DOWNTOWN HITS ITS STRIDE
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Everything you need. Right in your neighborhood. Taking care of you and your family is what we do best. For primary care, 24-hour ER, physical therapy, 24-hour advanced imaging and lab services, you can visit the Memorial Hermann Convenient Care Center that’s closest to you. It’s convenience without compromise – all from one of Houston’s most trusted health systems.
To schedule an appointment or check in online, visit memorialhermann.org/ccc or call 713.222.CARE.
1431 Studemont Street Houston, TX 77007 I-10 at Studemont
SUMMER 2018 VOL. 10, 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 Nicole Marin Lauren McDowell Stefanie Pascacio Ryann Roussel
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:
08 FETCH Worried your pooch won't be comfortable Downtown? Never fear! From multiple parks to pet-friendly restaurants and hotels, Downtown may be one of the most canine-welcoming neighborhoods in the city. BY STEFANIE PASCACIO AND NICOLE MARIN
10 GROCERIES TO GO
Grit Grocery is changing the way we shop with Houston’s first mobile grocery truck. Fresh produce, locally sourced meat and seafood, and easy-to-prepare meal bundles make it easier than ever to live Downtown. BY LAUREN MCDOWELL
15 A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING Urban development can be complicated, but when you involve stakeholders, give residents and business owners a real voice in the process and honor the culture and history of a community, you're on the road to placemaking—the multi-faceted approach to planning, designing and managing a city’s public spaces. Downtown has been committed to this process for decades and it shows in successes like Market Square Park and Discovery Green.
Houston Ballet's Chance to Dance gives young students the opportunity to experience the basics of dance with a free, eight-week program. And meet Houston Symphony's new CEO John Mangum, who brings two decades of experience to the world-class organization.
DESTINATION DOWNTOWN MAP
24 WORK IT With support from:
BY RYANN ROUSSEL
BY AMBER AMBROSE
Meet some of the tenants in one of the most desirable new business addresses Downtown. WeWork, which has opened in the Great Jones Building at 708 Main, is redefining what office space means by offering tailor-made environments for companies ranging from one person to more than 1,000. BY HOLLY BERETTO
Hello summer! Pride parades, classic show tunes and the city’s annual July 4th party along Buffalo Bayou will keep Downtown buzzing the next few months. Not sure where to start the fun? We’ve got plenty of info on every show, concert, tour, festival, special event and more.
Learn how Houston’s iconic Treebeards has successfully weathered Downtown’s ups and downs for more than 40 years. Whether you’re making plans for a special dinner, family brunch or quick working lunch, our extensive listing of Downtown’s eateries always comes in super handy.
Arrived For years we’ve talked about the evolution of Downtown from strictly a hub for business into something more. Frankly, we don’t need to talk about that evolution anymore. Because Downtown’s long-awaited shift into a truly livable neighborhood has happened. And it’s permanent. All the “sticky stuff” that you need for a vibrant city center is finally available—groceries, check; green space, check; residential options, check; entertainment, check. And while all that’s in place, there’s still never been a better time to work Downtown. Unique workspace options abound for a new generation of Houston innovators. To put it simply—it’s good to be DOWNTOWN'S Downtown right now. LONG-AWAITED SHIFT We wanted you to have a sense of how we got here. Learn about the multi-faceted INTO A TRULY LIVABLE and community-centric philosophy NEIGHBORHOOD that informs our urban development— HAS HAPPENED. placemaking—starting on page 15. For those who are interested in how office space has changed, check out our feature on WeWork starting on page 24. WeWork has re-imagined cubicles and dreary offices with bright, creative spaces that encourage collaboration and enthusiasm. For a sense of just how resident-friendly Downtown has become, read our feature on the many Fido-friendly spots throughout the area, including hotels, restaurants and parks. If you haven’t had a chance to visit some of the newest spots to eat, now is the time. Plate, our rundown of restaurants, starts on page 46 and includes a fascinating feature on Treebeards—one of this city’s most beloved Downtown eateries. As always, you’ll find our extensive calendar of events and activities in datebook on page 34. Of course, be sure to visit us online at downtownhouston.org, where we always keep you up to date on the latest when it comes to our city’s center. And let us know what you think about downtown. We’re more than happy to take your comments and suggestions.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DOWNTOWN DISTRICT
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING DOWNTOWN DISTRICT
ON THE COVER Market Square Park's Puppies for Breakfast proved fun for families and their furbabies alike. photo by Morris Malakoff
BY RYANN ROUSSEL
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
HOUSTON SYMPHONY New CEO John Mangum is settling in nicely at Jones Hall and looking forward to the Symphonyâ€™s new season.
photo by Katya Horner
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT: PROFILE photo by Susanne Diesner
Meet Houston Symphony’s New CEO:
THIS ARTS VETERAN IS LOOKING FORWARD TO SETTLING INTO HIS NEW HOME AND GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS
After a long process of national searching, committee meetings, interviews and a small inconvenience named Harvey, Houston Symphony has finally found its new CEO. John Mangum comes to Houston with almost two decades experience in the classical music world—most recently as president and artistic director of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. You come to Houston Symphony with a background as an artistic director. How will that influence what you bring to the organization? I think it’s important to always think about the audience experience and what the orchestra is doing to engage its audience. For me, that’s an artistic question. The first Houston Symphony concert I attended with Andrés Orozco-Estrada conducting was part of the search process and it opened with a piece by Charles Ives. Ives can be a little bit dense, and sometimes it’s hard for an audience to get into the music. Andrés did such a brilliant job of having the audience find a way into this tricky music. The performance was superlative, but the audience was deeply engaged in a piece many times people just endure! That for me was a real artistic success. I saw instantly the organization was in great artistic health. You can really build on that. Houston Symphony is working to become “the most relevant and accessible top 10 orchestra” in America by 2025. What does this mean to you and how are you planning to help the Symphony achieve this vision? It’s a combination of artistic excellence and being thoughtful about the programming. I think continuing to do projects that push the boundaries of classical music will keep Houston Symphony at the cutting edge of what an orchestra can do that is meaningful and has real impact for its audiences. I think it’s important for the Symphony to be reflective of its community in its programming. A question we constantly have to ask ourselves is: how are we reflective of this great, vibrant, diverse city of Houston in what we put on the stage?
You recently joined the orchestra on their European tour. What was that like and had you met any staff or orchestra members before joining them on tour? This was the first chance I’d gotten to spend a major amount of time with the musicians, some of the patrons who helped support the tour, and of course Andrés was there as well. My favorite part of the tour was Vienna. It’s the beating heart of classical music. Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, and many great musicians made their careers in Vienna. To go there as an orchestra and to perform, the stakes are high. Our orchestra played at the absolute highest level and they were received with an overwhelming ovation from the audience in Vienna. And this is an audience that hears the greatest orchestras in the world week in and week out! The Houston Symphony was second to none that night. Moving from California to Houston must be quite an adjustment. What was it about this city and organization that guided your decision to make the big move? There’s always some adjustment. One of the things I really like about Houston as a first impression is the people seem really friendly and welcoming. It seems like a place that will be fairly easy to adjust to. Houston has its own unique identity—I can feel that already. We’re really looking forward to immersing ourselves in everything the city has to offer. The Houston Symphony board was conducting the nationwide search to fill the CEO position when Hurricane Harvey flooded Jones Hall and the Theater District. What was your reaction to seeing how the organization responded to the natural disaster? Did it make you apprehensive about the challenges you might face should you get the job? I had my first conversation with the search committee in November, but I had tracked closely what the orchestra did in the aftermath of Harvey: moving its concerts over to Rice University in Stude Hall at no charge, the musicians taking it on their own initiative to go out into the community and play for people who were affected by the hurricane, and so much more. All of that was so impressive and such a wonderful response to terrible adversity. It sent the absolute right message. It was genuine—they were doing it because it was the right thing to do. It strengthened the impression I had that this was a great organization. Do you have any hidden talents? Well, I have a 10-year-old boy who likes to play video games— specifically Mario Kart. So for a middle-aged dad I’m pretty good. I give him some competition.
What are you most excited to accomplish at Houston Symphony?
What’s the last thing you watched on TV?
I think I’m just excited to be in the office and get down to work. And of course I’m really excited to have the chance to work with Andrés and the musicians.
I just watched both seasons of Stranger Things and really liked it! As a child of the 1980s it really spoke to a cultural sensibility formed by Steven Spielberg and horror movies and that sort of thing.
B AC K S TAG E
photo by Amitava Sarkar
From introducing the basics of ballet to preparing students for an elite career on the world’s most prestigious stages, Houston Ballet Academy offers young dancers the opportunity to learn from renowned performers, choreographers and artistic directors. And luckily for Houstonians, this institution firmly believes that everyone should have access to their high-quality programs. Michael Amoky was a first grader at Morales Elementary when he took his first ballet lesson. He came to Houston Ballet through one of their community outreach programs: Chance to Dance. After Michael completed the free, eight-week program through his school, Houston Ballet offered him a scholarship to join their Academy and continue his lessons. Though he’d only been dancing for a few weeks at that point, he knew he wanted more. As his time spent
practicing increased, so did his love of the art form. Sometime during his first year of lessons in the Academy, he was absolutely hooked. “There was this switch that flipped and he took it to this new level,” recalls Jennifer Sommers, director of education and community engagement at Houston Ballet and one of Michael’s instructors his first year at the Academy. “All of a sudden he went from being a good student to knowing this is what he wanted to do.” Michael remembers the moment as well: “We were on stage practicing for the spring performance, and I knew that’s where I wanted to be.” Every year, Houston Ballet provides nine sessions of Chance to Dance. The aim of the initiative is all in the name: that every child should be able to experience the best Houston Ballet has to offer. Schools all across Houston are selected for participation, but priority is given to those where at least 70 percent of the students are considered economically disadvantaged by the Texas Education Agency. Chance to Dance is completely free of charge, and Houston Ballet provides transportation from the schools to the Houston Ballet Center for Dance Downtown.
B AC K S TAG E
The initiative is offered specifically to 6 and 7 year olds. In addition to providing ballet lessons, Academy staff are looking for students with a flair for dance who might join their school. During the last weeks of each Chance to Dance series, staff from Houston Ballet Academy evaluate students and select those with the most potential to receive a yearlong scholarship to their school. “It’s really a scholarship in perpetuity,” clarifies Sommers. “As long as you’re working hard and doing your best you get to be here.” Currently there are 52 students in the Academy who entered through Chance to Dance. Last year alone the Ballet offered 35 scholarships. L E A D I N G T H E PA C K Since joining the Academy seven years ago Michael has been working hard and improving quickly. He trains at Houston Ballet Center for Dance five days a week in addition to his fulltime schedule as a middle school student. Last summer Michael became the first Academy student who entered from the Chance to Dance program to participate in Houston Ballet’s competitive summer intensive. The intensive offers select students from around the world an opportunity to train at one of the top summer dance programs. More than 1,000 students audition for the chance to join the rigorous program that brings them that much closer to their dreams of becoming professional dancers. Houston Ballet in particular has a reputation as one of the most demanding summer programs in the country. During the intensive, Michael was able to hone his technique and bring his practice to a higher level. But his greatest takeaway was mental, rather than physical. “I really learned how to focus. You couldn’t slack off in class— not that I do that! But the teachers were much harder,” he explains. Another skill he was able to try out for the first time was partnering—lifting and turning his female classmates. The experience wasn’t as daunting as the 12 year old might have expected: “I enjoyed it. It wasn’t hard because the girls are there to work, just like I am. They’re not there to pick on you.” REACHING OUT Chance to Dance is one of many educational programs Houston Ballet offers across the city. Last year the company saw more than 60,000 students and worked at more than 320 schools. “We want everyone in Houston to be able to experience the best Houston Ballet has to offer, so we’re always looking to create points of entry,” says Jennifer Sommers. In her view, her department is the bridge that connects the community to Houston Ballet.
photo by Amitava Sarkar
B AC K S TAG E
photo by Lawrence Knox
“Both our Executive Director Jim Nelson and Artistic Director Stanton Welch are committed to keeping this programming free and for kids who may not otherwise have access to these types of programs,” says Sommers. Even if the kids are in schools that have arts programs, they look for students that might not have the resources or opportunities to attend afterschool dance classes. What the teaching artists do in education and community engagement at Houston Ballet goes beyond mere technique or dance instruction. In response to a society where art education is deemed more an elective than an essential education component, Sommers points to academic research that proves involvement in the arts increases student performance and engagement, as well as social and emotional development. “I’ve seen it work firsthand. When you look at the CASEL 5, the five categories of social emotional competency, dance covers every single one,” she says. The five categories
are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. Development in these areas is believed to increase a student’s ability to excel in daily tasks and academic challenges. “Cognitive development and motor development are linked—that’s just fact,” Sommers states. Michael Amoky can testify to the benefits of dance beyond the ballet studio. “Ballet helps with my ADHD. When I’m in class I fidget when they explain the combinations and it’s hard to stay focused. Ballet, and movement, definitely helps,” he says. For Jen Sommers it’s full circle. She just received a testimonial letter from a parent in a recent Chance to Dance program proclaiming how much their child loved the lessons. The excitement at the prospect of getting to dance made the student that much more excited to go to school that day. As many schools cut back on physicality, and students are encouraged to sit still and keep quiet, is it any wonder that permission to move engages and excites them? By teaching dance Houston Ballet is helping students explore their creativity, develop their social skills, and encouraging kids to just have fun. “There’s such a connection and love in those classes. That’s why we do this,” explains Sommers. But more than that, she says, movement is life: “Dance is life. Period. That’s our philosophy.”
DOWNTOWN by Stefanie Pascacio & Nicole Marin
#DTHTXDogs Worry no more about leaving your pooch behind when heading Downtown. There are plenty of dog-friendly places that make it easy to bring them along for an adventure in the city’s growing urban landscape!
Next time you’re thinking about booking a Downtown staycation, consider bringing your pooch along! Upon arrival at the JW Marriott, your canine companion will be greeted by Sir Griffin, the hotel’s official Pet Director, who will happily share all of his favorite Downtown hangouts.
Life can be ruff for dogs. Throw yours a bone by booking four-paw accommodations at the Four Seasons Hotel. After a good night’s sleep, walk a few blocks over to Discovery Green and fit in a nice big stretch or a quick game of fetch before heading out for a doggone-good dinner.
BARNABY’S CAFÉ | 800 CONGRESS Inspired by a big sheepdog and the owner’s favorite childhood pal, Barnaby’s is a canine-friendly concept located in Historic Market Square. The restaurant is known for its hearty portions—so on the way out be sure to ask for a doggie bag for your leftovers and a tasty treat for your friend on a leash. LOCAL FOODS | 420 MAIN Grab a seat on Local Foods’ vibrant patio and dine alongside your favorite pooch. While you’re taking in the fresh air and munching on favorites like the crispy chicken sandwich, salmon poke salad or the chicken posole, your pup will be in heaven greeting all the passers-by! THE MOONSHINERS SOUTHERN TABLE + BAR | 1000 PRAIRIE There’s no shortage of southern hospitality at The Moonshiners Southern Table + Bar and that extends to all pups! Indulge in comfort dishes like the grilled cheese brisket sandwich or popular chicken and waffles while enjoying the company of your canine on their shady patio. NIKO NIKO’S | 301 MILAM Take a break from playtime and enjoy some of the city’s best Greek cuisine in the middle of Market Square Park. Surprise your “good dog” with a complimentary treat while waiting in line. THE LAKEHOUSE | 1500 MCKINNEY After your game of fetch, enjoy a bite to eat with a side of waterside views at The Lakehouse located inside Discovery Green park.
We love all four-legged friends! If you're venturing through Downtown with your furry pal, share your experience with us by using the hashtag #DTHTXDogs. For more information on these dog-friendly places and others, visit www.downtownhouston.org.
MARKET SQUARE PARK At the top of every dog parent’s list should be Market Square Park, the vibrant green space nestled in the Historic District, which boasts two paw-some dog runs—one for small pooches and another for the bigger fellas. Dogs of all sizes are welcome to roam freely, play fetch, and splash around by the accessible canine drinking fountains. The park hosts various events throughout the year including movies, concerts and Blanket Bingo—all of which your four-legged friend is welcome to attend. Especially noteworthy, Puppies For Breakfast, Houston’s largest outdoor dog festival which happens every spring! DISCOVERY GREEN Discovery Green makes a day at the park seem like a dream come true for the furry four-pawed variety. While you will need to keep your canine close as you stroll along the park’s trails, there’s plenty of room for rumbling and tumbling in both their large and small dog runs. Like Market Square Park, dogs are always welcome at concerts, movie screenings, festivals and most other events at Discovery Green. BUFFALO BAYOU PARK Buffalo Bayou Park is a pup’s paradise, where they can roll around in the fresh grass, sink their claws into the dirt and discover all the natural beauty the park offers along the bayou. Let your dog frolic with other furbabies at the new and improved Johnny Steele Dog Park when it re-opens in late summer.
HOUSTONâ€™S GROCERY STORE ON WHEELS photo by Philip Emerson
photo by Philip Emerson
photo by Philip Emerson
meal is often preceded by maneuvering a crowded parking lot, braving a gauntlet of jousting carts, and participating in a hurried check-out transaction that removes meaningful interaction from both buyer and seller. Anyone who’s decided to order takeout after a long day knows that the typical grocery shopping experience can strip dinner of its magic long before food hits the plate. But there’s a promising solution for Downtown residents in the form of Grit Grocery, Houston’s first mobile grocery truck. Every Tuesday and Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m. the truck parks at 900 Preston, just east of Market Square Park, catching the attention of passersby with its colorful display of locally farmed and sourced produce, meat, seafood, and specialty cheeses, in addition to sundry items like bread, pasta, Texas-made olive oil and ice cream. Unlike food trucks, which serve as mobile versions of casual restaurants, Grit takes a long view on its goal to nourish the community, as a different kind of grocery store catering to urban residents. The flexibility of a grocery truck means that food can move into the heart of a neighborhood, unlike brick-and-mortar stores that stay anchored to the perimeter. In essence, it’s a microcosm of a farmer’s market that also happens to be mobile; a community solution for a quick, healthy and convenient meal for Downtown residents.
