ART SOUL Return to live theater inspires audiences and performers alike
POST Houston project is making history
Southern hospitality, art markets + Houston premieres
Life Time Athletic
Life Time Work
House of Blues
Guadalajara del Centro
1201 Fannin St. Houston, TX. 77002 | greenstreetdowntown.com
FALL 2021 VOL. 13, NO. 4
MANAGING EDITOR/CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Angie Bertinot, Downtown District
Barbara Linkin Mendel Mendel Creative Solutions
CORE Design Studio
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Amber Ambrose Holly Beretto Todd Green John Luedmann Lauren McDowell Shelby Roth
Angie Bertinot 713.650.3022 email@example.com
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org 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. Published by:
WELCOME BACK! While the pandemic kept audiences out of much of the Houston Theater District last year, our passion for live performance was never far away. And now we can celebrate exciting new seasons from all of our favorite arts organizations. BY HOLLY BERETTO
BY AMBER AMBROSE, TODD GREEN, LAUREN MCDOWELL
PUBLISHERS’ NOTE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
For nearly five years Accenture Houston has been helping Houston businesses evolve with the times. What began as a six-person team in 5,000 square feet of space has grown to more than 80 highly skilled professionals who know just how to bring a great idea to life. BY JOHN LUEDEMANN
THE NEXT BIG THING Adaptive reuse certainly sounds like a complex concept, but ultimately it’s just another way of making the old, new again. And Downtown’s new POST Houston project is one of the most exciting new adaptive reuse projects we’ve seen in a long, long time.
With support from:
Rejoice! Renowned Chef Chris Shepherd has opened his first Downtown eatery. Georgia James Tavern offers diners homey Southern specialties like baked pimento cheese, cast-iron seared steaks, and hearth-roasted chicken. BY SHELBY ROTH
A full fall calendar has been a long time coming. Remember street festivals, outdoor movies, sport favorites, live music? They’re all back and waiting for you to enjoy again. We’ve rounded up all of them up so you can start filling in your calendar!
Hello normal! Have the past 18 months been tough? Sure. But they’ve also taught us how to adapt and helped us to grow. When we couldn’t sit in theaters together, we found a way to enjoy performances from our sofas. When dining-in seemed risky, we brought our favorite dishes home. And when going into the office was restricted, we learned WE CAN ALSO LOOK how to Zoom those big meetings and FORWARD TO GREAT brainstorming sessions. Now we are seeing a return to normal. MEALS OUT WITH We may still have a few more ups and FRIENDS AND FAMILY... downs, but we can also look forward to great meals out with friends and family, office lunches and conversations by the water cooler, and, at long last, full seasons from our performing arts organizations. They missed their live audiences and we missed their live performances. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up all the options for the coming year starting on page 5. From sumptuous classics like My Fair Lady to the quirky fun of a Rec Room production, there’s most definitely something for everyone. We are also more than a little excited about the opening of phase one of POST Houston later this fall. We toured the former Barbara Jordan Post Office earlier this summer and share all the exciting deets on this adaptive reuse project starting on page 19. Of course we’ve got a full calendar of events in our fall datebook starting on page 43, and we encourage you to get back in the swing of all things culinary with a delicious meal and craft cocktails at the long-awaited Georgia James Tavern from Chris Shepherd. After all, who doesn’t love a little baked pimento cheese? Be sure to visit us online at downtownhouston.org, where we always keep you up to date on what’s happening. And thank you for reading downtown! As a final note, we want to recognize Bob Eury, who will be retiring in October, for his 38-year career of civic service to Downtown and the central city. You’ve got big shoes to fill, but we promise to honor and build on your legacy. We’ll miss you Bob!
PRESIDENT DOWNTOWN DISTRICT
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING DOWNTOWN DISTRICT
ON THE COVER Dancers catch fire when they're in front of an enthusiastic audience. Nothing feeds the soul in quite the same way.
Houston Ballet Principal Jessica Collado and Demi Soloist Andrew Vecseri Photo by Lawrence Elizabeth Knox, Courtesy of Houston Ballet
CREATING A CULTURE OF INNOVATION FOR HOUSTON IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN BY JOHN LUEDEMANN
Advancing innovation for its corporate partners since 2017, the Accenture Houston Innovation Hub in Downtown Houston was the first of 10 Accenture Innovation Hubs now operating in North America.
W ACCENTURE HOUSTON INNOVATION HUB HAS: • 100+ PEOPLE • COMPLETED 100+ PROJECTS • HELPED 150+ CLIENTS
hile the technologies and challenges are constantly shifting, the goal for Director Brian Richards and his team remains constant. “No one wants to end up as a Harvard Business Case Study on the failure of leadership and the failure to change. And that's what's confronting every C-suite: How am I going to embrace technology? How am I going to change my business? How am I going to create a culture that is constantly seeking to innovate and grow value? It's hard, right? And so what the Hub is really about is being able to create that inspiration, that change.” The Hub began with a team of six people in 5,000 square feet of space, but has grown to include 80-plus people ranging across what Richards describes as the five Ds of skill sets; designers, developers, data scientists, delivery experts and domain experts.
This breadth of talent intends to overcome a problem once warned of by Thomas Edison. His words, “Vision without execution is just hallucination,” have become a mantra for the Hub and one of the most important of several quotes incorporated into the Hub's colorful design. “We aim to be both the visionary aspect, but also offer the ability to execute and to scale, which is core to what Accenture does,” said Richards. At the Innovation Hub, this process of supporting innovation from beginning to end is structured strategically, with three distinct phases available to guide clients. It begins at an Innovation Center where ideas are born, and client visits, thinking sessions and creative development are the focus. Depending on the project, the next step brings on technology experts best suited for the task.
Clients can work with an Applied Technology Studio on data science or data engineering needs. Hardware integration such as IoT or 5G will likely involve the Industry X team, while software or product development relies on the Interactive Group. Once a solution is in hand, the attention turns to scaling it up for maximum impact. This is the realm of the Hub's Ventures team. It is where connections to local and global startups offer an opportunity to find the most effective partnerships to drive growth. Richards succinctly describes the startto-finish concept as a five, four, three, two, one approach. “We have the five skill sets; we go through four phases—workshop, discovery and design, prototyping a pilot, and scale and support. Then, we use three methods—design thinking, agile and lean startup—to prove two outcomes—the business viability and the technical feasibility. And we have one team to co-create all of this.” All of this typically takes place in an impressive and recently expanded 30,000-square-foot space on the 18th floor of 1301 Fannin. It was designed with collaboration and Houston in mind, according to Accenture Creative Director Brad Rossacci, and it reflects the uniqueness of the city. “We had this fun kind of inspirational thought—Houston is my favorite color. You know, Houston is the most diverse city in the U.S., we have a really vibrant culinary scene, we have a beautiful art scene. And so, we're touching on that Houston piece, and we wanted to bring all the colors of Houston to life,” said Rossacci. Not surprisingly, it features many Silicon Valley-style amenities like ping-pong tables, arcade games and foosball. And no one is ever far from a giant whiteboard. However, its real value is in the way it drives collaboration. In addition to talent, resources and execution, Richards sees the interactions among his team as one of four pillars required for success. “The way in which it's architected is really meant to create collisions. They need to collide with the right customers and partners across Accenture. If any of those go to zero, the whole thing goes to zero,” explained Richards. And while the COVID-19 pandemic left the offices vacant for much of the previous year, employees have begun a limited return.
“ We aim to be both the visionary aspect, but also offer the ability to execute and to scale, which is core to what Accenture does.” Richards is looking forward to having the entire team back at 100 percent as soon as it's safe. Fortunately, he knows the culture established at the Hub is more impactful than its location. “I've had people come in thinking, 'The key to innovation must be the right chairs, and you know, the quality of your ping pong table and so forth, right?' And we describe it as it's not about that. It's about the culture that you have to build in order to do these things.” He compares building a culture to establishing a tropical aquarium. It's not how impressive it looks or even the type of fish that will matter most. Instead, it's the things that you can't see that will truly make the difference. “The temperature, the pH, the salinity, the nitrates, and nitrites, all this stuff determines whether the fish live or die, or thrive, and so forth. And innovation is very much the same way. If the culture is not right, it will die.” Despite what some might assume, the comforts and availability of occasional distractions aren't an attempt to be trendy. They are driven by the employees to support the culture. “We asked our team members, 'What do you enjoy doing?' And so that environment is a manifestation of the things that they enjoy that get them away from the desk to play a game of ping pong or have a cup of coffee. That's where those collisions happen. So we want to inspire them to get out of the chair and go and have that shared experience, which is going to lead to bigger, bolder, better ideas and more innovative outcomes with our clients,” explained Rossacci.
— BRIAN RICHARDS Accenture Houston Innovation Hub Managing Director
And in fact, the impact of Accenture's Houston Innovation Hub culture is extending beyond its clients and even predates the facility's opening. In 2016 Richards and others from the Innovation team worked with the Greater Houston Partnership and the Houston Mayor's office to provide pro-bono strategy development aimed at accelerating the area's innovation ecosystem. Many of the ideas from that work are now contributing to Houston's current industry growth. “The suggestions included the building of an innovation district, which is now the Ion, needing to create a Houston Exponential, which I sit on the board and the executive committee of, the HX Venture Fund, those kinds of things,” said Richards. “It's so critical for the future economy of Houston. And if you look at the data between kind of pre-2016, and then kind of post-2016, it's phenomenal to see that change and trajectory. And, you know, that's something that I know that not only myself, but the entire team is just super, super proud of.” With Houston's Fortune 100 and 500 companies prioritizing innovation more than ever, Richards expects the Innovation Hub to remain on the cutting edge in service to their clients. Edge computing, robotics, extended reality cybersecurity and the energy transition are all areas on his radar—as are the new local opportunities. “I'm super excited because as the infrastructure here comes up—the Greentown Labs and the Ion, for example—we're getting plugged into those locations and initiatives as well.” Regardless of what comes next, the Hub’s impact on the city’s culture of innovation is clear. And it makes the future of Houston worth watching.
BY HOLLY BERETTO
THEATER DISTRICT WELCOMES AUDI E NCE S BACK t’s been a long pandemic for virtually everyone in Houston. But perhaps nowhere were the effects felt more keenly than in the Theater District. The Alley Theatre’s iconic winding red staircase empty, the Wortham’s graceful escalators stilled, the Hobby Center’s soaring white lobby in silence. Gone were the touring Broadway shows. Gone were the plays. Gone were the exquisite ballets. From one end of Downtown to the other, the city’s major performing arts groups were in the wings. Yes, it’s true every performing arts group quickly pivoted over the last 18 months to offer a variety of virtual programming, giving Houston audiences glimpses of everything from new works to artists’ living rooms. But the irreplaceable experience of sitting in a communal space and watching a performance was extinguished. At least for a while. *Note: Schedules can change. Please confirm dates with individual organizations.
Now, the curtain is set to rise again. FALL 2021
That’s great news not only for audiences and performers but also for the city as a whole. A recent report by the Houston Arts Alliance indicates that the Bayou City’s nonprofit arts and cultural industry generates nearly a billion dollars of annual economic activity. Those numbers are for institutions across Houston, including the biggies who call Downtown home, and take into account revenue generated from ticket sales, as well as spending in hotels and restaurants. There’s no doubt the arts are a vital part of Houston’s economic engine. The Theater District has faced uncertainty before. The devastation wreaked by Hurricane Harvey ran to nearly $100 million dollars, hitting the Alley and Wortham, where the Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera and others
perform, especially hard. Those spaces saw massive flooding and damage, causing the resident companies to decamp to other venues to put on performances. For years that spirit of the show must go on became far more than a showbiz adage; it was a mantra the Theater District embraced. Clearly as the city emerges from the pandemic, it is once again a guiding light. “Come back,” was the oft-heard refrain we heard while writing this story. “Come see what we’ve got planned.” Those plans are grand, indeed. And they are a testament to the resiliency of the performers and producers who are more than ready to be back on stage. Places, everyone. The show is about to begin!
A PULITZER PRIZE WINNER, A WORLD PREMIERE AND A MILESTONE
he only member of the Alley’s resident acting company who won’t be on stage this fall is Todd Waite—but that’s because he’s the emcee for the company’s 75th anniversary celebration dinner. Marking its diamond jubilee is just part of what makes the Alley’s fall lineup so exciting. The company opens the season with a one-two punch of great productions. Sweat, the 2017 Pulitzer Prizewinning play by Lynn Nottage, opens in the Hubbard Theatre Oct. 1 and is a partnership between the Alley and Midtown-based Ensemble Theatre. “I'm directing, and Ensemble Artistic Director Eileen Morris is associate directing,” the Alley’s Artistic Director Rob Melrose said. “I'm really excited about it. The Alley is celebrating 75 years and Ensemble is celebrating 45 years and it will be great for these two organizations to come back together in a big celebration.” It’s the story of three women who work together on a factory floor, and how a series of layoffs and strikes affects their strong ties to each other. The New York Times’ Charles Isherwood called it
“The one thing missing was the audience. Live theater depends so much on the audience breathing, gasping and laughing together.” —Rob Melrose
an “extraordinarily moving drama,” and Charles McNulty wrote in the Los Angeles Times that it was “compassionately wise.” Two weeks following its opening comes 72 Miles to Go by Hilary Bettis in the Alley’s Neuhaus Theatre. “It was a big hit in a workshop production in our Alley All New Festival, and then it went on to a New York premiere at the Roundabout Theatre. It will be great to have this wonderful play come back home with us,” Melrose said. The play examines a decade in the lives of a recently deported mother and her American-born husband and children. In its world premiere at the Roundabout, the New York Times praised it as a “quiet, conventional drama” about “a family that wants more than anything to blend in.” Houston audiences will recognize the Alley’s commitment to timely dramas and compelling storylines in these opening shows. And Melrose says welcoming back the audience is a great feeling. The company had tremendous success with its digital season last year, garnering more than a quarter million views from all 50 states and 110 countries around the globe. Going forward, Melrose said the Alley will focus on filming the majority of its on-stage season and offering a limited number of online tickets to the public for purchase. Think the company’s offering of 1984 or the film Hamilton. The Alley even has a new director of video production,
Victoria Sagady, who will helm those efforts. “I really enjoyed every part of the process of creating our digital season,” said Melrose. “It was surprisingly satisfying. The one thing missing was the audience. Live theater depends so much on the audience breathing, gasping and laughing together. It is such an important part of the experience, especially at the Alley where the audience literally wraps around both of our stages. It will be so great to experience the audience's reactions again.” Melrose noted at the time of our interview that Oct. 1 was still a long way off, but that he was encouraged by news of how vaccines were progressing, and how other businesses, particularly restaurants and bars, were re-opening. Things can and do change quickly, but he expected that audiences should find their fall 2021 experience at the Alley “very close to normal.” While the theater was closed, the company used the pandemic not only to produce digital content, but work on the coming season. Director of Design Michael Locher has designed a flexible season set that will serve as the bones of the first five plays on the Hubbard stage. “In the often hectic and moment to moment world of theater it is quite rare to feel ahead of the game,” he said. “And we are all grateful for that feeling as well as so many things to look forward to when we see you in October!”
1984 Photo by Lynn Lane
THE HOBBY CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
My Fair Lady
BROADWAY IS BACK
he same night the lights go up again on Broadway, Houston audiences will have the chance to see a Broadway classic. The acclaimed Lincoln Center production of My Fair Lady, called “a sumptuous new production of the most perfect musical of all time” by Entertainment Weekly, opens the 2021–2022 Memorial Hermann Broadway at the Hobby Center season on Sept. 14. “Lincoln Center does nothing wrong; everything those folks do is first class,” enthused Fran Macferran, president and CEO of the Hobby Center Foundation about the production, which also happens to be relaunching its U.S. tour with the Houston engagement. Audiences might be forgiven for associating the Hobby Center only with the Broadway series, as the theater space is also home to Houston’s own musical theater producer, Theatre Under The Stars (see page TK). But it also serves as the stage for Ars Lyrica and a host of other productions and concerts.
In a typical year, the Hobby Center hosts hundreds of productions in its two theaters, Sarofim Hall and Zilkha Hall. The Hobby Center Foundation, which oversees all those bookings and the second-floor restaurant, Diana, is a nonprofit entity. Macferran said the Broadway series was adjusted four times during the pandemic. So, he’s happy to have the series slated for the upcoming year. Other fall productions include Friends!: The Musical Parody the first weekend in October and Ars Lyrica’s season opening, Bach, Handel, and Hercules, on Sept. 24. The Broadway series continues in November with Tootsie, a musical based on the popular Dustin Hoffman movie. “We’re happy and thrilled with everything that’s on our season,” Macferran said. Like his neighbors, he and the Hobby Center team are ready to welcome back audiences.
Macferran anticipates that when they come through the doors, the experience will feel very much like it did the last time they were there. The parking garage and valet will be fully available. Diana will be open for pre-show dining. All of the concessions and bars will be operational. At press time, a decision hadn’t been made about mask wearing, but Macferran noted the organization was monitoring advice from the CDC and local health officials. “The Hobby Center has mandated that every employee and subcontractor, every volunteer, must be vaccinated,” he shared. “It demonstrates our commitment to the health and safety of our people, as well as all of our guests.” He said he’s looking forward to “seeing the joy and happiness on people’s faces” as they come back for shows. “We can tell by the subscription numbers of the shows we present that people are just jonesing to get back to their lives, to enjoy the arts,” he said, pointing out that the last time subscription numbers were this high was the first season Hamilton came to town. “The numbers are amazing, and demonstrate people’s desire and commitment,” he said. Subscribers
were offered refunds when shows were cancelled or moved, and Macferran’s happiness is apparent when he notes that not only did people not want the refunds, the center also sold new subscriptions. “I think it’s just going to be fun,” he said of the coming year. While the Hobby Center was closed for performances, Macferran said the space got some needed TLC, including an upgrade of the air filtration systems, a switch to MERV-13 air filters, and a revamping of the contactless sinks in the restrooms. Many of the improvements might be invisible to theatergoers, but Macferran noted there’s “hand sanitizer all over the place,” and ticket takers will continue using scanners that are frequently sanitized to avoid touching tickets. Macferran and his office team have been back in the building since mid May and they’ve been greeting the 2021–2022 season with growing anticipation. He expects capacity crowds with popular shows, like My Fair Lady likely to sell out. Mostly, however, he’s happy the Hobby Center is back to doing what it was designed to do: bring people together to enjoy the arts. “We’re all really excited to get back to work.”
