that can go toward select charities to win the bar’s monthly earnings. Daily 3 pm–2 am.

sip. Part & Parcel | 1700 Smith

Part & Parcel is a trendy patio bar located at The Whitehall Hotel—it’s the perfect place to mingle, sip and relax under the Texas stars. Their menu includes classic cocktails, original libations, and small plates with big taste! Mon–Thu 4 pm–midnight; Fri–Sat 4 pm–2 am.

The Pastry War | 310 Main

A Mezcaleria from Bobby Heugel and Alba Huerta that serves up agave spirits along with classic Mexican cocktails and beers in a festive and intimate environment. This specialty tequila joint not only accepts pesos, but is on a brave mission to serve the best margaritas in town. Salud! Tue–Sat 4 pm–2 am.

Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar | 1201 Fannin at GreenStreet

Two dueling pianos and a sing-along, clap-along, drink-along, have-one-helluva-good-time-along bar! Wed–Sat 7 pm–2 am, showtime @ 8 pm.

Public Services Wine & Whiskey | 202 Travis

Nestled in the historic Cotton Exchange Building, lies Public Services Wine & Whiskey. Public Services isn’t just any cocktail bar, in fact, they’re the complete opposite. Here, patrons can find classic wines and a vast yet distinctive whiskey selection served straight, on the rocks, or with a small selection of mixers. Craft beer and cider help round out the carefully crafted drink menu. Mon–Sat 4 pm–2 am.

Reserve 101 | 1201 Caroline

A whiskey and martini bar touting more than 220 specialty liquors that will make any cocktail aficionados mouth water. Stop by on Tuesday for complimentary tastings of special selections. Order up delicious bites from the new, chef-driven menu featuring tasty flatbreads, appetizers and sandwiches. Sun 5 pm–2 am; Mon–Sat 2 pm–2 am.

Saint Arnold Beer Garden & Restaurant | 2000 Lyons

Saint Arnold’s Beer Garden & Restaurant is a mustgo-to destination combining beer, food, architecture, and art. Guests can enjoy a pint of any Saint Arnold beer along with an expanded lunch and dinner menu that includes a variety of shareable dishes, pizzas, sandwiches, salads, and world-class entrées. Sun–Wed 11 am–10 pm; Thu–Sat 11 am–11 pm.

Shay McElroy’s Pub | 909 Texas

Dublin native and owner John McElroy created this space around a richly detailed, 19th-century bar he had shipped from Ireland. The crowd is an inviting collection of young professionals and not-so-young merrymakers. Mon–Fri 11 am–2 am; Sat & Sun 1 pm–2 am.

Tongue Cut Sparrow | 310 Main (upstairs)

Named after a Japanese fable, this 25-seat formal cocktail bar provides an extremely elevated experience from the tidy menu made up of 16 classic cocktails and a few select beer and wine options, to the bartenders clad in black bowties. Wed–Sat 4 pm–2 am.

Warren’s Inn | 307 Travis

This tavern is long known for its top-notch jukebox full of American classics, strong mixed drinks and its diverse crowd of customers. Mon–Fri 11 am–2 am; Sat noon–2 pm, Sun 2 pm–2 am.

The Wine Cellar | 540 Texas

Unwind and relax with more than 400 varieties of wine and imported beers. Wine tastings Mon–Thu, 2–7 pm. Daily 11 am–midnight.

Z on 23 | 1121 Walker

Sitting on Le Meridien’s 23rd floor, this gem offers a light menu, craft cocktails, specialty beers, a unique wine selection and 360-degree views of Downtown Houston. Sun–Thu 4–10 pm; Fri–Sat 4–11 pm.

Sunny’s Bar | 901 Capitol

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.


WINTER 2019–20





Performing Arts 45 Market Square Park 50 Festivals + Special Events 50 Discovery Green 52 and more


HOUSTON GRAND OPERA photo by Felix Sanchez



Dec 1–29 A hilarious and delicious comedy, featuring over 40 characters brought to life in the hands of one man. Sam works the reservation line at a hot restaurant. While juggling scheming socialites, name dropping wannabes, fickle celebrities, and egomaniacal bosses, can he still manage to get home for the holidays? Alley Theatre, 615 Texas.


Dec 1–29 Stanton Welch’s opulent production of The Nutcracker is one of the most splendid ever staged. In this, the most traditional holiday tale, Clara and Drosselmeyer travel together to the Land of the Sweets where the Sugar Plum Fairy is reunited with her prince—and where the magic happens. With grand sets and stunning costumes, The Nutcracker features the entire company of dancers as well as many Houston Ballet Academy students playing hundreds of fun and exciting roles. Wortham Theater, 501 Texas.


Dec 4 Start your holiday season this year at the

THE NUTCRACKER Principal Karina González as Sugar Plum Fairy and Soloist Harper Watters as Nutcracker Prince with Artists of Houston Ballet in Stanton Welch’s The Nutcracker. Photo by Amitava Sarkar (2018).


Dec 1 How great is the Houston Symphony? You’ll find

beautiful Wortham Center Cullen Theater where the Mucky Duck presents Bob Schneider and his annual Moonlight Orchestra Holiday show. Join Bob for a magical evening that will kick off your holidays in style. You’ll be able to enjoy your favorite holiday standards, but don’t worry, you’ll also be dancing in your seats to Bob’s other hits! Wortham Theater, 501 Texas.


Dec 4–7 Two retired nuclear engineers in an isolated cottage on the lonely British coast as the world around them crumbles. Together they are going to live forever on yogurt and yoga, until an old friend arrives with a frightening request. Rec Room, 100 Jackson.


Dec 5–8 Violinist Gil Shaham plus Jimmy López world premiere. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.


Dec 5–22 A world premiere and prequel to the mariachi opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, El Milagro del Recuerdo/The Miracle of Remembering brings audiences back to where it all began, Michoacán, Mexico. Set during Christmas, the opera lovingly explores the themes of traditions, familial bonds, and the dream of something more while dealing with life-changing decisions. Sung in Spanish with projected English translation. Wortham Theater, 501 Texas.


Dec 6 The Houston Latin American Philharmonic presents its annual concert to celebrate the happiest time of the year. The program includes Villancicos, Aguinaldos, Parrandas, Gaitas and special guest Gilberto Santa Rosa, plus more. Wortham Center, 501 Texas.