When Grit Grocery started preliminary operations in 2016, the modern grocery landscape reflected an interest in cooking at home without the hassle of traditional grocery shopping. Meal delivery services like Blue Apron were well-established, and curbside pick-up programs at traditional grocery stores like H-E-B were gaining steam. But Grit’s founders—Jamal Ansari, Michael Powell, and Dustin Windham— recognized that even with the creation of more convenient options for home cooks, there were still important elements missing from the experience—most notably, a connection to food and the people producing and selling it. The idea for the business initially came to Windham as a result of his stint as a Peace Corps volunteer in Azerbaijan. According to Windham, the experience “introduced me to cooking from scratch, to buying with a neighborhood food model, [and] buying unprocessed [food]—not because it was cool, but because that was the infrastructure they had.” Living according to local customs meant walking to purveyors and buying food in small quantities, buying only what was needed for the next day or two. Windham noted that he and his fellow American volunteers ate healthier and all lost weight as a result, and it gave him a new appreciation for a better way to interact with food. Despite this knowledge, when he returned to the United States, he found it difficult to buy food the way he wanted to because of the “big box” grocery store infrastructure.
When Windham entered the Rice MBA program, he got the idea to apply his ideas about food into the business that would become Grit, and partnered with fellow MBA candidate Jamal Ansari to launch and test the concept after graduation. According to Windham, the name for the business is evocative of audacity and authenticity. “Think about the farmer handing you a bunch of carrots with dirt under his nails and sweat dripping from his brow,” says Windham. “Grit is a metaphor for an authentic food experience, and we have that in mind with everything we do and every product we sell.” Even in its conceptual phase as a minimal investment—using Igloo coolers, batteries and spotlights—the truck proved that the market could benefit from a different kind of community-based grocery store. Michael Powell, who holds a PhD in cultural anthropology and a decade of experience in grocery design and research, joined as the third founder when he realized Grit was “offering something very different” that grocery stores couldn’t or wouldn’t do. That key difference is Grit’s focus on creating convenience and community for its urban customers.
“Grit is a metaphor for an authentic food experience, and we have that in mind with everything we do and every product we sell.”
Residents in the heart of the city have different lifestyles and grocery needs than suburban shoppers. The Grit founders cater to urban residents using what Powell calls a “very solution-oriented” approach. For example, when they chose the Market Square Park location to service Downtown residents, the Grit truck was placed in an area where people frequently walk and bike in the evenings. The truck’s hours— 4–9 p.m.—were set to service residents on their way home after work. Approaching the truck, shoppers will find a mix of around 300 locally sourced products, rather than the thousands available at a typical grocery store. The pared down product mix emphasizes produce, but includes what Powell describes as “everything you need to put together a meal that’s going to be healthy and fresh.” That includes local dairy, fresh-squeezed juice, sustainably raised protein, healthy picnic snacks, and meal bundles, which rotate according to availability and include a recipe and all the ingredients needed for a single meal, such as shrimp and pasta or pork chops with sweet potatoes.
photo by Philip Emerson
photo by Michael Ramos
Products come from local vendors and farms like Gundermann Acres, a 500-acre farm 60 miles southwest of Houston that supplies the region with quality produce year-round using sustainable agriculture. Even staples and dry goods on the Grit truck benefit local food artisans, like the pasta from Fabio’s Artisan Fresh Pasta in Montrose. The Grit proprietors understand that their products are only as successful as the people who cook them, so they’re especially interested in product combinations that can be prepared in 20 minutes or less. Simplifying the options helps customers focus solely on what they need to prepare for the evening’s meal or for the next day. Instead of purchasing a carload of groceries in bulk, buying small alleviates food waste and ensures freshness. Customers hoping for a little dessert won’t go wanting, either—local ice cream and chocolate can be purchased alongside the produce for those with a sweet tooth. Though price isn’t the only deterrent keeping customers from shopping healthy and local, food costs weigh heavily on a consumer’s choices, and the Grit partners know it. Current pricing for Grit products is competitive with Whole Foods, but Powell notes that prices will drop as they scale operations and create more trucks. Until that happens, they want to
raise the conversation about food costs and call awareness to why certain groceries—like sustainably raised chicken, for example—cost more than their conventional counterparts at a traditional grocery store. They also want the act of buying and selling food to be interactional rather than transactional, with trained and knowledgeable Grit staff. Not only will they intimately know the products and their origin stories, they’ll be able to guide customers through the best way to prepare each item. By offering cooking techniques and thoughts on interesting flavor combinations, the exchange is meant to educate as much as satiate consumers.
Appreciating the benefits of face-to-face interaction doesn’t diminish the power of technology and social media, however. In addition to frequent posts on Facebook and Instagram with updates on the truck’s whereabouts and the day’s offerings, the Grit owners have a plan in place to streamline the process of pre-ordering. Using a forthcoming Facebook chatbot called Gritbot, customers
can connect with the company using Facebook messenger. The Gritbot will answer questions, tell customers about the products on truck, and allow customers to pre-order and pay for a meal bundle prior to the truck’s opening at 4 p.m. That means Downtown residents can place an order at work and know that if they need to run other errands, their meal bundle will be waiting for them to pick it up at a convenient time.
photo by Emily Jaschke
With more residential buildings on the horizon and the increasing desire to live and shop within a radius that doesn’t require a car, there’s no question that Downtown’s food landscape must shift in the next few years to meet the demand. As Houston’s only mobile food truck company, Grit’s short record of success proves that it could be integral to a growing residential neighborhood that values personal interaction and a transparent local farm-to-truck foodway. Since Grit began in 2016, it has steadily grown its customer base and operations, been endorsed by Mayor Sylvester Turner, and partnered with the City of Houston as part of the Complete Communities Initiative. A successful equity crowdfunding campaign earlier this year raised enough money for the company to lease a commercial distribution facility and office that serves as a company base.
In the current business model, Grit serves as many urban neighborhoods as it can by parking in a specific neighborhood on dedicated weekdays—that’s why Downtown residents will find the truck on Preston street every Thursday. Other locations include Levy Park, Circuit, and Emancipation and Buffalo Bayou Park on Sabine Street. As the company continues to grow, Downtown residents can look forward to additional weeknights with the construction of new Grit trucks, a plan put into motion with the construction of a second truck this spring. In the meantime, if the initial welcome is any indication, residents seem to be embracing a company that understands the important connection between grocery shopping and community building. Together, Houston business owners, food producers, and residents create a sense of place, a sense of home and some darn good meals in the process.
A Sense of PLACE BY AMBER AMBROSE
HOW DOWNTOWN IS BUILDING AN ENGAGED COMMUNITY THROUGH PUBLIC & PRIVATE SPACES
\\\\\\\\ There’s been a quiet movement sweeping Downtown Houston, and in its wake are some of the city’s most memorable and engaging spaces. It’s called “placemaking,” and though it’s still up for debate just exactly what that entails, there’s no debate as to its success.
It’s not just a park 16
Discovery Green is the easiest illustration of placemaking, and what it can mean for a community. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the park is a hallmark of Downtown, a crown jewel that extends far beyond a place to enjoy the outdoors on a lazy Sunday. It’s an experience all its own. It’s a catalytic space that’s transformed everything around it. It’s an investment in the future. It’s a place to enjoy today. It’s a place where many have made memories spanning the last decade. And that’s exactly the point of placemaking. To intentionally imbue an area with an identity that reflects its immediate surroundings. Intentional is the key word here, with projects that are visionary, thoughtful, carefully designed, community driven and that have plans for ongoing investment.
“It was an opportunity to show Houston to the world, and we wanted to make sure it looked as good as it could. The Avenida would have happened anyway, and we were able to accelerate it in time for Super Bowl. It also made some partners a lot more willing to accelerate the process and step up. It was motivational for everyone.” Houston First President and CEO, Brenda Bazan, on the role the Super Bowl played in the development of Avenida Houston
VISIONARIES Before there’s a place to make, there’s a vision that it needs to exist. For Avenida Houston, it started as an exploration of ways to raise the profile of the city to attract more conventions. A commissioned study led to recommendations for more hotel rooms within walking distance of the George R. Brown Convention Center and improving the aspects of livability and experiences in the surrounding area. The first half culminated in the Marquis Marriott (the Hilton of the Americas was already in existence at the time the results were published) while the second half led to further development of the Avenida. Part of the vision was to weave existing assets like Discovery Green into the fabric of the Convention Center, connecting seamlessly and providing visitors broader access and experiences than ever before.
“Discovery Green was around at that time, and was a great front door, but with eight to nine lanes of traffic in between, it wasn’t really accessible, and even if it was, it didn’t appear to be,” says Brenda Bazan, president and CEO at Houston First. That eight lanes of traffic has since been reduced to a two-lane, one-way street, which expanded walkability and empowered pedestrians on the Avenida, bringing the public spaces between the George R. Brown Convention Center and its surroundings much closer together. Additional economic development in the way of restaurants and retail, plus a growing program of events, added to the well-rounded endeavor meant as a cohesive effort to bring people, places and experiences together.
“I think the Millennial generation is not going to wait before they dive in and make some changes to their downtowns and bring their spaces up to the levels they expect. Waiting for the traditional process; they don’t have faith in it. They’ve now seen through travel both to other cities and abroad and the Internet, there’s a much broader knowledge of what we’re missing.” Phil Myrick, on why placemaking has become a trend in almost every major city in the United States.
\\\\\\\\ there’s an activism to it
POWER TO THE PEOPLE Phil Myrick is the director of planning & placemaking services at MIG and was a key player in helping craft the vision for both Discovery Green and Market Square Park in Downtown Houston. He’s a facilitator in extracting ideas, concepts and priorities from local communities and injecting them into the design and revitalization of spaces. “A lot of the idea of placemaking is that there’s heavy citizen engagement and many times, there’s an activism to it,” says Myrick. Empowering the stakeholders, residents and businesses closest to the space is paramount, because they are most affected by the success or failure of these projects. “Essentially, it’s trying to flip the approach from project- or design-based, to be a more community-based conversation,” says Myrick. “The goal is to create an engaging space where they feel like they belong to it. These are spaces clustered in a way that can create a
social buzz or hub. To get to that point, it’s very important that the community members are a part of the process.” Myrick explains that the first step in that process is downshifting to “listening mode,” talking to businesses, property owners and residents in an attempt to understand attitudes, history, major issues and challenges. Next up: Getting people in the actual space, followed by public workshops, focus groups and again, more listening. Myrick explains, “When we put people to work in small groups in a public workshop setting, people feel empowered and take it seriously and come up with a sophisticated understanding of the issues.” All of the input is then carefully gathered, curated and turned into a vision for the space, complete with a checklist of “should haves.” For example, Market Square Park’s list included a dog run, a cafe, a flexible lawn and public art, all of which made the final cut. There’s another round of public comment on those “should haves” and concepts, which is honed to its final state in the form of a report and diagram of the best ways to organize the suggested elements. Then, it’s off to the design team to bring the vision into reality. It’s a true democratic process, building on consensus, culminating in something for and by the community it was created to serve. (Congress might learn a thing or two from this process.)
engaged in the world around you
“Temporary art keeps people looking at places in new ways and keeps them coming back. Artists are so great at changing how you think about things. They shift something in the viewer with their artwork, and so you grow. You ask questions, you’re curious, you start to maybe look at other things in a different way than you did before you saw that artwork.” Deborah McNulty, director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs on the power of temporary art installations
ARTISTIC EXPRESSION Though it’s one element of many in the placemaking strategy, art brings a space to life like nothing else can, and has been transformative in the evolution of Downtown. “Community development, engaging audiences, bringing in visitors, quality of life, the arts are absolutely a winning strategy for success,” says Deborah McNulty, director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. And she’s amazed and delighted at the support for both permanent and temporary art installations throughout Downtown and Houston as a whole. “In the city of Houston, you don’t have to talk anyone into an art project. Our biggest challenge is meeting the demand of people wanting to see more and have more opportunities,” says McNulty. “No office of cultural affairs can replace the drive of a lot of individuals wanting to make their city better.” McNulty finds that gatekeeping here is at a minimum, which helps facilitate more art in more places, resulting in a vibrant, more engaged community. It also happens to foster a sense of pride and shapes identity in a way that only art can. “The more artwork that you see, the more your brain is alive, and reacting and engaged in the world around you,” says McNulty. “I think people really crave it. So many great things about the arts is this opportunity to bring people together and have a shared experience.”
EVENTFUL Art is one thing to keep the community coming back to a space, as are elements like cafes, dog parks, walking trails and more, but consistent event programming is another vital strategy in the placemaking playbook. It’s hard to believe after many years of hosting some of Downtown’s most memorable events, but “event space” wasn’t originally in the plan for Market Square Park. “We opened up the park without a plan in place for events. But we had this huge grand opening shindig and it was such a special day, the park came alive with the energy of those involved – neighbors, business owners, organizations, city representatives and more. There was so much ownership of this space, people were really invested in its success,” says Angie Bertinot, director of marketing and communications for Downtown District. “The minute we finished the grand opening, we thought, ‘We have to do more of this.’ ” The energy and vitality events can bring to a space are only as good as the planning that goes into them. And Bertinot knew she had an obligation to the local residents and businesses in executing a program that fell within the unique context of the historic neighborhood. When soliciting feedback on what types of events to host in the park, she found that residents wanted them, but not too many; wanted them to be smaller in size and scope and wanted to ensure public access was never prohibitive. With that in mind, she transformed the events calendar to what it is today. “In addition to attending an event or having lunch at Niko Niko’s at the park, we hope that ultimately folks will wander beyond the park boundaries and experience the entire neighborhood,” says Bertinot. “We’re always cognizant of the businesses around the park. How can we support and involve the businesses through our programming?” In keeping with that framework, the events at Market Square Park have been going strong for the last eight years, with the Backyard Jams Concert Series, movie nights, Blanket Bingo, Body by Broadway exercise classes, pub crawls and so much more.
“Park spaces like this can be incredible economic development tools. Within two years of the park opening, we started to see renewed interest in the neighborhood and to date, we’ve had 40 to 50 new businesses open, plus two new residential buildings have been built adjacent to the park. Businesses and developers both have said ‘We would not have built this project if it weren’t for Market Square Park.’ ” Angie Bertinot, director of marketing and communications for Downtown District on how places can act as catalysts for economic development
\\\\\\\\ PLACEMAKING GOES PRIVATE Placemaking isn’t just a way to engage communities through public spaces, it’s also become good business for private entities. Brookfield Properties, which owns and operates Allen Center, recently unveiled the Acre, a signature space at the heart of the campus’ redevelopment. The inspiration for the Acre came from looking at the success Brookfield has had in other markets with placemaking,” says Travis Overall, executive vice president and head of the company’s Texas region. “To us, placemaking usually involves a mixed-use type of environment, office retail, sometimes multi-family and also involves amenities. We saw that around the world at some of the other Brookfield properties and wanted to bring that to Houston.” In addition to creating a greener, more open space for tenants to enjoy, it was also a designmotivated decision to make Allen Center more intuitive and welcoming from the outside. “It was really a very closed, uninviting environment, until you got in,” says Overall. “We decided to open things up and by doing that, we were able to tear down a sky bridge, reconfigure
the landscaping, shuffle the retail tenants around and create better lobby space to really start the makings of what we think is a true quality mixed-use development.” Some of that landscaping included planting 171 trees on the Acre, which increases shade, and the opportunity for visitors to find shelter from Houston’s hot summer months. Under those trees, and inside the space itself, Brookfield has big plans to keep the Acre filled with activity and purpose. “We want to create an amenity for our tenants that allows them to get out of their office a little more and have new experiences from their office environment or their hotel,” says Overall. There will be tenant-only events like concerts, happy hours and fitness classes, but it was also designed with the general public in mind. The park is “open to everybody” and was designed to “appeal to all Houstonians,” which means that Brookfield won’t be the only one profiting from its success.
open to everybody
“The Acre impacts all the Brookfield properties around it. One, Two and Three Allen, as well as the hotel. We wanted to create a green space that can be enjoyed by all.” Travis Overall, executive vice president and head of the Texas region for Brookfield Properties
As Downtown Houston continues to blossom, placemaking is more important than ever. Here are some big projects on the horizon.
Placemaking Into The FUTURE
SOUTH DOWNTOWN A park is slated to launch in 2020 on a lot bordered by San Jacinto, Fannin, Bell and Leeland Streets as part of the Downtown Living Initiative and Plan Downtown, with the intent to help shape and activate this region of Downtown. Community outreach will be the start of placemaking efforts, with park construction estimated to begin in 2019. Downtown Redevelopment Authority will oversee the process and maintain the park, similar to their involvement with Market Square Park. JONES PLAZA Also on the 2020 timeline is the redevelopment of Jones Plaza in the heart of Houston’s Theater District. Spearheaded by Houston First through a partnership with Downtown Redevelopment Authority, City of Houston, Jim and Whitney Crane and the 2017 World Champion Astros’ Foundation the plan is to “revitalize the plaza into a vibrant public square for all visitors.” The ultimate vision is a “programmable venue that can be used both day and night, reflecting its surrounding performing arts community.”
HOUSTON CENTER Brookfield Properties bought Houston Center in late 2017 and plans to continue their commitment to green space and placemaking through its redevelopment. Its $50+ million renovation plans include street-level retail, outdoor event spaces and white tablecloth restaurants. Stay tuned.