“We can tell by the subscription numbers of the shows we present that people are just jonesing to get back to their lives, to enjoy the arts.” —Fran Macferran
The Absence of Rain
ith its blend of classical music and jazz programming, wrapped up in a package dedicated to creating unique experiences for audiences, DaCamera operates in a creative niche that gives audiences a perfect blend of classical repertoire and new works. Performing on stages across the city, one of its bases is the Cullen Theatre in the Wortham Theater Center. Brandon Bell, the organization’s director of education and artistic administrator, cannot wait to return to the stage. “It’s time to jump back in,” he said. DaCamera’s season opens on Oct. 29 with Garrick Ohlsson on piano, performing works by Chopin. “There’s not a better pianist on the planet that you want to hear play Chopin,” Bell said. That caliber of artist won’t surprise DaCamera devotees, but for those new to the organization, the 2021–2022 season pulls out all the stops to showcase the producer’s commitment to high-quality musicianship. Ohlsson will be followed by Houston artist Jason Moran in The Absence of Rain, which pays tribute to James Reese Europe and the Harlem Hellfighters. It’s the first time the artist has been back in a few seasons. “We’re excited to welcome him back,” said Bell. “He’s got a great following here.”
And his program, an exploration into one of early jazz’s hitmakers, is a must for fans of the genre. The season offers something for everyone and Bell can’t wait to share it with live audiences. During the pandemic, the company’s virtual programming caught the attention of The New York Times, The New Yorker and the Boston Globe, which certainly attracted virtual audiences from around the country. Some of those, Bell hopes, might make a trip to Houston to see DaCamera’s live shows. “It’s an eclectic season and it’s all of the highest quality,” he said of the programs. The organization’s subscribers are already behind that. Many of them have stayed with the organization, through pandemic shutdowns, ready and waiting for live performances to begin again. Some, Bell conceded, have let the organization know they aren’t quite comfortable returning yet, especially with the Delta variant of the coronavirus out there, something Bell certainly understands. “By and large, though, our subscribers have stuck with us and are looking forward to returning to the hall with us.” As he looks to the fall season and beyond, he’s excited for what’s ahead for all the arts organizations. His message for audiences is simple: come back with us.
“There’s not a better pianist on the planet that you want to hear play Chopin.” —Brandon Bell
DACAMERA TIME TO GET BACK
Garrick Ohlsson Photo by Dario Acoasta
“That chemistry between the dancers and audiences is something we really need. It’s amazing.”
HOUSTON BALLET JUBILEE
Jubilee of Dance Artists of Houston Ballet Photos by Leonel Nerio
hen Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch thinks about the upcoming season, he feels two things: excitement and relief. “All the live performing arts come alive, they catch fire, in front of an audience,” he said. “That chemistry between the dancers and the audiences is something we really need. It’s amazing.” The Ballet opens the 2021–2022 season with the Margaret Alkek Williams Jubilee of Dance, Sept. 30 through Oct. 3. The compilation program features a selection of solos, group dances and pas de deux from different ballets. The show will include the first and last movements of “Divergence and will celebrate dancer Melody Mennite’s 20th anniversary with the company. It was, said Welch, a perfect choice for the season kickoff. “I wanted to get every dancer on stage, to make sure that all these 60 artists have a chance to perform again,” he said. “This gives us that opportunity. The audience gets to see everybody and they get a taste of all the sorts of things that we do and that are coming.” Welch said arts subscriptions before COVID-19 were in what he calls “a bit of a downturn.” He cites a culture of people being glued to their phones and other online diversions. “So, the people who were with us are still with us, but the challenge for us going forward is building our subscriber base to what it is was three, four, five seasons ago. But our subscribers and our doners have stuck with us, and that’s been really rewarding because they allow us to do what we do.” The Ballet performs in the Wortham Theater Center, a space it shares with the Houston Grand Opera. As of
press time, Welch noted that safety protocols were still being worked out, but the expectation for audiences should be that things are back to full capacity. As with other arts organizations around the Theater District, the Ballet is following closely the news from national and local health organizations and will communicate news with ballet goers throughout the season. He said that during the pandemic, it was inspiring to see the level of creativity the artists had, both the dancers and those behind the scenes. They rallied to create online content, and the company’s popular ballet classes never stopped, even as they entered an online arena. But Welch and the company are ready to get back to work onstage and have their audiences in the theater with them. “We’re going to keep innovating,” he said, noting that the Ballet has made it a point to embrace a diversity of artists, stories and leadership. “We won’t let that go. We’ll continue leading the way with our diversity of programs.” He’s looking forward to collaborating with other Theater District organizations, even as he sees this season as one to get the company back on its feet. And audiences should expect the Ballet to continue its digital offerings, something Welch feels is important. There may not be full productions or series like last year, but an online presence is something he feels will bring dance to more people. The Ballet promises a full season of productions, and the fall tops off with an enduring favorite: The Nutcracker opens Nov. 26.” “The Jubilee is a smorgasbord buffet of little bits,” said Welch. “And we follow that with the big Christmas cake!”
ouston Grand Opera Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers calls performing opera for a live audience “a uniquely captivating experience.” And audiences who’ve attended an opera at HGO’s home base of the Wortham Theater Center have seen that firsthand. The renowned company has presented 70 world premieres to date and routinely casts a dazzling array of established and emerging stars for its repertoire. Opening the 2021–2022 season is one of the most enduring and beloved operas of all time: Bizet’s Carmen, on stage Oct. 22 through Nov. 7. A tale of obsessive love and the tragedy of jealousy, the story unfolds against the backdrop of Seville. Russian-American conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya, praised for her “deft touch” by The Washington Post, makes her HGO debut in the production, which stars mezzo-soprano and HGO Studio alumna Carolyn Sproule in the title role. “We are all ready to fully immerse ourselves in transcendent music and passionate performances, live and in person on the stage,” said Summers. “Having our beloved audience in the room with HGO’s incredible artists as they create operatic magic is truly an incomparable experience.” The company’s season includes the December world premiere of The Snowy Day, based on the classic children’s book by Ezra Jack Keats, the January premiere of Dialogue of the Carmelites, set in a convent during the French Revolution, The Magic Flute in February, and new productions of Turandot and Romeo and Juliet, both in April. While Summers is grateful the company was able to create beautiful pieces of digital content during the pandemic, he’s thrilled to be back on stage. “Years of preparation go into planning and presenting a full season,” he explained, “and our team
is hard at work gearing up for opening night and the entire incredible slate of performances ahead. We’ve also been workshopping new works, welcoming new artists training with the HGO Studio, and planning a host of exciting events to take place in the months to come, while focusing on the organization’s financial recovery and doing everything we can to bring our subscribers back to the theater after not seeing them for so long.” Like other arts organizations who shifted to digital programming during their long hiatus from performing live, HGO found that its online offerings not only helped connect Houston audiences to the company, but also allowed opera lovers outside the city—even the state—to see all that HGO has to offer. “We believe that streaming is here to stay,” said Summers, who shared that HGO will fold a series of digital offerings into its upcoming season. Those offerings, he said, should be seen as an enhancement to the company’s live performances. So what can audiences expect when they come back to the Wortham Center? The opera has been working closely with its HGO Health Advisory Committee and partnering with organizations such as Houston Methodist to ensure it’s adhering to safety protocols and implementing standards to keep audiences, the cast, the creative team and the company’s staff safe. The organization continues to monitor the pandemic and plans to finalize its protocols close to opening night. HGO’s Wortham Center-based staff worked remotely through August, before returning to the office, and at the time of this interview, Summers was looking forward to seeing them in person again. “This past season showcased our company’s resilience once again,” he said. “I am so proud of the entire HGO team. We can’t wait to be back where we belong, at the Wortham.”
Photo by Lynn Layne
THE HOUSTON SYMPHONY
MUCH MORE ENERGY
“We feel there are a lot of untold stories in classical music, and we're exploring ways to shine light on those. It's exciting.” —John Mangum
nyone standing outside of Jones Hall last August might have been surprised to see patrons lining up to hear a live performance when everything was shuttered. The Symphony, like its fellow arts organizations pivoted fairly quickly from its COVID-19-induced quarantine to offering quality digital programming. Then, last summer, the organization did something else: it found a way to offer live programming, with musicians socially distanced on stage and audiences separated from each other. “The music couldn’t be stopped,” John Mangum, executive director, CEO and Margaret Alkek Williams chair, told us then. Now, however, he—and the rest of the orchestra—are elated to bring Jones Hall back to full capacity, and to see the Theater District spring back to life. “It’s so much more energetic when everyone is up and running,” he said. “People will come to our hall and see the sign for a show at the Alley – and vice versa – and decide they need to see it. The restaurants are open and our patrons are dining at places like Cultivated F&B at The Lancaster. There’s so much life in the District when we’re all open.” The orchestra may not have had quite the same pandemic shutdown as its performing arts neighbors, but excitement for the new season is still palpable. Limited-capacity concerts had their attendance capped at 500 people; Jones Hall’s full seating capacity is close to 3,000. And he’s looking forward to the schedule for concertgoers this fall.
The orchestra’s official opening night is Sept. 11, with a concert featuring megastar soprano Renee Fleming. Mangum says the evening will feature a selection of well-known opera arias, along with Broadway selections and pieces from the Great American Songbook. It will be conducted by Steven Reineke, the orchestra’s POPS conductor. “This will really showcase the Symphony,” said Mangum. “It’s absolutely a show that spotlights what our orchestra can do.” This season marks Music Director Andrés OrozcoEstrada’s final season with the Houston Symphony, and he’ll conduct Andrés Conducts Beethoven’s Fifth Sept. 17- 19. The concert also features Beethoven’s Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano, along with Bridgetower’s Henry, A Ballard for Fortepiano and Voice, arranged by Kyle Rivera through a Houston Symphony commission. “George Bridgetower, who was a Black violinist, was a contemporary of Beethoven,” explained Mangum. “So, we’re really happy to present this work together with a slate of Beethoven. We feel there are a lot of untold stories in classical music, and we’re exploring ways to shine light on those. It’s exciting.” Magnum said that commitment to tell more diverse and lesser-known stories has always been important to them and audiences can look for that to continue this year. He’s convinced this will not only allow current audiences to hear pieces they might not know, but also encourage new concertgoers to Jones Hall. “There’s no reason to stay away from the concert hall!” he said. Audiences can expect that masks will be optional and there won’t be social distancing, Mangum said. While that could change, depending on what happens with the pandemic going forward, he said that audiences can also look forward to the Green Room and concessions being open and operational. “The neighborhood’s been quiet,” he quipped. “It’ll be great to have everyone back.”
hen it comes to bringing in performances that span a variety of styles and subjects, the Society for the Performing Arts is truly a Houston standout. From its home base in Downtown’s Jones Hall, SPA brings to Houston everything from Grammy Award-winning musicians to best-selling authors to dance and acrobatic troupes. Audiences who’ve missed the organization’s eclectic programming can rejoice. The 2021–2022 season includes Latin Grammy Award winner Nella in a concert at Miller Outdoor Theater, a series of performances from the Houston Artist Commissioning Project Live, Alton Brown in a cooking and variety show—and more. Getting all those performances back on track, however, proved a Herculean effort. “At the beginning [of the pandemic], we all thought maybe it would be two, three weeks,” said Meg Booth, Society for the Performing Arts’ CEO. “But then, we started negotiating with all these artists, not only for the season that was announced, but also for the 2020–2021 season, which, at that point, had all been put into place; we just hadn’t announced it yet.” After much reshuffling and rescheduling, SPA is ready to hit the ground running. And kicking off the organization’s Downtown season is a project dedicated to fostering new works. The Houston Artist Commissioning Project was something SPA doubled down on during the pandemic, according to Booth. It’s designed to fund the creation of new works by Houston artists and arts groups. The fall will see six live performances from the initiative, premiering at Jones Hall on Oct. 15. “It really has been awesome,” said Booth. “There we so many parts of this pandemic that were so dark, having something so positive to work on was really a motivator.”
The performances are all world premieres by Say Girl Say, Patrick Davis, and Loop 38+ the Houston Contemporary Dance Company. Say Girl Say, an indie band, collaborated with Two Star Symphony on the program for a series of string-laced songs. Davis performs a poetic piece called Black, Blue, All Lives: OH MY! and Loop 38 the Houston Contemporary Dance Company come together in a program exploring the frictions between opposing forces. They’re followed by Alton Brown: Behind the Eats on Nov. 2, a variety show blending music, science and cooking. The second part of the Houston Artist Commissioning Project takes the stage Nov. 12 and 13, with world premieres by Riyaz Qawwali, Harrison Guy and Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton. “It is a slightly smaller season than what we would do normally,” conceded Booth. “We really wanted to put together a season of blockbuster artists to encourage people to come back because I know that some people are going to struggle to feel comfortable, to get back into the pattern of going out.” One of the things that might help them get into the comfort zone is that the Houston Artist Commissioning Project performances are set to be socially distanced events. Another is that Jones Hall has undergone some slight renovations. “We now have aisles that go through the orchestra,” said Booth. “It’s so exciting not to have that continental seating, especially considering the pandemic. You no longer have to crawl over that entire aisle of people to get to your seat.” Booth is looking forward to audiences seeing how SPA’s commitment to diverse entertainment mirrors the city itself, programming she says complements what’s on stage at other Downtown theaters. “Our programming is a window on the world,” she said. “And it’s important that all of us see ourselves represented on stage.”
SOCIETY FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS Say Girl Say
Jersey Boys Photo by Joan Marcus
A ROCK-STAR SEASON
UTS Artistic Director Dan Knechtges is beside himself just thinking about the idea of welcoming audiences back to the company’s performances. “I’m beyond excited!” he said. “I’m to the point where I think it’s going to be emotional, watching people come into the theater for the first time.” Sixteen months ago, he was wondering if TUTS might be shutting its doors forever. Now, he says, the season the organization is offering is “a rock star season. It’s certainly a celebratory season.” And there is plenty to celebrate. After changing up the season five times in 16 months, TUTS has landed on a series that combines much-loved shows with new offerings, all of which feature a blend of musical styles. The season opener, Rock of Ages is a jukebox show stuffed with rock hits from the 1980s. Running Oct. 5-17, it’s the perfect nostalgia for this moment, according to Knechtges. “I feel like, my God, do we need that right now,” he said. “The distress we’ve been through, what we’re living through. This is going to be such a great show to open with.” He believes audiences are ready to come back. That theory is borne out in TUTS’ subscriber numbers. “We’re doing great!” he said. “Tickets have been going pretty fast. People want to go back to the theater and go out. They’re sick of watching things online, and I am, too, frankly. I’m dying to be in the same room. Breathing the same air as everyone else.” He realizes the spread of COVID-19 is what’s kept everyone apart and is quick to point out that the
safety of the artists and audiences is paramount. But theater is a shared experience and being able to bring that back has always been the goal. TUTS is following the Hobby Center’s protocols, which in turn, is taking its cues from local and national health officials. But Knechtges said audiences should expect to see a theater at full capacity, even as everyone behind the scenes has worked to create the safest experience possible. Knechtges is grateful to the season subscribers, many of whom gave their season subscriptions back to the organization as a donation. The organization lost $17 million across the pandemic’s 15 months, so every donation was helpful. The fact that season ticket holders purchased subscriptions when the shows were announced speaks to their loyalty to the organization, and Knechtges is happy to be presenting a season for them to see. “It’s just wonderful,” he said, his gratitude evident in his voice. For season ticket holders and single ticket purchasers alike, the 2021–2022 season is a powerhouse. Sister Act, based on the Whoopi Goldberg movie, takes the stage Nov. 2-14. It’s followed by the family classic Disney’s The Little Mermaid in December, the iconic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific in February, then Come From Away in March and the recently announced and hugely popular Jersey Boys in May. Knechtges is eager to attend performances, himself, citing the ballet in particular. He also believes that having the performing arts return to Houston is yet another indicator of the city’s resilience. “The resilience of this city is just incredible.”
The performing arts return to Houston is yet another indicator of the city’s resilience.
“Our space is unique and Downtown is just so badass. It keeps getting better and better. I really want people to see that.” —Matt Hune
NEW VOICES, NEW APPROACH
e’ve been playing a waiting game,” Rec Room Artistic Director Matt Hune said about launching the young theater’s 2021–2022 season, which marks its sixth anniversary on the Houston arts scene. The wait, it appears, is over, and Rec Room launches its four-show season with Dance Nation, a 2019 Pulitzer Prize finalist and Susan Smith Blackburn Prize winner by Clare Barron. It follows teenage dance troupe members as they navigate all the trials and tribulations of being teenagers and trying to figure out what they want from themselves, even as they’re learning about what society expects. “But they’re played by women of all sizes, races and ages,” said Hune. “You’ll have a 50-year-old actress playing a 13-year-old. Clare Barron described it as women as their current, future and past selves. It is fun and funny and rowdy and I’m excited about it.” Hune designed the season, packed with award winners, to be one that showcases the organization as a small but mighty heavy hitter. Savvy audiences already know the place as one where they’ll see contemporary, diverse stories in an intimate setting (the theater seats 60). The pandemic wasn’t easy for the group, which notes on its website that COVID-19 was responsible for potentially $100,000 in lost revenue. Hune says a few subscriptions needed to be refunded, but overall, the company’s supporters held on with them. Going forward, Rec Room is changing its general seating policy to offer reserved seats, allowing ticket buyers the chance to purchase tickets in a block together with folks they feel comfortable with. They’ve also expanded the size of the theater’s doorway and opened access to more restrooms. “Our space is unique,” Hune says. “And Downtown is just so badass. It keeps getting better and better. I really want people to see that.”
KINDER HIGH SCHOOL FOR THE PERFORMING AND VISUAL ARTS TOMORROW'S STARS TODAY
“… It’s great for audiences to see the stars of tomorrow and see how their support of arts education benefits students.” —Jonathan Klein
ince its opening in January 2019, the students at the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts haven’t spent a full year in the building. The 2019–2020 school year ground to a halt after spring break in 2020, and the 2020–2021 year was also upended by the pandemic. The students return fully to campus this fall, and that means resuming the school’s slate of dance, music and choir concerts, along with musicals and plays. Theatergoers who want to see what these students are capable of can grab tickets to Ragtime, playing Oct. 22–24 and Oct. 29–31. Dance lovers shouldn’t miss the upper-level dance concert Nov. 18 and 19. “All of our shows are open to the public,” said Jonathan Klein, the school’s magnet coordinator. “Our all-school musicals typically sell out. And it’s great for audiences to see the stars of tomorrow and see how their support of arts education benefits students.” Tickets for fall shows are on sale now.
RideMETRO App Contactless fare payments & more
Plan your trip Pay your fare* Track your bus *Requires previous download of the METRO Q Ticketing app
713-635-4000 | RideMETRO.org
Photo by Kat Ambrose Photography
ADAPTIVE REUSE MATTERS POST Houston Is So Vast It Nearly Defies Description (But we try to explain it anyway) By Amber Ambrose, Todd Green, Lauren McDowell Author’s note: The tour described in this piece took place in June of 2021.
Three Stairc ases, One Rooft op, a Perfo rman ce Venu e and ENDL ESS OPPORTUN ITIES POST is multifaceted. And that singular adjective only scratches the surface when it comes to the 16-acre Lovett Commercial adaptive reuse project at 401 Franklin currently in development. It’s natural to wonder how the former Barbara Jordan Post Office's massive space will be transformed, and what the long awaited project will bring to the City of Houston. While one place can’t be all things to all people, POST comes pretty close. For those who want to work, play, eat, immerse themselves in art, listen to a concert, host a private event, or simply enjoy a view of Downtown from a rooftop park, the multiple spaces within POST promise to be something that our city has never seen before. POST will open to the public in phases beginning this fall. In these pages, we invite you to explore the possibilities POST brings to Downtown. No hard hats required. It’s a warm summer afternoon and little beads of sweat begin to form on our foreheads underneath our hard hats. Nine of us gather around Kirby Liu, Lovett Commercial’s director of development, to begin an official tour of POST.