Dec 6 Internationally recognized as one of the outstanding string quartets of their generation, the Brentano Quartet returns to Da Camera for the premiere of a new work by composer Matthew Aucoin, co-commissioned by Da Camera and Carnegie Hall. Just 29 and already a MacArthur Genius grant winner, Aucoin is LA Opera's first ever Artist in Residence and one of the youngest composers ever commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera. Violist Hsin-Yun Huang joins the Brentano for Mozart’s powerful masterpiece. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby.

out in this program of lush, full-orchestra showpieces from the greatest symphonic poet of all time. First, hear two of the most soul-stirring works ever written in Strauss’ poignant musings on life, death and transcendence. Then sparks fly and spirits soar as we feel the racing pulse of history’s most legendary ladies’ man and encounter a loveable trickster who always gets the last laugh. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.


Dec 1–8 The Wizard of Oz lands at Art Factory for the holiday season. Featuring Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Ding! Dong! The Witch is Dead, We’re Off to See the Wizard, If I Were the King of the Forest and the rest of the beloved songs and characters from your childhood, this production is the perfect holiday treat for the whole family! Art Factory, 1125 Providence.


Dec 1–19 A family-friendly retelling of Charles Dickens' classic story, which follows Ebenezer Scrooge's journey with the three ghostly spirits who visit him on Christmas Eve. A powerful message about redemption and the spirit of the holiday season. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas.


WINTER 2019–20




stand-up comedian, best-selling children’s book author, much-in-demand corporate speaker, lovable TV and movie voice-over artist, pioneering car builder and mechanic and philanthropist … it’s no wonder that Jay Leno is widely characterized as “the hardest working man in show business.” Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.

through Jones Hall, the Symphony played to delight one and all. Envision sugar plums, flying reindeer and a sleigh filled with toys as the classic holiday story ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas comes to life with live music and narration. Plus sing along to festive favorites like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. If you sing loudly enough, you might even receive a visit from a very special man in a red suit. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana

Dec 6 Acclaimed late-night TV show host, admired


Dec 7–Dec 22 Based on the cherished 2003 movie, the musical tells the story of Buddy, a human accidentally transported to the North Pole as a baby. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity and help the Big Apple remember the true meaning of Christmas. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby.


Dec 11–14 In Moliere's satire, religious hypocrisy threatens Orgon's family. The cunningly deceptive Tartuffe enchants wealthy Orgon who is beguiled by his seemingly spiritual virtuosity. Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, 790 Austin.


Dec 12 Andrea Bocelli, who has sold 80 million records and performed countless worldwide tours, returns to the Toyota Center with the Houston Symphony. The world’s most beloved tenor performs his unmatched repertoire of famed arias, love songs and beloved crossover hits, live with the Houston Symphony. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk.


Dec 13, 14, 15, 17 It’s the most wonderful time of the

Dec 14 ’Twas the Night Before Christmas and all



Dec 20–22 This Christmas, be moved by Handel’s ever-glorious setting of the greatest story ever told. The Houston Symphony, chorus and guest soloists join forces to fill Jones Hall with joyous refrains and exultant arias, including the powerful Hallelujah Chorus. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.


Dec 26–27 The beloved TV classic Rudolph the RedNosed Reindeer soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. See all of your favorite characters as they come to life. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.

Photo by Julieta Cervantes



Dec 28–30 Get ready for another hair-raising adventure when Poppy, Branch and their friends come to life on-stage for their first ever live tour! The journey begins when the Trolls’ Hug Time is unexpectedly put at risk. Knowing that the only way to save it is by doing what the Trolls do best, Poppy hosts a toe-tapping, Trolls-tastic show, jam-packed with all the epic music, glitter, humor and happiness only the Trolls can create. This is one Trolls party you won’t want to miss! Hobby Center, 800 Bagby.

Dec 31 On New Year’s Eve 2019, Ars Lyrica celebrates the legacy of Antonio Vivaldi and his Venetian predecessors with a program of virtuosic concertos for flute and equally flamboyant works for one, two, and three solo violins. Our festive Venetian Carnival evening begins with a three-course dinner and concludes with a lively post-concert party with DJ and dancing. Join us for any or all of these activities and ring in the new year with Ars Lyrica! Hobby Center, 800 Bagby.


year—and there’s no better way to celebrate! Former Principal Pops Conductor Michael Krajewski returns, joining Symphony and Chorus for a sparkling concert filled with all the merry sounds of the season. Hear a host of festive favorites, including the Houston Symphony commission Glad Tidings, a musical and narrative telling of the Christmas story packed with classic carols like What Child is This?, Silent Night and Joy to the World. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.

Jan 3–4 The Color Purple is the 2016 Tony Award winner for Best Musical Revival! Hailed as “a direct hit to the heart” (The Hollywood Reporter), this joyous American classic about a young woman’s journey to love and triumph in the American South has conquered Broadway in an all-new “ravishingly reconceived production that is a glory to behold.” Hobby Center, 800 Bagby.



Jan 3–5 The legend. The icon. The voice. Frank Sinatra

stroll into one of Dixie’s favorite honkytonks and get ready to enjoy the incomparable Ms. Longate—as she shares her hysterical lifelessons learned after a hard night of drinking. What do a jeweled crown, a cardboard cutout of Julie Andrews and a box of moon pies have in common? Spend the night with Dixie and find out! Hobby Center, 800 Bagby.

Jan 7–12 After breaking box office records week after

defined an entire generation of cool, and he did it his way. Step back in time as Houston favorite Tony DeSare, one of today’s leading Sinatra interpreters, recreates the Rat Pack swagger and timeless magic of Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, delivering showstoppers like Come Fly with Me, It Was a Very Good Year and New York, New York. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.

Dec 14–22 Put on your cowboy boots and


week and receiving unanimous raves on Broadway, winner of four Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival, Hello, Dolly! is the universally acclaimed smash and is now touring America, paying tribute to the original work of legendary director/choreographer Gower Champion—hailed both then and now as one of the greatest stagings in musical theater history. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby.


Photo by Bradford Rogne



Jan 9, 11, & 12 He was the original showman—and Paganini’s bag of musical tricks knows no limit in his Violin Concerto No. 1, a work of mind-blowing virtuosity that pushes the instrument to its very limits. When it comes to daredevil violin feats, Grammy Award winner Augustin Hadelich has a knack for making it look easy. Visions of the Eternal City are brushed with a palette of infinite color in Respighi’s glittering tone poems. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.