WeWork opens in the historic Great Jones Building and changes the way
DOWNTOWN DOES BUSINESS
There’s a buzz at 708 Main Street. It’s not just the constant whoosh and whistle of the METRORail as it glides through Downtown. It’s not just the click of heels on the pavement as Downtown office workers hurry to meetings, lunches or work. No, it’s a different sort of energy, one that says a new way to work is here, one that’s nimble, customizable. It’s an energy whose innovation and individual solutions are drivers for success. It’s an energy that further cements Houston’s status as a 21st century workplace. And it’s all happening at WeWork. photography by dabfoto SUMMER 2018
“We are so excited to be Downtown. Innovation and creativity are coming alive in Downtown, and WeWork will help accelerate that. This is the perfect place for us to be because it captures the incredibly diverse workforce that makes Houston such a special city.” —Nathan Lenahan general manager WeWork Texas
WeWork, a global office and work solution space, opened in April, taking over the Great Jones Building on the corner of Main and Capitol streets. The organization offers tailor-made office environments for companies ranging from one person to more than 1,000. More than just another co-working space, WeWork provides options that range from an open seat for someone to set up a laptop to office space that can accommodate a company’s headquarters. With offices around the globe, WeWork strives to be a flexible partner for an ever-changing work scene. The Downtown location is its second in Houston (the other is in the Galleria area), and general manager of the Texas market, Nathan Lenahan, thinks the location is ideal for what his company provides. “We are so excited to be Downtown,” he says. “Innovation and creativity are coming alive in Downtown, and WeWork will help accelerate that. This is the perfect place for us to be because it captures the incredibly diverse workforce that makes Houston such a special city.”
ACCESS TO EVERYTHING MongoDB Embraces Business in the Urban Core
Andy Codner, enterprise account executive for MongoDB sits in his WeWork office space, his crescent-shaped computer screen divided into three sections, looking like the control room for a campaign. Codner works for a company whose database solutions are used by clients in more than 90 countries, and whose platform has been downloaded more than 30 million times. His job is to leverage MongoDB’s applications to help his clients solve challenges and develop strategic initiatives. Codner is one of five MongoDB employees who office in WeWork’s Downtown space. Like many millennials in technology positions, Codner is aware that he can work from anywhere, but he loves the convenience of WeWork’s Downtown location—he lives a block and a half away—and feels it provides valuable benefits for both him and his company. “[Having this space] gets me out of the house,” he says. “It’s excellent, it’s convenient and, from a business perspective, being Downtown gives you access to everything.”
Codner says that being based in the city core allows him to walk to meetings with clients, as well as giving him quick access to freeways in the event he needs to head up to The Woodlands to meet with his counterparts there. While MongoDB leased office space for Codner and his colleagues, he loves the building’s open floor plan, with its common areas and conference rooms. “Culturally, we are a Silicon Valley kind of company,” he explains, alluding to MongoDB’s technology foundations and its workforce heavy with young tech talent. Codner says that MongoDB has a nationwide contract with WeWork, which allows the company’s employees to use any of WeWork’s spaces in cities around the country and the world when they travel. “And WeWork’s space allows for the kind of flexibility and interactions that millennials really love,” he says. “It gives people the space to be creative and its framework is all around community, and the collaboration that comes from that.”
WeWork’s concept is simple: members rent office spaces to suit their needs. People can buy a membership that allows for access to any open desk in WeWork’s common areas or one that provides a dedicated desk. Private offices of various sizes are available as well, tailored to whatever a company’s needs might be. WeWork provides furniture; printing, copying and scanning services; lightening fast Internet; conference and meeting rooms; and handles all of the property management for the space, leaving companies free to conduct business without worrying about the details of running a facility. In addition, WeWork provides fruit water, coffee and snack services on all of its floors, meaning members have endless access to hot joe and munchies like power bars. The organization also offers an array of membership events, including everything from discussions about growing your business to exercise classes. Oh, and it’s dog friendly.
“Companies have come in and hosted lunches,” says WeWork member Andy Codner, enterprise account executive with MongoDB (see sidebar). “There was yoga the other day. It’s a great way to give members a chance to blow off some steam.” “There’s no typical WeWork member,” says Lenahan. “But there’s also no longer a typical company. We have people who are one-person operations and we have people who have 1,000 employees. We pride ourselves on being flexible and agile. But the big consistent we see is that our members are looking to be part of something bigger than themselves.” Creating that kind of a community is a hallmark of WeWork. At 708 Main, corridors are small and common areas are vast, the idea being to provide moments of spontaneous interaction. Members have the opportunity to network, just by showing up to the office every day, since so many different companies are housed in the WeWork space. Memberships are also made to travel, meaning members can go into any of WeWork’s more than 200 locations around the globe.
WeWork offers an array of membership events, including everything from discussions about growing your business to exercise classes. Oh, and it’s dog friendly.
GLASS BUBBLES WAYS Fundraising Finds WeWork Blends Beauty With Functionality Brent Nelson, the district fundraising manager for WAYS Fundraising USA, leads a small but mighty team of six in Houston. Their mission is to raise money for charities in the U.S. and beyond. He works with Save the Children, the Nature Conservancy and the International Fund for Animal Welfare, among others. His office is on the ninth floor at WeWork in Downtown. “This space is just undeniable,” he says. “The common areas really blow people away. It’s just beautiful.”
Nelson describes his job as being able to help charitable organizations and NGOs not only identify potential donors, but turn them into sustaining ones, who give a set amount every month. It’s the kind of work that requires research, an understanding of how people give, and the ability to meet them face to face to close the deal. WeWork helps him and his team do that. Since WAYS has a national contract with WeWork, Nelson and his team in Houston have access to every WeWork office around the country. That makes it easy for him to meet with teams in other cities as necessary. He says he works with a group of about half a dozen in the Houston area; he and two others routinely come into the Downtown WeWork. That allows for face-to-face interaction, he says, and WeWork’s wide range of common
areas means that he and his team members can take meeting with clients in conference rooms or other gathering spaces. “There are small and large rooms on every level [of the building],” he says. “Room are equipped with video and white boards, which is fantastic when we need brainstorming sessions with our team or with clients. We do training sessions in them—it’s such a benefit. Nelson also likes the space his company has contracted at WeWork. He’s in an office space that can accommodate two or three people comfortably. But, he says, the way the design and layout were created, his office—in fact, the whole of WeWork’s space—is well lit and bright. “It’s like we’re in glass bubbles,” he explains. “There’s light absolutely everywhere! I really love coming to this space.”
Walking through the Great Jones Building, it’s hard not to be struck by the way the building also lends itself to WeWork’s mantras of business solutions and community. The 10th floor common room has striking views of Downtown, and its blonde wood floors and exposed concrete beams provide unique architectural details, and the original windows flood the area with natural light, creating an inviting space where, at 2:30 p.m. on a recent Friday, members were chatting with each other at the u-shaped bar and browsing the bookshelves. Each floor is a blend of offices and common spaces, whether they’re small booths or big communal tables. Glass-enclosed offices house one desk or five or a combination of desks and private meeting spaces. Conference rooms of varying size provide gathering spots for meetings, with video capability and ample white boards to toss around ideas. It’s meant to be the kind of place where people want to come to work.
BEING TOGETHER IS IMPORTANT WeWork Helps Graylog Achieve Global Solutions Taylor Rhoades is an inside sales manager for Graylog, a software company that provides log data management solutions for clients around the world. The company’s IT compliance, operations and security, and development operations solutions have been implemented by 35,000 businesses and organizations. The company launched in 2009; in 2015, Graylog moved to the U.S., making Houston its headquarters. “WeWork gives us flexibility,” says Rhoades, whose team handles all of the sales queries that come directly through Graylog’s website or phone center. “If I need to meet with a client or prospect in New York or I’m out in California, I go into the local WeWork. There’s always a space to go to.
It’s meant to be the kind of place where people want to come to work.
We were at a conference on the West Coast recently and getting to use the WeWork office for our post-conference meetings or in between sessions was great.” Rhoades says what she loves about her own work is her ability to build something and provide unique solutions for an array of clients. She feels Graylog’s ease of use and its open source core acts as a connector for the company’s users, and she likes being the conduit that helps them grow their own businesses. In many ways, she sees similar things about WeWork. The organization’s open spaces, the variety of businesses that use the 708 Main building, the way WeWork hosts events and helps its clients create a shared sense of community. “For our team, being together is important,” she says of the Graylog group in Houston. “And this is a central place we all want to come. It’s flexible. We have our own private office here. But you meet so many people in the building. It’s designed that way. Those interactions are great.”
PAST MEETS FUTURE—THE JONES ON MAIN Houston was coming into its own at the turn of the last century, when the office tower at 708 Main was completed. The 10-story edifice on the corner of Main and Capitol streets, known as the Great Jones Building, originally housed the office of Texaco Oil, proof of Houston’s long and pioneering association with the energy sector. Acquired by Houston entrepreneur and philanthropist Jesse H. Jones, it was a center for the hustle and bustle of Houston’s early days as an oil powerhouse. Today, the space is combined with its neighbor, the Art Deco tower at 712 Main, and the two spaces are rapidly becoming one of Downtown’s most prominent business addresses. The buildings are connected on the ground floor and anchored by JPMorgan Chase. Renovations began two years
ago, with a concentrated effort to make the spaces friendly to those working outside of a typical 8-to-5 office day. Solopreneurs, tech companies and other organizations love the space’s 24-hour access, while reveling in the historic details. 708 Main’s renovations deliberately kept the building’s original brickwork and wide windows, reminders of a past the didn’t include air conditioning. The high ceilings and wood floors have been retained as well, and the result is a space that is firmly rooted in Houston’s past, while looking outward at its present and future. With its 712 Main partner, the two buildings are collectively known as The Jones On Main, an exciting combination that blends artistic details and modern convenience.
EDUCATING THE NEXT GENERATION OF TECH TALENT: THE FLATIRON SCHOOL By the time it was acquired by WeWork last October, the Flatiron School was already established as a leader in tech education. The program launched as an intensive coding boot camp in New York City in 2012 and prides itself that 97 percent of its graduates have gone on to get jobs within six months of completing the program. “We tell our students that if they follow our guidelines on how to conduct a job search, and they complete our program, if they don’t find a job within six months, we’ll give them a full refund,” says Flatiron’s Director of Marketing Nicole Kroese. Flatiron is taking over the fourth floor of 708 Main, something Kroese says the organization is excited about. The Houston campus is the latest in a string of new locations for Flatiron since its blending with WeWork. Prior to the acquisition, Flatiron had a physical space in New York City and hosted online learning modules. Now, Flatiron maintains its online presence, but has campuses in Washington D.C., Brooklyn and London.
“We are so excited to come to Houston,” says Kroese. “There is so much momentum in the city’s tech, entrepreneurship and innovation sectors. We know that we can provide the tech talent [Houston] companies need to spur their innovation and growth.” Flatiron offers full-time, part-time and online classes that teach coding and web development. The first full-time cohort launches on July 16, and Kroese says every single student in the cohort will receive a full scholarship, thanks to a partnership between Flatiron, Facebook and the Houston Urban League. Facebook provided $250,000, allowing Flatiron to offer 25 full scholarships. Applications for the
awards open June 1. The inaugural 15-week session is intense, with classes offered Monday through Friday, and Kroese says they are designed to turn students into developers, offering them highly marketable skills in today’s professional landscape. Cohorts will continue in the weeks after that launch, as will part-time and online classes. The organization’s space will offer traditional classrooms as well as common spaces where students can work in groups or have meetings. The idea is to parlay that same sense of community WeWork espouses to allow students to strengthen their own tech skills, learn from each other and network. In addition to disrupting the education landscape with its intensive boot camp approach to tech learning, Flatiron has also made it a mission to help underrepresented groups excel in tech. “We want to create a diverse pipeline that provides an avenue for women and minorities to see how technology and tech positions can be a career,” says Kroese. “As a company, you cannot build a solution for the whole world if your company doesn’t look like the whole world.”
And if location is everything in real estate, WeWork has it made. It’s on the light rail line and is easily accessible by both walking and bicycle. Multiple parking options surround the building for commuters who prefer to drive. As this section of Main Street is further enhanced, it’s easy to see this as an ever-growing hub of mixed-use activity with a diverse array of offices, hotels, bars and restaurants. “Downtown is really the heart of the city,” says Lenahan. “It’s got so much vibrance. We’ve been impressed with the area, how much is happening here. It has the density we want and we love being in an urban core.”
“Downtown is really the heart of the city. It’s got so much vibrance. We’ve been impressed with the area, how much is happening here. It has the density we want and we love being in an urban core.”
Downtown’s WeWork location has somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,400 members and is looking to grow. The company is betting its combination of Downtown location and personal touch for members will be a selling point. Members say they’ve already reaped the rewards. “I love coming to work here,” says Brent Nelson, district fundraising manager for WAYS Fundraising USA (see sidebar). “The amenities are great. The staff takes care of everything. People here have made me feel like friends and part of the family. WeWork has really created a happy environment for everyone.”
—Nathan Lenahan SUMMER 2018
Performing Arts 35 Festivals + Special Events 38 Discovery Green 40 Market Square Park 43 and more
EDITED BY STEFANIE PASCACIO
2018 HOUSTON LGBT PRIDE FESTIVAL 34
GUYS & DOLLS
Jun 12–24 Director Nick DeGruccio returns to Theatre Under The Stars with a dynamic and modern reimagining of the beloved classic, Guys & Dolls. Travel back to a time when gangsters and gamblers ruled the underworld of New York City. This Tony Awardwinning Best Musical features music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, based on some of the short stories by Damon Runyon. Tickets start at $30. 7:30 pm. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. tuts.com
HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN IN CONCERT
PERFORMING ARTS THE SOUND OF MUSIC
Jun 1–3 The spirited, romantic and beloved musical story of Maria and the von Trapp family will once again thrill audiences with its award-winning score, including My Favorite Things, Do-Re-Mi, Climb Ev’ry Mountain, Edelweiss and the title song. The Sound of Music features music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. Tickets start at $34. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall. 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org
PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE
Jun 1–3 Paris. 1904. Picasso and Einstein walk into a bar. Humorous, contemplative and wholly imaginative, comedian and film star-turned-playwright, Steve Martin’s play surprises and provokes. Jumping off from the notion that these two great men were close in age and in Paris at the same time, Martin leaps into a fantastical contemplation of what they might have discussed and who else might have joined them at the Lapin Agile bar. 8 pm. Tickets start at $26. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org
Jun 1–Jul 1 Jen lives in New York but has always dreamed of getting married in her native North Carolina. With the wedding six months away, she heads down South to ask Della, her late mother’s best friend who owns a bakery, to do the honors of making her wedding cake. Della’s cakes are the best—she’s going to compete on the Great American Baking Show, no big deal. Della is overjoyed to make Jen’s cake—until she realizes that there isn’t just one bride, but two. She can’t really bake a cake for such a wedding, can she? Moral quandaries, reality TV and loads and loads of butter form this play by Bekah Brunstetter (NBC’s This Is Us) about three women trying to reach out across a divide that just keeps growing. Tickets start at $35. 8 pm. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700.
Jun 15–17 The Harry Potter phenomenon continues with THE SOUND OF MUSIC photo by Matthew Murphy
Jun 8–10 Welch’s beloved Play and Bolero return but both re-worked and re-choreographed. Additional new works to be announced include a world premiere ballet by Welch celebrating Houston’s resilience. With a stage that extends into the audience on three sides, this theater creates an immersive experience, bringing you closer to the dancers than ever before. Tickets start at $40. 7:30 pm. George R. Brown Convention Center, General Assembly Hall, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 713.227.ARTS. houstonballet.org
REC ROOM’S 3RD ANNUAL BEER & ICE CREAM SOCIAL
Jun 9 Rec Room’s Annual Beer & Ice Cream Social is back for its third year! Good times will include all you can eat hot dogs, live music, a silent art auction, and a festival-style line-up of live performances by artists in Rec Room’s residency program. All proceeds will benefit Rec Room Arts, Houston’s favorite 501(c)3 nonprofit arts organization. 7 pm. Tickets start at $25. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. recroomhtx.com.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban In Concert. The Houston Symphony will perform every note from John Williams’ sensational score while audiences relive the magic of the film projected in high definition on the big screen. From the moment Harry uses the Marauder’s Map to when the Patronus Charm bursts from his wand, you’ll be transported back into the world you love. Tickets start at $29. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.
HOLMES AND WATSON
Jun 22–Jul 22 Three years after the mysterious death of beloved detective Sherlock Holmes off Reichenbach Falls, Dr. John H. Watson receives a telegram that suggests his old friend may still be alive. The mysterious wire was sent from a doctor who states that three patients in his asylum’s care have each claimed to be the late Sherlock Holmes. Watson embarks on a journey to disprove these claims. Could Sherlock Holmes really be alive after all this time? Holmes and Watson is a riveting new adventure from award-winning writer Jeffrey Hatcher. Tickets start at $26. 8 pm. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700.
Jun 23–Jul 1 Houston Ballet presents the return of
Revention Music Center, 520 Texas. 800.745.3000.
Swan Lake. In this production, the everlasting love between Prince Siegfried and the maiden-turnedwhite-swan Odette is tested by the evil knight Rothbart and his black swan enchantress, Odile. Tickets start at $25. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.ARTS.
DITA VON TEESE AND THE COPPER COUPE BURLESQUE
Jun 9 Tickets starting at $35. 8:30 pm.
DITA VON TEESE
PENN & TELLER
Jun 8 Penn and Teller have redefined the genre of magic while inventing their own distinct niche of comedy for nearly 40 years. From sold-out runs on Broadway to Emmy-winning TV specials, Penn and Teller show no signs of slowing down with their comedic acts. The comical duo will have the audience laughing the night away in Jones Hall. Tickets begin at $35. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4SPA.
CHAMPIONS OF MAGIC
Jun 28–Jul 1 The five world-class illusionists who make up the Champions Of Magic return to the Hobby Center for their 2018 international tour. Witness the impossible, including disappearances, levitation, teleportation and a heart-stopping finale, all presented with lighting and special effects to rival the biggest theatrical spectacles. Tickets start at $24.50. 7:30 pm. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525.