“It’s not a beautiful building in a traditional sense,” says Liu. “We think of this as [a part of] history. We can’t do much on the outside, but what that allowed us to do was to go extreme and radical on the inside.” We’re a motley crew of writers, potential tenants and friends of POST, ready to ooh and ahh at the transformation underway inside the former Barbara Jordan Post Office. The discomfort of scalp perspiration is a reasonable price to pay for a peek into the inner world of POST’s design chrysalis, as we soon find out. “No part of this project is undesigned,” says Liu, gesturing to one of the three great atriums located inside. “It’s supposed to hit you in the face.” We begin by gawking up at a wooden staircase that zigzags in the shape of a Z, still under construction, but also majestic in its unfinished form. We walk underneath, clearing the stairs completely, before the realization that there are no supports below. Instead, the stairs are suspended from the ceiling, like a piece of hanging art waiting to surprise and delight careful observers.
The suspensions hang from a ceiling of blue sky dotted with wispy white clouds. It’s not a design trick; it’s the literal sky, viewable through a roof made of two thin plastic sheets. Described as “basically a Ziploc bag,” the ceiling allows plenty of natural light into the building, lowers the carbon footprint and uses one of the most economical insulation materials available—a layer of air between the plastic. The staircase vertically connects three stories where soon there will be startups collaborating in an open coworking space, plus plenty of room for more traditional office setups. “It’s equivalent to a six-story office building,” says Liu. “This is just a big, wide, flat plane; very advantageous for startups.” We move into a new area, carefully dodging construction equipment, following our tour guide, absorbing the sounds of buzzing, clanging and droning from all sides. Greeted by a spiraling shiny metal staircase studded with vertical wands of light, this new feature stands out in contrast between the wooden warmth of the last space and the modern edge on display in the 53,000-square-foot POST Market.
“No part of this project is undesigned,... it's supposed to hit you in the face.” —Kirby Liu
Blade Runner-esque, the design was informed by Liu’s time in Asia. Stainless steel cages top the kiosks where food vendors will be stationed, delivering an assortment of global and fusion cuisines. Neon signs will be attached to these cages adding to the electric, night-market vibes. Outdoor seating along the former loading dock will feature canvases reserved for street artists. Liu rattles off a handful of confirmed vendors, bringing flavors from all over the world with them. Many hail from Houston, while others will make their Texas or American debut in this space. There’s an intentional blend of familiar and unfamiliar, comfort and cutting edge, some of what’s expected and some of what’s meant to be explored. An atrium away—one that feels like yet another universe—the blue skies above the plastic-sheet ceiling once again welcome us. Two ascending X-shaped staircases mark the spot, as if we’re in a real-life treasure map. They provide a backdrop to the mix of retail and experiential art that will blend here. “Virtual reality,” “human experience storytelling,” and “immersion” are a few descriptors used to hint at the options soon to be unveiled. “In 2015, when we bought this site, it was an empty, cavernous nothing and then the oil crash came and we thought, what do we do with
this space?” says Liu. “So we had the [Day for Night] music festivals there. We sort of built this identity as a cult art and music space. That still remains the DNA of our project.” Two final pieces of this multiverse remain, and now we’re on our way up to the roof. As we ascend, we learn that staircases are design centerpieces in each section intended to pay homage to POST’s hallmark, the Skylawn. Aside from the symbolic nod to the top, they also serve additional purposes. “If you’d seen it before, it was an infinite field of black columns,” says Liu. “No one knew where you were in the building because you’d get lost so easily. So the three rooms are giant halls with giant staircases that make it easy to navigate. Obviously [they help with] circulation [of the building] as well as giving that sculptural placemaking to each of those spaces.” A big reveal awaits as we crest the building, sharply inhaling at the view on the top as well as the view from the top. There are trees. Mature trees. On top of a building. A five-acre park featuring seven different gardens. Space for two restaurants. An event space for 300 guests with a giant projector wall. A panoramic view of Downtown’s skyline. A winding trail through it all. Skylights. Quiet
“More than just a symbolic figure, Jordan was known as an effective legislator, sponsoring bills to better the lives of Texas' poor, disenfranchised and minority citizens.”
Who Was Barbara Jordan?
alcoves around each corner. Cacti. Azaleas. A performance lawn. It is as magnificent in person as it looks from I-45, even in its incomplete form. After a few rooftop selfies, we’re all actively perspiring by now, our shirts sticking to the smalls of our backs. We descend back into the belly of POST, heading for the final leg of the tour. Entering 713 Music Hall, POST’s 5,000-capacity performance venue, we learn that when finished, it will be the largest nonarena Live Nation venue in the city of Houston. Inspired in part by German nightclubs, materials like leather and repurposed spacesuit materials from NASA will adorn the walls here. The hall itself will feature three layers of seating with hidden bars and lounges embedded throughout; places to hide away and recalibrate. Compared to “sitting under the bleachers at a football game,” these pockets of space will open opportunities for a multitude of experiences for a multitude of audiences. Winding down the tour, we come full circle, returning our hard hats and bright-orange safety vests, downing water and welcoming the air conditioning of the construction trailer. For now our glimpse is over, but we’ll continue observing the metamorphosis of POST as it unfolds layer by layer.
Before Barbara Jordan became known for her powerful, career-defining speeches on the national stage, she was an unlikely force from Houston whose hard work and intellect helped her navigate numerous cultural and economic obstacles. Born and raised in the Fifth Ward, Jordan’s formative years as a Black woman in the Jim Crow era meant living in a segregated world, from the schools she attended to public transportation and department stores. As an undergraduate in the inaugural class at Texas Southern University, Jordan’s debate team achieved national success, eventually tying Harvard University in a Houston competition. In 1959, Jordan was one of only two women in her class at Boston University Law School to earn her J.D., at a time when law degrees were largely held by white men. After graduating from law school and passing the bar exam, she would continue to break ever higher barriers as she entered the world of politics. After two unsuccessful runs for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives, Jordan made history as the first Black female Texas state senator in 1966, and the first Black representative since Reconstruction in 1883. More than just a symbolic figure, Jordan was known as an effective legislator, sponsoring bills to better the lives of Texas’ poor, disenfranchised and minority citizens. Her tenure in the state senate included a brief stint as
the first African-American female to serve as president pro tempore. When she set her sights on the national stage in 1972 she became the first elected woman to represent the state as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Though this representation was historic, it was her speech to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment trial of President Richard Nixon in 1974 that earned her national notoriety. Two years later, when she gave the keynote speech at the 1976 Democratic National Convention, she was the first Black woman to do so for any political party. She retired from politics just a few years later, in 1979, and became a teacher of ethics at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. When she passed away from leukemia at just 59 years old, the world lost not only a civil rights icon, but a talented politician, orator, and Houstonian whose passion and purpose lives on in all of those she inspires. A Barbara Jordan monument is currently in the planning and design stages at POST with the intent to pay homage to her legacy and spirit.
“The building's history as a functioning United States post office built during the Cold War means leftover time capsules of a bygone era remain.”
Hidden History “Everything that is new is pristine and looks new. Everything that’s old is beat up and old. You think you know what it is and then you are teleported out of the space. In many ways we wanted to be super clear about what is old and what is new.”—Kirby Liu The building’s history as a functioning United States post office built during the Cold War means leftover time capsules of a bygone era remain. Columns, docks, bomb shelters, vaults and hidden internal tunnels once used to spy on postal workers are relics from the past contrasting with the modern elements.
How It All Evolved In Liu’s own words: “I think it’s so funny how ultimately even though that space is for the people of Houston, it also reflects the biographic qualities of my family. My father (Frank Liu, president of Lovett Commercial) is somebody who likes to buy a lot of property, so we have a range of real estate. He bought the property not necessarily because we had a specific vision for it at the time; it was a great location, we thought the structure itself was very interesting and honestly we like to save money. Adaptive reuse saves a lot of money and it’s better for the environment.” “In terms of Houston’s trajectory, 2014 was the height of the fracking boom, and oil crashed in 2015 and the commercial environment became really dry all of the sudden. In order to activate the site, my brother, who is a great musician and has a lot of connections in the music community, proposed the site as a location for the Day for Night music festival. From that festival, it started conversations with live music promoters like Live Nation. Concurrent with that was the fact that I was in graduate school for architecture. I realized that I didn’t want to become an architect and wanted to do this instead.” “This is a big melting pot of personalities, a sort of cosmic inertia. This project wants to be born.”
The Hidden Benefits Of Historic Tax Credits Kirby Liu explains the obvious and hidden benefits of using the Barbara Jordan Post Office’s historic designation for tax credits and funding:
BENEFITS “The federal historic tax credit combined with the historic Texas state tax credit amounts to 45 percent of the multiple hard and soft costs, which is an enormous chunk of change. Because of that money we are able to create what we consider radical experiences on the interior. Imagine cutting 50 percent of that building out. There’s not a critical mass of experiences left.”
A BLESSING IN DISGUISE “The historic tax credit is a blessing in disguise... as a curse in the sense that basically they have stringent rules about what is acceptable versus what is not acceptable. The problem with that site was that there were too many possibilities and ideas for what it could be. This is a 16-acre site: Should we mow it down? Should we cut off a big portion or a little portion? There was an infinite number of possibilities that could happen. When we committed to doing the historic tax credit, it unlocked a specific path of development, and because of the strict regulations, it created a relatively defined vocabulary for the building.”
OD O F
s u o i r o
D O FO
Where to eat when POST Market opens “The complexities of American life converge here (in Houston). We can be complex but not complicated. Let’s reflect the diversity of Houston’s community. In our food hall we have West African—Houston’s Nigerian population is huge—Norwegian, Asian, Mexican. Let it be a chaotic harmony in a way.” —Kirby Liu
POST Market will be serving up a range of global and local cuisines from over 30 different concepts, including these: LEA JANE’S HOT CHICKEN A concept inspired by a cross-country road trip, Lea Jane’s serves up Nashville-style hot chicken, chicken sandwiches and chicken tenders for a crunchy, savory kick.
SALT & TIME BUTCHER SHOP + THE BUTCHER’S BURGER Sustainably sourced, locally raised meats from Texas ranches will be available for purchase from this Austin original (now transported to Houston!) along with charcuterie and sausages made from those meats. The Butcher’s Burger is an extension of Ben Runkle and Bryan Butler’s revered butcher shop, and a secondary concept featuring—you probably guessed by now— gourmet burgers.
SOUPREME Bringing the familiar and comforting Vietnamese classics to life is Soupreme, with a pho broth simmered for 24 hours. Also on the menu is bún bò hue, a spicy beef noodle soup.
TACO FUEGO Popular halal food truck Taco Fuego will have an outpost parked in the market serving up their signature quesabirria tacos and other Latin fusion delights.
GOLFSTRØMMEN SEAFOOD MARKET Making his American debut is Norwegian chef Christopher Haatuft, known from his post at Bergen, Norway’s Lysverket restaurant. According to a press release, the restaurant will feature the “highest quality Gulf product in modern Fjordic dishes with a Texas twist,” in addition to options for purchasing to prepare at home. Sustainable and ethical sourcing of Gulf seafood anchors the concept, which means Gulf Stream in Norwegian.
HAWKER 45 “Asian & Latin American street food, redefined” is the unapologetic description of Hawker 45, hailing from Barcelona. It was founded by Chef Laila Bazahm and was named one of Condé Nast’s 30 Best Restaurants in Barcelona in 2018. This is the first American location of the concept.
ANDES CAFÉ Chef David Guerrero is back after a hiatus with a revival of his acclaimed South American menu. Featuring dishes from across the seven regions connected by the Andes mountains from Ecuador to Argentina, guests can revisit old favorites like lomo saltado and ceviche. Bonus: A brunch menu!
CHÒPNBLOK Chef and owner Ope Amosu has found a permanent home for his fast-casual concept featuring West African flavor profiles and fresh ingredients. Amosu has been on the Houston culinary scene since 2017, hosting pop-ups, garnering attention from hungry Houstonians as well as praise from renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson, who featured ChòpnBlok in a Houston episode of his PBS special, No Passport Required.
SOY PINOY Soy Pinoy brings Filipino comfort food to Houston in the form of vegan kare kare, fried chicken adobo, chicken inasal, kinilaw (similar to ceviche), lechon and lumpia from Austinbased chef Paul Qui.
EAST SIDE KING
Authentic Thai street food from chef Thai Chanthong opens its third location (you can find one in Austin and Denver) at POST Market. Listed as one of the “Best New Restaurants” in America by Bon Appetit in 2014 for dishes like crab rice, pad thai, som tum and khao man gai, its flavorful momentum continues to build.
Founded in Austin, East Side King features creative versions of Japanese street foods.
SWEETS WITH L&L Float along on a towering cloud of contentment also known as cotton candy to satisfy your sweet tooth and delight your inner child. Named for founder/owner Tameia Frank Jones’ two daughters, L&L will deliver smiles and spun sugar in more than 20 different flavors.
ABU OMAR HALAL When Chef Mohammad Altawaha opened his food truck in 2011, he filled a much-needed niche for halal in Houston with the city’s first halal food truck. The specialty chicken shawarma became a favorite, along with other Mediterranean favorites like gyros and wraps. In the decade since, Abu Omar Halal restaurants and trucks have expanded across Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. Expect to see sandwiches, salad and rice bowls, and falafel at POST.
GELU ITALIAN ICE
BLENDIN COFFEE CLUB
The lesser-known frozen dessert from Italy is getting its due at Gelu. The dairy-free, glutenfree, cholesterol-free, fat-free flavored ice will come in more than 30 different varieties from this Colorado import.
With a mission to “inspire the appreciation of coffee through the highest-quality brews and approachable educational classes on coffee culture,” BlendIn will bring singleorigin roasts to Downtown by way of Sugar Land. Founded by biochemist-turned-barista Weihong Zhang, precision and education are key ingredients in each cup.
SAISON CELLAR Exceptional wines from around the world will be available at sommelier Mark Bright’s wine market. As the partner and wine director of San Francisco’s Michelin-starred Saison, Bright is passionate about pairing wine education with the bottles and glasses he sells. Wine tastings and talks with winemakers will accompany a wide range of bottles, including some from Bright’s own winery.
Houston City Hall 901 Bagby
“Consumers are very conscious of the impact that brands, companies, and even properties have on the environment as well as social justice issues.”
WHAT IS A HISTORIC BUILDING OR DISTRICT? According to the City of Houston, a historic structure or district is a geographic area of historical, cultural or aesthetic importance to the Houston community. Designations are determined by the City Council, based on recommendations from the Planning Commission and the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission.
Other historic landmarks in Houston Downtown features several locations listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Feel like a stroll through Downtown to take in history? Here are just a few options:
Making (and Preserving) History in Downtown
The Sweeney, Coombs & Fredericks Building 301 Main
WHAT QUALIFIES? Historic properties and districts typically meet certain criteria: • Can be identified with a person or group that contributed significantly to the city. • Possess distinctive characteristics of architecture, building type, construction period, or method that is representative of an area. • Is at least 50 years old. If younger, it must be of extraordinary importance to the city.
Kellum-Noble House Sam Houston Park, 212 Dallas
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF DEVELOPERS WORKING WITH HISTORIC SITES?
W. L. Foley Building 214–218 Travis
Julia Ideson Building 500 McKinney
Consumers are very conscious of the impact that brands, companies, and even properties have on the environment as well as social justice issues. Developers can work with existing, meaningful sites, drawing inspiration from its cultural and historical significance, to offer a product everyone wants: something that’s environmentally friendly, community focused, and lucrative to owners. Adaptive reuse projects may also qualify for historic site tax exemptions.
Annunciation Church 1618 Texas
Houston National Bank 202 Main
4 Antioch Missionary Baptist Church
“While sometimes historic preservation and adaptive reuse can be challenging, these are tough battles that need to be won. It’s so important to always sing praises of the people who are out there doing this every day.” —Rives Taylor
Adaptive Reuse FAQs 8
POST Houston isn’t the only project in Downtown repurposing a historic structure for modern use. It’s a growing trend in the world of commercial development and one that Rives Taylor, director of design resilience at integrated architecture, design, planning, and consulting firm Gensler, is excited to see. We spoke to him to learn more about the concept and some of its benefits and challenges.
WHY IS IT NECESSARY?
Some experts say Houston is expecting huge population growth in the next few decades. Long-term solutions and collaborations are needed between city planning and private builders to be sure that the needs of both current and future residents are met.
WHAT MAKES FOR A GOOD ADAPTIVE REUSE PROJECT?
WHAT IS IT? Adaptive reuse is the process of recycling or converting an existing building or complex for a purpose other than why it was originally designed.
Union Station 501 Crawford
Going from idea to execution on an adaptive reuse project requires checking off several boxes. Among them: The project should
offer a wide range of creative uses that are safe, productive, good for the community, and profitable for owners.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES? Rising costs of raw materials in our postpandemic world have made a difficult task even harder. In terms of historic preservation projects, finding and using similar materials to those used by the original builders is an absolutely necessary, albeit expensive, task. As buildings are repositioned, one of the most integral parts of a project is bringing everything up to health and safety codes. This can include infrastructure, water, power and more.
HOW DOES IT ADD TO THE HISTORIC LANDSCAPE OF A REGION? From work being done in Freedmen’s Town to Trinity Cathedral in Downtown, historic preservation efforts across the city are an important part of celebrating Houston and its history. Adaptive reuse similarly preserves historic structures while also positioning them to help shape the future.
Downtown: A Hub For Adaptive Reuse Adaptive reuse is alive and well Downtown, especially in the hotel sector. These developments are preserving a piece of Houston history while ushering in a new and contextual view of the future.
STATE NATIONAL BANK BUILDING/ MOXY HOTEL BY MARRIOTT When the building at 412 Main originally opened in 1923, Houston was in the middle of a boom period. The newly chartered State National Bank needed a headquarters, and the result was a Beaux Arts skyscraper from the mind of famed local architect Alfred C. Finn. At 13 stories and 158-feet high, the bank building became part of Houston’s burgeoning Downtown skyline. Decades passed, and when the bank vacated the building in 1946, it was purchased by a real estate brokerage. In 1948, the facade’s original stone exterior was replaced with limestone, and metal doors and a metal canopy were added to its entrance. Today, this nearly century-old building, hailed by the National Register of Historic Places as “one of the few surviving early Neo-Classical skyscrapers in Houston and Texas,” is in the middle of a renaissance, set to find new life as a modern hotel featuring 119 guest rooms. Scheduled to open in 2022, the former bank building is currently being transformed into Houston’s first Moxy hotel, a stylish brand in the Marriott portfolio. While there will be noticeable modern touches in line with the brand’s playful and colorful feel, many building elements— including most of the exterior, and marble wainscoting throughout the interior—will remain true to the historic property’s original structure.