Jan 16 Experience the grace, wit and charm of French music. The program begins and ends with early works by Saint-Saëns and Fauré that recreate the elegant atmosphere of 19th-century Parisian salons. In between, the Ravel sonata, written soon after World War I, uses just two string instruments to produce a composition of unique, austere beauty. These three inimitable works capture the essence of pure melody in its most delightfully fundamental form. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby.


Jan 17–19 Tchaikovsky’s ardent, deeply felt final symphony awakens us to a universe of emotion, from wild euphoria to desolate caverns of despair. Get ready for a visceral, edge-of-your-seat experience when the Houston Symphony performs this unforgettable masterwork, known for its haunting conclusion that fades to black. Pristine, ethereal beauty meets frenetic energy in Shostakovich’s razor-sharp concerto, featuring unparalleled superstar Vadim Gluzman. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.


Jan 17–26 Alley All New is comprised of a variety of public and in-house programs designed to support playwrights and cater to the needs of each new project. Through this initiative, the Alley produces world premieres, commissions new plays, and supports playwrights year-round. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas.


Little Explorers, 10:30 am


Baby Storytime, 10:30 am Toddler Storytime, 11:30 am Preschool Storytime, 1 pm


Jan 23–25 STOMP is explosive, inventive, provocative, witty and utterly unique—an unforgettable experience for audiences of all ages. Year after year, audiences worldwide keep coming back for more of this pulsepounding electrifying show. As the Boston Globe says, “If you haven’t seen STOMP, GO! If you have seen it, take someone and share the pleasure!” Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.

All events free and open to the public. Central Library 500 McKinney

Julia Ideson Library 550 McKinney



Jan 24–Feb 9 Once the most performed opera of its time, this bel canto drama features some of the most challenging arias ever written. Woven into Donizetti’s now rarely performed La Favorite is a classic love triangle among a noblewoman, king, and warrior. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713-546-0271


Jan 17–Feb 9 Directed by Austin-based KJ Sanchez and starring Sesame Street’s Emilio Delgado, Quixote Nuevo is an inspiring reimagining of Cervantes’ Don Quixote by celebrated playwright Octavio Solis. Set in a fictional modern-day Texas border town, Quixote and his sidekick embark on an adventure in search of longlost love. Infused with imagination, Tejano music, and true Texas soul, Quixote Nuevo shows the challenges of living in this modern world while in pursuit of a lost dream. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas.


Jan 21 Spinosaurus was nearly lost to science before Nizar Ibrahim, a remarkable young paleontologist, discovered this prehistoric giant. With amazing video recreating the lost world of the Cretaceous-era Sahara, Ibrahim tells the story of Spinosaurus’ discovery, loss and rediscovery, and explain what—other than its size—makes this ancient monster unique. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.




Photo by Tristram Kenton


Jan 31–Feb 16 Verdi’s timeless Aida returns to the Wortham stage in an awe-inspiring new production directed by Phelim McDermott. This stunning new design is enhanced by the incorporation of visionary artist Basil Twist’s silk choreography. Set in ancient Egypt during the pinnacle of war, the captive princess Aida falls in love with a conquering general and must choose between true love and loyalty to her country. The unforgettable story of sacrifice and betrayal is heightened by Verdi’s powerful music. Wortham Center, 501 Texas.


Feb 7 Each year, hundreds of singers from across



Jan 25 Da Camera welcomes back NEA Jazz Master,


renowned Grammy Award-winning saxophonist and Tony Award-nominee Branford Marsalis, one of the most revered instrumentalists of our time. The quartet that Marsalis has led for the past three decades has always been a model of daring, no-apologies artistry, of ever-widening musical horizons and deepening collective identity. The band has long been a model of how to sustain and enlarge a musical outlook that is both historically and stylistically inclusive. Wortham Theater, 501 Texas.

Jan 30–31 Mark Morris Dance Group’s unique tribute


Jan 30–Feb 2 It captivated listeners so completely

Jan 26 Martin and Chris Kratt, zoologists by training and stars of the Emmy-nominated show, engage the audience in a classic Wild Kratts story. The brothers keep all ages entertained as they activate fan-favorite Creature Power Suits and go “off to the creature rescue!” With the help of the Wild Kratts team—and audience members—they confront a comic villain and help bring the creatures of the animal world to safety once again. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.

to the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, resounds with all the ingenuity, musicality, wit and humanity for which the company is known. Pepperland features an original score by Ethan Iverson performed live that blends arrangements of songs from the groundbreaking album with new Pepper-inspired pieces. Wortham Center, 500 Texas.


when it first premiered that an immediate, midsymphony encore was demanded. More than 200 years later, from Hollywood to the concert hall, the bewitching Allegretto from Beethoven’s Seventh speaks to the heart just as intently—a vast, brooding midnight amidst a symphony of sunny exuberance and surging high spirits. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.


January 27 Carolyn Forché, award-winning poet,

translator reading from her new memoir What You Have Heard Is True, and Carmen Maria Machado, National Book Award finalist and winner of the National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Prize for Her Body and Other Parties, reading from her new memoir In The Dream House as part of the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas.

the globe audition for HGO Studio, one of the world’s most prestigious young artists programs. The Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers brings the best of these young opera singers to Houston for its final phases. Concert of Arias, the live finals of the months-long competition, presents a night of suspense, high stakes, audience participation, immense promise, and fun—all wrapped up in a lively evening of soulstirring music that will leave one breathless. Guests enjoy the most moving arias in the opera repertoire and get to vote for their favorite performers, followed by a seated dinner celebrating the HGO Studio artists and competition winners. Tickets start at $600; tables start at $6,000. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas.


Feb 7–9 Jersey Boys is the behind-the-music story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. They were just four guys from Jersey, until they sang their very first note. They had a sound nobody had ever heard, and the radio just couldn’t get enough of. But while their harmonies were perfect on stage, off stage it was a very different story—a story that has made them an international sensation all over again. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby.


Feb 8–9, 15–16 Robert Schumann’s music speaks to us in a timeless, universal language. His romance with virtuoso pianist Clara Wieck is a love story for the ages, while his ongoing battle with depression, and eventual descent into insanity, makes his noble, life-affirming creations all the more remarkable. Join us for a deep dive into the trials and the triumphs, the love and the madness, the man and the music. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.