THEATER DISTRICT OPEN HOUSE
DISTANT WORLDS: MUSIC FROM FINAL FANTASY
CLASSICAL MYSTERY TOUR: A TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES
Jul 7 AWR Music Productions, LLC is proud to present
Jul 6 The four musicians in Classical Mystery Tour
the official symphony concert world-tour Distant Worlds: music from Final Fantasy. Launched in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of Final Fantasy, this concert tour features the music of Japanese video game composer Nobuo Uematsu and is conducted by Grammy award-winner Arnie Roth. This multimedia experience combines stirring screen images to match the soaring emotions of a symphony orchestra performing music from Square Enix’s world-renowned video game series. Tickets start at $35. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
look and sound just like The Beatles, but Classical Mystery Tour is more than just a rock concert. The show presents more than two dozen Beatles tunes performed exactly as they were originally recorded. Hear Penny Lane with a live trumpet section, experience the beauty of Yesterday with an acoustic guitar and string quartet, enjoy the classical/rock blend on I Am the Walrus, and relish the cascading orchestral crescendo on A Day in the Life. Tickets start at $29. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.
THE MUSIC OF GEORGE MICHAEL
Jul 14 Relive all your favorite George Michael hits when the Houston Symphony pays tribute to an artist who was gone too soon. From Faith and Careless Whisper to One More Try and Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, you’ll be singing along in your seat. Tickets start at $29. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575.
LOVE NEVER DIES
LUDOVICO EINAUDI: ESSENTIAL EINAUDI
Richard Koons (“Squelch”), Katrina Kemp (“Fleck”) and Stephen Petrovich (“Gangle”) star in Love Never Dies. Photo by Joan Marcus
Jul 15 Ludovico Einaudi is an international phenomenon listened to avidly by many. Country after country has taken him to its heart, his albums have topped innumerable charts and his concerts sold out the world’s most prestigious halls. Don’t miss his one-of-a-kind performance at Jones Hall. Tickets start at $37.50. 8 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. joneshall.org
BRING IT! LIVE
LOVE NEVER DIES
Jul 17–22 The ultimate love story continues in Love Never Dies, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s spellbinding sequel to The Phantom of the Opera. The year is 1907. It is 10 years after his disappearance from the Paris Opera House and The Phantom has escaped to a new life in New York where he lives among the screaming joy rides and freak shows of Coney Island. In this new, electrically charged world, he has finally found a place for his music to soar, but he has never stopped yearning for his one true love and musical protégée, Christine. Tickets start at $35. 7:30 pm. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. thehobbycenter.org
APOLLO 13—FILM WITH LIVE CONCERT
Jul 21 Get ready, Space City! The first-ever
performance of Apollo 13 with live soundtrack fittingly takes place right here in Houston as the complete film starring Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon and Bill Paxton is projected on the big screen at Jones Hall, with James Horner’s Oscar-nominated score performed live by the Houston Symphony. Relive the incredible story of one of the most thrilling and suspenseful space missions in history like never before in what promises to be an emotional and truly unforgettable concert event. Tickets start at $23. 7:30 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
Jul 26–27 Tickets starting at $48.25. 7 pm. Revention Music Center, 520 Texas. 800.745.3000.
datebook. BRING IT! LIVE
Aug 5 In 2016, the elite world of hip-hop majorette competition was brought to the main stage for the first time with an incomparable energy that took the country by storm. Audiences across the nation were enamored by the fierce, original, high-octane performances that inspired fans of all ages and left them clamoring for more. With hotter-than-ever, neverbefore-seen performances on deck for the 2018 tour, there has never been a better time for Bring It! fans. Tickets start at $39.75. 8 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. joneshall.org
HOUSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY Summer Calendar
AGATHA CHRISTIE’S THE MOUSETRAP
Aug 10–Sep 2 The ExxonMobil Summer Chills returns with the longest running show in world theater history, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. James Black, interim artistic director will direct this classic whodunit that recently celebrated its 66th anniversary on London’s West End and yet still thrills audiences today. A group of strangers find themselves trapped in a British boarding house during a snow storm with a murderer afoot. It’s an Agatha Christie plot twist finish you won’t want to miss. Tickets start at $26. Times vary. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org
THEATER DISTRICT OPEN HOUSE
Aug 26 Theater District Open House returns for its 25th anniversary year! Visit the Alley Theatre, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts and Jones Hall. Grab an event program when you arrive and check out what’s happening throughout the day. Performances will be offered on stage at the Theater District’s venues. Free. Noon. Alley Theatre, Hobby Center, Jones Hall, Revention Music Center.
VIVA LAS VEGAS
Aug 31–Sep 2 Roll the dice, shuffle the deck and throw on your most glamorous attire—we’re heading to Vegas, baby! No airfare’s required and everyone’s a winner as crooner Frankie Moreno, one of the most popular headliners in Vegas today, brings the hottest show on the Strip straight to you—hits of Chuck Berry, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, and, of course, “the King” himself, Elvis Presley. Get ready to hit the musical jackpot in this evening of glitz, glamour and great entertainment. And remember: what happens in Jones Hall stays in Jones Hall. Tickets vary. 8 pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
All events free and open to the public. 832.393.1313 houstonlibrary.org
DIALOGUE THROUGH ART EXHIBIT
Jun 1 Art is a common language that
binds diverse communities. By promoting Islamic arts, the Islamic Arts Society hopes to promote mutual understanding and to bring the broader Houston community together. The artists in this exhibition are all Houstonians and many of them have been trained in the traditional style and others are freelancers who have taken up Islamic Arts as their hobby. The art in this exhibition includes works in media such as canvas, calligraphy, painting, woodwork, glass and ceramic tile.
Central Library 500 McKinney
Julia Ideson Library 550 McKinney
HOUSTON AUDUBON SOCIETY
Jun 7 Learn about our feathered friends! This performance features live birds of prey, animal recordings, and a hands-on display. Kids ages 5 to 12. 10:30-11:15 am.
Jun 12 The world is your child’s oyster! Join the Central Library as they discover new worlds with STEM-based and sensory activities designed to encourage curiosity, critical thinking, and a lifelong passion for learning. Kids ages 5–10.
SUMMER READING PROGRAM
Jun 1–Aug 1 Houston Public Library’s Summer Reading Program Game On is a free, incentive-based way to encourage kids and teens to read and explore various free programs. The more they read the more prizes they’ll win. Parents can participate in reading this summer too. Together the parent and child will be entered into a drawing for a fun family pack.
FOUNDATION CENTER WORKSHOP
Jun 5 An introduction to proposal writing
for nonprofit organizations. This workshop will provide an overview of how to write a standard project proposal to a foundation or corporate donors. 4–6 pm.
Jun 6 A celebration of community, city
FAMILY FUN MONDAYS
Baby Story Time, 10:30 am Toddler Story Time, 11:30 am Preschool Story Time, 1 pm
and rebuilding at the Central Library. Enjoy games, activities, music and more! All ages welcome. 10:30–11:30 am.
Toddler Play Time, 11:30 am Tabletop Games, 2 pm
LEGO Mania, 2 pm
Tuesdays through Jun 26 Learn ways to de-stress and relieve muscle strain through breathing exercises, yoga postures, and other techniques. Wear comfortable clothes that allow for easy movement. All are welcome to attend. 1–2 pm.
Minecraft, 3:30 pm
Family Movie, 2 pm Retro Games, 2 pm
FESTIVALS & SPECIAL EVENTS LATIN BEATS
Fridays Jun 8–Aug 17 Strap on your dancing shoes and move to the beat at the Downtown Aquarium! Enjoy free salsa dance lessons, a live DJ and salsa music, plus great food and drinks. No cover charge. Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby. 713.223.3474. downtownaquarium.com. DIY DOWNTOWN WITH POP SHOP AMERICA
WORLD OCEANS DAY
Jun 8 Celebrate Oceans Day at the Downtown photo by Morris Malakoff
Aquarium with a day full of fun learning activities. Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby. 713.223.3474.
downtownaquarium.com WORLD OCEANS DAY
CITY HALL FARMER’S MARKET
Wednesdays through Jun 27 It’s a food-lovers delight at Urban Harvest’s City Hall Farmers Market. The public can enjoy a variety of locally prepared, ready-toeat or packaged to-go foods, pick up farm-fresh weekly groceries and at the same time support sustainable food, all amid Houston’s dramatic Downtown urban setting. The farmers market features more than 30 vendors including fresh produce grown by local farmers, cheeses, breads, roasted coffees, and a variety of prepared meals, as well as food trucks. Free. 11 am–1:30 pm, Hermann Square, 901 Bagby. 713.880.5540.
Jun 2 Join Buffalo Bayou Partnership on a Wellness Walk led by Laura Conely, founder of Urban Paths Wellness Coaching. Walk through the paths of Buffalo Bayou Park while discussing topics including mental and physical health as well as the benefits of being exposed to nature. Free. 9–10:30 am. The Water Works at Buffalo Bayou Park. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org
HOUSTON VEGANDALE FOOD DRINK FESTIVAL
Jun 2 Get ready for the first ever Houston Vegandale Food Drink Festival taking place at Sam Houston Park! Kick off the summer season eating unforgettable vegan food, drinks, music and art at Sam Houston Park.
HTX BOSS BABES SUMMER FESTIVAL
Jun 8–9 Escape the heat this summer and join HTX Boss Babes for the ultimate summer fest party! Shop local and enjoy a weekend of good eats, music, photo booths and the works of 70+ women owned businesses. Free. 5–9 pm. Main St. Studio at GreenStreet, 1201 Main.
SAINT ARNOLD BREWING CO. 24TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY
Jun 9 Saint Arnold celebrates 24 years of brewing independently in Houston and will feature the Local & Independent Music Showcase with all local, all independent bands and artists on two stages at the brewery. Proudly announcing a 100 percent Texas lineup—you won’t want to miss one of the largest collections of local music in one place. Must be 21+. Tickets $10–$35. 4 pm. Saint Arnold Brewery, 2000 Lyons. 713.686.9494. saintarnold.com
SAINT ARNOLD BREWING CO. 24TH ANNIVERSARY RARE CELLAR TASTING
Jun 10 Sample a wide range of one-of-a-kind selections and aged beauties pulled from deep within the belly of the Saint Arnold brewery. You’ll get 2 oz samples of each beer, access to the Houston Dairymaids Cheese tasting table, and a special souvenir 24th anniversary tasting glass. Tickets $60. 2 pm. Saint Arnold Brewery, 2000 Lyons. 713.686.9494. saintarnold.com
HAPPY HOUR WITH PINOT’S PALETTE
DIY DOWNTOWN WITH POP SHOP AMERICA
Join the DIY movement and unleash your inner crafter with Pop Shop America’s DIY Downtown. Gather your friends, family and co-workers for a one-of-a-kind arts and crafts workshop at unique pop-up locations in the heart of Downtown Houston. Listen to music and snack on savory treats from Local Foods while making everything from hand-crafted candles to cocktail infusions. $35. 6:30–8:30 pm. downtownhouston.org
Jun 13 Sunset Coffee Building, 1019 Commerce
Workshop: DIY Felt Coffee Koozie & Dipped Spoons
Jul 11 Le Meridien, 1121 Walker
Workshop: DIY Candles with Essential Oils
Aug 8 WeWork, 708 Main
Workshop: DIY Coffee Mugs
Jun 16, Jul 14, Aug 18 Get your gloves out and sign up for a Volunteer Workday at Buffalo Bayou Partnership. Help maintain and revitalize Buffalo Bayou this summer while having fun. No tools necessary. Just sign up and complete the online volunteer waiver required. 8:30–11:30 am. The Water Works at Buffalo Bayou Park. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org
Jun 17 Saint Arnold is opening their doors for Father’s Day! Spend an afternoon with dad enjoying great beer, bar games, and food from the brewery. Admission is free. 11 am. Saint Arnold Brewing Co., 2000 Lyons. 713.686.9494. saintarnold.com
HAPPY HOUR WITH PINOT’S PALETTE
Jun 20, Jul 18, Aug 15 Make plans for an
unforgettable evening of fun and fine art where the wine and the canvases are provided! All you need to do is bring your friends and get ready to be inspired by local artists from Pinot’s Palette who will guide you step-by-step through a featured painting. At the end of the evening, leave with your own masterpiece. Please note that this is an outdoor event. Main Street Square, 1000 block of Main. Space is limited, $22. 5:30–8 pm.
photo by Morris Malakoff
2018 LGBT HOUSTON PRIDE PARADE
Jun 23 The 2018 Houston LGBT Pride Parade features
Jul 14–15 Shark Weekend is back and better
more than 115 businesses, organizations and other community supporters who will line the streets of Downtown Houston with their brightly colored flags and floats. The parade pre-show will begin at 8 pm and the parade itself will begin at 8:30 pm. General admission is free, but VIP and reserved seating options are available. pridehouston.org
than ever with dive shows, shark arts and crafts, conservation booths and plenty of giveaways. Plus, meet shark divers and learn fun facts. Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby. 713.223.3474. downtownaquarium.com.
CITGO FREEDOM OVER TEXAS
Jul 28 Calling all craft enthusiasts, proud beer
Jul 4 Fireworks will ignite the sky, and country tunes will set the stage for Houston’s annual patriotic celebration, Freedom Over Texas. Celebrating 31 years of July 4th music, fireworks and fanfare on Buffalo Bayou, this big bash will turn it way up with live music, fun family activities and stunning pyrotechnics. Tickets $5–$10. 4–10 pm. houstontx.gov
NATIONAL FRENCH FRY DAY
Jul 13 Celebrate National French Fry Day with Saint Arnold’s signature hand-cut frites. Elevate your frites with their toppings bar and wash them down with their beer. Admission is free. 5 pm. Saint Arnold Brewery, 2000 Lyons. 713.686.9494. saintarnold.com
HOUSE OF BLUES LOCAL BREWS, LOCAL GROOVES
nerds and brew-curious beginners! House of Blues’ Ultimate Craft Beer and Music Festival returns featuring more than 20 local craft breweries, 40+ beers and rare releases, local bands and DJs, brew-inspired pub food pairings and more. Part House party, part street festival, Local Brews, Local Grooves combines craft brews with an eclectic mix of buzzworthy local bands and highlights flagship brands from hometown brewers, along with rare and cellared beers. $15–$65. 3–8 pm. 21+ only. House of Blues, 1204 Caroline, Houston, 77002.
SHOP LOCAL MARKET AT SAINT ARNOLD
Jun 22 A fun night of local beer and shopping for handmade crafts, clothing and gifts. Admission is free. 5 pm. Saint Arnold Brewing Co., 2000 Lyons. 713.686.9494. saintarnold.com.
2018 LGBT HOUSTON PRIDE FESTIVAL
Jun 23 The 2018 LGBT Pride Festival which takes place around City Hall, Hermann Square and Tranquility Park showcases more than 200 exhibitors and has something for everyone—like the Houston LGBT History Exhibit, Family Fun Zone, Health and Wellness Pavilion, free HIV testing and more. Attendees will also enjoy entertainment by a whole cast of local and national artists. Noon–7 pm. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged. Hermann Square, 901 Bagby.
CITGO FREEDOM OVER TEXAS photo by Richard Carson
The events listed are confirmed at the time of printing. For a full listing of Discovery Green’s summer 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.
RAINBOW ON THE GREEN
SPECIAL EVENTS SUNDAYS IN THE PARK
Jun 3–24 Make Sundays your favorite day in the park. Enjoy rounds of Jenga, cornhole and Bocce and jam out to live local music! Free. 2–5 pm.
DISCOVERY GREEN FLEA BY NIGHT PRESENTED BY GREEN MOUNTAIN ENERGY
Jun 16, Jul 21, Aug 18 Treasure hunt for all things
vintage, handmade, recycled, repurposed and renewed. Live local music, food trucks, and fun under the stars and twinkling lights! Free. 6–10 pm.
RAINBOW ON THE GREEN
Jun 22 The 9th Annual Land Rover Houston Central’s Rainbow on the Green returns to the park! Always an unforgettable celebration of Houston’s LGBT community, featuring electrifying performances and community celebrations. Featured performances include Edward Salles, The Patternist and Deborah Cox. Free. 7–10 pm.
Jul 21 Houston Cinema Arts Society’s 8th annual Julydoscope is a free evening of music, dance, and film. Free. 7–10 pm.
WEEKLY EVENTS YOUTH POETRY PERFORMANCE SESSION
Jun 1 Think on your feet! Writers in the Schools (WITS) writing and performance poetry workshops for poets ages 13–19. Free. 6:30–8 pm.
MY FIRST MUSIC LESSONS
Jun 2 Divisi Strings leads My First Music Lesson, a chance for kids to pick up a violin and start their musical journey. This hands-on experience brings young, professional musicians to Discovery Green to teach the basics of music in a fun and friendly environment. Children grades 1–8. 2–3 pm.
Jun 2–Aug 25 Bring your paper, plastic and aluminum to a MY FIRST MUSIC LESSONS
recycling station at Discovery Green. 11 am–2 pm.
YOUNG WRITERS WORKSHOP
Saturdays Jun 2–Aug 25 Kids learn to express their thoughts and develop language skills, thanks to Writers in the Schools (WITS), HPL Express and Discovery Green in Houston’s only free and open writing workshop for kids. Limited to 25 students, first come first serve. 10:30–11:30 am.
Saturdays Jun 2–30 Girls Inc. hosts a fun, hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education program for kids. Space is limited to 40 kids on a first-come, first-serve basis. 12:30–1:30 pm.
KAYAK RIDES ON KINDER LAKE AND MODEL BOATS
Through Aug 26 Leisurely kayak around Kinder Lake or control a model boat and enjoy all the fish swimming beneath the surface. No reservation required. Check discoverygreen. com for schedule updates. Some events may be affected by weather. $5 per person for kayak. 11 am–7 pm.
ENTERTAINMENT THURSDAY CONCERTS PRESENTED BY UHD
Family-friendly concerts in the park featuring the best in Gulf Coast music. Blankets, lawn chairs and picnics are welcome. No glass containers or outside alcoholic beverages. Food, beer and wine are available for purchase. Free. 6:30–9 pm.