MOX Y HOT E L BY M A R R IOT T
HYATT PLACE In 1948, a new building was constructed by architect J. Russ Baty to service the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company at 1114 Texas. Following World War II, the civilian economy in Houston grew at a rapid pace, and increased demand for efficient telephone systems—and more of them—meant that Southwestern Bell would need to expand its Downtown facilities. The 16-story, 115,360-square-foot building would house additional employees of the telephone company, which had outgrown its main office building at 1121 Capitol. When plant engineers, accounting staff, and long-distance switchboard operators entered the late moderne style building in the 1950s, they walked into a marble-walled lobby with terrazzo floors, and into a 15-foot-high elevator lobby.
The building would remain in use by Southwestern Bell until 1998, when the building was sold to developers. It remained vacant until 2017, when it was purchased with the intent to rehabilitate the structure as a Hyatt Place hotel. In January of 2021, the new hotel opened to the public, revealing the restored terrazzo floors and marble walls, Art Deco-styling, elevator doors, and the original mail chute.
CAMBRIA When the “stepped back” skyscraper at 1314 Texas was completed in 1927, it represented a new era of prosperity for Houston’s oil workers. Oil industrialist Joseph S. Cullinan commissioned the 22-story building to serve as a centralized office location for multiple oil companies. Designed by architects Alfred C. Blossom and Maurice Sullivan, the building used both art deco characteristics of the era and a new design element called “stepped
ST. GERMAIN LOFTS
CA M B R I A
Photo by Patrick Bertolino
Home is Where the History Is It’s not just hotel guests that get to have all the historic fun. Downtown residents are enjoying the benefits of revitalized buildings as well. Just to name a few: H YAT T PL AC E
HERMANN LOFTS back styling,” a step-like recession inspired by the Mayan pyramids that allows more direct sunlight on the streets below. In a further nod to the Central American civilization, terracotta ornamentation was included on parts of the building’s exterior and in the interior design of the building’s main lobby. Long a scion of the city’s most prominent oil executives, in 1980, the building became the headquarters for the Great Southwest Life Insurance Company, and the building’s moniker changed from the Petroleum Building to the Greater Southwest Building. What once housed office workers is now a more glamorous venue for overnight stays. In late 2019, the Cambria Hotel opened its doors for the first time to guests, ushering them into a building with carefully restored historical elements, including original elevator cabs and doors with Mayan-influenced brass medallions.
204 Travis • Notably the first Downtown Houston building to be converted into residential loft spaces for purchase. • Currently undergoing a $2.5 million renovation which includes the restoration, repair and replacement of the building’s historic canopy by Doug McLean, who’s performed the restoration of many historic canopies along The Strand in Galveston.
ST. GERMAIN LOFTS 705 Main • Maintaining the charming historic exterior of the 89-year-old S.H. Kress & Co building was important to renovators when they converted the space into the St. Germain Lofts 21 years ago. • Originally built in 1911, the now 110-yearold, eight-story building is home to 143 lofts.
B EACONSFIELD CONDOMINIUMS
CITY VIEW LOFTS
15 N. Chenevert
• This 93-year-old Downtown delight has already received a Condominium of the Year award and Award of Excellence from Texas Construction Magazine for prior renovation and rehabilitation efforts. • Previously known as the Chamber of Commerce Building, it was redeveloped by iconic Houstonian Jesse Jones in the 1930s. • The property was eventually converted to a fully residential highrise in 2002.
• Originally built in 1921 by William C. Hogg, developer of River Oaks and son of Jim Hogg, former governor of Texas, this eightstory art deco building was redeveloped to loft residences by Randall Davis. • Recently purchased, the building has been leased by San Francisco-based company, Sonder, and is an alternative hotel option for those looking to stay in one of Downtown's liveliest neighborhoods.
• The Beaconsfield was designed as an apartment building by local architect Alonzo C. Pigg, and was completed in 1911. • At the time, the eight-story building housed just sixteen apartments, each with "two screened balconies and six large rooms with fireplaces.” • In the late 1970's, Don and Peg Hartmann bought the building and converted it into condominiums.
• Built in 1911 as the Bute Paint Factory. • In 1992, the Bute Paint Building was converted into The Dakota Lofts, patterning them after New York’s loft scene, and creating the first sign of urban renewal in Downtown’s Warehouse District.
• The National Biscuit Company Building was built for Nabisco in 1910 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 20, 1998. • Today, the old cookie factory reclaims its heritage and re-emerges as 57 loft-style apartment homes.
CITY VIEW LOFTS
EDITED BY STEFANIE PASCACIO
�A THE GUIDE TO EATING DOWNTOWN
PLEASE NOTE! Due to COVID-19, individual restaurants may have modified hours, service and menus. We recommend you check online before making plans.
GEORGIA JAMES TAVERN
Photo by Claudia Casbarian
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!
B Breakfast BR Brunch L Lunch D Dinner LN Late Night
Average Price of an Entrée $ $10 or less $$ $11–$19 $$$ $20–$29 $$$$ $30+
For a searchable database of downtown Houston restaurants by cuisine, location and price, visit downtownhouston.org and click on Guide. 1600 Bar + Grille American Located on the lobby-level of the Hilton Americas–Houston hotel, 1600 Bar + Grille brings farm-fresh ingredients to the menu for a justpicked flavor. Featuring locally-sourced seasonal fresh produce, plus Certified Angus Beef and Gulf seafood dishes prepared from scratch, you can guarantee farm-to-fork freshness. hilton.com. 1600 Lamar. B, L & D Daily. $$ v Adair Downtown American Located at the tunnel level at Wells Fargo Plaza, Adair Downtown is a sophisticated, yet casual restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and a postwork happy hour. Breakfast options include avocado toast and chicken & waffles, while the lunch menu features a variety of fresh, vibrant salads and deliciously stacked sandwiches. adairdowntown.com. 1000 Louisiana, B & L Mon–Fri. $$ Ballpark Café American Enjoy the all-American cuisine and a nostalgic atmosphere for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just across the street from Minute Maid Park, Ballpark Café is a great place to have a pre/post-game meal. westin.com/Houston-Downtown. The Westin Houston Downtown, 1520 Texas. B, L & D Daily. $ v Barnaby’s at Market Square American A local favorite, Barnaby’s serves up oversized sandwiches, salads and burgers, putting a Southwest spin on traditional deli dishes. Colorful murals adorn the walls of the restaurant along with large windows for a perfect view of the park. barnabyscafe.com. 801 Congress. L Mon–Sat. $ v Batanga Tapas + Drinks Latin This tapas joint whips up delicious dishes inspired from Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Chile— anywhere that sangria is served. The spacious patio is as good as it gets when it comes to outdoor dining with its festive twinkle lights, great music and stellar views of the Historic District and Market Square Park. batangahouston.com. 908 Congress. L & D Daily, BR Sat & Sun. $$
Benihana of Tokyo Japanese While some restaurants allow their guests to view the kitchen, this Japanese grill brings the kitchen to you. Benihana chefs set up shop right in front of your table. The meal is made from scratch, and you can witness the entire show. benihana.com. 1318 Louisiana. L & D Daily. $$$ v Biggio’s American Biggio’s is not your average sports bar. The twostory sports haven named after the Houston baseball legend, Craig Biggio, boasts a large drink selection, upscale bar food, and seats that come with views of flat screen TVs as far as the eye can see. 1777 Walker. L & D Daily. $$ Birraporetti’s Italian This Italian restaurant/Irish bar is a Theater District staple. Their delicious pizzas continue to hit the spot, while items such as the chicken picatta and La Dolce Vita have become standouts. Enjoy a signature dessert to finish the meal. birrarestaurant.com. 500 Louisiana. L, D Daily. $$ Bouray’s Burrito Bar Fast Food Bouray’s offers made-to-order Mexican and Vietnamese food using ingredients that are prepared fresh daily. bourays.com. 609 Clay. L Mon–Fri. $ Bovine & Barley American Bovine & Barley is a beautifully designed urban bar and eatery with a heavy focus on beef and beer. The space has an industrial feel which is complimented by warm wood accents and huge HTX letters that hang illuminated on an exposed brick wall. Highlights from the menu include brisket tacos, meatloaf muffins on top of jalapeno mash, 1836 beer can chicken and a variety of burgers. Not to metion over 42 beers and six hand-crafted cocktails on tap! bovineandbarley.com. 416 Main. L Sat–Sun; D & LN Nightly. $$ Brasa’s Brazilian Steakhouse Steakhouse Open for lunch and dinner, Brasa’s Brazilian Steakhouse brings an authentic churrascaria dining experience to Downtown. In keeping with tradition, the menu comprises various types of meat including beef, pork, chicken and seafood. brasashouston.com. 705 Main, L & D Mon–Sat. $$$ v Brasserie du Parc French Located in the luxury high rise, One Park Place, the interior design and the menu at this beautiful French restaurant were inspired by classic Parisian brasseries and offerings include classic dishes like risotto, steak frites and crêpes, along with delicacies such as escargots and chicken liver pâté. brasserieduparc.net. 1440 Lamar. L & D Mon–Sat. $$$ 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 and Kokoro. The chef hall also houses three bars including Bravery Wine Bar and Secret Garden. braverychefhall.com. 409 Travis. L, D & LN Daily. $$
Brown Bag Deli Fast Casual Located in the Houston Club building, Brown Bag Deli serves up tasty, fresh sandwiches “just like you like it.” Known for its fluffy, soft bread you won’t be disappointed and neither will your wallet. thebrownbagdeli.net. 702 Main. L Mon–Fri. $ BurgerIM Fast Casual BurgerIM is an Israel-based mini-burger concept known for serving 3oz. patties in a mix-andmatch format. Choose from options like dry-aged beef, chorizo, turkey, salmon, veggie and more. The unique eatery also offers two different bun options, nine sauces and 10 different toppings making for an extremely customizable burger experience. BurgerIM also offers chicken strips and wings, milkshakes, family boxes and a variety of sides including onion rings and sweet potato fries. burgerim.com. 800 Preston. L, D & LN Daily. $ Burger Theory American Located at street-level of Downtown’s Holiday Inn, Burger Theory specializes in gourmet burgers, casual American fare and boasts a beercentric bar. They also serve a mean breakfast! 1616 Main St. B, L, D & LN. $ The Cafe American Located in the lobby of the Hilton Americas. An elaborate buffet is offered for breakfast, with a la carte selections from the menu available for lunch and dinner. Hilton Americas, 1600 Lamar. B, L, D & LN Daily. $$ v 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. originalchinagardenhouston.com. 1602 Leeland. L & D Tue–Sat. $ Chipotle Mexican Known for its large portions, this Mexican fast casual spot offers a variety of wholesome menu items. chipotle.com. 909 Texas. L Mon–Fri. $ Christian’s Tailgate American Christian’s Tailgate has arguably one of the best burgers in town and now you can enjoy them Downtown! The notable Houston burger joint in Downtown’s Historic District boasts daily food specials, 30 beers on tap, 40+ TVs, a pool table, shuffle board, video games and an awesome outdoor patio! christianstailgate.com. 1012 Congress. L, D & LN Daily. $ Corner Bakery Fast Casual A bakery cafe, offering fresh breads, salads, sandwiches, soups and sweets in a casual atmosphere. Located right on Main Street Square, you can’t beat the people watching or just relax and watch the rail line and Main Street Square’s jumping fountains. cornerbakery.com. 1000 Main. B & L Mon–Fri. $ 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. thelancaster.com. 701 Texas Avenue. B, L & D Daily. $$
plate. Diana American Grill American Nestled inside the Hobby Center, this is an ideal place for preshow dining. hobbycenter.com. 800 Bagby. D Show nights only. $$$ The District American The District offers classic American cuisine in a modern setting. Perfect for lunch or dinner before a show! The menu includes a variety of options like burgers, salads, pasta and small plates. There’s definitely something for everyone! thedistricthtx.com. 610 Main St. L & D Daily. $$ Domino’s Pizza dominos.com. 975 McKinney. $ The Downtown Aquarium Seafood The menu features a huge variety and offers something for everyone. While dining, guests are surrounded by a 150,000-gallon aquarium. Enjoy the sights and a great meal at this family-friendly spot. aquariumrestaurants.com. 410 Bagby. L & D Daily. $$ 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. L Mon–Fri. $ Einstein’s Bagels Deli Known as a great place to grab freshly-baked bagels and coffee for breakfast, they also serve up delectable lunch choices that include paninis, melts and pizza bagels. Be an office hero and use the catering service to treat your work pals. einsteinbros.com. 1200 Louisiana. 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 gastrocantinainspired menu is chock full of tasty tacos with fresh toppings like pomegranate salsa, charred scallions, pumpkin seeds and more. elbigbad.com. 419 Travis. D & LN Nightly. $$ Fabian’s Latin Flavors Latin Looking for dinner with a side of salsa dancing? If so, Fabian’s Latin Flavors is the place for you! From carne asada tacos and empanadas to popular Salvadorian beer and salsa nights, you’ll get a taste of Latin America at this Downtown hotspot. fabianslatinflavors.com. 301 Main. D & LN Thu–Sun. $$ Finn Hall Food Hall The upscale food hall serves delicious cuisine from 10 independently operated eating establishments including Craft Burger, Oddball Eats, Dish Society, Yong, Greenway Coffee, Pizza Square, Lit Chicken and Papalo Taqueria. 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. B, L & D Mon–Fri. $$
Flying Saucer Pub Fare Offering more than 200 beers, almost half on draft, Flying Saucer is a beer drinker’s paradise. Excellent staff and tasty eats give the place an identity all its own. beerknurd.com. 705 Main. L, D & LN Daily. $ Foundation Room American Escape, indulge and elevate your nightlife in Foundation Room at House of Blues, Houston’s luxe downtown hideaway. Foundation Room features an elegant private dining room and plush lounge perfect for after-dinner drinks and socializing. From starters like seared jumbo shrimp in a Cajun lemon beurre blanc to the 16oz. cowboy ribeye, the inspired menu draws from seasonal and international flavors with a distinctively Texas twist hob.com. GreenStreet, 1204 Caroline. D Wed–Sat. $$$ 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. frankspizza.com. 417 Travis. L & D Daily; LN Thu–Sat. $ NEW! Georgia James Tavern This casual offshoot of Georgia James Steakhouse features dishes you want to eat every day—salads, sandwiches, burgers, and yes, castiron seared steaks, along with entrees cooked in a wood-burning oven and simple desserts. Indulge in their fun cocktail menu at happy hour or peruse the extensive wine list, which features small producers in a wide variety of regions. georgiajamestavern.com. 777 Preston. D Tue-Sun. $$$
v Grotto Ristorante Italian This trendy Italian eatery is conveniently located on Downtown’s restaurant row—Avenida Houston! Enjoy spectacular views of nearby Minute Maid Park and Discovery Green as you experience a revolutionized take on Italian cuisine from small and sharable plates, to fresh salads and traditional dishes like Neapolitan thin crust pizzas and house made pastas. grottorestaurants.com. 1001 Avenida de las Americas. L Mon–Fri, D Daily. $$$ 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. grovehouston.com. Discovery Green, 1611 Lamar. L & D Tue–Sat. $$$ v Guadalajara del Centro Mexican This family-owned restaurant consistently serves up tasty food in a new, very cool environment. It’s the perfect place to bring the family or a large group of co-workers or friends. Great happy hour specials. guadalajarahacienda.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto. L Tue–Fri, D Tue–Sat. $$
v 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 woodburning 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 panroasted halibut and a filet mignon flight for one deliciously contemporary dining experience. One Allen Center, 500 Dallas. L Tue–Fri, D Tue–Sat. $$$ The Halal Guys Fast Casual The Halal Guys is a fast casual restaurant franchise that began as halal carts on the southeast and southwest corners of 53rd Street and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, New York City. The Downtown outpost serves their famous lineup of sandwiches, gyros and platters. thehalalguys.com 609 Main. L & D Mon-Sat. $ v Hearsay Gastro Lounge New American Located in a beautifully refurbished historic building, this upscale restaurant and lounge serves up delicious sandwiches, salads and entrées. They feature an extensive wine list, numerous beers on draft and bottle and premium liquors with a focus on Scotch whisky. hearsayhouston.com. 218 Travis. L & D Daily. $$ Hearsay on the Green American Located inside the Embassay Suites in Downtown’s Convention District, this upscale restaurant and lounge serves up the finest craft cocktails, New-American dishes and a chic dining experience. The drink menu features an extensive wine list, numerous bottle and draft beers and premium liquors. hearsayhouston.com. 1515 Dallas. L & D Daily. $$ House of Blues Restaurant and Bar American From daytime to playtime, House of Blues Restaurant & Bar draws inspiration from across the South, including iconic dishes, signature Southerninspired recipes, as well as a wide range of burgers, sandwiches and salads. Enjoy live music most nights and don’t miss Houston’s best Jazz ‘n’ Blues Brunch every Saturday! hob.com. GreenStreet, 1204 Caroline. L & D Daily. $$ v Irma’s Mexican Irma Galvan has been crowned Houston’s TexMex 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. B & L Mon–Fri, D Fri & Sat. $$ v Irma’s Southwest Grill Mexican Irma’s second location is a hip spot to satisfy a Mexican food craving. Enjoy tasty foods and great drinks for lunch or dinner. Only a few short blocks from Minute Maid Park. irmassouthwest.com. 1475 Texas. L & D Mon–Sat. $$