Jan 28–Feb 2 The critically acclaimed smash-hit Broadway musical is the winner of 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, making it one of the most Tony-winning musicals in history. In this joyously offbeat story, set in a town that’s way off the beaten path, a band of musicians arrive lost, out of the blue. Under the spell of the desert sky, and with beautiful music perfuming the air, the band brings the town to life in unexpected and tantalizing ways. Even the briefest visit can stay with you forever. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby.



Photo by Eric Ryan Anderson

datebook. Photo by Joan Marcus


Feb 20–21 Contemporary dance troupe TU Dance,

known for navigating complex themes of social change, and Bon Iver’s Justin, who has garnered Grammy Awards and significant international acclaim, come together in an unprecedented collaboration of powerhouses. This evening-length program features new music from Vernon performed by Bon Iver as well as new choreography from TU Dance’s Uri Sands. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.


Feb 21 One of America’s premier instrumental


ensembles, the Grammy Award-winning LAGQ is one |of the most multifaceted groups in any genre. The quartet honors some of this country’s most innovative guitar masters, from rock innovators Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa, to country master Chet Atkins to jazz guitarist Ralph Towner. Wortham Theater, 501 Texas.



Feb 8–29 Moses and Kitch stand around on the corner—talking smack, passing the time, and hoping that maybe today will be different. A provocative mashup of Waiting for Godot and the Exodus saga, Pass Over exposes the unquestionable human spirit of young men dreaming about a promised land they’ve yet to find. $5–$40. Rec Room Arts, 100 Jackson.


Feb 9 Inspired by the words and action of Dr. Martin

Luther King, Jr., Damien Sneed’s We Shall Overcome showcases a repertoire from across the African American music tradition that electrified generations of civil rights activists and defenders with interwoven spoken word from Dr. King’s recorded speeches. Wortham Center, 500 Texas.


Feb 13 Celebrate Valentine’s Day week with romantic ballads and grand choral music including highlights from Goethe’s Faust and Pilgrimage of the Rose. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.


Feb 14–29 Texas playwright and Pulitzer Prize winner


Feb 18–29 TUTS is thrilled to bring the national tour of the 2018 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical to the Houston, direct from Broadway. Once On This Island is the sweeping, universal tale of Ti Moune, a fearless peasant girl in search of her place in the world, and ready to risk it all for love. Guided by the mighty island gods, Ti Moune sets out on a remarkable journey to reunite with the man who has captured her heart. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby.


Feb 28–29 His warm, velvety voice is unmistakable.

His legacy is unforgettable. Join the world in celebrating legendary crooner Nat King Cole in his centennial year as Ryan Shaw performs all the songs that made us fall in L-O-V-E with Nat—When I Fall in Love, Mona Lisa, Stardust, Straighten Up and Fly Right and many more. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.


Feb 22 The turbulent environment of Spanish artist

Feb 29 Hailed by BBC Radio 3 as “a real poet of the

Francisco Goya takes center stage in a multimedia program featuring lively instrumental and vocal works by Francisco Courcelle, Fernando Sor, Vicente Garviso, plus one of Luigi Boccherini’s beloved guitar quintets, all accompanied by projections of Goya’s artwork. Curated and guest directed by Ars Lyrica guitarist and lutenist Richard Savino. Wortham Center, 800 Bagby.

Feb 29 Batter up! Put on your baseball cap and root,


Feb 22 The Peking Acrobats, a troupe of China’s most gifted tumblers, contortionists, jugglers, cyclists and gymnasts complemented by live musicians playing traditional Chinese instruments, will bring their 2,000-year-old tradition of acrobatics to Houston. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.


Feb 26–29 Kinder HSPVA celebrates Black History Month with a musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. The Color Purple spotlights Celie, a downtrodden young woman whose personal awakening over the course of 40 years forms the arc of this epic story. With a joyous score, it is a story of hope, a testament to the healing power of love, and a celebration of life. Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, 790 Austin.

piano,” Andrew Tyson is emerging as a distinctive and important new musical voice. In 2015, he was awarded first prize at the Géza Anda Competition in Zürich, as well as the Mozart and Audience Prizes. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby.


root, root for your hometown orchestra – we’re gearing up for spring training with this fun program inspired by America’s favorite pastime! A star slugger swings for the fences in a musical narration of the humorous poem Casey at the Bat. And show your Texas pride as you sing and clap along to Deep in the Heart of Texas during a special seventh inning stretch! Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.


Feb 29 Composer-pianist Vijay Iyer has carved out a unique path as an influential, prolific, shape-shifting presence in modern music. Iyer has been voted DownBeat’s Artist of the Year four times and Artist of the Year in Jazz Times‘ Critics’ and Readers’ Polls for 2017. Iyer’s ECM sextet album Far From Over was ranked No. 1 in NPR’s annual Jazz Critics’ Poll and was named among the best jazz albums of the year. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. photo by Allyson Huntsman

Lawrence Wright, author of God Save Texas and The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, offers a behind the-scenes look at a historical moment whose legacy continues to resonate 41 years later. During 13 days in 1978, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, with the powerful help of U.S. President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter, hammered out an agreement that inspired the entire world. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas.



Feb 27–29 The 50th anniversary season would not be complete without a signature Ben Stevenson production. Premiering in 1990, Stevenson’s The Sleeping Beauty is recognized as one of the supreme achievements of classical ballet. His is an exquisite interpretation of the classic French fairytale by Charles Perrault: a beautiful princess is cursed by an evil fairy and doomed to sleep for 100 years – only to be awakened by the kiss of the handsome prince who loves her. Stunning costumes and spectacular sets by Desmond Heeley help make the production as magical as the story it tells. Wortham Center, 501 Texas.


WINTER 2019–20




Pucker up—Texas’ biggest mistletoe ball is back Downtown this holiday season. A 150-inch ball of kiss-inducing greenery hanging from a 15-foot giant candy cane will be located at Market Square Park Nov. 17 through New Year’s Day. Passersby are invited to stand under the massive ball and kiss—just because! Share your smooches using #XOmistletoe.



Dec 4 Join Buffalo Bayou Partnership and University of Houston Downtown for Unsilent Night. Experience this festive and interactive holiday event in the great outdoors. Unsilent Night is a sound sculpture created when many individuals simultaneously play one of four music tracks by composer Phil Kline. Free. 6–7 pm reception, 7–8 pm procession. UHD South Deck (201 Girard St).