FITNESS IN THE PARK
HOUSTON FOOD FEST
Mondays 11:30 am–12:30 pm Tuesdays 6:30–7:30 pm
Jun 7 Rosie Flores with The Octanes Jun 14 John Doe with VODI Jun 21 Ruthie Foster with The Peterson Brothers Jun 28 Dale Watson with Celine Lee
Mondays 12:30–1:30 pm
Tuesdays 6–8 pm
An evening of acoustic music from some of Houston’s top talent on the Grace Event Lawn. This muchloved local series challenges bands to rearrange and reimagine songs using acoustic instruments only; resulting in unique, intimate and soulful performances.
Jun 10 The Tontons, The Suspects, VODI, Tightn’ Up, and Only Beast. 5:30–9 pm
Wednesdays 6:30–7:30 pm
Thursdays 6:30–8 pm
Thursdays 6:30–7:30 pm
BANK OF AMERICA SCREEN ON THE GREEN PRESENTED BY TAQUERIAS ARANDAS
Beloved family movies under the stars and Houston’s skyline. Arrive one hour early for contests and activities. Free.
Saturdays 9–10 am
Jun 23 Despicable Me 3 (PG) 2017, 90 min., 8 pm. CC Spanish
Jul 28–29 Get excited about Tiger Weekend at the Downtown Aquarium. Come out for a funfilled day learning about tiger conservation, their adaptations, and how you can help save tigers in the wild. Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby. 713.223.3474. downtownaquarium.com.
SAINT ARNOLD ROOT BEER FLOAT DAY
BANK OF AMERICA SCREEN ON THE GREEN
Aug 5 Join in on an afternoon of family-friendly fun and enjoy Saint Arnold Classic Root Beer Floats— made with local Fat Cat Creamery Mexican Vanilla ice cream—along with other special variations. Every Root Beer Float purchase will come with a limited edition souvenir Root Beer plastic cup. Adults can enjoy special beer floats and a full line-up on tap. Admission is free. 11 am. Saint Arnold Brewing Co., 2000 Lyons.
HOUSTON FOOD FEST
Aug 18 The 2nd Annual Houston Food Festival will showcase more than 70 different local restaurants, eateries, cafes and local food trucks right in Hermann Square. Celebrate the culinary culture in Houston, jam out to an exciting musical line-up of local and national talent and end your summer with a full belly. Tickets start at $5. Noon–10 pm. Herman Square, 900 Smith.
SPEAKER SERIES CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS IN TEXAS BY RON GOODWIN
June 21 Dr. Goodwin will discuss how Confederate monuments as symbols continue to divide our country. $5. Noon–1 pm. 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912.
CARLOS CRUZ-DIEZ AT THE CISTERN: SPATIAL CHROMOINTERFERENCE
EXHIBITS & VISUAL ARTS
photo by Paul Hester
CARLOS CRUZ-DIEZ AT THE CISTERN: SPATIAL CHROMOINTERFERENCE
Through Jan 2019 A unique site-specific environment by world-renowned artist Carlos Cruz-Diez in the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern. The unique art installation creates a situation in space involving the dematerialization, transfiguration, and ambiguity of color through movement. By projecting moving chromatic interference modules on objects and people, these become transparent and virtually change condition and form. The spectator becomes both actor and author of a complete chromatic event, which evolves through space. Open Wed–Fri, 3:30–6 pm and Sat–Sun, 11 am–6 pm. $10 per person; $8 for seniors 65+ with ID, youth ages 9–17 and students 18+ with ID. Admission is free on Thursdays. Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, The Water Works, 105 Sabine. buffalobayou.org
MEXICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY & CULTURE IN 20TH CENTURY HOUSTON MURAL
SOUTH AND NORTH OF THE BORDER
DUMPED AND FORGOTTEN BELOW THE MILAM STREET BRIDGE
May 15–Jun 30 Celebrate the many contributions of
Jun 1–Aug 4 One of the highlights of the Dumped
our city’s Mexican-American community. In the spirit of the great Mexican muralists, this vibrant collective artwork, Mexican Culture in 20th Century Houston, highlights the places, personalities, concepts and events that shaped the Mexican-American community and laid the foundation for the multicultural city we live in today. Most weekdays will feature artists Jesse Sifuentes and Laura Lopez Cano. Days and hours vary according to weather and artist availability. Free. 10 am–4 pm. 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org
and Forgotten Below the Milam Street Bridge exhibit is an amazing, never-before exhibited Civil War era archeology collection that has received new life with modern conservation treatments and has been researched by experts in munitions. Free. 10 am–4 pm. 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org
SOUTH AND NORTH OF THE BORDER: HOUSTON PAINTS HOUSTON
Aug 16–Nov 2 The Houston Paints Houston exhibit brings together more than 60 works created over more than 130 years that can help present-day Houstonians better understand how the vision of the city evolved and helped create the modern city in which we live. Free. 10 am–4 pm. 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org
datebook. BLANKET BINGO
Market Square Park is open daily from 6 am–11 pm. Blankets, lawn chairs, and picnics are welcome; food, beer and wine are available for purchase at Niko Niko’s. No glass containers or outside alcoholic beverages are allowed. Metered on-street parking is available and free after 6 pm. marketsquarepark.com #marketsquarepark
photo by Morris Malakoff
MARKET SQUARE PARK
BODY BY BROADWAY
Jun 12 & 26, Jul 10 & 31, Aug 14 & 28 In partnership with Theatre Under the Stars and Define Mind & Body, the popular Body by Broadway is back at Market Square Park! Sing, squat and plank along to some of your favorite Broadway tunes. Enjoy an hourlong sweat sesh while unleashing your inner Broadway star at the park. 6:30 pm. Free.
BACKYARD JAMS: MARKET SQUARE PARK CONCERT SERIES
Rock out this spring in the Historic District’s own backyard with a recurring concert series sure to get you on your feet. Enjoy a special performance by local artists, kick back on the lawn, play a round of corn hole, and sip on your favorite local brewskis. 7 pm. Free.
Fri, Jun 15 Ume
Our summer concert series kicks off with Ume, the explosive Austin-based indie rock band who’ve earned a loyal following for their acclaimed live performances and clever but unpretentious music. Enjoy the perfect pairing of live music and craft brews from the exclusive beer partner for this event Eureka Heights Brew Company. Quench your thirst from their signature flagship beers including their award-winning cream ale, Buckle Bunny.
Thu, Jul 12 Dollie Barnes & VODI
The evening will open with VODI who brings a unique ambient, nostalgic sound followed by Dollie Barnes who’s won over fans with her vocals and her talented band pieced together from other well-known Houston acts. Enjoy the perfect pairing of live music and craft brews from the exclusive beer partner for this event, Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company. Quench your thirst with, Pinappel!, their Belgian-inspired seasonal, or any of their five tasty flagship beers.
Fri, Aug 10 The Wheelworkers
Don’t miss local favorites, The Wheel Workers. The Houston-based five-piece band is best known for their politically conscious pop songs with folk and punk hooks. Enjoy the perfect pairing of live music and craft brews from the exclusive beer partner for this event BAKFISH Brewing Company, Pearland’s newest brewery. Quench your thirst from their signature flagship beers including new seasonal ales.
Jun 21, July 19, Aug 16 This popular park favorite is back! Bring your blanket, lawn chairs or snag one of the tables at the park for a night of music and great prizes. $10 admission includes one bingo packet (approx nine games). Additional games and daubers can be purchased for $1 each. Benefits Market Square Park and Buffalo Bayou Partnership. Note—Blanket Bingo is a monthly event through September. 6–9 pm. Bingo begins at 7 pm.
Be sure to follow Historic Market Square on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for special event announcements, weather-related updates and other happenings in the neighborhood’s eclectic dining and bar scene.
* JUN 21 – PRIDE EDITION * It’s Pride Week and we’re raising our rainbow flag! Be entertained by the lovely Violet S’Arbleau, Miss Gay Texas America 2017, who will co-host the evening alongside John Mills McCoin, your favorite zany announcer.
SAINT ARNOLD PUB CRAWL
Jul 7 Beer lovers rejoice! Celebrate summer at Saint Arnold Brewing Company as their famous Pub Crawl returns to Downtown Houston. Hitting several bars in and around the Historic District area, the fun will begin at 2 pm and end at Market Square Park, where crawlers can celebrate a job well done and enjoy live music by Mobley.
MOVIES MARKET SQUARE PARK PRESENTS THE QUIRKY & THE CLASSICS
Forget about trekking to the theater for your movie fix and come Downtown instead! Join us at Market Square Park for these fantastic films under the stars:
Jun 28 Pretty In Pink, PG-13, 1986, 96 min Jul 26 Stand By Me, R, 1986, 89 min Aug 24 Field Of Dreams, PG, 1989, 107 min
photo by Adam Moroz
TOURS LOOKING BACK HISTORY TOURS
Jun 2, Jul 7, Aug 25 Take a look back with local historian and author Louis Aulbach to the late 1800s when Houston was founded. He will share stories about the Allen brothers and provide historical information about the people, places and events that helped shape our city. $40. 10–11:30 am. Allen’s Landing, 1005 Commerce. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org
Jun 8, Jul 13 Escape from the city and enjoy the cool
CONCERTS REVENTION MUSIC CENTER
Jun 1 Nacho Jun 5 Dua Lipa Jun 15 Hombres G & Enanitos Verdes Jun 22 Victor Manuelle Jun 23 Joe with KeKe Wyatt & Jon B Jul 6 Louis the Child, TroyBoi, Big Wild, R.LUM.R Jul 14 Echo & The Bunnymen Jul 20 Grungefest: A Tribute to ’90s Alt Music Aug 16 Thomas Anders & Modern Talking Band Aug 23 Billy Currington Revention Music Center’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. Revention Music Center, 520 Texas. 800.745.3000. reventionmusiccenter.com
HOUSE OF BLUES HOUSTON
Jun 1 Big Head Todd & The Monsters Jun 2 José Madero Jun 3 The Posies Jun 6 Flatbush Zombies Jun 9 Biz Markie: ‘80s vs ‘90s Jun 9 Aly & Aj Jun 12 Sir Sly Jun 13 Nipsey Hussle Jun 16 Ledisi Jun 22 Smoke Dza And Bodega Bamz Jun 28 Geoff Tate Jun 29 Eric Nam Jun 30 Trixie Mattel Jul 6 Fantastic Negrito Jul 6 The Mighty Mighty Bosstones Jul 17 Lake Street Dive Jul 22 Seether Jul 29 O.A.R. Aug 5 Tory Lanez Aug 10 Us The Duo 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.
Jun 2 Paul Simon Jun 7 Harry Styles Jun 9 Shania Twain Jun 10 Maroon 5 Jul 17 Smashing Pumpkins Jul 18 Sam Smith Jul 26 Daryl Hall & Oates and Train Aug 3 Panic! At The Disco Aug 10 Jeff Lynne’s ELO Aug 22 Shakira 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 Jun 28–30 High Caliber Gun & Knife Show Jun 30 NPC Branch Warren Classic and Super Show Expo
Jul 1 High Caliber Gun & Knife Show Jul 20–22 Outdoor Sportsman Show—Hunting, Shooting Sports and Fishing
Jul 21–22 Bridal Extravaganza Jul 28–29 Premier Gun Show Aug 4 Ultimate Kids Expo The George R. Brown Convention Center’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas. 713.853.8000. grbhouston.com.
breeze as you glide along Buffalo Bayou’s waters during their exclusive Twilight Tours. Bring the entire family and look for graceful herons, jumping fish, and even an occasional alligator on the banks. Tickets: $7 adults and $5 for kids ages 4–12. Reservations required. 6–8:30 pm. Sabine Promenade Boat Launch. 713.752.0314 ext.103.
BUFFALO BAYOU ECOLOGY WALKING TOURS
Jun 16, Jul 21 The tour will highlight how the landscape and ecology of 19th-century Texas created Houston, as well as the importance of prairies in rebuilding this astonishing and all-but-vanished ecosystem. Free. 10:30–11:30 am. The Water Works at Buffalo Bayou Park. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org
PORT-TO-PORT BOAT TOURS
Jun 16, Jul 14, Aug 26 Cruise around from the old port of Houston to the new port with bayou guide Andrew Groocock as he takes a historical tour of the upper channel of Buffalo Bayou. The seven-milelong trip will focus on the historical significance of this industrial stretch and Houston. Tickets $45 per person. 10 am–noon. Allen’s Landing, 1005 Commerce. 713.752.0314 ext. 103. buffalobayou.org
HERITAGE SOCIETY HISTORIC HOMES TOUR
Nestled among 19 acres in the heart of Downtown Houston, the Heritage Society boasts eight historic structures dating from 1823 to 1905. Each historic structure is authentically restored to reflect its original magnificence. Tickets $15 adults, $12 seniors, $6 children 6–8 and kids under 5 are free. Sam Houston Park, 1100 Bagby. Thu–Sat. Times vary. 713.655.1912.
MINUTE MAID PARK TOUR
Get a behind-the-scenes look at Minute Maid Park including historic Union Station, broadcasting booth and press boxes, Astros’ and visitors’ dugouts, luxury suites and much more. Tickets $15 adults, $12 seniors and $10 for kids 3–12. Mon–Sat, 10 am and noon. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. 713.259.8687. astros.com
datebook. HOUSTON ASTROS
Jun 1–3 Astros vs. Boston Red Sox Jun 5–6 Astros vs. Seattle Mariners Jun 18–20 Astros vs. Tampa Bay Rays Jun 22–24 Astros vs. Kansas City Jun 25–27 Astros vs. Toronto Blue Jays Jul 5–8 Astros vs. Chicago White Sox Jul 9–12 Astros vs. Oakland Athletics Jul 13–15 Astros vs. Detroit Tigers Jul 27–29 Astros vs. Texas Rangers Aug 9–12 Astros vs. Seattle Mariners Aug 14–15 Astros vs. Colorado Rockies Aug 27–29 Astros vs. Oakland Athletics Aug 30–31 Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels
SPORTS SAINT ARNOLD BREWING COMPANY TOUR
Visit Saint Arnold Brewing Company’s Brewery and get a behind-the-scenes look at the brewing process. Their knowledgeable staff will explain the history, ingredients, and equipment used to produce the freshest beer. Tours are available Mon–Fri at 1 pm and 3 pm, and Sat at noon, 1 pm, and 2 pm. After the tour, guests are welcome to stay for a free tasting. Admission is free Mon–Fri and is $10 on Sat. No reservations required. All minors under the age of 21 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Saint Arnold Brewing Company, 2000 Lyons.
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 walking perspective within a few hours while you have effortless fun on a Segway. $80. Daily: 10 am, noon, 2 pm, 4 pm and 6 pm. Meet at Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 866.673.4929. segwaytoursofhouston.com
DISCOVER HOUSTON TOURS
One of Houston’s oldest tour companies offering Historic Pub Crawl tours, Ghost tours of Downtown, Historic walking/driving tours of Downtown and more. Only certified professional tour guides are used on Discover Houston Tours. Ticket prices vary.
ASTROS SUMMER STREET FESTIVAL
Jun 2 The Astros Summer Street Fest will feature live music by the Mike Donnell Band, games, food trucks, cooling fans, cold beer, and more. Come early and be one of the first 1,000 fans to receive an Astros World Champions cell phone fan, perfect for the summer. A 6/2 game ticket is required for entry into the Street Fest. 3–6 pm. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. astros.com
HONDURAS VS. EL SALVADOR
Jun 2 For the second time in Houston, the national teams of El Salvador and Honduras will square off in El Clasico Centroamericano. Tickets start at $30. 7 pm. BBVA Compass Stadium, 2200 Texas. bbvacompassstadium.com
USA RUGBY VS. SCOTLAND
Jun 16 International rugby returns to the BBVA Compass Stadium with a can’t-miss match between USA Rugby and Scotland. Tickets start at $23. 8 pm. BBVA Compass Stadium, 2200 Texas. bbvacompassstadium.com
HOUSTON ROLLER DERBY
Jun 16, Jul 21, Aug 25 Bring the family Downtown and check out one of Houston’s toughest competitions as four teams from the all-female, amateur, flat-track roller derby league compete in a double-header. Doors open at 6 pm and the bouts start at 7. This event is known to sell out, so you’ll want to get there early to ensure good seats. $15–$25.Revention Music Center, 520 Texas.
For schedule info and tickets, call or visit website. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. 877.927.8767.
Jun 9 Dynamo vs. Colorado Rapids (Star Wars Night)
Jun 29 Dynamo vs. C.D. Monterrey Jul 3 Dynamo vs. LAFC (Honoring Heroes Night)
Jul 7 Dynamo vs. Minnesota United Jul 21 Dynamo vs. FC Dallas Jul 25 Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union Aug 4 Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City Aug 18 Dynamo vs. Real Salt Lake Aug 23 Dynamo vs. FC Dallas For schedule info and tickets, call or visit website. BBVA Compass Stadium, 2200 Texas. 713.276.GOAL.
Jun 3 Dash vs. North Carolina Courage Jun 22 Dash vs. Portland Thorns (Pride Night) Jul 11 Dash vs. Orlando Pride (70’s Night) Aug 5 Dash vs. Utah Royals FC Aug 17 Dash vs. Washington Spirit Aug 25 Dash vs. Sky Blue (Fan Appreciation Night) For schedule info and tickets, call or visit website. BBVA Compass Stadium, 2200 Texas. 713.276.GOAL.
A Downtown Institution For four decades Treebeards has been a Downtown staple— serving up hearty, delicous bowls of their signature red beans and rice and more.
EDITED BY STEFANIE PASCACIO
�A THE GUIDE TO EATING DOWNTOWN
plate. These listings are not reviews but are a guide to Downtown dining spots. “Recommended” restaurants are selected by downtown editors and are based on food quality, menu selection, service, ambiance and value. v RECOMMENDED NEW! JUST OPENED B Breakfast BR Brunch L Lunch D Dinner LN Late Night
Average Price of an Entrée $ $10 or less $$ $11–$19 $$$ $20–$29 $$$$ $30+
For a searchable database of downtown Houston restaurants by cuisine, location and price, visit downtownhouston.org and click on Guide.