v Jackson St. BBQ Barbecue This laid-back spot by renowned Houston chefs Bryan Caswell, Bill Floyd and Greg Gaitlin offers smoked brisket, ribs, chicken, sausage and classic southern fixins like potato salad, baked beans, collard greens and cole slaw! Conveniently located across from Minute Maid Park, stop by this Downtown favorite before or after Astros games! jacksonstbbqhouston.com. 209 Jackson St. L Mon–Fri & Astros home games. Jason’s Deli Deli Order to please, Jason’s will make your sandwich or salad exactly how you like it. jasonsdeli.com. 901 McKinney. B & L Mon–Fri. $ Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches Deli All subs are served on your choice of freshbaked French bread or thick-sliced seven-grain bread or try the low-carb lettuce wrap: all the regular sandwich ingredients without the bread. jimmyjohns.com. 820 Main. L Mon–Sat. $ The Lake House Fast Casual Offering family-friendly food, featuring burgers, Kobe beef hot dogs, salads, shakes, wine and beer. Located on Kinder Lake, there is a large patio where you can watch model boats race across the water or listen to some live music from the nearby stage. thelakehousehouston.com. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. L Thu–Mon, D Thu–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. lacalletacos.com. 909 Franklin. 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. lafisheriahtx.com. 213 Milam. L & D Daily. $$ La Palapa Fast Food A Courthouse District favorite, there’s always a line at this free-standing pink concession stand for breakfast tacos and hamburgers. 1110 Preston. B & L Mon–Fri. $ Lone Star Taco Tex-Mex Fast-casual Tex-Mex restaurant, specializing in great tacos! Lone Star Taco quickly serves artisanal quality, made-fresh tacos at an affordable price. txlonestartaco.com. 1001 Texas St. B, L & D Daily. $ v Mademoiselle Louise Bakery Coffee House In addition to a quaint European vibe, Mademoiselle Louise Bakery offers chocolate croissants, tarts, eclairs, a variety of freshly baked bread and other classic French pastries. Conveniently located on the first floor of Skyhouse Main. mademoisellelouise.com. 1715 Main, B & L Wed–Sun $
Main Kitchen American Named Main Kitchen to reflect its location on Main Street and the hopes of becoming a staple in Houston’s culinary scene, the restaurant seats 120 and boasts an exhibition kitchen providing guests with an insight into the chefs’ creative process. jwmarriotthotelhouston.com/main-kitchen. 806 Main St. B, L, D Daily. $$ v McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood The extensive menu changes daily depending on each day’s fresh seafood deliveries. With more than 80 preparations on the menu each day, every guest is sure to find something to satisfy their palate. mccormickandschmicks.com. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin. L Mon–Fri, D Daily. $$$ The Melt on Wheels American Located inside Craft Beer Cellar, The Melt takes a childhood classic and gives it a gourmet twist! From the birria grilled cheese with chuck and brisket on artisan Texas toast, monterey and chihuahua cheese and dipping broth on the side, to the mama mia featuring prosciutto, gouda, goat cheese and basil with a honey drizzle, all on potato bread, these sandwiches give you that classic cheesy taste you love with a hint of sophistication. meltonwheels.com. 907 Franklin. L & D Daily. $$ v 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 homestate and many cities across the nation, Mendocino Farms strives to introduce fresh, unique ingredients in approachable adventurous foods. mendocinofarms.com. 609 Main. L & D Mon–Fri. $ 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. phoeniciafoods.com. 1001 Austin. B, L & D Daily. $ The Moonshiners American The Moonshiners Southern Table + Bar offers up a rebellious respite in the bustling urban backdrop of Downtown Houston. The restaurant celebrates and elevates southern culinary traditions serving up moonshine and whiskey in mason jars alongside generous portions of southern comfort foods such as fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and pulled pork sandwiches. themoonshinershouston.com. 1000 Prairie. L, D & LN Daily. $$ v Morton’s Steakhouse This award-winning steakhouse offers an outstanding menu. The downtown location features its new bar concept, Bar 12•21, which includes an impressive wine and martini menu along with its specially priced “bar bites.” mortons.com. 1001 McKinney. L Mon–Fri;, D Daily. $$$$
Murphy’s Deli Deli Indulge in a variety of sandwiches and salads. Hot or cold, Murphy’s specializes in creating your sandwich any way it’s ordered. murphysdeli.com. 601 Jefferson. 1900 Main. 700 Louisiana. 1415 Louisiana. B & L Mon–Fri all locations. $ v The Nash American Located in the historic Star, formerly known as the Texaco Building, The Nash offers diners a dynamic, laid-back style in the heart of Downtown. The menu is an approachable mix of cold and hot small plates, pizzas, entrees, steaks and chops, and is a nod to Houston’s diverse and vibrant population. thenashhouston.com. 1111 Rusk. D Daily. $$ 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. nikonikos.com. 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. ossoandkristalla.com. 1515 Texas. B, L & D Daily, BR Sat & Sun. $$ v Pappadeaux Seafood This local favorite serves up some of the finest and freshest seafood with a Cajun twist! Start with the crispy fried alligator or a bowl of gumbo, try the Chilean Sea Bass or the pasta mardi gras, and top it all off with the praline bread pudding soufflé. pappadeaux.com. 1001 Avenida de las Americas. L & D Tue–Sun. $$$ Pappas BBQ Barbecue Voted one of Houston’s best year after year, this barbecue joint offers an excellent selection with Texas-sized portions. Traditional favorites such as brisket, ribs, sausage and ham are served with Pappas’ flare. Delivery and take-out are available. pappasbbq.com. 1217 Pierce. L & D Daily. $$ v Pappas Bros. Steakhouse Steakhouse Pappas Bros. Steakhouse puts immeasurable care into everything they do, all to provide their guests with a dining experience like no other. They buy the highest-quality ingredients, use a timeless recipe, and cook it flawlessly each and every time. pappasbros.com. 1200 McKinney. D Tue–Sat. $$$$ v Pappasito’s Cantina Tex-Mex One of Houston’s most popular casual Tex-Mex restaurants, Pappasito’s specializes in sizzling fajitas, creamy queso and tortillas that almost melt in your mouth! The Downtown location offers six unique ceviches and crudos that can’t be found at any of the other restaurants. pappasitos.com. Hilton Americas-Houston, 1600 Lamar St. L & D Wed–Sun. $$
plate. 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. L Mon–Fri, D Fri & Sat. $$ v Phoenicia Specialty Foods International If you are in search of yummy food on the go, Phoenicia Specialty Foods is the place for you! This urban gourmet market boasts an incredible salad bar, made-to-order shawarmas and pizzas, grab-n-go sushi, sandwiches and various meat and seafood entrees. This is a one-of-a kind downtown destination where you can appreciate down-to-earth gourmet food prices and a unique variety of flavors. phoeniciafoods.com. 1001 Austin. B, L & D Daily. $ v Potente Italian A sophisticated Italian restaurant, Potente is a dining experience like no other focused on using local products and only the highest quality ingredients. Menu items include daily seafood selections, steaks, homemade pastas and the signature veal osso bucco. potentehouston.com. 1515 Texas. D Mon–Sat. $$$$ Quizno’s Fast Food 1119 Commerce. L & D Mon–Sun. $ Roma’s Pizza Italian Located just across from the Preston Station on the METRORail, Roma’s Pizza offers New Yorkstyle pizza by the slice or pie, as well as a variety of salads, lasagnas, ravioli, and chicken dishes. 223 Main. L & D Daily. $ Russo’s New York Pizzeria Italian Inspired by the traditional Italian values of family, friends & food, this Houston original doesn’t disappoint when it comes to fresh, delicious, homemade Italian meals. And they serve more than just pizza—try one of their specialty calzones, sandwiches or pastas! nypizzeria.com. 604 Polk. L & D Daily. $ The Rustic Southern Kitchen. Backyard. Bar. Live Music. That and more is what you'll find at The Rustic. Enjoy homestyle meals made with farm-to-table ingredients, sip local craft beers and cocktails under the stars or catch a performance nightly by local and national artists. therustic.com. 1836 Polk. L & D Daily, LN Fri & Sat. $$ v Saint Arnold Beer Garden & Restaurant Saint Arnold’s Beer Garden & Restaurant is a must-go-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. saintarnold.com. 2000 Lyons. L & D Daily. $$
Salata American This next-generation salad bar allows you to create your own, tossed-to-order salad or wrap complete with a variety of fresh greens, a large selection of veggies, fruits, nuts, cheeses and more. Top your order off with one of their signature dressings and your choice of chicken, seafood or tofu! salata.com. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin. L & D Daily. $ Saltgrass Steak House Steakhouse Most famous for its Certified Angus Beef steaks, Saltgrass is an award-winning steakhouse with a menu featuring a variety of fresh seafood, chicken, burgers, sandwiches and more including favorites like BBQ Baby Back Ribs, Surf & Turf and Chicken Fried Steak. For delicious bar bites and beverage specials, swing by their No Bull Lounge during Happy Hour. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. L & D Daily. $$ v Sambuca New American A hip, trendy and upscale restaurant right in the mix of Main Street. The menu includes a wide variety of favorites and combined with the live music, Sambuca is Houston’s ultimate supper club. sambucarestaurant.com. 909 Texas. L Mon–Fri, D Mon–Sat, LN Thu–Sat. $$$ v Sapporo Japanese Sushi & Bar Asian Sapporo Japanese Sushi & Bar offers everything from sushi and yaki soba to shrimp vegetable tempura and smoked taipan yaki filet mignon. Daily happy hour favorites include hot sake, fried oysters and an assortment of house wines. sapporohouston.com. 801 Congress. L & D Daily. $$ 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. shakeshack.com. 702 Main. L & D Daily. $ The Shops at Houston Center Food Court 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. shopsathc.com. 1200 McKinney. 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. donshula.com. Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4777. B, L & D Daily. $$$ Skyline Deli Deli With their freshly baked bread, Skyline makes a great deli sandwich. 717 Texas. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Sol Cafe Mejicano Mexican A family-owned cafe offering traditional Tex-Mex breakfast and lunch dishes made from fresh ingredients. 1205 Travis. B & L Mon–Fri. $ v Spindletop American A favorite Houston seafood restaurant and fine dining experience ideal for birthday parties, family reunions, anniversaries and engagements. Perched on the 34th floor of Hyatt Regency Downtown, this glasswalled restaurant makes one revolution every 45 minutes, ensuring you’ll enjoy 360-degree views of the city and all of its famous landmarks. houstonregency.hyatt.com. Hyatt Regency, 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4775. D Tue–Sat. $$$ 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. stack-burger.com. 703 St. Joseph Pkwy. 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. sub-roc.com. 1021 Main, Suite 200. B & L. $ Subway Fast Food 405 Main, 713.227.4700. Daily. $ Sweetgreen American With locally sourced greens + grains and a menu that follows Mother Nature’s lead, sweetgreen is making a sustainable impact on the future of food. Choose from their deliciously curated warm bowls and salads, or create your own. sweetgreen.com. 820 Main. L Mon-Fri. $ Table 7 Bistro American Table 7 Bistro is a combination of an upscale, yet casual atmosphere. Weekday happy hour includes $4 well drinks and $2 domestic beers, and it’s happy hour all weekend with $2 mimosas all day on Saturdays and Sundays. district7grill.com. 720 Fannin at The Club Quarters. B, L & D Daily. $ Tejas Grill & Sports Bar American Located at The Shops at Houston Center, Tejas offers the perfect tailgate menu and full-service bar. tejasgrillandsportsbar.com. 1201 Lamar at The Shops at Houston Center. B Mon–Fri, L & D Mon–Sat $$ v Theodore Rex American Enjoy an intimate dining experience at James Beard Award–winning Chef Justin Yu’s modern American bistro, Theodore Rex. Expect fresh local produce in your dishes coupled with warm hospitality as you walk in. trexhouston.com. 1302 Nance St. D Thu–Mon. $$$
Photo by Julie Soefer
in southern hospitality at Georgia James By Shelby Roth
Photo by Julie Soefer
As an aficionado of the Houston food scene, I’ve come to love all of Chris Shepherd’s concepts, but Georgia James is certainly one of my favorites. When the restauranteur announced the opening of Georgia James Tavern (in Downtown, no less), my heart skipped a beat. After all, Shepherd has been known to say he would never open a restaurant within our neighborhood bounds. But a more casual off-shoot of arguably one of our city’s finest steakhouses? Count me in. Shepherd enlisted Chef Matt “Tally” Coburn (formerly sous chef at Georgia James) to lead the kitchen at the new spot, and the menu has Tally’s influence all over it. While parts of the menu reflect similarities with other Shepherd restaurants—cooking steaks in cast iron, for example—the Tavern offers a more low-key experience with specialties like hearth-roasted chicken with coconut sticky rice, green papaya salad and a club sandwich with turkey and ham smoked in house.
plate. Photo by Claudia Casbarian
Tavern No restaurant in the Bayou City would be complete without oysters, and GJT’s are worth every penny. The six oysters are topped with bacon and “redneck” cheddar, then roasted in the hearth to perfection. Accompanied by crusty bread, they are perfect for soaking up every last drop of green garlic-chili butter. Another standout item is the baked pimento cheese (it’s a tavern, after all), which comes alongside thinsliced country ham, pickled okra and toasted Kraftsman Baking sourdough bread. Georgia James Tavern occupies the intimate space at the foot of Market Square Tower, one of Downtown’s most exclusive rental properties. Nest Design Group transformed the space with an art deco-inspired interior such as marqueestyle lights around the bar and vintage-inspired glass wall sconces. Other design elements include leather banquettes, brass accents and Zellige tiles from Morocco on the back bar. Coziness is definitely what you will find at Georgia James Tavern, as the interior of the restaurant only seats 40 at a time.
We fawned over the unique drink menu and ordered two favorites—the Ponderosa (a mix of lime leaf vodka, cranberry, orange marmalade and roast aperitif) and the Hall Pass (a blend of bourbon, banana and bitters)—but the entire list was truly calling our name. Consider Georgia James Tavern your next post-work happy hour hang, but make sure to snag a reservation because the space is sure to fill up fast.
CHEF MATT "TALLY" COBURN Photo by Julie Soefer
“Coziness is definitely what you will find at Georgia James Tavern,”
Photo by Julie Soefer
v Treebeards Southern A downtown institution for more than 30 years, Treebeards offers tasty Cajun dishes that are sure to satisfy. Favorite menu items include the chicken and shrimp gumbo, red beans and rice and étouffée. For dessert, try the famous butter bar. treebeards.com. 315 Travis. Cloisters at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas. L Mon–Fri. $ v Underground Hall American Located in the Historic Market Square District, Underground Hall is the latest food hall to hit Downtown Houston. Offering everything from pizza and beer to tacos and tres leches, this foodie paradise truly has a little something for everyone. The casual establishment features locally known dining spots including Wokker, Hotline Burger, Birdhaus, The Pho Fix and Treacherous Leches. undergroundhall.com 1010 Prairie. L, D & LN 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, Farro, Flip n' Patties, Boomtown Coffee, MONA Fresh Italian Food, Mama Ninfa’s Tacos & Tortas, East Hampton Sandwich Co and Silver Lining Bar. understoryhouston.com. 800 Capitol. B, L, 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. B & L Mon–Fri. $ 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! xochihouston.com. 1777 Walker. D Tue–Sat, BR Sun. $$$
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. yourpie.com. 1625 Main (inside SkyHouse Houston). L & D Daily. $ Zero’s Sandwich Shop Deli A great little spot for a freshly made deli sandwich. zerossandwichshop.com. 809 Dallas. 1110 Lamar. 507 Dallas. B & L Mon–Fri. $ v Zydeco Louisiana Diner Cajun This cafeteria-style Cajun joint brings Louisiana dishes to the Hospital District of downtown Houston. Traditional Cajun items such as po-boys, jambalaya and gumbo make Zydeco a great lunch stop. A casual atmosphere adds to the enjoyment. zydecolouisianadiner.com. 1119 Pease. L Mon–Fri. $
PLEASE NOTE! Looking for a spot for a caffeine fix or for a fun night out with friends? Check out some of our favorites!
NEW! 3 Fibs Coffee & Wine Bar | 104 Main 3 Fibs serves up wonderfully aromatic single origin arabica beans and blends. Their innovative morning and lunch menu is all about the Liege waffles and will include not only sweet waffles, but savory twists on the classics such as Benedict, BLT, caprese and more. In the evenings, the vibe changes. Stop by for an espresso or glass of wine paired with a charcuterie board. 7 am–10 pm daily. 3fibs.com NEW! Angel Share HTX | 924 Congress An incredibly unique bar, every drink or purchase earns patrons a vote that goes toward select charities. All of the charities benefit from increased awareness about their efforts and for some, financial support! You’ll find a creative cocktail menu along with beer, wine and light bites, including their baked-to-order chocolate chip cookies. Sun–Wed 4 pm–midnight, Thu–Sat 4 pm–2 am. angelsharehtx.com
v Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse This world-class steak house is one of the most elegant dining locations in Houston. It boasts rich mahogany woodwork and one-of-a-kind hospitality. Located in the heart of the Ballpark District and across from Minute Maid Park, Vic & Anthony’s is the ideal spot for entertaining business clients, a special celebration or a pre/ post-game dinner. vicandanthonys.com. 1510 Texas. L Fri, D Nightly. $$$$
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 firstever Topgolf® simulation golf experience, Angels’ Share private dining room, and personalized bourbon lockers. Mon–Sat 5 –11 pm, Sun 3–11 pm. fourseasons.com Boots ’n Shoots | 506 Main This Texas-themed bar conveniently located right off the METRORail, features a wide variety of whiskey. If you’re feeling adventurous, try out the super fun larger-than-life PLINKO board which decides your fate when the time comes to take a shot! Fri & Sat 9 pm–2 am. bootsnshootshouston.com Buzz Barista | 811 Main 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. Mon–Fri 6:30 am–4 pm.
Due to COVID-19, hours of operation and capacity can change. Please check online before making plans.
Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge | 308 Main A fun and quirky bar that doesn’t take itself too seriously (hence the name), but the cocktails are seriously good. Patrons enjoy the speakeasy vibe and the patio terrace for prime people watching. Nightly 5 pm–2 am, twitter.com/badnewsbar Casablanca Lounge | 312 Main 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. Wed 5 pm–2 am, Thu-Sat 5 pm–2 am, Sun 6 pm–2 am. casablancahouston.com Cellar 7 Wine & Bar Bites | 610 Main 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 11 am–11 pm. district7grill.com
sip. NEW! Cezanne Jazz & Blues Club | 500 Louisiana (inside Birraporetti’s, downstairs) Located in the heart of the Theater District, Cezanne is Houston’s only “listening room”—a cozy intimate place where people came primarily to hear amazing live jazz and blues music. Fri & Sat 8-11 pm. cezzannejazz.com
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. etronightclub.com
Char Bar | 305 Travis Char Bar offers stiff drinks alongside custom suits. Drenched in nostalgia, Char Bar is proud of its history, as reflected in the old photos of family members who have worked in the space since the 1930s. Enjoy the second floor balcony or chat it up with Weldon Renfro, who has a permanent shoe shine booth at the entrance. Mon–Wed 10 am–midnight, Thu–Sat 10 am–2 am. twitter.com/TheCharBar
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. Sun–Thu 11 am–10 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am– midnight. beerknurd.com
Cherry | 308 Main From the minds that brought you The Commoner comes this ‘80s-themed nightclub and bar. Decked out with neon lights, vinyl records and vintage TVs, Cherry brings the all-night dance parties of the eighties to Main every weekend. Fri & Sat, 9 pm–2 am. cherryhtx.com
Henke & Pillot | 809 Congress Where past meets present, and drinks and dining blend in flawless harmony. Henke & Pillot is more than a dynamic Downtown cocktail lounge. Named after the Houston grocery store chain that occupied the space in the 800 block of Congress over 150 years ago, the simple yet sophisticated setting offers patrons inspired cocktails that are paired with mouthwatering dishes. Thu–Sat 10 pm–2 am. henkehouston.com
Craft Beer Cellar | 907 Franklin 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! Sun–Thu 11 am–10 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am– midnight. houston.craftbeercellar.com
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! Wed–Sat 4 pm–midnight. highanddryhtx.com
CRU Lounge | 311 Travis CRU Lounge is a restaurant and bar known for its craft cocktails and CBD-infused offerings. In addition to hookah and crutails, the menu offers small plates including wings, lollipop lamb chops and baby burgers.Mon–Wed 5 pm–1 am; Thurs & Fri 5 pm–2 am; Sat 2 pm–2 am; Sun Noon–11 pm. crulounge.com
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! Tue–Sat 8 pm–2 am. houstonwatchcompany.com
Day 6 Coffee Co. | 910 Prairie Street, Suite 100 Day 6 Coffee Co. is a family owned and operated business located in the Historic Market Square District. Serving up everything from coffee classics to specialty lattes, the brewhouse strives to serve the community and provide a platform to emerging artists. Mon–Thu 8 pm–10 pm; Fri & Sat 8 am–10 pm; Sun 9 am–10 pm. daysixcoffee.com Dean’s | 316 Main Under new ownership and with a new look and feel, Dean’s adds to the cool vibe found on the 300 block of Main. Great attention from the bartenders and the trendy crowd make it a unique place to socialize. Nightly 5 pm–2 am. deansdowntown.com The Dirt Bar | 1209 Caroline The non-venue rock ‘n’ roll lounge is a popular pre- and post-show destination spot that has become famous for its performer patronage. Drawing crowds and artists from every venue in the city has allowed The Dirt to host hundreds of memorable after-show events, including Lady Gaga, Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon. Nightly 6 pm–2 am. dirtbar.com 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. Nightly 4 pm–2 am. 1820lounge.com
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–Fri 7 am–2 am, Sat & Sun 9 am–2 am. lacalletacos.com La Carafe | 813 Congress The oldest building in Houston, this dark and cozy hideaway boasts a great jukebox, moody atmosphere and an extensive beer and wine selection. Sit on the outside patio or balcony and look up in awe at the amazing downtown skyline. Cash only. Daily 1 pm–2 am. Lawless Spirits & Kitchen | 909 Texas 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. Wed 5 pm–midnight, Thu–Sat 5 pm–2 am. lawlesspirits.com
Lilly & Bloom | 110 Main St. Located in the historically chic Raphael Building, this beautiful two-story lounge is known for its specialty cocktails and guest bartenders every Tuesday night. Prepare to be amazed! Nightly 4 pm–2 am. lillyandbloom.com Little Dipper | 304 Main This spot is a cool, blue neighborhood bar with pinball machines, cheap bourbon and a bad-ass jukebox. Sun–Thu 4–10 pm, Fri & Sat 4 pm–2 am. twitter.com/LittleDipperBar Lone Star Saloon | 1900 Travis The Lone Star Saloon is a true classic Texas dive bar that seems misplaced in its urban setting. The crowd, half aging townies and half world-weary road dogs, are always willing to share have-been-to-helland-back stories. Daily 1 pm–2 am. NEW! McIntyre’s | 901 Commerce Situated in an early 1900s building, this three-story sports bar is home to food trucks, plenty of seating, three full-service bars and killer views of Buffalo Bayou. Blanketed with over 50 of the latest highdefinition televisions designed so every patron can watch multiple games simultaneously, McIntyre’s newest location is a destination for playing, game watching and having a great time in Downtown Houston. Mon–Wed 2 pm- midnight, Thu & Fri 2pm–2 am, Sat 11 am–2 am, Sun 11 am-–midnight. mcintyresusa.com/downtown
Minuti Coffee | 909 Texas 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 freshbaked pastries and smoothies, too. Daily 7 am–5 pm. minuticoffee.com 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–7:30 pm, Thu & Fri 11 am–8 pm, Sat 10 am–8 pm, Sun 9 am–6 pm. mktbar.com Molly’s Pub | 509 Main This classic Irish pub offers a variety of Irish whiskeys and international beers. Tables and coves lead you to the back, where pool and darts can be found and a second-floor balcony provides excellent views of Main Street and Downtown. Mon–Sat 11 am–2 am. mollyspubs.com Notsuoh | 314 Main The name is Houston spelled backwards. A bar full of random weirdness: Think grunge lounge and artsy. You’ll find people playing chess, and drinking beer, live music, lots of crazy, weird artwork and maybe walk in on a night of punk-rock karaoke. Live bands on weekends. Nightly 7 pm–2 am. notsuoh.com 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. thewhitehallhouston.com
The Pastry War | 310 Main A Mezcaleria from Bobby Heugel and Alba Huerta that serves up agave spirits along with classic Mexican cocktails and beers in a festive and intimate environment. This specialty tequila joint not only accepts pesos, but is on a brave mission to serve the best margaritas in town. Salud! Sun–Wed 4 pm–midnight, Thu–Sat 4 pm–2 am. thepastrywar.com Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar | 1201 Fannin at GreenStreet
Two dueling pianos and a sing-along, clap-along, drink-along, have-one-helluva-good-time-along bar! Wed–Sat 7 pm–2 am, showtime @ 8 pm. petesduelingpianobar.com NEW! Pris | 108 Main A stylish loungy atmosphere, fun music, friendly service and great drinks. With more to offer than a basic watering hole, Pris has a welcoming atmosphere for anyone. Thu–Mon 7 pm–2 am. prishtx.com
Reserve 101 | 1201 Caroline A whiskey and martini bar touting more than 220 specialty liquors that will make any cocktail aficionados mouth water. Stop by on Tuesday for complimentary tastings of special selections. Order up delicious bites from the new, chef-driven menu featuring tasty flatbreads, appetizers and sandwiches. Sun 6 pm–2 am; Tue–Sat 4 pm–2 am. reserve101.com
/visitdowntownhouston @downtownhouston @downtownhouston
Saint Arnold Beer Garden | 2000 Lyons Saint Arnold’s newish outdoor space is a beerlover’s paradise with bocce ball courts, cornhole and a wide variety of seating options with breathtaking views of the Houston skyline. In the center of the Beer Garden, an upside down brewkettle top overflows with water adhering to its sides and a big screen is rolled out for the big games. Sun–Thu 11 am–9 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am–11 pm. saintarnold.com Secret Garden | 409 Travis Occupying the 2,000 square feet of back yard patio space at Bravery Chef Hall, Secret Garden Bar is a charming spot to grab a drink. As one of three bars at Bravery, Secret Garden offers both coffee (until 2 PM) and cocktails: bottled, carbonated and craft. The menu also includes daiquiris, margaritas and frosé. Secret Garden Bar can be accessed from the hall and from its own entrance on Main Street. Daily 4–10 pm. braverychefhall.com 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 notso-young merrymakers. Daily 11 am–2 am. mcelroyspub.com Starbucks | 723 Main, 914 Dallas, 1600 Lamar Offering staples such as macchiatos, lattes and teas, pastries, oven-warmed food and other light bites. Daily. starbucks.com
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. 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–midnight. VAULT | 801 Congress This underground basement club in Downtown’s Historic Market Square neighborhood boasts a high-end nightlife experience with a sleek, mysterious vibe. Guests can expect signature cocktails, world-class DJ’s, high-end VIP bottle service and more. Sat 10 pm–2 am. facebook.com/VaultDownTownHTX 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. Daily 2 pm–2 am. 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. Tue–Thu 4–10 pm, Fri & Sat 5 pm–midnight. lemeridienhoustondowntown.com
Small businesses are the heart and soul of #DowntownHouston. We encourage you to continue supporting local. To stay in the know, visit downtownhouston.org
Performing Arts 44 Market Square Park 49 Special Events 50 Discovery Green 55 and more
EDITED BY VICTORIA REID
FLEA BY NIGHT AT DISCOVERY GREEN
MARGARET ALKEK WILLIAMS JUBILEE OF DANCE
Sep 30–Oct 3 As integral to Houston’s art scene
as its namesake and endower, the Margaret Alkek Williams Jubilee of Dance is an annual celebration of the range of talent within Houston Ballet’s professional company. This year’s program will celebrate Principal Dancer Melody Mennite’s 20th anniversary with the Company. Houston Ballet’s glorious return to the stage will undoubtably be a can’t-miss event. Wortham Center, 501 Texas.
Oct 1–24 Celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Alley Theatre by witnessing the both humorous and heartwrenching work of Lynn Nottage. Sweat tells the story of three lifelong friends, who when life hands them an unfortunate event, are pitted against each other in a fight to stay afloat. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas.
alleytheatre.org FRIENDS! THE MUSICAL PARODY
Oct 1–3 The musical parody is the unauthorized
ONCE UPON A TIME: ALAN MENKEN’S BROADWAY Sep 3–5 Celebrate and honor the whimsical sounds of Disney’s Alan Menken. Enter A Whole New World with nostalgic renditions of your favorite classic films and musicals performed by Broadway vocalists and the Symphony, led by Steven Reineke. From Aladdin, Pocahontas, Little Shop of Horrors and Sister Act. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. houstonsymphony.org GATSBY: THE WORLD PRIMERE MUSICAL
Sep 10–26 Gatsby is an innovative live stage adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, making its world premiere at artFACTORY. This spectacular new musical breathes new life into the nostalgic story with a haunting score that urges spectators to question whether we’re living the American dream or a cruel nightmare. ArtFACTORY, 1125 Providence.
artfactoryhouston.com MY FAIR LADY
Sep 14–19 From the Lincoln Center Theater comes a sumptuous new production of the classic musical, featuring I Could Have Danced all Night, The Rain in Spain, and Wouldn’t it be Loverly. My Fair Lady tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a young Cockney flower seller, and Henry Higgins, a linguistics professor who is determined to transform her into his idea of a proper lady. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby.
houston.broadway.com ANDRES CONDUCTS BEETHOVEN’S FIFTH
Sep 17–19 Join Music Director Andrés OrozcoEstrada as he returns to Houston to open with Beethoven’s masterpiece, Fifth Symphony. Hear the notes from world-renowned pianist Yefim Bronfam, concertmaster Yoonshin Song and principal cellist Brinton Averil Smith for a harmonious trifecta of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.
BACH, HANDEL AND HERCULES Sep 24 Ars Lyrica returns to the Hobby Center with a morality tale set to music by both Bach and Handel. The iconic strongman Hercules earned his place in the pantheon not through conquests but rather for his wisdom and honor. Hercules faces a familiar dilemma, one that found significant resonance in the Baroque era, when ancient stories were a principal source of moral instruction. Both composers treat Hercules’ temptation and ultimate embrace of virtue with ravishing arias and grand ensembles. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. thehobbycenter.org THE ARTISTRY OF AUGUSTIN HADELICH
Sep 24–26 Amazing artistry, beloved favorites, and exciting new discoveries are all in store in these concerts featuring brilliant Grammy Award-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich as soloist and leader. The concerts begin with Bach’s magnificent Concerto for Violin and Oboe, spotlighting principal oboe Jonathan Fischer. Then, Hadelich performs Shostakovich’s bold and dynamic Sonata for Violin, Percussion, and Strings and the sparkling prelude from Bach’s Partita No. 2. To close, Hadelich shares a beautiful concerto by Joseph Boulogne. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. houstonsymphony.org
ROCK OF AGES
Oct 5–17 Based on the musical comedy by Chris D’Arienzo, Rock of Ages takes you back to the time of bands with big egos, big guitar solos and even bigger hair! Featuring the music of hit bands like REO Speedwagon, Twisted Sister, Bon Jovi and Styx, this musical comedy was nominated for five Tony Awards including Best Musical. Rock out all night to your favorite hits and experience this rock and roll fairytale presented by TUTS. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby.
tuts.com WHOLE LOTTA SHAKIN’: SWING TO ROCK
Oct 8–10 Venture on a musical adventure through decades of hit music with multi instrumentalists Dave Bennett and the Houston Symphony Big Band. Dance your way through the swing era and wiggle your way through classics from musical legends Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and more. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.
houstonsymphony.org 72 MILES TO GO
Oct 15–Nov 14 After its 2019 world premiere off-Broadway and development in the 2019 Alley All New Festival, playwright Hilary Bettis returns to the Alley to retell this unforgettable journey. 72 Miles to Go explores the distance between a recently deported mother and her American-born husband and children as years pass and paramount life events unfold before their eyes. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas.
houstonsymphony.org AUGUSTIN HADELICH
Photo by Rosalie O' Connor
GATSBY: THE WORLD PREMIERE MUSICAL
comedic musical that lovingly pokes fun at TV’s Friends, celebrating the adventures of your favorite group of 20-something friends as they navigate the pitfalls of work, life, and love in 1990s Manhattan. This performance recreates our favorite moments from all 10 years of Friends through an uncensored, fast-paced, musical-filled romp. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. thehobbycenter.org
datebook. HOUSTON ARTIST COMMISSIONING PROJECT LIVE Oct 15–16 The Houston Artist Commissioning Project (HACP) supports new works, across all arts disciplines, from working artists here in Houston. Over two weekends, six live performance winners in the project’s pilot year will take the stage at Jones Hall. These are Houston’s creative voices, responding to our time with uproarious creativity. World premieres by Say Girl Say, Patrick Davis, and Loop38 + Houston Contemporary Dance Company. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. spahouston.org
Oct 21 Andrea Bocelli graces the stage alongside the Houston Symphony. With over 80 million records sold, the powerful Italian opera singer will perform his repertoire of arias, love songs and other hits live for an unparalleled performance. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk.
houstonsymphony.org CLASSICAL CONCERT 3
Oct 22–24 Take part in a world-class performance presented by the Houston Symphony. Over the course of three nights, enjoy the uplifting power of live music from treasured and timeless works to new enticing musical pieces. Each night, explore a unique and intimate concert experience for all listeners. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. houstonsymphony.org CARMEN
Photo by Laura Hagen
Oct 22–Nov 7 Let the sounds of the mezzo-soprano and rings of the orchestra transport you into one of the world’s most popular tragedies. Houston favorite Heidi Stober is joined by Christian Pursell as he makes his Houston Grand Opera debut, to deliver vocally dynamic performances as the lead characters, Carmen and Don Jose. Immerse yourself into an acclaimed production, directed and choreographed by awardwinning Broadway director Rob Ashford. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. houstongrandopera.org MONSTER: THE MUSIC OF LADY GAGA
Oct 22–31 Calling all Little Monsters! This highROCK OF AGES
octane concert performance features the iconic music of pop phenomenon Lady Gaga. Monster features two 45–minute acts, packed wall-to-wall with dazzling visuals and mind-blowing vocals. This epic event highlights Houston’s finest vocalists wailing Gaga’s biggest hits from Love Game to Shallow. ArtFACTORY, 1125 Providence. artfactoryhouston.com
AN EVENING WITH C.S. LEWIS & J.R.R. TOLKEIN Oct 23–24 Aging and legendary authors, J.R.R. Tolkien and his great friend C.S. Lewis, meet for what turns out to be the very last time. The 20th century literary giants reached millions of readers through their stories like Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia and Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. We join Jack and Tollers, as they knew each other, at Oxford’s historic Eagle and Child pub for one last visit, tempered by thawing humor, confession and reconciliation. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby.
thehobbycenter.org DANCE NATION
Oct 28–Dec 4 Somewhere in America, an army of preteen competitive dancers plots to take over the world and if their new routine is good enough, they’ll claw their way to the top at the Boogie Down Grand Prix in Tampa Bay. 2019 Pulitzer Prize finalist and Susan Smith Blackburn prize winner for best play, Clare Barron’s raucous riff off of the mayhem that is dance moms and preteen dance competitions looks at the unbelievable power and ambition of young women in a world of objectification and sexualization. A pageant of ambition and ferocity, these young dancers have more than choreography on their minds, because every plié and jeté is a step toward finding themselves, and a fight to unleash their power. Ticket prices vary. Rec Room Arts, 100 Jackson Street. recroomarts.org GARRICK OHLSSON, PIANO: AN EVENING OF CHOPIN Oct 29 Chopin is the irresistible poet of the piano, a profound innovator who transformed solo piano music. Bringing together great sensitivity and commanding virtuosity, Grammy Award-winning pianist Garrick Ohlsson remains the only American to have won the prestigious Chopin Competition. A master recitalist meets the overwhelming audience favorite composer of the piano for an unforgettable Opening Night celebrating DaCamera’s return to the concert hall! Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. dacamera.com
Photo by Lynn Lane
Oct 29–31 During the Halloween weekend, treat yourself to a performance of Berlioz’s opium-field fantasy. Enjoy a wild musical adventure with acclaimed conductor and music director of the Detroit Symphony Jader Bignamini leading the orchestra to deliver a program that also features Samuel ColeridgeTaylor’s lavishly melodic Symphonic Variations on an African Air, based on the African American spiritual I’m Troubled in Mind. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.
Oct 30 Julianna Rubio Slager’s 2021 world premiere Reckless brings an ancient story of tragedy and incredible compassion into the 21st century. This ballet explores the story of Gomer, the wife of the prophet Hosea. The story of Gomer has been retold in countless lives, frequently ending in tragedy and sorrow. In this story we see the reckless love of God through Hosea, as he runs to the darkest street corners to redeem the one he loves. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby.
thehobbycenter.org ALTON BROWN LIVE: BEYOND THE EATS
Nov 2 Alton Brown is hitting the road with a new culinary variety show. Audiences can expect more comedy, more music, more highly unusual cooking demos, and more potentially dangerous sciencey stuff. Prepare for an evening unlike any other, and if Brown calls for volunteers … think twice! Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. spahouston.org
Nov 2–14 Sister Mary Clarence is taking to the Hobby Center Stage in the TUTS premiere of Sister Act. The feel-good musical comedy features original music by Tony- and eight-time Oscar-winner Alan Menken and stars Simone Gundy (NBC’s The Voice, TUTS Memphis). Based on the hit film, this uplifting musical nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, also features lyrics by Glenn Slater and is sure to have audiences jumping to their feet. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. tuts.com WONDERFUL WORLD: THE LOUIS ARMSTRONG SONGBOOK Nov 5–7 With his magnetic charisma, expressive scat singing, and incredible trumpet skills, Louis Armstrong changed music forever and made the whole world smile. Travel back to the golden age of jazz as the incomparable Byron Stripling salutes Satchmo with recreations of iconic hits like What a Wonderful World, Basin Street Blues, Mack the Knife and Hello Dolly. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.
JASON MORAN: JAMES REESE EUROPE AND THE HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS Nov 6 On New Year’s Day 1918, James Reese Europe, an iconic figure in the evolution of African–American music, landed in France with the Harlem Hellfighters. This crack military music ensemble popularized the new spirit of jazz to a war-torn French nation fascinated with Black culture. A century later, Houston native composer, pianist and visual artist Jason Moran celebrates this hero of Black music. The performance features Moran’s celebrated Bandwagon trio complemented by a seven-piece horn section, contributions from artist, director and screenwriter John Akomfrah, and visual materials from acclaimed cinematographer Bradford Young. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. dacamera.com QUARTETTO DI CREMONA WITH DAVID SHIFRIN, CLARINET Nov 9 Italy’s esteemed Quartetto di Cremona, winners of the prestigious Franco Buitoni Award, returns to our stage after a triumphant Houston debut in 2019, now joined by pre-eminent clarinetist David Shifrin, for a program of chamber music by great opera composers. Together these illustrious musicians are sure to provide an exhilarating evening, from Mozart’s glorious Clarinet Quintet to one of Verdi’s most moving and beautiful arias. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby.