Dec 4 Head to the park for a special holiday screening of Bad Santa under the stars. Get into the holiday spirit as a miserable conman and his partner pose as Santa and his Little Helper to rob department stores on Christmas Eve. Free. 7 pm.


Dec 7 Pop Shop America and Downtown Houston are partnering up this holiday season to bring you a one-ofa-kind shopping experience. Shop small in the heart of Downtown with over 30 stylish, locally designed goods. Enjoy holiday crafting, photo booths, live music, food and more. Free. 10 am–4 pm.

Winter Calendar Market Square Park is open daily from 6 am–11 pm. Blankets, lawn chairs, and picnics are welcome; food, beer and wine are available for purchase at Niko Niko’s. No glass containers or outside alcoholic beverages are allowed. Metered on-street parking is available and free after 6 pm. Be sure to follow Historic Market Square on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for special event announcements, weather-related updates and other happenings in the neighborhood’s eclectic dining and bar scene.



Dec 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21 Join Buffalo Bayou Partnership in celebrating the holiday season with 45-minute pontoon boat rides along Buffalo Bayou. Enjoy festive boat lighting with Santa and Mrs. Claus and hot chocolate to keep your spirits warm. 45-minute boat rides from 5:30–8:30 pm. $15/adult; $10/child. Boat departs from Allen’s Landing.


Dec 7 A chill holiday party with guest appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus, holiday crafts, cookie decorating, balloon artist, face painters, breakfast and more! Space is limited and registration is required. 9 am to 11 am. Phoenicia Specialty Foods Downtown. 1001 Austin.



Dec 7 Architecture Center Houston will host the 11th


Annual Gingerbread Build-Off at City Hall's Hermann Square. Competing teams will create their masterpieces using 100% edible materials. In honor of the Apollo moon landing, the Gingerbread Build-Off will have a special competition category—Gingerbread In Space. More than 4,000 spectators are expected to attend and cheer on the teams, play in the kids' construction zone and see Santa! All that entertainment is free and open to the public! Free. 10 am–4:30 pm. Hermann Square, 900 Smith.


Dec 7, 14, 21 Decorate gingerbread houses, holiday cookies and make some fun holiday crafts! Kids will also be able to enjoy a yummy item from our kid’s brunch menu in MKT BAR after the class. Enjoy plenty of hot cocoa, holiday music and fun International holiday stories for all! Space is limited and registration is required. Ages 3–11. 11 am to 12:30 pm. Phoenicia Specialty Foods Downtown. 1001 Austin.


Dec 7, 8, 14, 15, 21–24 Breakfast with Santa: Santa is stopping by the Aquarium this holiday season! Dine with him and our mascot, Sharkey, and enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet, exhibit discounts and more! Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby.


Dec 8 Enjoy festive wine and charcuterie plates while decorating gingerbread houses, holiday cookies and making some fun holiday crafts! Phoenicia Specialty Foods Downtown. 1001 Austin.


Dec 21 Don’t miss this fun, Christmas-themed Houston 12K and 6K run that the whole family can enjoy. Enjoy hot cocoa, appearances by jolly old St. Nick and his elves, Christmas carolers and much more holiday fun! Join the post-race fun with food, drinks, music and more for the whole family. Registration $45–$55. 7:30 am. 1100 Bagby.



Dec 31 New Year's Eve Family Celebration: Ring in the

Feb 14 Hop aboard Buffalo Bayou Partnership's pontoon

New Year with our mascot, Sharkey! Celebrate with a delicious buffet, balloon drop, contests and giveaways for the kids! Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby.

boat for a cozy cruise with your Valentine. Bubbly and chocolate bites will be served during a romantic evening boat ride with spectacular views of Downtown Houston. 6–7 pm and 7:30–8:30 pm. $4 per person. Boat departs at Allen’s Landing.


Jan 1–31 Buy One, Get One Free Aquarium Adventure Pass on Saturdays! Must present coupon at ticket booth. Coupon can be found on website or facebook. com/AquariumHouston. Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby.


Feb 14 Bring your sweetheart for a romantic dinner for two in our Nautilus Ballroom. Reservation required. Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby.


Every weekend in February Three Parks – One Pass! Enjoy unlimited three-day admission on rides at the Kemah Boardwalk, Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier and Downtown Aquarium (exhibits at Aquarium also included). Tickets can be found on our website. Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby.


Through Jan 3 Prismatica is an interactive art exhibit that brightens the holiday season with every color of the rainbow. Giant prisms reflect surrounding Downtown Houston by day and project the full spectrum of light each night. Visitors are invited to wander among and rotate the prisms, creating their own compositions of light, bells and colorful reflections. The exhibit is created and designed by RAW Design in collaboration with ATOMIC3 and produced by Quartier des Spectacles Partnership of Montreal, Canada. Free. 8 am–11 pm. Avenida Plaza, 1001 Avenida de Las Americas.


Through Jan 5 Created and designed by Collectif


Blackbox and produced by Quartier des Spectacles Partnership and Spectra (Illuminart), Chimes rifts off the concept of the butterfly effect, in which a small action produces a large impact. Visitors set the exhibit into motion patterns of light and sound with one touch. Free. 8 am–11 pm. Fish Plaza, 500 Texas.

WINTER 2019–20


photo by Katya Horner

DISCOVERY GREEN Winter Calendar The events listed are confirmed at the time of printing. For a full listing of Discovery Green’s winter events, please visit the calendar at Blankets, lawn chairs and picnics are welcome; food, beer and wine are available for purchase at the Lake House. No glass containers or outside alcoholic beverages permitted. Most events are free, unless noted otherwise. 1500 McKinney.


Through Feb 24 Discovery Green’s highly anticipated winter art installation is Paloma sponsored by PNC Bank. Paloma—a flock of “origami” birds illuminating the century old live oaks of the Brown Promenade are created by Pitaya, a group from France that creates site specific art work incorporating light. Here and Now is a multichannel sound installation created by Lina Dib, a Houston-based artist and anthropologist whose work explores ecological change. Together, the pieces will create an immersive experience for the visitor.


Through Feb 2 Downtown ice skating under the stars. Glide beneath the glittering lights of Downtown Houston and embrace the holiday cheer on The ICE powered by Green Mountain Energy. Tickets start at $11. Mon–Thu, 5–10 pm, Fri 5–11 pm, Sat 11 am–11 pm, Sun 11 am–8 pm


Saturdays through Dec 21 Discovery Green’s local artisan market is irresistible to the avid shopper! Enjoy live local music, food trucks and shopping under the stars and twinkling lights. 6–10 pm


Dec 7 Yearly walk to combat eating disorders. 9 am–1 pm.