1600 Bar + Grille American Located on the lobby-
Benihana of Tokyo Japanese While some restaurants allow their guests to view the kitchen, this Japanese grill brings the kitchen to you. Benihana chefs set up shop right in front of your table. The meal is made from scratch, and you can witness the entire show. benihana.com. 1318 Louisiana, 713.659.8231. L & D Daily. $$$
v Biggio’s American Biggio’s is not your average sports bar. The two-story sports haven named after the Houston baseball legend, Craig Biggio, boasts a large drink selection, upscale bar food, and seats that come with views of flat screen TVs as far as the eye can see. 1777 Walker, 713.654.1777. L & D Daily. $$ NEW! BirdDog Saint American The spacious twostory bar is a great place to enjoy live music, sports, and mingle with friends. Opt for any of their savory gourmet pizzas, the BirdDog Burger, or sit at the raw bar and indulge in fresh ceviche. birddogsaint.com. 711 Main. 832.767.5574. L, D & LD Mon–Sat. $$
level of the Hilton Americas–Houston hotel, 1600 Bar + Grille brings farm-fresh ingredients to the menu for a just-picked flavor. Featuring locally-sourced seasonal fresh produce, plus Certified Angus Beef and Gulf seafood dishes prepared from scratch, you can guarantee farm-to-fork freshness. hilton.com. 1600 Lamar, 713.739.8000. B, L & D Daily. $$
Birraporetti’s Italian This Italian restaurant/
v Andalucia Restaurant & Bar Tapas/Spanish Dim lighting, large wooden tables and heavy iron accents provide for a cozy, rustic atmosphere. The menu features large dishes, such as paella for up to 16 people, and tapas that range from the traditional such as gambas al ajillo (shrimp cooked in olive oil and garlic) and empanadas, to veal tongue and oxtail. andaluciatapas.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, 832.319.6675. L Mon–Fri, D Mon–Sat. $$
The Bistro American The Bistro is a full-service
Artista American Artista offers inspirational
contemporary American cuisine and theatrical ambiance with high ceilings, glass walls and sweeping views of the Downtown skyline. artistahouston.com. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby, 713.278.4782. L Mon–Sat; D Tue–Sat (Open for L & D on Sun only if a theater performance is scheduled). $$$ v Azuma Sushi & Robata Bar Japanese/Sushi Voted “Best Sushi in Houston” by Citysearch.com, this new-age Japanese restaurant is anything but typical. The ambience is terrific, the sushi is innovative and fresh and the outside seating area provides great people watching. azumadowntown.com. 909 Texas, 713.223.0909. L & D Mon–Sat. $$
Ballpark Café American Enjoy the all-American cuisine
and a nostalgic atmosphere for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just across the street from Minute Maid Park, Ballpark Café is a great place to have a pre/post-game meal. westin.com/Houston-Downtown. The Westin Houston Downtown, 1520 Texas, 713.228.1520. B, L & D Daily. $ v Barnaby’s at Market Square American A local favorite, Barnaby’s serves up oversized sandwiches, salads and burgers, putting a Southwest spin on traditional deli dishes. Colorful murals adorn the walls of the restaurant along with large windows for a perfect view of the park. barnabyscafe.com. 801 Congress, 713.226.8787. B & L Mon–Sat; D Fri–Sat. $ v Batanga Tapas + Drinks Latin This tapas joint whips up delicious dishes inspired from Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Chile—anywhere that sangria is served. The spacious patio is as good as it gets when it comes to outdoor dining with its festive twinkle lights, great music and stellar views of the Historic District and Market Square Park. batangahouston.com. 908 Congress, 713.224.9500. L & D Daily; BR Sat & Sun. $$
Irish bar is a Theater District staple. Their delicious pizzas continue to hit the spot, while items such as the chicken picatta and La Dolce Vita have become standouts. Enjoy a signature dessert to finish the meal. birrarestaurant.com. 500 Louisiana, 713.224.9494. L, D & LN Daily. $$ restaurant serving up breakfast and dinner in a casual atmosphere. Courtyard by Marriott, 916 Dallas, 832.366.1600. B & D Daily. $ v Blue by Massa Seafood This upscale and elegant restaurant offers up a fine selection of American and Seafood cuisine. Among the esteemed list of favorites, the Lobster Bisque is a standout. Superior service and a great dining atmosphere allow guests to enjoy a memorable dining experience. Blue also offers occasional live entertainment and dancing is highly encouraged! massas.com. 1160 Smith, 713.650.0837. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$
Blue Fish Sushi Japanese Not your typical Japanese
restaurant. Don’t expect small, minimal décor. Be prepared for innovative sushi in a high-energy atmosphere at Bayou Place. thebluefishsushi.com. 550 Texas, 713.225.3474. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$
v Bombay Pizza Co. Indian Fusion Fusing the cuisines of India with pizza, innovative creations are served on a homemade, dense, thin and crispy crust. Try the saag paneer, which is topped with fresh spinach and four cheeses or the Gateway to India topped with cilantro, tandoori chicken, garlic and artichoke hearts. bombaypizzaco.com. 914 Main, 713.654.4444. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $ NEW!
Boomtown Coffee Main St. Coffee House
Bovine & Barley American Bovine & Barley is a
beautifully designed urban bar and eatery with a heavy focus on beef and beer. The space has an industrial feel which is complimented by warm wood accents and huge HTX letters that hang illuminated on an exposed brick wall. Highlights from the menu include brisket tacos, meatloaf muffins on top of jalapeno mash, 1836 beer can chicken and a variety of burgers. Not to metion over 42 beers and six hand-crafted cocktails on tap! bovineandbarley.com. 416 Main, 832.742.5683. L Sat–Sun; D, LN Daily. $$ v Brasserie du Parc French Located in the luxury high rise, One Park Place, the interior design and the menu at this beautiful French restaurant were inspired by classic Parisian brasseries and offerings include classic dishes like risotto, steak frites and crêpes, along with delicacies such as escargots and chicken liver pâté. brasserieduparc.net. 1440 Lamar, 832.879.2802. L & D Daily. $$$
Brown Bag Deli Fast Casual Located in the Houston Club building, Brown Bag Deli serves up tasty, fresh sandwiches “just like you like it.” Known for its fluffy, soft bread you won’t be disappointed and neither will your wallet. thebrownbagdeli.net. 702 Main, 713.224.7000. L Mon–Fri. $
Bud’s BBQ Pitmaster Bud’s BBQ Pitmaster brings a
southern-style smoked BBQ to the Avenida District with items like Brisket Sliders and Pulled Pork Tacos on the menu. Featuring an upscale atmosphere, you can get your BBQ fix any day of the week. budsbarbq.com. 1001 Avenida de Las Americas, 832.968.4366. L & D Daily. $$
Burger Theory American Located at street-level of
Downtown’s Holiday Inn, Burger Theory specializes in gourmet burgers, casual American fare and boasts a beer-centric bar. They also serve a mean breakfast! 1616 Main St. B, L, D & LN. $
Buzz Barista Coffee House This full-service espresso bar offers much more than caffeinated beverages for a morning fix. People on the go can grab fresh-baked pastries, Naked juices, yogurt parfaits and fruit cups along with their brewed delights. 811 Main, 713.228.3033. B & L Mon–Fri. $
The Cafe American Located in the lobby of the Hilton Americas. An elaborate buffet is offered for breakfast, with a la carte selections from the menu available for lunch and dinner. Hilton Americas, 1600 Lamar, 713.739.8000. B, L, D & LN Daily. $$
Café Cosmopolita Coffee House Inspired by the
cultural and gastronomical diversity in European cafes, this local coffee shop offers a surplus of coffee, pastries made from scratch, breakfast items, and natural smoothies. cafecosmopolita.com. 1625 Main Street, Suite A-1. 708.890.2041. B Daily. $
Part coffee shop, part bar, Boomtown’s drink menu includes everything from specialty coffees and cocktails to healthier options like Kombucha. Satisfy your appetite day or night with their breakfast, lunch, dinner or brunch options. boomtowncoffee.com. 300 Main Street. 281.846.6995. B, L, D & BR Daily. $$
Cafe Express Fast Casual Need to grab a quick lunch?
Bouray’s Burrito Bar Fast Food Bouray’s offers
from the International chain, Caffé Bene, is housed at GreenStreet with a menu that includes a variety of coffees, Belgian waffles, sandwiches, Italian gelato and other sweet treats! This cozy coffee shop is the perfect place to sit back, relax and escape the bustling downtown streets. caffebeneusa.com. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin, 713.255.2363. B, L & D Daily. $
made-to-order Mexican and Vietnamese food using ingredients that are prepared fresh daily. bourays.com. 609 Clay, 713.652.5999. L Mon–Fri. $
Cafe Express is an informal yet sophisticated choice. You can always find a variety of delicious entrees, salads and sandwiches. cafe-express.com. 650 Main, 713.237.9222. B & L Mon–Sat. $
Caffé Bene Coffee House The first Houston location
China Garden Chinese A popular Chinese restaurant, China Garden has been serving downtown for more than 30 years. Their egg rolls and lemon chicken have become favorites. 1602 Leeland, 713.652.0745. L Mon-Fri; D Daily. $
Chipotle Mexican Known for its large portions,
this Mexican fast casual spot offers a variety of wholesome menu items. chipotle.com. 909 Texas, 713.225.6633. L & Early D Mon–Fri. $
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, 281.556.1010. L, D & LN. $ v Conservatory Beer Garden & Food Hall Conservatory Underground Beer Garden & Food Hall is the first food hall in Houston to showcase a curated list of food vendors, including Moku Bar, Arte Pizzeria, Eazy Does It, Noble Rot Wine Bar, The Pho Spot, Gordi’s Arepas and El Burro and The Bull each of which serve elevated yet casual cuisine. The food hall also features pop-up food carts serving specialty items every week and a beer garden with 60 beers on tap serving an eclectic mix of local craft breweries, foreign imports, and wine. conservatoryhtx.com. 1010 Prairie, 713.398.7697. L, D & LN Daily. $$
Corner Bakery Fast Casual A bakery cafe, offering
fresh breads, salads, sandwiches, soups and sweets in a casual atmosphere. Located right on Main Street Square, you can’t beat the people watching or just relax and watch the rail line and Main Street Square’s jumping fountains. cornerbakery.com. 1000 Main, 713.651.0673. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Domino’s Pizza 975 McKinney, 713.227.3030. $ The District American The District offers classic
American cuisine in a modern setting. Perfect for lunch or dinner before a show! The menu includes a variety of options like burgers, salads, pasta and small plates. There’s definitely something for everyone! thedistricthtx.com. 610 Main St. L & D. $$
The Downtown Aquarium Seafood The menu
features a huge variety and offers something for everyone. While dining, guests are surrounded by a 150,000-gallon aquarium. Enjoy the sights and a great meal at this family-friendly spot. aquariumrestaurants.com. 410 Bagby, 713.223.3474. L & D Daily. $$
Eats Mesquite Grill Classic American Craving a
burger downtown? Popular for its juicy burgers and great-tasting fries, Eats makes for a great lunchtime stop. Guests can make their burgers exactly how they like them. 804 Milam, 713.223.3287. L Mon–Fri. $
Edgar’s Hermano Mexi-South Edgar’s Hermano is a
southern American restaurant with a Mexican-inspired twist located inside The Whitehall Hotel. It perfectly blends Houston’s native Tex-Mex cuisine with classic southern fare offering menu items like Texas corn cakes with pork chicharon and cotija cheese, mac and queso with chipotle-grilled Gulf shrimp, and award-winning southern fried stuffed chicken with masa grits and candied bacon jam. thewhitehallhouston.com. 1700 Smith, 713.739.8800. B, L & D Daily. $$
Einstein’s Bagels Deli Known as a great place to grab freshly-baked bagels and coffee for breakfast, they also serve up delectable lunch choices that include paninis, melts and pizza bagels. Be an office hero and use the catering service to treat your work pals. einsteinbros.com. 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4775. B, L & LN Mon–Sun. $
El Big Bad Mexican Brought to you by the El Gran
Malo crew, this casual Tex-Mex restaurant brings hand-crafted tequila infusions, specialty margaritas and craft beers to the table. The gastrocantina-inspired menu is chock full of tasty tacos with fresh toppings like pomegranate salsa, charred scallions, pumpkin seeds and more. elbigbad.com. 419 Travis, 713.229.8181. L, D & LN Mon–Fri; D & LN Sat & Sun, BR Sun. $$
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. 713.227.0440. L & D Daily. $$
Flying Saucer Pub Fare Offering more than 200 beers, almost half on draft, Flying Saucer is a beer drinker’s paradise. Excellent staff and tasty eats give the place an identity all its own. beerknurd.com. 705 Main, 713.228.7468. L, D & LN Daily. $
v Frank’s Pizza Pizza Home of the “late-night slice,” Frank’s Pizza has built a quality reputation for itself serving up delicious food in a great atmosphere. Not only can you grab a slice of pizza, Frank’s also serves up darn good hamburgers, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, Buffalo wings, lasagna and salads. frankspizza.com. 417 Travis, 713.225.5656. L & D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $ v Grotto Ristorante Italian This trendy Italian eatery is conveniently located on Downtown’s restaurant row— Avenida Houston! Enjoy spectacular views of nearby Minute Maid Park and Discovery Green as you experience a revolutionized take on Italian cuisine from small and sharable plates, to fresh salads and traditional dishes like Neapolitan thin crust pizzas and house made pastas. grottorestaurants.com. 1001 Avenida de las Americas, 713.658.0752. L & D Daily. $$$ 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, 713.337.7321. L & D Daily. $$$ v Guadalajara del Centro Mexican This familyowned restaurant consistently serves up tasty food in a new, very cool environment. It’s the perfect place to bring the family or a large group of coworkers or friends. Great happy hour specials. guadalajarahacienda.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, 713.650.0101. L & D Daily. $$
Hard Rock Café Classic American What do you
get when you mix a music-themed diner with an allAmerican menu? Hard Rock is a great family-friendly spot serving up items such as burgers,nachos and chicken varieties. hardrock.com. Bayou Place, 570 Texas, 713.227.1392. L, D & LN Daily. $$ v Hearsay Gastro Lounge New American Located in a beautifully refurbished historic building, this upscale restaurant and lounge serves up delicious sandwiches, salads and entrées. They feature an extensive wine list, numerous beers on draft and bottle and premium liquors with a focus on Scotch whisky. hearsayhouston.com. 218 Travis, 713.225.8079. L Daily; D Mon–Sat; LN Fri–Sat. $$
v Hearsay on the Green American Located inside the Embassay Suites in Downtown’s Convention District, this upscale restaurant and lounge serves up the finest craft cocktails, New-American dishes and a chic dining experience. The drink menu features an extensive wine list, numerous bottle and draft beers and premium liquors. hearsayhouston.com. 1515 Dallas, 832.377.3362. L & D Daily; LN Fri–Sat; BR Sun. $$
Home Plate Bar & Grill Classic American
A great hangout spot before or after an Astros ballgame. Enjoy a full menu of all-American favorites. homeplategrill.com. 1800 Texas, 713.222.1993. L & D Daily (may close earlier during off–season so call first). $ v House of Blues Restaurant and Bar Southern Classic House of Blues Restaurant and Bar serves
Southern-inspired classic dishes such as voodoo shrimp, St. Louis ribs and the Cajun classic, Creole jambalaya. Praise the Lord and pass the biscuits, you can’t miss the World Famous Gospel Brunch! hob.com. GreenStreet, 1204 Caroline, 888.402.5837. L & D Daily. $$ v Hubcap Grill American Classic Small but packs a punch. One of the best burger joints in town. 1111 Prairie, 713.223.5885. L Mon–Sat. $ v Irma’s Mexican Irma Galvan has been crowned Houston’s Tex-Mex goddess. This authentic spot is a longtime favorite among Houston politicos and downtown business people. Traditional, home-cooked Mexican cuisine is served for breakfast and lunch on weekdays. 22 North Chenevert, 713.222.0767. B & L Mon–Fri; D Thu–Sat. $$
Irma’s Southwest Grill Mexican Irma’s second
location is a hip spot to satisfy a Mexican food craving. Enjoy tasty foods and great drinks for lunch or dinner. Only a few short blocks from Minute Maid Park. irmassouthwest.com. 1314 Texas, 713.247.9651. B & L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. Open all day on Astros baseball game days M–F. Time varies for Saturday games. $$
The Isles Eatery & Rhum Bar Caribbean
The restaurant offers flavorful Caribbean dishes including Mofongo and Ensalada Calamari de Pulpo, along with an astonishing collection of 56 plus island rums used to create custom cocktails rooted in the regional rhythms of the islands. isleseateryandbar.com. 1515 Pease, 713.739.9039. L, D, LN Tue–Sun. $ v Jackson St. BBQ Barbecue This laid-back spot by renowned Houston chefs Bryan Caswell, Bill Floyd and Greg Gaitlin offers smoked brisket, ribs, chicken, sausage and classic southern fixins like potato salad, baked beans, collard greens and cole slaw! Conveniently located across from Minute Maid Park, stop by this Downtown favorite before or after Astros games! jacksonstbbqhouston.com. 209 Jackson St, 713.224.2400. L & D Sat–Sun.