HOUSTON ARTIST COMMISSIONING PROJECT LIVE Nov 12–13 The Houston Artist Commissioning Project (HACP) supports new works, across all arts disciplines, from working artists here in Houston. Over two weekends, six live performance winners in the project’s pilot year will take the stage at Jones Hall. These are Houston’s creative voices, responding to our time with uproarious creativity. Riyaaz Qawwali, Harrison Guy and Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. spahouston.org ETERNITY AND THE UNDERWOLD
Nov 13 Bach’s meditation on death in Cantata 82 depicts the great beyond as a peaceful refuge. One of his best-known vehicles for solo voice, Ich habe genug, also blends the melancholy sound of the Baroque oboe with accompanying strings, to magical effect. In contrast, Jonathan Dove’s L’Altra Eurydice (The Other Eurydice) transports us to the underworld, from which Pluto exposes the treachery of humanity in a remarkable chamber opera for bass-baritone plus a mix of period and modern instruments. Ars Lyrica’s provocative new staging of both works will provide plenty of food for thought about the next world. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. thehobbycenter.org TOOTSIE
Nov 16–21 What the Daily News called “far and away the funniest musical of the season,” Tootsie, based on the Oscar-nominated film, is a musical comedy that will have you laughing throughout the night. The Broadway performance tells the story of Michael Dorsey, an actor who struggles to find work until a desperate stunt lands him a life-changing gig. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. houston.broadway.com
HOUSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY Fall Calendar HOUSTON ARTIST COMMISSIONING PROJECT LIVE
HÉLÈNE GRIMAUD PLAYS RAVEL Nov 19–21 Brilliant French pianist Hélène Grimaud performs one of the greatest of all French masterworks, Ravel’s jazz-infused Concerto in G. From the opening whip crack to the mesmerizing second movement and a jaunty whirlwind of a finale, this is piano virtuosity at its most colorful and captivating. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.
HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Nov 19–Dec 29 Experience the heartwarming adventure through the eyes of Director Brandon Weinbrenner. A highly inventive adaptation of the Dickens classic pared down to its essential elements. A resident company of actors assemble to perform a new production of the heartwarming Christmas story. When two of the troupe’s actors can’t arrive in time for the performance, others step in to create a magical world of holiday make-believe. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. alleytheatre.org
All events free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. Central Library 500 McKinney Julia Ideson Library 550 McKinney houstonlibrary.org
BARBARA BUSH LITERACY PLAZA— GRAND OPENING Week of Sep 8 Excitement awaits as programs and events come to life at the grand opening of the newly renovated plaza located between the Houston Public Library’s Central Library and the historic Julia Ideson Building. Named in honor of former First Lady Barbara Bush for her lifelong dedication to literacy and the education of children, this beautifully transformed, versatile space features new paving, lawn, planters with trees, water wall, new furnishings, adult reading area, children’s reading room with shade structure and fans, a performance stage and a large video display screen for engaging programming and events. The Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza has been designed to provide an inviting and welcoming atmosphere and to serve as a destination and showcase for literacy. HOUSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY CENTRAL LIBRARY—GRAND REOPENING Week of Sep 15 The Central Library, closed since the beginning of the pandemic, will reopen its doors and welcome Houstonians to participate in educational and engaging activities, events, exhibits and more.
TCHAIKOVSKY’S SLEEPING BEAUTY
Nov 26–28 With its soaring, impassioned themes and irresistible gypsy-flavored finale, Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 is a perennial audience favorite, as evidenced by its selection as Britain’s favorite classical work in a Classic FM poll. Chicago Tribune labels this performance “absolutely stunning.” Dutch violinist Simone Lamsma delivers an electrifying performance, and romantic and enchanting music from Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty ballet score rounds out a Thanksgiving-weekend program the whole family will love. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.
houstonsymphony.org THE NUTCRACKER
Nov 26–Dec 24 Bring the family back to the theater to share the joy of Clara’s magical journey to the Kingdom of Sweets this holiday season! Stanton Welch’s The Nutcracker is a grand spectacle of opulence and one of the most splendid versions of this holiday classic ever staged. This performance is a positively joyous treat for ballet lovers of all ages. Rejoice in the return of this time-honored tradition! Wortham Center, 501 Texas. houstonballet.org
TCHAIKOVSKY’S THE NUTCRACKER + GIL SHAHAM Dec 3–5 To celebrate the holidays, Andrés Orozco-Estrada and the orchestra share music from Tchaikovsky’s iconic Nutcracker score. Experience the splendor of this treasured masterpiece like never before in this special performance featuring the entire Houston Symphony. Running the gamut from radiant lyricism to jaw-dropping fireworks, Barber’s Violin Concerto is one of the most beloved in the repertoire, and no one plays it better than international superstar Gil Shaham. Shaham also joins principal bass Robin Kesselman for the dazzling Gran Duo Concertante by double bass virtuoso Giovanni Bottesini. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.
Dec 3–19 This hilarious Tony Award-winning musical with a score by Stephen Sondheim surrounds confirmed bachelor Robert on and around his 35 birthday. Through a series of dinner parties, drinks, weddings, and dates, Robert weighs the pros and cons of staying single with his zany group of closest friends. Including beloved songs like Being Alive, Another Hundred People and The Ladies Who Lunch, Company is a true gem of musical theater. You’ll find it hard not to relate to Bobby and his friends as they hold a magnifying glass to relationships and marriage, with tongues planted firmly in cheeks. ArtFACTORY, 1125 Providence.
THE SNOWY DAY
THE LITTLE MERMAID
Dec 7–24 Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved stories and the classic animated film, The Little Mermaid is a hauntingly beautiful love story. With music by eight-time Academy Award winner, Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater and a compelling book by Doug Wright, this Broadway gem will capture your heart with its irresistible songs, including Under the Sea, Kiss the Girl and Part of Your World. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby.
tuts.com THE SNOWY DAY
Dec 9–19 Adapted from the groundbreaking and award-winning children’s book by American writer, Ezra Jack Keats, The Snowy Day, explores the magic of a young boy, Peter, experiencing the sights and sounds of snow in his city for the first time. Enter the winter wonderland of composer Joel Thompson and librettist Andrea Davis Pinkney for a holiday performance that will warm your heart. Wortham Center, 501 Texas.
houstongrandopera.org HANDEL’S MESSIAH
Dec 10–12 The glorious holiday tradition of Handel’s Messiah returns! The Houston Symphony, chorus, and guest soloists fill Jones Hall with joyous refrains and exultant arias, including the iconic Hallelujah Chorus, in this moving and powerful presentation of the greatest story ever told. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.
houstonsymphony.org VERY MERRY POPS
Dec 18–19 Gather with loved ones in a warm and cozy winter wonderland for a sleigh-full of holly, jolly musical cheer! Broadway’s Rodney Ingram (The Phantom of the Opera) joins the Symphony and Chorus for heartwarming favorites and treasured carols. Complete with sparkling decorations and a visit from Santa, there’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit! Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana.
Houston Ballet Principles Karine Gonzales and Connor Walsh Photo by Amitava Sarkar
Photos by Morris Malakoff
datebook. PARK INFORMATION
MARKET SQUARE PARK Fall Calendar
DON’T MISS LABOR DAY BACKYARD BBQ PARTY Sep 6 It’s not Labor Day weekend without a good old-fashioned backyard barbecue. Join us for lawn games, live music, cold brews and delicious barbecue— from traditional to Korean and vegan, there will be plenty to choose from. Come with your A-game and compete in a watermelon-eating contest, where the winner will leave with a trophy and be dubbed Downtown champion. 4–7 pm. BLANKET BINGO
Sep 16, Oct 21 & Nov 18 Bring on the bingo! Grab your blanket, lawn chairs or take a seat at one of the tables at the park for a night of music and great prizes. $10 admission includes one bingo packet (nine games, cash only). Additional games and daubers can be purchased for $1 each. Packets are sold beginning at 6 pm and bingo starts at 7 pm. Proceeds benefit Market Square Park and Buffalo Bayou Partnership.
A NIGHT AT MARKET SQUARE
Oct 16 Meet us Downtown for a Tex-Orleans block party, where of course everything’s bigger—but with a Cajun twist. Boogie to live bands, march the streets with a second line and indulge in Cajun food trucks, mouthwatering beignets, and exclusive drink specials at surrounding bars. Top the night off with a twilight boat tour, hosted by Buffalo Bayou Partnership, or a spooky, late-night ghost tour through the Historic District. 6–10 pm; bars open until 2 am. DOOMSDAY WRESTLING
Oct 30 From headlocks, smack downs, and body slams, don’t miss what the Houston Press named The Best Comedy Show you’ve ever seen. Entertaining Houston since 2003, prepare for all-night laughter from these wacky, Halloween-themed wrestlers. In addition to the action, enjoy fun lawn games, drinks and music. Doors open at 7 pm and the main event begins at 8 pm. HEARTMADE HARVEST ART MARKET Nov 6 Shop ‘til you drop at this year’s Heartmade Harvest. Just in time for the holidays, this curated market features works and wares from more than 40 regional artists, crafters and creatives. Take a break at the mimosa bar and enjoy live music, and interactive activities. Celebrate Texas art all in one place. 10 am–5 pm. *note that the event has moved from Main Street Square to Market Square Park*
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. Most events are free unless otherwise noted. Metered on-street parking is available and free after 6 pm. 301 Milam. marketsquarepark.com
MOVIES MOVIES UNDER THE STARS Ditch the traditional theater and bring your blanket and lawn chairs Downtown! Join us at Market Square Park for these fantastic films under the stars:
Sep 10 Slumdog Millionaire (R) 2008, 123 min, 8 pm Sep 22 Silver Linings Playbook (R) 2012, 122 min, 8 pm Oct 8 Death Becomes Her (PG-13) 1992, 104 min, 7:30 pm Oct 20 Poltergeist (PG) 2015, 101 min, 7:30 pm Nov 5 Goodwill Hunting (R) 1997, 127 min, 7 pm Nov 17 The Greatest Showman (PG) 2017, 106 min, 7 pm
RECREATION SUNSET SWEAT SESH
Sep 14 & 28, Oct 12 & 26 Bring on the serotonin. Join instructor Beri Brown and work up a sweat (and not just because we’re outside) in this well-balanced workout designed to engage all your major muscle groups from your arms to your glutes. No prior experience is needed, and all ages and abilities are welcome. This hour-long class kicks off at 6:30 pm.
PHOENICIA’S KIDS’ FALL YUMMY! CLASSES Your child will be getting their fall foodie decorating ON baking some memorable treats to ring in the season. After each class, enjoy a kids’ lunch party, where kids will eat their creations. Family music performer, Uncle Jumbo, will perform after all the Oct, Nov and Dec classes. Classes are $60 per child. E mail YUMMY@phoeniciafoods.com to learn more.
Sep 11 Back to school celebration Oct 2, 16 & 30 Haunted mansion decorating classes Oct 9 & 23 Spooky cookie family decorating theme Nov 6 & 20, Dec 11 & 18 Holiday gingerbread house decorating extravaganza
FESTIVALS & SPECIAL EVENTS SOUND HEALING MEDIATION IN THE CISTERN Saturdays Find your center and practice meditation in the spacious and tranquil Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern. Offered in collaboration with Union is Creation and Youniversoul, this meditation series features the use of singing bowls and wind chimes to encourage mindfulness and connectivity. Guests should bring their own cushion or mat. $15. Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, 105 Sabine. buffalobayou.org
Nov 13 & 27, Dec 4 & 18 Holiday gingerbread family decorating HOME-SCHOOL DAY
Sep 14 Home-schooled students and their families are invited to join us for Home-School Day. Enjoy fun activities and discounted exhibit tickets. Preregistration required for attendance. Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby. downtownaquarium.com
Sep 15 & 24 We’re partnering with the Breathing Room for a series of 45-minute, early-morning yoga sessions with a spectacular view of Downtown. Yogis of all levels and ages are welcome. $10 donation. The Water Works, 105 Sabine. buffalobayou.org TURNTABLE TUESDAY
Sep 14, Oct 12 & Nov 9 Join DJs Gracie Chavez, Russel and Josh Zulu as they spin themed music on the bayou. Turntable Tuesday is hosted in collaboration with Time No Longer, the film and sound installation in the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, on view through Dec 12. Free. The Water Works, 105 Sabine. buffalobayou.org NATIONAL HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH
Sep 17–18 Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with the the Heritage Society at Sam Houston Park. Take a bus tour with Mister McKinney and explore Houston’s East End neighborhood or enjoy the Quinceañera Showcase with a special performance by Mixteco Ballet Folklorico. For more information and ticket prices, visit heritagesociety.org
BUFFALO BAYOU PARTNERSHIP 49TH ANNUAL REGATTA
Sep 4, Oct 9 & Nov 6 Join Buffalo Bayou Partnership for a monthly mindfulness lesson, meditation, and tea made from the local trees at Buffalo Bayou Park. Inspired by the Forest Bathing movements in South Korea and Japan, each month features a theme: Grounding with the Trees; Outside in Nature, Inside your Body; and Mindfulness of Sounds and Nature. $5. The Water Works, 105 Sabine. buffalobayou.org
BAYOU CITY ART FESTIVAL
Photo by Katya Horner
datebook. HOUSTON SPORTS WALK OF FAME UNVEILING CEREMONY Sep 21 GreenStreet and Houston Sports Authority welcome fans of Houston sports Downtown for a special ring ceremony and plaque unveiling of the 2021 Houston Sports Hall of Fame inductees. Spectators will have the opportunity to see history in the making as we honor Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Andre Johnson, Guy V. Lewis and Bill Yeoman. Free. The Lawn at GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin.
71ST ANNUAL H-E-B THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE
greenstreetdowntown.com WINES UNDER THE SEA
Sep 24 Join us for a one-of-a-kind sip and stroll in our aquarium exhibit and enjoy wines and spirits from around the world. Reservations required. Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby. downtownaquarium.com HOUSTON’S LITTLE-KNOWN PLACE IN FASHION HISTORY Sep 30 Houston Heritage Society Luncheon with Houston legend Robert T. Sakowitz. 11 am–1 pm. 1100 Bagby. heritagesociety.org
THING-A-MA-JINGLE ON MAIN STREET
NOCHE ARGENTINA Sep 30 Architect Fernando Brave takes you on an Argentine journey ranging from its geography to its history, diverse culture and rich architecture. Bites by Chef Sebastian Abraham (Patagonia Grill), wine eitzman (Serca Wines) and tango dancing by Mauro Marcone. $50. 6 pm. Architecture Center Houston, 902 Commerce. aiahouston.org BUFFALO BAYOU PARTNERSHIP 49TH ANNUAL REGATTA Oct 2 On your marks. Get set. Paddle! From canoe and kayak novices and professionals to families just looking for a fun adventure, the Buffalo Bayou Regatta is for everyone! In its 49th year, the race twists and turns for 15 miles finishing at Downtown’s historic Allen’s Landing. buffalobayou.org BAYOU CITY ART FESTIVAL DOWNTOWN
Oct 9–10 This fall, Bayou City Art Festival welcomes artists, art lovers and supporters back to an in-person festival with live music, food trucks and beverage stations along with a Budweiser entertainment stage and art installations. The two-day festival showcases the works of more than 300 of the finest artists and craftsmen in the world. New additions to the festival include a wine garden, beer garden, VIP experience and more. Online early bird tickets: $15 for adults; $5 for children 6–12; and children five and under are free. Adult tickets purchased after Sep 24, $18. 10 am–6 pm. Areas around City Hall, 901 Bagby.
bayoucityartfestival.com SLOTH DAY
Oct 20 Hang out with our animal ambassador, Rudy, the two-toed sloth! We will have animal encounters and fun activities all day. Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby. downtownaquarium.com HAUNTED HOUSTON HALLOWEEN Oct 30 Trick or treat at Sam Houston Park. Enjoy a spooky scavenger hunt with prizes, tour a historic home with a murder mystery and learn about unusual sightings shared by our docents and tour guides. Book signing of Ghosts of Houston's Market Square Park by Sandra Lord. Tickets $10 for children and $15 for adults. 1–4 pm. 1100 Bagby. heritagesociety.org
Sundays in Oct and Nov The concert series, made possible by the Kinder Foundation, celebrates the legacy and evolution of jazz in Houston. Each concert will be preceded by a free workshop where kids can learn about music and instruments in partnership with DaCamera and Young Audiences of Houston. Free. Oct concerts: Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney; Nov concerts: The Water Works, 105 Sabine. discoverygreen.com and buffalobayou.org HEARTMADE HARVEST ART MARKET Nov 6 Shop ‘til you drop at this year’s Heartmade Harvest. Just in time for the holidays, this curated market features works and wares from more than 40 regional artists, crafters and creatives. Take a break at the mimosa bar and enjoy live music, and interactive activities. Celebrate Texas art all in one place. 10 am–5 pm. Market Square Park, 301 Milam. *note that the event has moved from Main Street Square to Market Square Park*
heartmadehouston.com VETERANS DAY CELEBRATION AND PARADE
Nov 11 Houston pays tribute to our men and
women in the military at the annual Houston Salutes American Heroes Veterans Day Celebration and Parade. This civic celebration honors and celebrates the brave men, women and families who have fought and sacrificed for our liberty and freedom. Free. Downtown Houston, 500 block of Smith.
HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS 71ST ANNUAL H-E-B THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE Nov 25 Located in the heart of Downtown Houston, this event is one of the oldest Thanksgiving Day parades in the country. The parade will traverse over 20 city blocks and features elaborate floats, colorful marching bands, high–flying balloons and other uniquely Houston entries, entertaining paradegoers who line the streets of Downtown Houston on Thanksgiving morning. 10 am.
houstontx.gov/thanksgivingparade THING-A-MA-JINGLE ON MAIN STREET
Nov 26 We’ve shut down Main Street for this new holiday tradition, which promises a night of galivanting through Downtown Houston’s Historic District. The giant block party will feature vendors, carol-oke, photo ops with hipster Santa, lighting projections and much more. Eventgoers can enjoy food and drink specials and live music at area bars and restaurants. Recommended for ages 21+. Free. 7 pm–midnight. Main between Commerce and Rusk. downtownhouston.com RELIANT LIGHTS MAYOR’S HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR Dec 4 This spectacular event is a holiday tradition of music, Santa, fireworks and family fun. A towering holiday tree, glowing with energy-efficient LED lights, shimmering ornaments and a stunning star topper will light up the streets of Downtown Houston this holiday season. Free. 6–8 pm. Hermann Square at City Hall, 900 Bagby. houstontx.gov/mayorsholiday
CONCERTS BAYOU MUSIC CENTER The Street Love Fest featuring Yo Gotti Primus – A Tribute to Kings Kevin Gates – Khaza Tour Good Vibes Summer Tour 2021: Rebelution + Special Guests Sep 19 Sylvan Esso Sep 21 In This Moment & Black Veil Brides with Guests Ded & Raven Black Sep 23 Zoé – Sonidos de Karmática Resonancia Tour 2021 Sep 25 Ultimate Rap League: Summer Madness 1 Oct 2 Brian Regan Oct 6 Flogging Molly & Violent Femmes Oct 8 Surfaces: Good 2 Be Back Tour Oct 9 Mau y Ricky + Piso 21 – Panas & Parceros Oct 22 Mon Laferte – US Tour 2021 Nov 4 Tauren Wells: Citizens of Heaven Tour Nov 5 Porter Robinson with Jai Wolf Nurture Live North America Tour Nov 6 Trey Kennedy: The Are You For Real? Tour Nov 16 Café Tacvba – USA Tour 2021 Nov 19 Chris Lane – Fill Them Boots Tour Nov 26 A Conversation with Bruce Campbell following a screening of Evil Dead Nov 27 The Fab Four
Sep 4 Sep 7 Sep 9 Sep 11
Bayou Music Center’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. Bayou Music Center, 520 Texas.