Dec 13 In their 55 years together, the Skatalites have toured the globe bringing their infectious brand of real Jamaican ska. 7–10 pm.


Dec 14 Members of the HGO Chorus return to Discovery Green for the second annual holiday songfest led by Ben Manis and featuring, HGO Studio artists Leia Lensig and Kyle Naig. They are joined by over 70 voices from the Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church Chapel Choir and AFA Girls Chorus for a concert of holiday music from various traditions—sing-alongs included! 7–8 pm.


Dec 14, Jan 11 and Feb 8 Second Saturday Library Pop-Up featuring books, history, technology, and other resources from Houston Public Library’s special collections and more. Noon-3 pm.


Jan 10 The annual LGBTQ celebration at Discovery Green heads to the ICE for the ultimate dance party with electrifying entertainment featuring music by DJ Joe Ross. FREE to attend, skating fees apply. 7–10 pm.






Jan 18–19 The official Chevron Houston Marathon

Wednesdays through Jan 16 (Excluded dates: 11/27,

Saturdays through Feb 1 Skate with Santa Claus before

Weekend post-race celebration for runners, family and friends.

12/25 and 1/1) Skate then sip a special beverage from the Lake House while listening to some of your favorite songs by Houston artists. Show your H-Town pride by wearing Houston Rockets, Texans, Astros or Dynamo/ Dash merchandise and get a free skate rental. 7–9 pm.

Dec 25, 5–6 pm. With favorite storybook characters after Dec 25, 4–6 pm. Dec 28 Elsa Jan 4  Rey & Kylo Ren (Star Wars) Jan 11  Ms. Marvel Jan 18  Spiderman Jan 25  Wonder Woman Feb 1  Black Panther


Jan 28 and Feb 25 Join us at Discovery Green for Murder at Midday, our mystery themed book club, if you want to find out whodunit! 12:30–1:30 pm.


Tuesdays and Saturdays through Feb Visit the HPL Program Space in the Morgan Reading Room at Discovery Green to browse and check out items using your library card and the BOOKLINK! Noon–3 pm.


Mondays through Jan 27 Glide around The ICE powered by Green Mountain Energy for just $15 for two people or $8 per person. Includes tax and skate rental. Not available during school holidays. 5–10 pm.


Tuesdays through Jan 28 (Excluded dates: 12/24

Dec 4 & 18, Jan 1, 15 & 29 A welcoming environment with designated times for skaters with special physical and/or developmental challenges to enjoy the rink. Take to the ice with a friend, caregiver or family member to experience newfound freedom and a sense of accomplishment. (Non-motorized wheelchairs allowed on ICE every day.)


Thursdays Skate and watch, or just enjoy the movie


Saturdays through Jan 25 Discovery Green and Houston Public Library offer a free creative writing workshop led by Writers in the Schools (WITS) for students 2nd grade and up. 10:30–11:30 am.


from the hill! 7 pm. Dec 5 Miracle on 34th Street Dec 12  It’s a Wonderful Life Dec 19  A Christmas Story Dec 26  A Dog’s Way Home Jan 2  Toy Story 4 Jan 9  Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Jan 16  Sixteen Candles Jan 23  Pokémon Detective Pikachu Jan 30  Footloose (1984)

Saturdays through Feb 1 Bring your sorted glass, paper, plastic and aluminum to a recycling station provided by the City of Houston to Discovery Green. Take advantage of this opportunity to tidy up your space and do good for the environment too! 11 am–2 pm.


Dec 6 and Jan 3 Writers in the Schools (WITS)

leads free creative writing and performance poetry workshops for budding poets ages 13 to 19. Meet new friends, elevate your writing, practice public speaking, build your community and share your story. 6:30–8 pm.


Fridays through Jan 31 (Excluded dates: 12/13, 1/10) With DJ Mohawk Steve spinning your favorite jams, ice skating has never been this fun. Bring your friends and family for a perfect winter night on the ICE with lively music and a light show. 7–9 pm.

photo by Katya Horner

and 12/31) Skating with a twist (and a theme) where costumes are encouraged! If you dress the part, you can get a free skate rental. 7–9 pm. Nov 19 Skating through the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s Dec 3  Harry Potter Dec 10  Princesses Dec 17  Ugly Sweaters Jan 7  Star Wars Jan 14  Super Heroes Jan 21  Super Villains Jan 28  H-Town Pride



WINTER 2019–20




Dec 7 Dec 13  Dec 21  Jan 18  Jan 31  Feb 12  Feb 22 

Jonathan Van Ness: Road To Beijing. Il Divo: A Holiday Song Celebration Tobe Nwigwe: The Ivory Tour Bumpng Mics: Jeff Ross & Dave Attell The Fab Four: The Ultimate Tribute Dermot Kennedy-Without Fear Tour Rex Orange County-Pony Tour

Revention Music Center’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. Revention Music Center, 520 Texas. 800.745.3000.


Dec 1 PJ Morton - Paul Tour Dec 6  A$Ap Ferg - The Yedi Tour Dec 7  Drag Diva Brunch: A Very Drag

Diva Christmas!



Dec 1 Dec 12  Dec 15  Dec 22  Jan 26  Feb 1 

Toyota Center’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.4HOUTIX.

Dec 10 Chon & Between The Buried And


Me W/ Intervals

Dec 11 Mix 96.5 Deck The Hall Ball Starring

Rob Thomas

Dec 14 Drag Diva Brunch: A Very Drag

Diva Christmas!