Jason’s Deli Deli Order to please, Jason’s will make your sandwich or salad exactly how you like it. jasonsdeli.com. 901 McKinney, 713.650.1500. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches Deli All subs are served on your choice of fresh-baked French bread or thick-sliced seven-grain bread or try the low-carb lettuce wrap: all the regular sandwich ingredients without the bread. jimmyjohns.com. 820 Main, 713.222.9995. L Mon–Sat. $
plate. v Kulture Caribbean Dubbed “an urban komfort kitchen,” the restaurant explores food, spirits, art and music through cultural contributions of the African diaspora, including Caribbean and Southern cuisine and daily happy hour specials in a casually elevated, yet comfortable dining atmosphere. 701 Avenida De Las Americas. 713.528.8561. L & D. $$
Luby’s, etc. American Enjoy an incredible view of
The Lake House Fast Casual Offering family-friendly
v Lucienne Mediterranean Not only will the chic brass accents throughout this glamorous gem impress you, but the French-inspired dishes like Gravlax with rye toast, caper berries, dill and mustard sauce will tempt your taste buds into coming back for more. You’ll find this glamorous gem sitting on the second level of Hotel Alessandra. hotelalessandra-houston.com. Hotel Alessandra, 1070 Dallas, Second Floor. 713.242.8555. B, L & D Mon–Fri; BR Sat–Sun. $$
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 & Early D Mon–Sun. $
v La Calle Mexican Located in Downtown’s historic Market Square, this cozy restaurant serves authentic Mexican street tacos, tortas and tostadas. Your visit isn’t complete without an Agua Fresca or pit stop at the funky digs’ lucha libre themed bar, La Cantina! In addition to the savory tacos, you’ll find plenty of Mexican beers, drafts, and frozen margaritas. lacalletacos.com. 909 Franklin, 832.735.8226. L, D & LN Daily. $
La Fisheria Coastal Mexican Located in Downtown’s Historic District, La Fisheria serves authentic Mexican Seafood such as sweet shrimp tamales, perfectly prepared fish tacos and a variety of crudos and ceviches. lafisheriahouston.com. 213 Milam, 713.802.1712. L & D Daily. $$
La Palapa Fast Food A Courthouse District favorite,
there’s always a line at this free-standing pink concession stand for breakfast tacos and hamburgers. 1110 Preston, 713.228.9620. B & L Mon–Fri. $ v Last Concert Cafe Mexican Tucked away in the Warehouse District, this Tex-Mex cafe was born in 1949 and still supplies tasty food and local music today. Spend some time on the leafy back patio and you’ll swear you’re in your neighbor’s backyard throwing back a cold one. lastconcert.com. 1403 Nance, 713.226.8563. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sun; LN Fri–Sat; Bar & live music Tue–Sat. $
Line & Lariat Modern American An award-winning
dining experience located in the historic lobby of Hotel Icon’s landmark bank building. The intimate dining room is extravagant, and the exquisite dishes from the Gulf Coast and South Texas emphasize fresh ingredients. A contemporary lounge with a modern setting for cocktails and an elegant after-work meeting place. hotelicon.com. Hotel Icon, 220 Main, 832.667.4470. B Daily; D Mon–Sat. $$$
Little Napoli Italian Theater and moviegoers can now
enjoy these southern Italian dishes before the big show! The healthy options, such as whole wheat pizza crust and low-fat cheeses, are a nice touch. littlenapoli.net. 540 Texas, 713.225.3900. $$ v Local Foods American Local Foods is a culinary expression of all things local. The scratch gourmet sandwich shop showcases seasonal salads, fresh soups, farmers market sides, home-made snacks for the taking, and a raw bar with ceviche and oyster shooters. houstonlocalfoods.com. 420 Main, 713.227.0531. L & D Daily. $$
Lone Star Taco Tex-Mex Fast-casual Tex-Mex
restaurant, specializing in great tacos! Lone Star Taco quickly serves artisanal quality, made-fresh tacos at an affordable price. txlonestartaco.com. 1001 Texas St, 713.223.8226. B, L & D Daily. $
downtown along with 10 food stations offering a wide variety of goodies: a build-your-own salad bar, madeto-order grill, pizza by-the-slice, delightful deli, global café and traditional Luby’s cafeteria line with all the classic dishes. lubysetc.com. 1301 Fannin, 13th Floor, 713.759.9954. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge American Bowlers
and patrons relax on sleek leather couches and enjoy floor-to-ceiling video screens that flash movie clips and music videos as DJs deliver danceable grooves. Delectable munchies are available lane-side and in the lounge. bowlluckystrike.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, Level 3, 713.343.3300. L, D & LN Daily. $$
Main Kitchen American Named Main Kitchen to
reflect its location on Main Street and the hopes of becoming a staple in Houston’s culinary scene, the restaurant seats 120 and boasts an exhibition kitchen providing guests with an insight into the chefs’ creative process. jwmarriotthotelhouston.com/main-kitchen. 806 Main St, 713.400.1245. B, L, D Daily. $$
Mango Tree Thai Bistro Thai A casual Thai joint that
keeps booths packed with hungry downtowners looking for eclectic dishes to satisfy their spice cravings. And there’s a pretty tempting happy hour for drinks and nibbles under $5. mangotreethaibistro.com. 914 Main Street, #125, 713.659.1600. L & D Mon–Sat. $$ v Massa’s South Coast Grill Seafood Like its sister restaurant, you can count on superior service and a great dining atmosphere. Conveniently located close to the convention center and Toyota Center, it’s a prime spot for lunch and dinner. massas.com. The Shops at Houston Center, 1331 Lamar, 713.655.9100. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$
McAlister’s Deli American This fast casual deli serves fresh salads, sandwiches, soups, and giant stuffed potatoes. mcalistersdeli.com. 1001 Avenida de las Americas, 832.940.0660. 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, 713.658.8100. L & D Daily. $$$
McDonald’s Fast Food 808 Dallas @ Milam, 713.651.9449. B & L Daily; D Mon–Fri. $
v Mia Bella Italian You’ll enjoy an eclectic variety of Italian cuisine blended with a Mediterranean feel. A longtime favorite, this intimate little bistro’s simple, yet appealing décor, makes it a downtown standout. bellarestaurants.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, 832.319.6675. L & D Daily; BR & LN Fri & Sat. $$
Minuti Coffee Coffee House The coffee is created by a roast master in Italy, before making its way into the hands of talented baristas. This is the perfect place to bring the laptop and take advantage of Minuti’s free Wi-Fi. They also have beer and wine, which makes it a great pre/post theater spot. Be sure to sample some of the fresh-baked pastries and smoothies, too. minuticoffee.com. 909 Texas, 281.265.3344. B, L, D & LN Daily. $
v MKT BAR International Part of Phoenicia Specialty Foods, it’s the perfect place to stop when you need a chill moment. The bar offers coffee, pastries, wine, beer, gourmet pizza and other yummy nibbles for which Phoenicia is known. phoeniciafoods.com. 1001 Austin, 832.360.2222. B, L & D Daily. $ v The Moonshiners American The Moonshiners Southern Table + Bar offers up a rebellious respite in the bustling urban backdrop of Downtown Houston. The restaurant celebrates and elevates southern culinary traditions serving up moonshine and whiskey in mason jars alongside generous portions of southern comfort foods such as fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and pulled pork sandwiches. 1000 Prairie, 713.226.7717. L & D Mon–Fri; LN Fri & Sat. $$ v Morton’s Steakhouse This award-winning steakhouse offers an outstanding menu. The downtown location features its new bar concept, Bar 12•21, which includes an impressive wine and martini menu along with its specially priced “bar bites.” mortons.com. 1001 McKinney, 713.659.3700. L Mon–Fri; D Daily. $$$$
Murphy’s Deli Deli Indulge in a variety of sandwiches and salads. Hot or cold, Murphy’s specializes in creating your sandwich any way it’s ordered. murphysdeli.com. 601 Jefferson, 713.652.4939. 1900 Main, 713.650.3354. 440 Louisiana, 713.247.9122. 700 Louisiana, 713.547.0660. 1415 Louisiana, 832.663.6113. 500 Dallas, 713.654.0033. B & L Mon–Fri all locations. $
v Niko Niko’s Greek & American Houston icon Dimitri Fetokakis opened his cafe in 2010 at Market Square Park. Favorites such as the gyro and kebob are on the menu along with new items such as the breakfast pita. Specialty coffee drinks, beer and wine also available. nikonikos.com. Market Square Park, 301 Milam. B, L & D Daily. $ v Osso & Kristalla Italian Osso & Kristalla serves up authentic Italian fare in a modern, yet relaxed atmosphere. The casual trattoria features housemade pastries, pastas, wood-fired pizzas and more Italian eats, along with wine, beer, cocktails and local Katz coffee. Enjoy views inside their open concept kitchen or on their breezy outdoor patio. ossoandkristalla.com. 1515 Texas, 713.221.6666. B Mon–Fri; L & D Daily. $$ v Oxbow 7 Bayou Cuisine Upscale restaurant inside Le Meridien Hotel offering guests a touch of elevated cuisine and a sophisticated dining experience like never before. oxbow7.com. Le Meridien, 1121 Walker. B, L & D Daily. $$ v The Oyster Bar Seafood Housed inside Prohibition Supper Club, The Oyster Bar is a street-friendly, neighborhood-centric concept serving an extensive seafood menu including fried shrimp, fried oysters, Gulf Coast & East Coast oysters, pan roasted market fish, and roasted cauliflower & mushroom fettuccine. Get your seafood and burlesque fix all in the same place. prohibitionhouston.com. Prohibition, 1008 Prairie, 281.940.4636. D Daily. $$
Padthai Thai Restaurant Thai A traditional Thai
restaurant located at the ground level of the loft residence Hogg Palace. The warm and cozy atmosphere offers a great setting for a dinner escape and is a local favorite. padthaithairestaurant.com. 401 Louisiana, 713.225.4900. D Daily. $
TREE-CLE DOWN ECONOMICS The Unlikely Rise of a Bona Fide Downtown Institution BY MICHAEL DORSIE When New York real estate speculators John and Augustus Allen purchased the 6,642 acres on the banks of Buffalo Bayou just months after Texas won independence from Mexico in 1836, they certainly couldn’t have imagined what their mosquito infested swampland would look like almost 200 years later. Treebeards founders Dan Tidwell and Jamie Mize can relate. When the intrepid duo opened a modest lunch café next door to a peep show arcade on Preston Street, not even Downtown’s head cheerleader, Bob Eury, could have predicted how the neighborhood would look 40 years later.
Surrounded by mostly abandoned commercial buildings whose tenants had long since fled to greener pastures, the formerly bustling Market Square Park had gradually fallen into disrepair as the retail landscape shifted from Downtown to Uptown in the ’60s and ’70s. Undeterred by the seemingly bleak conditions, Tidwell and Mize saw something where there was little to see, and a future Downtown institution was born. Treebeards—a pillar of Southern cuisine with humble beginnings and momentous growth brought on by legions of early adopters—made its Downtown debut in 1978 as a 30-seat café in a former pool hall serving primarily sandwiches and salads with a few Cajun specialties. The
concept quickly morphed into Downtown’s go-to lunch destination as nearby lawyers, judges, and office workers formed daily lines out the door. The underserved Market Square corridor had an overnight hit on its hands, and Treebeards would outgrow its original location in just two years. “Downtown Houston has evolved immeasurably since the late 1970s,” Tidwell says. “At that time, Market Square was completely neglected. There were very few places to grab quality food, and I saw a unique opportunity to open a restaurant. I had faith that the area would morph into what it is today—albeit at a slightly faster pace.” A hidden gem no more, Treebeards left its Preston Street home in 1980 for an expanded location around the corner in the Baker Travis Building at Market Square—the second oldest building in Houston—where a Day-Glo-infused nightclub with a Go-Go stage reigned supreme at night on the floor directly above the restaurant. By then the dishes had evolved as well, as more Southern and Gulf Coast fare, such as red beans and rice topped with shredded cheddar cheese and green onions, Shrimp etouffee, jambalaya, chicken fried chicken, fresh vegetables, and homemade cakes and pies, had come to define the menu. With its new and bigger home and regular write-ups in the Houston Chronicle, the restaurant’s second iteration soon attracted lunch goers from all over the city who were curious to see what all the fuss was about. “They
needed things to write about just like I needed the customers,” remembers Tidwell, “The editor would call up saying he needed a food shot for this or an interior pic for that, and we were more than happy to oblige him.” Without any aspirations for a second location, Treebeards organically entered into a partnership with the dean of clergy at Christ Church Cathedral, which was making progressive programming additions to the church in the form of a bookstore, classrooms, and a social hall featuring an art and lecture series. By 1981, Treebeards was managing food services in the church’s fellowship hall—The Cloister—on Texas Avenue, where the menu is still offered in the unique setting of the church’s social hall and connecting courtyard. Since then, Treebeards has opened three more Downtown locations, including a third in the bustling tunnel system at 1100 Louisiana in 1990, another at The Shops at Houston Center in 2011, and a fifth outpost ensconced within Pennzoil Place a year later—providing its loyal fans with multiple avenues for both dine-in and takeaway options. Tidwell and Mize sold Treebeards in 2010 to long-time employees Jolie Stinneford (and her husband Charles) and Matt Rowden. Stinneford’s deep connection with Treebeards took root more than 30 years ago when she returned to Houston following a brief stint at the Fontainebleau Hilton in Miami after graduating from the University of Houston’s
Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. She returned just in time to launch the 1100 Louisiana restaurant, eventually becoming general manager of the company’s operations. “I think we’ve done a great job making sure nobody even really knows there’s been a change in ownership,” Stinneford said. “People really love Treebeards and have loved it for 40 years, and we’re doing everything to make sure that love affair with the restaurant continues.” In addition to dine-in and take-out lunch service, the restaurant also operates a fullservice catering department for events of all kinds—from lunch meetings and private parties to bar mitzvahs and weddings. The Market Square flagship location boasts an expansive second floor event space that can accommodate up to 200 guests and an outdoor deck with bird’s eye views of Market Square Park. In four decades, Downtown Houston has evolved in ways that have taken a century or more in older cities like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. The neighborhood now serves as a nexus for dining, hospitality, entertainment, gathering spaces, and residential life along with the electricity that accompanies a fully formed urban core. Treebeards—the elder statesman of Downtown restaurants—has done its part in spreading the gospel (and the buttercake) every step of the way.