BUFFALO BAYOU EAST WELLNESS WALK
bayoumusiccenter.com HOUSE OF BLUES
Sep 4 Beartooth The Below Tour Sep 6 Omah Lay Sep 8 Anberlin Sep 9 City And Colour Sep 10 Umphrey’s Mcgee Sep 10 Doom Flamingo Sep 11 Ronny Chieng The Hope You Get Rich Tour Sep 11 Breland Sep 15 Ones to Watch Presents The Dead South
Served Cold Tour Sep 16 Tinashe 333 Tour Sep 17 El Tri Sep 18 Jake Miller Sep 27 BLXST Sep 28 Avatar Going Hunting Tour Sep 30 The Hu The Hun Tour North America 2021 Oct 1 AJ Mitchell Oct 1 Princess Nokia Bloom Tour Oct 2 Noga Erez Kids Tour Oct 3 August Burns Red Presents Leveler 10 Year Anniversary Tour Oct 5 Gracie Abrams I’ve Missed You, I’m Sorry Oct 5 Bleachers Oct 6 Band of Horses Oct 7 Torres Oct 8 Rival Sons with Dorothy Oct 9 Madeon Good Faith Forever Oct 11 ILE Oct 12 Delta Rae The Light & Dark Tour Oct 12, 13 Juanes Origen Tour 2021 Oct 14 Kany Garcia USA Tour 2021 Oct 15 Kidd G Oct 15 Alec Benjamin Oct 16 Matt Kearney
Oct 17 Bailey Bryan Oct 19 Base Atlantic Beauty in Death
Nov 27 A Night Out on Earth Tour feat. Waterparks Nov 28 Postmodern Jukebox Grand Reopening Tour
North America Tour
Oct 21 Mt. Joy Fall Tour 2021 Oct 22 Ruston Kelly The Shape & Destroy Tour Oct 22 Stephen Lynch: The Time Machine Tour Oct 23 Riz La Vie Oct 24 $not World Tour Oct 26 Isaiah Rashad: Lil Sunny’s Awesome Vacation Oct 28 Damien Escobar Oct 29 JJ Grey & Mofro Oct 30 Jack Harlow Creme de la Creme Tour
HOB’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. House of Blues, GreenStreet, 1204 Caroline. 888.402.5837.
hob.com/houston TOYOTA CENTER
Sep 3 Harry Styles Sep 17 Eric Clapton with Jimmie Vaughan Sep 26 Florida Georgia Line with Russell Dickerson,
Nov 1 Nov 2 Nov 3 Nov 4 Nov 5 Nov 6
presented by Rolling Loud and LN Angels & Airwaves Tai Verdes Mayer Hawthorne Rare Changes Tour Jeremy Zucker Presents More Noise!!! Toadies and Reverend Horton Heat Geoff Tate Empire 30th Anniversary Tour Empire and Rage for Order Nov 7 Madison Beer The Life Support Tour Nov 8 Lukas Nelson and Promise of The Real Nov 9 Starset 2021 Nov 9 AK Nov 10 An Evening with Goose Nov 11 Boney James Solid Tour Nov 11 Alexander 23 Nov 12 Banners 2021 Fall Tour Nov 13 Alina Baraz – Alone With You Tour Nov 13 Nombe The Chromatopia Tour Nov 16 Clever Call Me Nobody Tour Nov 19 Paul Cauthen Nov 21 Coin: Rainbow Dreamland Tour Nov 26 Andrew McMahon Tour: The Three Pianos Tour
Lauren Alaina and Redferrin
Oct 8 Gold Over America Tour starring Simone Biles Oct 9 Feed The Streetz Tour featuring Rick Ross, Jeezy, Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz, Fabolous, Lil Kim, Boosie Badazz and DJ Drama Oct 10 J. Cole with 21 Savage And Morray Oct 15 Kane Brown Oct 17 James Taylor with Jackson Browne Oct 21 Andrea Bocelli Oct 23 Luke Combs Oct 25 WWE RAW Oct 31 Elevation Worship and Steven Furtick Nov 4 Lauren Daigle Nov 5 Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin Nov 6 Trevor Noah Nov 7 Alabama Nov 13 Lit AF Tour hosted by Martin Lawrence Toyota Center’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.4HOUTIX.
EXPOS Sep 11–12 Sep 25–26 Oct 3 Oct 28–31 Nov 25–28
Dino Stroll The Ultimate Women’s Expo Texas Bridal & Wedding Expo International Quilt Festival 61ST Annual Autorama
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.
ADVENTURES & TOURS ART ON WHEELS Sep 18 View Buffalo Bayou Park’s public art on this exciting bike ride led by Andrew Groocock. No bike? No problem—rent one from Bike Barn. $10. The Water Works, 105 Sabine. buffalobayou.org NATURE WALK
Sep 18, Oct 16 & Nov 20 Take a discovery tour of Buffalo Bayou’s ecosystem with Nancy Greig, former director of the Cockrell Butterfly Center at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Learn about the bayou’s native plants and the insects that pollinate them. $5. The Water Works, 105 Sabine.
buffalobayou.org TOWERS & TREES DOWNTOWN WALKING TOUR Oct 16 Come explore the magnificent architecture between Hermann Square and Discovery Green as well as the changing dynamics of Downtown. We'll look at the partially realized civic center plan surrounding Hermann Square, the historic backbone of Main Street, the ambitious 1970 proposal that would become Houston Center and the internationally recognized icons from the skyscraper boom of the 70s and 80s. $15. 9 am. aiahouston.org
DISCOVER HOUSTON TOURS Choose from ghost tours, tunnel walks, rail tours, architectural tours and more. Ticket prices vary.
discoverhoustontours.com BUFFALO BAYOU EAST WELLNESS WALK Each week, join Buffalo Bayou Partnership on a free Wellness Walk along Buffalo Bayou East led by Laura Conely, founder of Urban Paths Wellness Coaching. Discover the historic East End neighborhood and learn more about the Buffalo Bayou East Master Plan. We will be stopping at sites that will be transformed into parks and unique destinations. Free. The Water Works, 105 Sabine. buffalobayou.org BUFFALO BAYOU HISTORY TOURS Look back at Houston’s history while cruising Buffalo Bayou with a local historian. Your guide will share stories of the Allen brothers and provide historical information about the people, places and events along the bayou that helped shape Houston. $40. Allen’s Landing, 1001 Commerce. buffalobayou.org PORT TO PORT BOAT TOURS Cruise approximately seven miles from the old Port of Houston to the new Port of Houston with a knowledgeable guide. This historical tour of the upper channel of Buffalo Bayou focuses on the historic significance of the industrial stretch of Houston from Allen’s Landing to the Port of Houston Turning Basin. $45. Allen’s Landing, 1001 Commerce.
SONGS ON THE WATER Saturday evenings in Oct, tour Buffalo Bayou via pontoon boat while being serenaded by the melodic voices of Houston Grand Opera. Allen’s Landing, 1001 Commerce. buffalobayou.org SAINT ARNOLD BREWING COMPANY TOUR Come visit Texas’ oldest craft brewery. Every Saturday, the doors open at 11 am and groups rotate in and out of the facility in an open-house format until 2 pm. If Saturdays don’t work for you, check out their weekday open house at 3 pm. After the tour, guests are welcome to stay for a free tasting. Tickets $10, no reservations required. All minors under the age of 21 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. 2000 Lyons at I-10. saintarnold.com SEGWAY TOURS OF HOUSTON Like the rest of Texas, Downtown Houston is a pretty big place to walk around. There are a lot of things to see up close and from a distance. Experience the Bayou City, once the capital city of a sovereign country, from a talking perspective within a few hours while you have effortless fun on a Segway. $75–$80. Meet at Wortham Center, 501 Texas. Daily: 10 am, noon, 2 pm, 4 pm and 6 pm. 866.673.4929.
WINE TASTING BOAT TOUR WITH NICE WINERY Oct 26 & 27 Taste from a curated selection of wines and cheeses while taking in exceptional views of Buffalo Bayou’s lush landscape from our pontoon boat. Nice Winery’s Ryan Levy, a winemaker, certified sommelier, wine educator and Le Cordon Bleutrained chef, will lead guests through a discussion of his award-winning wines. $70. Allen’s Landing, 1001 Commerce. buffalobayou.org BEST BITES TOURS Premier walking food tours that explore Houston’s diversity and culture one bite at a time. Working exclusively with local restaurants, bars and specialty shops to give you a taste of Houston’s diverse food offerings and hand-crafted cocktails. Be sure to try out one of their two signature Downtown walking tours or create a custom tour for your group’s special occasion. Dates and times vary.
TOUCH OF HISTORY TOUR Experience the best of Houston baseball with this hands-on tour of baseball history dating back to the Texas League Houston Buffs. In addition to the onehour classic tour, fans will spend an additional hour seeing and touching exclusive Astros memorabilia from over the years. Tickets $75. astros.com GHOST TOUR If you don’t know of the haunted history of historic Union Station and the site of Minute Maid Park, here is your chance. Hear the ghost stories of the onceknown neighborhood of Quality Hill during this onehour eerie nighttime tour. Tickets $25. astros.com AFRICAN–AMERICAN HISTORY TOURS Discover the stories of important African-American baseball moments like Jackie Robinson’s early days, Satchel Paige’s later one and the founding of National League by a Texan. Slide into history with an hour–long tour that gives a unique perspective and unexpected look into our past. Tickets $25.
astros.com CLUBHOUSE TOURS In this 30–45-minute tour, get an inside look of the Houston Astros clubhouse. Fans will explore Astros sites like the Astros locker room, batting cages, dugout, gym, player lounge, press conference room and more. Tickets $50. astros.com
ALL-STAR TOUR Spend two hours being the all-star you are! Fans will visit the upper deck, Gallagher Club, Bank of America Suite level, Honda Club level, press box, and Houston Methodist Hall of Fame alley. During this tour you will also check out the visitor's clubhouse and batting cage, the Astros dugout, take a lap around the warning track, and conclude their tour by getting an inside look at the manual scoreboard. Tickets $25. astros.com ULTIMATE FAN TOUR For Astros super fans, this is for you! During this twohour tour, check out the Lexus Field Club, Michelob Ultra Club, the Union Station roof deck, and on non-game days visit the Diamond Club and Astros dugout. Also on nongame days, visit the Diamond Club and Astros Club for a tour to remember! Tickets $25. astros.com A MINUTE IN MINUTE MAID Do you have your heart set on exploring the ballpark, but your plans only call for a few minutes? This tour takes fans on a fun and quick walk to the Lexus Field Club in center field and back along the warning track from the ivy-covered batter’s eye past the manual scoreboard in left field. Tickets $10. astros.com PREGAME TOURS Put your swing to the test during this pregame tour. Fans will get a firsthand look at the upper deck, Bank of America Suite level, brand new Gallagher Club, and Honda Club level before heading to Houston Methodist Hall of Fame alley for an exclusive opportunity to view Astros fielding and batting practice. Tickets $35. astros.com
SPORTS HOUSTON DYNAMO
Sep 3 Dynamo vs Portland Timbers Sep 11 Dynamo vs Austin FC Sep 18 Dynamo vs FC Dallas Sep 29 Dynamo vs Vancouver Whitecaps Oct 16 Dynamo vs Seattle Sounders FC Oct 20 Dynamo vs LAFC Oct 31 Dynamo vs Colorado Rapids For schedule info and tickets, call or visit website. BBVA Compass Stadium, 2200 Texas. 713.276.GOAL.
houstondynamo.com HOUSTON DASH
Sep 1 Dash vs OL Reign Sep 10 Dash vs Chicago Red Stars Oct 9 Dash vs North Carolina Courage Oct 17 Dash vs Thorns FC For schedule info and tickets, call or visit website. BBVA Compass Stadium, 2200 Texas. 713.276.GOAL.
houstondashsoccer.com HOUSTON ASTROS
Sep 6–8 Astros vs Mariners Sep 10–12 Astros vs Angels Sep 17–19 Astros vs Diamondbacks Sep 28–30 Astros vs Rays Oct 1–3 Astros vs Athletics Kick off your weekends at Minute Maid Park! Every Friday night home game is followed by the best fireworks show in town.
For tours, schedule info and tickets, call or visit website. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. 877.927.8767. astros.com
datebook. UHD THURSDAY NIGHT CONCERT
The events listed are confirmed at the time of printing. For a full listing of Discovery Green’s fall 2021 events, please visit the calendar at discoverygreen.com Blankets, lawn chairs and picnics are welcome; food, beer and wine are available for purchase at the Lake House. No glass containers or outside alcoholic beverages permitted. Most events are free, unless noted otherwise. 1500 McKinney.
DISCOVERY GREEN Fall Calendar SCREEN ON THE GREEN Sep 24 Hocus Pocus, 95 min, 8 pm Oct 16 Soul 2020, 100 min, 8 pm
MOSAIC OF LIGHT
EARTH DAY MURALS AT DISCOVERY GREEN
Through Oct 31
13 Houston artists created murals celebrating the richness and diversity of Houston, our community, culture, and the natural environment. The designs help envision the city we want to see and inspire us to create that shared future together. UHD THURSDAY NIGHT CONCERT: MORENA ROAS AND LAS FENIX
Las Fenix is in the park! The five Houston sisters are bringing their signature high-energy norteño and cumbia performance live and in-person. Houstonbased singer and rapper Morena Roas opens with her Discovery Green debut. 7:30 pm FLEA BY NIGHT AT DISCOVERY GREEN
Sep 18, Oct 18
Flea by Night is an open-air market featuring Houston artisans and small business owners selling vintage, handmade, recycled, repurposed and local goods with entertainment and food trucks. 6–10 pm
JAZZY SUNDAYS IN THE PARKS: RAQUEL CEPEDA A music workshop for kids at 3 pm followed by a concert at 4 pm. Made possible by support from The Kinder Foundation and programmed by DaCamera.
Oct 3 Raquel Cepeda, 4 pm Oct 10 Jose-Miguel Yamal & Phase I Oct 17 Vanguard Collection Oct 24 Corey Henry and the Treme Funktet Oct 31 Da Camera Young Artists JAZZY SERIES SPECTACULAR WITH MAVIS STAPLES AT DISCOVERY GREEN
Acclaimed American gospel and R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples headlines with an opening performance by rising star and Kinder HSPVA graduate, Marcos Varela. Made possible by support from The Kinder Foundation. 6:30 pm MEET THE EARTH DAY MURAL ARTISTS
Mix and mingle with the artists behind the popular eARTh Day Murals with music by Demola with seasonal cocktails available for purchase. Registration required. 7–9 pm SCREAM ON THE GREEN
Get your costume together now! Registration required for costume contest. Halloween showing of BeetleJuice (PG), 93 minutes. 6–10 pm
HEALTHY LIVING CORE–FOCUSED YOGA Tuesdays, Sep 7–Nov 9 6:30–7:30 pm WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS
Wednesdays, Sep 1–Nov 10 Noon–1 pm HIIT WITH FITMIX COMMUNITIES Wednesdays, Sep 1–Nov 10 6:30–7:30 pm FLOW ARTS
Thursdays, Sep 16 & Oct 21 6–7 pm HATHA YOGA
Saturdays, Sep 4–Nov 6 9–10 am TAI CHI
Fridays, Sep 4–Nov 6 10:15–11:15 am
DON'T MISS GREEN MOUNTAIN ENERGY ICE AT DISCOVERY GREEN Nov 12–Jan 30 Experience the magic of ice skating under twinkling lights of downtown Houston. Special events, concerts and more planned all season long. $15+ tax. Tickets must be purchased online in advance. MOSAIC OF LIGHT AT DISCOVERY GREEN
Nov 12–Feb 27 Mosaic of Light, the next largescale art installation at Discovery Green, combines light and shadows to create geometric forms and patterns. Designed by HYBYCOZO, studio artists Serge Beaulieu and Yelena Filipchuk, the exhibit at Discovery Green includes two site-specific pieces inspired by Houston.
DESTINATION DOWNTOWN 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 a nd 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.
Scan to find your favorite Downtown Houston spots!
Horn sections / Halloumi / Hot dogs / Howdy y’all / Hometown heroes Habanero pineapple margs / High ﬁves / Hot yoga / Hors d’oeuvres / Hurrying to a meeting / Hotel mini bars / Historic Market Square / Home Hoppy beers at local breweries / Healthy living / HSPVA / Hot food on coo Hoowee / Haunted bars / High spirits / Health clubs / Hospitality / Hip hop MEETSheroes HIST/ OR Y MEE/TSHalal HAhot PPchicken Y HOUR Honky tonk / Hometown Headliners / Home o MEE/TSHand-crafted HAPPILYmurals he ‘Stros / Hell yeah EVER/ Historic AFTER.venues / Harmony Helpful humans / Homegrown musicians / Happy holidays / Hopping on the Metro / Harissa empanadas / Horchata / Hand-holding on long walks / Heritage Society / Hoppy beers at local breweries / Hot,fresh kolaches / Hands-on museum exhibits / Halloumi / Hot dogs / Horn sections / Howdy y’alls / Habanero pineapple margs / Hot yoga / Hors d’oeuvres / High ﬁves / Hurrying to a meeting / Hotel mini bars / Historic Market Square / Home / Hickory smoked bbq / Healthy living / HSPVA / Hot food on cool patios / Headliners / Halal hot chicken / Home of the ‘Stros / Harmony / HSPVA Hand-crafted cocktails / Historic venues / Horchata / Heart of Houston Homegrown musicians / Happy holidays / Hopping on the Metro / Harissa empanadas / Horchata / Hand-holding long walks / Heritage Society / There are endless wayson to describe the vibrant possibilities in Downtown. Hoppy beers at local breweries / Hot, fresh kolaches It’s the melting pot that keeps our neighborhood/ Hands-on museum moving in harmony. No matter why you're joining come enjoy a little bit of everything. e x h usSeehere, i b i t s more at downtownhouston.org.
. . . E L T S U H S T E E M WHERE HEART
/visitdowntownhouston @downtownhouston @downtownhouston Text “HEART” to (888) 384-6810 to sign up for our texts.
DOW NTOW N MEANS
BUSINESS Welcome Back Y ’all!
Kelly D. Pachar
Downtown Office 214 Travis Street, Houston, TX 77002 713.227.5406 | GaryGreene.com
©2021 Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. Better Homes and Gardens® is a registered trademark of Meredith Corporation licensed to Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Each Franchise is Independently Owned and Operated.