Dec 15 The Last Bandoleros Dec 16  Snoop Dogg : I Wanna Thank Me Tour Dec 17  Dir En Grey: Tour19 This Way To Self-Destruction Dec 18  Robert Earl Keen - Countdown To Christmas Dec 21  A Drag Queen Christmas - The Naughty Tour Dec 22  Angels & Airwaves Dec 27  Lyfe Jennings Jan 8  Who's Bad Jan 12  Badfish - Under The Sun Tour Jan 23  Queensryche Jan 25  Saved By The 90's Feb 3  Ron Pope Feb 7  Big Head Todd & The Monsters Feb 14  Grace Potter Feb 15  Ones To Watch Presents: Chris Lane - Big, Big Plans Tour Feb 21  Thrice Feb 21  070 Shake Feb 29  Reverend Horton Heat

Bad Bunny Andrea Bocelli Cher Trans-Siberian Orchestra Chance the Rapper Celine Dion

Dec 1 Dec 6–8  Dec 28–29  Jan 11–12 

Jan 24–25 Jan 24–26 

Feb 4–7


TOURS 60th Annual AutoRama Metal & Muscle Expo High Caliber Gun & Knife Show Houston Cat Club Annual Charity Cat Show Southwest Pool & Spa Show Houston Safari Club Convention & Conservation Expo NAPE Expo

The George R. Brown Convention Center’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas.


Dec 4, Jan 1 & Feb 5 Join Buffalo Bayou Partnership on a Wellness Walk led by Laura Conely, founder of Urban Paths Wellness Coaching. Anyone and everyone is invited to walk through the paths of Buffalo Bayou Park while discussing topics including mental and physical health as well as the benefits of being exposed to nature. Free. 9-10:30 am. The Water Works in Buffalo Bayou Park.


Dec 21, Jan 18 & Feb 15 Enjoy a free walking tour in Buffalo Bayou Park highlighting the landscape and ecology of 19th century Texas that created Houston, as well as the importance of prairies in rebuilding this astonishing and all but vanished ecosystem. Free. 10:30 am–noon. The Water Works in Buffalo Bayou Park.

HOB’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. House of Blues, GreenStreet, 1204 Caroline. 888.402.5837.




Like the rest of Texas, Downtown Houston is a pretty big place to walk around. There are a lot of things to see up close and from a distance. Experience the Bayou City, once the capital city of a sovereign country, from a walking perspective within a few hours while you have effortless fun on a Segway. $49. Daily: 10 am, noon, 2 pm, 4 pm and 6 pm. Meet at 901 Commerce Street. 866.673.4929.





Dec 21, Jan 18 & Feb 15 Houstonians, ages 9 and

Feb 29 View the public art in Buffalo Bayou Park like

up, are invited to join Buffalo Bayou Partnership for community-wide volunteer days at Buffalo Bayou Park the third Saturday of each month. Whether volunteering as a large or small group, or individually, your efforts will lead to a healthier environment and a more aesthetically pleasing amenity for all to enjoy. Bring your own gloves and BBP will provide any needed tools. To sign up, please read and complete an online volunteer waiver with the event date. 8:30–11:30 am. The Water Works in Buffalo Bayou Park.

never before on this exciting bike ride! During this tour led by BBP guide Andrew Groocock, you will learn about the various works of art along Buffalo Bayou that make this green space so unique. 9–10 am. $10/person. The Water Works in Buffalo Bayou Park.


Dec 7 & Feb 15 Aboard BBP’s pontoon boat, take a look back to the late 1800s when Houston was founded with Louis Aulbach, local historian and author of Buffalo Bayou: An Echo of Houston’s Wilderness Beginning or Andrew Groocock, local historian. Hear stories of the Allen brothers and historical information about the people, places and events along the bayou that helped shape Houston. 10–11:30 am. $40/person. Boat departs from Allen’s Landing.


Dec 14 & Feb 22 Join bayou guide Andrew Groocock on a historical tour of the upper channel of Buffalo Bayou focusing on the historic significance of this industrial stretch and Houston, as you cruise the approximately seven miles from the old port of Houston to the new port of Houston. 10 am-noon. $45/person. Boat departs from Allen’s Landing.


Feb 1 Join Buffalo Bayou Partnership on a free Wellness Walk along Buffalo Bayou’s East Sector led by Laura Conely, founder of Urban Paths Wellness Coaching. Discover the historic East End neighborhood. This scenic urban trail follows along Buffalo Bayou flowing toward Tony Marron Park (808 N. York Street) and is a combination of pavement, dirt, and gravel. Wear durable yet comfortable shoes. Free. Time: 9–10:30 am. Meet at Guadalupe Plaza Park.


Nestled among 19 acres in the heart of Downtown Houston, the Heritage Society boasts eight historic structures dating from 1823 to 1905. Each historic structure is authentically restored to reflect its original magnificence. Tickets $15 adults, $12 seniors, $6 children 6–12 and kids under 5 are free. Sam Houston Park, 1100 Bagby. Tue-Sun. Times vary.

Dec 7 Dec 9  Dec 14  Dec 16  Dec 28  Dec 31  Jan 3  Jan 11  Jan 15  Jan 18  Jan 20  Jan 22  Jan 31  Feb 2  Feb 4  Feb 9  Feb 11  Feb 24  Feb 26 

Rockets vs. Phoenix Suns Rockets vs. Sacramento Kings Rockets vs. Detroit Pistons Rockets vs. San Antonio Spurs Rockets vs. Brooklyn Nets Rockets vs. Denver Nuggets Rockets vs. Philadelphia 76ers Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Rockets vs. Portland Trailblazers Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Rockets vs. Denver Nuggets Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks Rockets vs. New Orleans Pelicans Rockets vs. Charlotte Hornets Rockets vs. Utah Jazz Rockets vs. Boston Celtics Rockets vs. New York Knicks Rockets vs. Memphis Grizzlies

For schedule info and tickets, call or visit website. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.758.7200.


Get a behind-the-scenes look at Minute Maid Park including historic Union Station, broadcasting booth and press boxes, Astros’ and visitors’ dugouts, luxury suites and much more. Tickets $15 adults, $12 seniors and $10 for kids 3-12. Mon–Sat, 10 am and noon. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. 713.259.8687.


A costumed docent will give you a tour about life in Austin’s Colony. The tour focuses on the hardships on daily life in the early 1820s. A costumed interpreter explains and demonstrates important facets of textile production on the frontier. Tickets are $10. First and Third Fridays. 11 am and 1 pm. Sam Houston Park, 1100 Bagby. Tues-Sun. Times vary. 713.655.1912.


Visit Saint Arnold Brewing Company’s Brewery and get a behind-the-scenes look at the brewing process. Their knowledgeable staff will explain the history, ingredients, and equipment used to produce the freshest beer. Tours are available daily at 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm, and 7 pm. After the tour, guests are welcome to stay for a free tasting. Admission is free Mon–Fri and is $10 on Sat. No reservations required. All minors under the age of 21 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Saint Arnold Brewing Company, 2000 Lyons. HOUSTON ROCKETS

WINTER 2019–20




With a fusion of culture, lifestyles and commerce, life around here is anything but typical. Look up and discover soaring skyscrapers designed by icons like Philip Johnson and I.M. Pei. Turn a corner and bump into Houston’s historic past or uncover a piece of contemporary public art. Enjoy major league sports, world-class theater, innovative chefs, funky hotspots, movies in the park, sidwalk cafés, outdoor festivals, pontoon boat tours and more.

Welcome to Downtown Houston! Tours

Attractions & Sights

1. Buffalo Bayou Boat Tours 713.752.0314 2. Heritage Society Historic Homes Tour 713.655.1912 3. Minute Maid Park Tour 713.259.8687 4. Saint Arnold Brewing Company Tour 713.686.9494 5. Toyota Center Backstage Tour 713.758.7715

14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

Sports 6. Minute Maid Park 7. Toyota Center 8. BBVA Compass Stadium

Recreation Buffalo Bayou (hiking & jogging trail) 10. Root Memorial Square (basketball court) 11. Discovery Green (exercise class, bocce ball & putting green)


Shopping 12. GreenStreet 13. The Shops at Houston Center

19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25.

Avenida Houston Buffalo Bayou Discovery Green Downtown Aquarium George H.W. Bush & James A. Baker, III Monuments George R. Brown Convention Center Historic District Bayou Place Main Street Square Saint Arnold Brewing Company Southern Pacific Steam Engine 982 Union Station at Minute Maid Park

Eat & Drink 26. Ballpark District 27. Bayou Place/Theater District 28. Avenida Houston 29. Downtown Aquarium 30. Historic District 31. GreenStreet 32. The Shops at Houston Center 33. Warehouse District Food Halls 34. Bravery Chef Hall 35. Conservatory 36. Finn Hall 37. Understory

Museums & Libraries A great way to get form point A to point B or just explore downtown! You can purchase daily, weekly or 112 more annual memberships. For info, visit

38. 39. 40. 41. 42.

Houston Central Library Julia Ideson Library Heritage Society Museum Houston Police Museum Museum District (via METRORail)



Education 43. Incarnate Word Academy 44. Kinder High School for the Performing & Visual Arts 45. South Texas College of Law Houston 46. University of Houston– Downtown Medical 47. St. Joseph Medical Center Religious 48. Antioch Baptist Church 49. Annunciation Catholic Church 50. Christ Church Cathedral 51. First United Methodist Church 52. Holy Cross Church 53. Islamic Dawah Center 54. Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral 55. Houston First Baptist Church Spiritual 56. Hines Center for Spirituality and Prayer

74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81.

Parks 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68.

The Acre Allen’s Landing Discovery Green Halliburton Plaza Hermann Square Market Square Park Root Memorial Square Sabine Promenade & Buffalo Bayou Park Sam Houston Park Sesquicentennial Park Sisters of Charity Park Tranquillity Park

Groceries & Conveniences 69. CVS/Pharmacy 70. CVS/Pharmacy Market Square 71. Phoenicia Specialty Foods Grocery Store 72. Wolfe’s Cleaners

Film 73. AMC Houston 8

Green Route Orange Route

Mon–Fri, 6:30 am–6:30 pm Mon–Fri, 6:30 pm–midnight Sat 9 am–midnight, Sun 9 am–6 pm

North/Main Southeast East End

Music Venues 82. House of Blues 83. Revention Music Center 84. The Rustic

City, County & Federal 85. 86. 87. 88.

City Hall City Hall Annex Bob Casey Federal Courthouse Harris County Court Campus

Where to Stay 89. 90. 91. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100. 101. 102. 103. 104. 105. 106. 107. 108. 109. 110. 111. 112.

AC Hotel by Marriott Aloft Hotel Athens Hotel Suites C. Baldwin Cambria Hotel Club Quarters Courtyard by Marriott/Marriott Residence Inn/SpringHill Suites Embassy Suites Four Seasons Hampton Inn/Homewood Suites Hilton Americas Holiday Inn Holiday Inn Express Hotel Alessandra Hotel Icon Hyatt Regency Downtown JW Marriott Magnolia Hotel Marriott Marquis Lancaster Hotel Le Meridien The Sam Houston Hotel Westin Houston Downtown The Whitehall

Realtors 113. BHGRE Gary Greene

METRORail Lines


Alley Theatre Hobby Center Jones Hall Jones Plaza The Landing Theatre Company Prohibition Supper Club Rec Room Wortham Center


Visitor Information 114. Houston Visitors Center


23 78

N. Sa to n Jacin




Bayou Trail Access


Historic District

15 58 1

24-Hour Accessible ATM

9 ← Commerce



Dog Parks







→ Crawford

← La Branch


→ Austin

← Caroline


← Capitol


→ Texas





57 94 89

→ Rusk








107 ← Walker

→ McKinney



22 ← Lamar

← to Allen Parkway















63 ← Bell


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t Ru

we Ho

→ Leeland 100 ← Pease




67 → Pierce I-45


← Jackson

← St. Joseph Parkway

← La Branch


→ San Jacinto


→ Travis

→ Jefferson ← Milam

→ Louisiana

← Smith


← Fannin

aw Sh



s ew dr



→ Clay











alla W. D

16 59


→ Dallas

→ from Allen Parkway Bagby


Avenida de las Americas


→ Austin




→ Crawford



← Caroline







→ Chenevert


← Fannin


→ Texas


25 6




79 35 56

20 → Travis


→ Louisiana

83 21

← Smith



110 ← Prairie





→ Preston



Houston B-cycle







→ San Jacinto


← Milam


← Congress








→ Jackson

→ Franklin

US 59

Public Parking Garages

← Hamilton

Our new Google Map will help you find where you’re going, where to park and what’s nearby

Map Key


Public garages, surface lots and metered on-street parking are abundant in Downtown. Reminder: on-street parking is free after 6 pm Monday–Saturday and all day Sunday.



Profile for DowntownHouston

Downtown Magazine - Winter 2019  

As Houstonians, we pride ourselves on our forward-facing attitudes. We like to build, to innovate, to embrace change. After all, this city d...

Downtown Magazine - Winter 2019  

As Houstonians, we pride ourselves on our forward-facing attitudes. We like to build, to innovate, to embrace change. After all, this city d...