v Pappadeaux This local favorite serves up some of the finest and freshest seafood with a Cajun twist! Start with the crispy fried alligator or a bowl of gumbo, try the Chilean Sea Bass or the pasta mardi gras, and top it all off with the praline bread pudding soufflé. pappadeaux.com. 1001 Avenida de las Americas, 713.654.5077. L Fri–Sun; D Daily. $$$
v Prohibition American Prohibition is the home of the Moonlight Dolls who dazzle audiences with their sexy yet fun burlesque performances. Beaming with glitz and glamour, this upscale supper club has an exquisite menu featuring fresh Gulf seafood and steaks cooked to perfection! prohibitionhouston.com. 1008 Prairie, 281.940.4636. D Thu–Sat; BR Sun. $$$
v Pappas BBQ Barbecue Voted one of Houston’s best year after year, this barbecue joint offers an excellent selection with Texas-sized portions. Traditional favorites such as brisket, ribs, sausage and ham are served with Pappas’ flare. Delivery and take-out are available. pappasbbq.com. 1217 Pierce, 713.659.1245. L & D Daily. 1100 Smith, 713.759.0018. L & D Mon–Fri. $
v Quattro Contemporary Italian Vivid colors, creative lighting and a unique design create a sophisticated and inviting ambience for guests. Located in the Four Seasons Hotel, Quattro is one of downtown’s best restaurants. Four Seasons Hotel, 1300 Lamar, 713.652.6250. B, L & D Daily. $$$
v Pappas Bros. Steakhouse Steakhouse Pappas Bros. Steakhouse puts immeasurable care into everything they do, all to provide their guests with a dining experience like no other. They buy the highest-quality ingredients, use a timeless recipe, and cook it flawlessly each and every time. pappasbros.com. 1200 McKinney, 713.658.1995. D Mon–Sat. v Pappasito’s Cantina Tex-Mex One of Houston’s most popular casual Tex-Mex restaurants, Pappasito’s specializes in sizzling fajitas, creamy queso and tortillas that almost melt in your mouth! The Downtown location offers six unique ceviches and crudos that can’t be found at any of the other restaurants. pappasitos.com. Hilton Americas-Houston, 1600 Lamar St, 713.353.4400. L & D Daily. $$
The Pearl Seafood The Pearl at the Sam Houston
Hotel is a coastal-inspired restaurant with a passion for seafood and steak. The menu satiates guests with savory appetizers and salads, entrees like classic shrimp and grits, scallops carbonara and short ribs, and a la carte selections such as premium cuts of steak alongside simply grilled fish and shrimp dishes. pearlrestauranthouston.com. 1117 Prairie, 832.200.8800. B, L & D Daily. $$ v Perbacco Italian An adorable little spot located at street level of one of Houston’s skyscrapers, Perbacco serves up Italian cuisine in a modern and fresh atmosphere. Catering to downtown workers and the theater crowd, you always get quick and friendly service and tasty food. 700 Milam, 713.224.2422. L Mon–Fri; D Thu–Sat. $ v Phoenicia Specialty Foods International If you are in search of yummy food on the go, Phoenicia Specialty Foods is the place for you! This urban gourmet market boasts an incredible salad bar, made-to-order shawarmas and pizzas, grab-n-go sushi, sandwiches and various meat and seafood entrees. This is a one-of-a kind downtown destination where you can appreciate down-to-earth gourmet food prices and a unique variety of flavors. phoeniciafoods.com. 1001 Austin, 832.360.2222. B, L & D Daily. $$ v Potente Italian A sophisticated Italian restaurant, Potente is a dining experience like no other focused on using local products and only the highest quality ingredients. Menu items include daily seafood selections, steaks, homemade pastas and the signature veal osso bucco. potentehouston.com. 1515 Texas, 713.237.1515. D Daily. $$$
Prelude Coffee & Tea Coffee House Get your
coffee fix at this espresso bar located inside Hines’ 609 Main building and pair it with your favorite breakfast and lunch options from local favorite, Morningstar. instagram.com/preludecoffee. 609 Main, 832.382.3466. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Quizno’s Fast Food
1119 Commerce, 713.228.9000. L & D Mon–Sun. $
Rachel’s Café American Rachel’s Cafe is an old
Skyline Deli Deli With their freshly baked bread, Skyline makes a great deli sandwich. 717 Texas, 713.571.0509. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Sol Cafe Mejicano Mexican A family-owned cafe
offering traditional Tex-Mex breakfast and lunch dishes made from fresh ingredients. 1205 Travis, 713.651.0049. B & L Mon–Fri. $ v Spindletop American A favorite Houston seafood restaurant and fine dining experience ideal for birthday parties, family reunions, anniversaries and engagements. Perched on the 34th floor of Hyatt Regency Downtown, this glass-walled restaurant makes one revolution every 45 minutes, ensuring you’ll enjoy 360-degree views of the city and all of its famous landmarks. houstonregency.hyatt.com. Hyatt Regency, 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4775. D Tue–Sat. $$$
fashioned hamburger joint inside the historic Londale Building. This quaint little café has an extensive menu with lots of simple classics like burgers, fries, sandwiches and salads—all made fresh! rachelscafehouston.com. 421 San Jacinto, 713.229.7067. L & D Mon–Sat. $
Stack Burger American This Downtown burger joint is
Roma’s Pizza Italian Located just across from the Preston Station on the METRORail, Roma’s Pizza offers New York-style pizza by the slice or pie, as well as a variety of salads, lasagnas, ravioli, and chicken dishes. 223 Main, 713.222.1184. L & D Daily. $
Sub Roc Fast Casual Located inside 1021 Main you’ll
Russo’s New York Pizzeria Italian Inspired by the
traditional Italian values of family, friends & food, this Houston original doesn’t disappoint when it comes to fresh, delicious, homemade Italian meals. And they serve more than just pizza—try one of their specialty calzones, sandwiches or pastas! nypizzeria.com. 604 Polk, 713.759.9800. L & D Daily. $
Salata American This next-generation salad bar allows
you to create your own, tossed-to-order salad or wrap complete with a variety of fresh greens, a large selection of veggies, fruits, nuts, cheeses and more. Top your order off with one of their signature dressings and your choice of chicken, seafood or tofu! salata.com. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin, 713.275.1088. L & D Daily. $
Sambuca New American A hip, trendy and upscale restaurant right in the mix of Main Street. The menu includes a wide variety of favorites and combined with the live music, Sambuca is Houston’s ultimate supper club. sambucarestaurant.com. 909 Texas, 713.224.5299. L Mon–Fri; D & LN Daily. $$$
The Shops at Houston Center Food Court
Brooklyn Meatball Company, Bullritos, Chick-fil-A, Doozo’s Dumplings & Noodles, Great American Cookie, Leaf & Grain, Murphy’s Deli, Otto’s Barbecue & Hamburgers, Pho Huy Vietnamese Noodle House, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Pretzel Time, Quizno’s Subs, Salata, Simon’s Homestyle Café, Snap Kitchen, Starbuck’s Coffee, Subway, Thai Basil, Treebeards, Wok & Roll. shopsathc.com. 1200 McKinney, 713.759.1442. Mon–Sat, hours vary. $
Shula’s Steakhouse Dark wood, sports memorabilia
and menus hand painted on official NFL game footballs makes Pro Hall-of-Famer Don Shula’s Steak House stand out from the rest. Become a member of the 48oz Club by finishing a 48-ounce Shula Cut. donshula.com. Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4777. B, L & D Daily. $$$
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, 713.651.0227. B & L Daily. $
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. 713.337.3530. B & L. $
Subway Fast Food 405 Main, 713.227.4700. Daily. $ Table 7 Bistro American Table 7 Bistro is a
combination of an upscale, yet casual atmosphere. Weekday happy hour includes $4 well drinks and $2 domestic beers, and it’s happy hour all weekend with $2 mimosas all day on Saturdays and Sundays. district7grill.com. 720 Fannin @ The Club Quarters, 713.227.4800. B, L & D Daily. $
Tejas Grill & Sports Bar American Located
at The Shops at Houston Center, Tejas offers the perfect tailgate menu and full-service bar. tejasgrillandsportsbar.com. 1201 Lamar at The Shops at Houston Center, 713.739.8352. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$
Thai Cafe Asian Make your way to the Historic District
and treat your tastebuds to the authentic flavors of Thai fusion at this local hub. Menu favorites include a variety of Thai dishes including their Crispy Shrimp & Spicy Tamarind Sauce and Kao Soi. thaicafe917.com. 917 Franklin. 713.228.8424. L & D Mon–Sat. $$ v Theodore Rex American Enjoy an intimate dining experience at James Beard Award–winning Chef Justin Yu’s modern American bistro, Theodore Rex. Expect fresh local produce in your dishes coupled with warm hospitality as you walk in. trexhouston.com. 1302 Nance St, 832.830.8592. D Mon–Thu. $$
III Forks American Upscale, warm atmosphere and
impeccable service sets the stage for this sophisticated steakhouse. New York strip and filet mignon, bone-in ribeye, porterhouse, young rack of lamb and veal chop are served with duchess potatoes, off-the-cob cream corn, and perfectly cooked vegetables. Seafood items include Chilean sea bass, Ahi tuna, salmon, halibut, scallops and lobster tails, which are flown in daily. iiiforks.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto, Level 1, 713.658.9457. L Tue–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$$$
sip. v Treebeards Southern A downtown institution for more than 30 years, Treebeards offers tasty Cajun dishes that are sure to satisfy. Favorite menu items include the chicken and shrimp gumbo, red beans and rice and étouffée. For dessert, try the famous butter bar. treebeards.com. 315 Travis, 713.228.2622. Cloisters at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas, 713.229.8248. L Mon–Fri. $
Trofi Restaurant Continental Trofi’s menu is
described as Continental with a Mediterranean and Latin flair and the ambience is simple, yet sophisticated. Lunch buffets are available Monday through Friday. 400 Dallas, Doubletree Hotel, 713.759.0202. B, L & D Daily. $$
Looking for a spot to go after a long day or for a fun night out with friends? Check out some of our favorites!
v Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse This world-class steak house is one of the most elegant dining locations in Houston. It boasts rich mahogany woodwork and one-of-a-kind hospitality. Located in the heart of the Ballpark District and across from Minute Maid Park, Vic & Anthony’s is the ideal spot for entertaining business clients, a special celebration or a pre/ post-game dinner. vicandanthonys.com. 1510 Texas, 713.228.1111. L Mon–Fri; D Daily. $$$$
Bardot | 1070 Dallas
Char Bar | 305 Travis
Walker St. Kitchen American Walker Street Kitchen
Bayou & Bottle | 1300 Lamar
The Commoner | 410 Main, Downstairs
Boots ’n Shoots | 506 Main
For guests of The Cottonmouth Club, the cocktail experience will start before the first drop of liquor is poured. A brainchild of Reserve 101’s Mike Raymond, the bar combines its come-one-come-all atmosphere with world-class cocktails and private barrel-blended whiskey. Daily 4 pm–2 am. cottonmouthhouston.com
serves the freshest offerings from the Gulf Coast, fusing cultural and geographical influences into a culinary feast. 1777 Walker, 713.654.1777. B, L & D Daily. $$
Wimpy’s Hamburgers Fast Food Wimpy’s serves up a pretty good burger but they also have many other down-home favorites. 632 Polk, 713.652.0123. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Wokker at Craft Beer Cellar Asian Food truck
favorite, Wokker, is now housed inside CraftBeer Cellar. Combining spices and cultures that blend harmoniously, Wokker is known for creating unique dishes that incorporate the wok, proteins and Texas cooking techniques. wokkerhtx.com. 907 Franklin, 713.227.0199. L & D. $
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), 832.767.2544. L & D. $
Zero’s Sandwich Shop Deli A great little spot for a
freshly made deli sandwich. zerossandwichshop.com. 809 Dallas, 713.650.3333. 1110 Lamar, 713.655.7722. 507 Dallas, 713.739.9955. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Zydeco Louisiana Diner Cajun This cafeteria-style
Perched on the second floor of Hotel Alessandra above the atrium, Bardot offers luxurious ambiance and menu options poised to please. Unwind with a hand-crafted cocktail at the end of the day, or start your evening with a glass of wine and a light bite sure to delight your taste buds. Sun–Thu 3 pm–midnight; Fri–Sat 3 pm–2 am. hotelalessandra-houston.com/bar-bardot Bayou & Bottle is a chic bourbon concept located in the lobby of Four Seasons Houston. The bar serves over 150 varieties of bourbons and whiskeys along with flavorful cuisine inspired by Houston’s melting pot of cultures. Unique features include the first-ever Topgolf® simulation golf experience, Angels’ Share private dining room, and personalized bourbon lockers. Mon–Wed 11 am–midnight; Thu–Sat 11 am–1 am; Sun noon–midnight. fourseasons.com This Texas-themed bar conveniently located right off the METRORail, features a wide variety of whiskey. If you’re feeling adventurous, try out the super fun larger-than-life PLINKO board which decides your fate when the time comes to take a shot! Wed–Sat 4 pm–2 am. bootsnshootshouston.com
The Boulevardier | 410 Main, Downstairs
This beautiful lounge provides an upscale yet comfortable respite to Main Street every Thursday through Saturday serving the finest craft cocktails. Thu–Sat 6 pm–2 am. thecommonerbar.com/#upstairs
Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge | 308 Main
A fun and quirky bar that doesn’t take itself too seriously (hence the name), but the cocktails are seriously good. Patrons enjoy the speakeasy vibe and the patio terrace for prime people watching. Mon–Sun 4 pm–2 am. twitter.com/badnewsbar
Cajun joint brings Louisiana dishes to the Hospital District of downtown Houston. Traditional Cajun items such as po-boys, jambalaya and gumbo make Zydeco a great lunch stop. A casual atmosphere adds to the enjoyment. 1119 Pease, 713.759.2001. L Mon–Sat; D Tue–Sat. $
Casablanca Lounge | 312 Main
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, 713.400.3330. L & D Daily. $$$
Cellar 7 Wine & Bar Bites | 610 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. Tue–Sat 4pm–2 am, Sun 4 pm–midnight. casablancahouston.com From wine 101 classes and event tastings to enjoying cocktails with friends before a theater show, Cellar 7 is a go-to destination in the skyline district. Wind down after work with a glass of wine or a Texas brew and pair it with a side of grilled oysters or any of the delectable bar bits on their menu. Daily 4–11 pm. district7grill.com
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 Simple, straightforward. Cocktails, beer and wine. Mon–Sun 4 pm–2 am; Sun noon–midnight. thecommonerbar.com NEW!
Cottonmouth Club | 108 Main
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! Mon–Sat 10 am–10 pm; Sun 11 am–7 pm. houston.craftbeercellar.com
Dean’s | 316 Main
Under new ownership and with a new look and feel, Dean’s adds to the cool vibe found on the 300 block of Main. Great attention from the bartenders and the trendy crowd make it a unique place to socialize. Mon–Thu 8 pm–2 am; Fri–Sat 5 pm–2 am. deansdowntown.com
The Dirt Bar | 1209 Caroline
The non-venue rock ‘n’ roll lounge is a popular preand post-show destination spot that has become famous for its performer patronage. Drawing crowds and artists from every venue in the city has allowed The Dirt to host hundreds of memorable after-show events, including Lady Gaga, Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon. Daily 6 pm–2 am. dirtbar.com
The Dive | 809 Pierce
A dive bar built for good vibes, you get the best of both worlds at this lounge with a mixture of free play arcade games, drinks and music by some of the best local DJs and international artists. Fri–Sat 9 pm–2 am. divehtx.com
806 Lounge | 806 Main
A favorite of the locals, 806 Lounge located inside the JW Marriott Houston Downtown, ignites the senses with sophisticated creations. Their mixologists are experts in creating cocktails, lively in conversation, and can recommend a favorite dish to accompany your handcrafted drink. Daily 11 am–11 pm. jwmarriotthotelhouston.com/806-lounge
1820 Bar | 1820 Franklin
This cozy little bar is located just one block north of Minute Maid Park. It’s the perfect place for a pre-game drink or a strong night cap during the week. Eighteen Twenty Lounge shares a door with Joystix Classic Games which is open on the first and last Friday of every month where $15 gets you all night access to practice your Pac-Man skills. Daily 4 pm–2 am. 1820lounge.com
El Big Bad | 419 Travis
El Big Bad is a Gastro-Cantina that specializes in infused tequilas, fresh juice margaritas and cocktails, Mexican and Texan Craft Beer and scrumptious fare. Sun–Thu 11 am–midnight; Fri & Sat 11 am–2 am. elbigbad.com
Flying Saucer | 705 Main
Offering more than 200 beers, with nearly half on draft, Flying Saucer is a great place to hang out and enjoy a cold one. Check out the website for information on beer tastings, trivia night and specials. Mon–Wed 11 am–1 am; Thu & Fri 11 am–2 am; Sat noon–2 am; Sun noon–midnight. beerknurd.com
Frank’s Backyard | 413 Travis
Forget about ordering pizza to-go and enjoy a slice or two at Frank’s Backyard. Whether you take a seat at the beer garden’s nifty airstream trailer housing 40 beers on tap or enjoy a glass of bourbon on their upper level deck, this local hotspot will take your traditional “pizza night” to the next level. Daily 3 pm–2 am. franksbackyard.net.
Henke & Pillot | 809 Congress
Where past meets present, and drinks and dining blend in flawless harmony. Henke & Pillot is more than a dynamic Downtown cocktail lounge. Named after the Houston grocery store chain that occupied the space in the 800 block of Congress over 150 years ago, the simple yet sophisticated setting offers patrons inspired cocktails that are paired with mouthwatering dishes. Wed–Sat 4 pm–2 am. henkehouston.com NEW!
High & Dry Rum Bar | 306 Main, Suite 200
Offering more than 50 different types of rum behind the tiki-themed bar, High & Dry is your go-to destination for all your rum-based cocktail needs. Order a classic or try out the bar’s upgraded infusions of the Mai Tai and Hurricane, or maybe both! Thu–St 4 pm–2 am. highanddryhtx.com
Hoggbirds | 1121 Walker
Iron & Oak | 208 Travis
Lone Star Saloon | 1900 Travis
The Isles Eatery & Rhum Bar | 1515 Pease
MKT BAR | 1001 Austin
Located inside the historic Hermann Lofts building, the neighboring bar sets the perfect ambiance for dates, private parties, and features a traditional menu full of freshly made craft cocktails. Tue–Wed 4 pm–midnight; Thu–Sat 4 pm–2 am. Immerse yourself in this Caribbean hotspot and choose from an astonishing collection of 56 plus island rums used to create delightful cocktails rooted in the regional rhythms of the islands. Tue 4 pm–2 am; Wed & Thu 4–11 pm; Fri 3 pm–2 am; Sat & Sun Noon–2 am. isleseateryandbar.com NEW!
La Cantina by La Calle | 909 Franklin
This authentic Mexican sports bar is draped in vintage lucha libre threads, and is the perfect hangout to throw back a few Micheladas, enjoy your fix of tacos and catch your facorite soccer, boxing or UFC match on one of their large 82″ screen TVs. If you get too carried away, drop by La Cantina’s sister concept, La Calle the next morning or the perfect hangover cure—a big bowl of menudo or caldo! Mon–Wed 3 pm–midnight; Thu–Fri 3 pm–2 am; Sat 11 am–2 am; Sun 11 am–midndight. 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. Mon–Fri noon–2 am; Sat & Sun 1 pm–2 am.
Last Concert Café | 403 Nance
You have to knock three times on the red door to gain entry to the unmarked house in the Warehouse District (well, not anymore). With a backyard stage and sandpit, hoola-hooping and tiki bar, Last Concert has live music most nights. Tue–Fri 11 am–2 am; Sat 5 pm–2 am; Sun 3–9 pm. lastconcert.com
Lawless Spirits & Kitchen | 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. Daily 4–11 pm. lawlesspirits.com
A unique rooftop bar by award-winning Chef Bryan Caswell filled with a delectable menu, craft cocktails, specialty beers and a unique wine selection along with breathtaking 360-degree views of Downtown Houston. Sun–Thu 4 pm–10 pm; Fri–Sat 4 pm–11 pm. hoggbirds.com
Lilly & Bloom | 110 Main St.
Houston Watch Company | 913 Franklin
Little Dipper | 304 Main
Houston Watch Company is located in the lobby of the Bayou Lofts at 913 Franklin and gets its name from the former timepiece company that occupied the space over 100 years ago. From its name to its drinks, Houston Watch Company is the essence of old-school. We suggest trying one of their four different versions of an old fashioned or the strawberry shrub cocktail made with fresh fruit! Sun–Tue 4 pm–midnight; Wed–Sat 4 pm–2 am. houstonwatchcompany.com
HTX Fan Tavern | 1800 Texas
HTX Fan Tavern is a sports-centric bar conveniently located across from Minute Maid Park. It’s the perfect place to pre-game before cheering on the home team or to celebrate after a big victory! htxfantavern.com
Located in the historically chic Raphael Building, this beautiful two-story lounge is known for its specialty cocktails and guest bartenders every Tuesday night. Prepare to be amazed! Daily 4 pm–2 am. lillyandbloom.com This spot is a cool, blue neighborhood bar with pinball machines, cheap bourbon and a bad-ass jukebox. Daily 4 pm–2 am. twitter.com/LittleDipperBar
LIVE Sports Bar & Grill | 407 Main
Located in Historic Market Square, Live Sports Bar & Grill makes you feel like you’re sitting at the game amongst all the action! Watch your favorite team on a number of TVs while you enjoy good eats and a drink from their ever-evolving selection of beer on tap. Daily 11 am–2 am. livesportsbarhouston.com
Lobby Bar | 1600 Lamar
Lobby Bar inside Hilton Americas-Houston is ideal for relaxing conversations or a casual meeting. You can treat yourself to the finest in tequilas, your favorite martini or sip a glass of wine while enjoying a light bite. Mon–Fri 2 pm–2 am; Sat 11 am–2 am; Sun Noon–2 am. hilton.com
The Lone Star Saloon is a true classic Texas dive bar that seems misplaced in its urban setting. The crowd, half aging townies and half world-weary road dogs, are always willing to share have-been-to-hell-and-back stories. Daily noon–2 am. Part of Phoenicia Specialty Foods, MKT BAR is a hip wine and beer bar offering light bites and an urban, yet relaxed setting to hang out with friends on the weekend or unwind with coworkers after a long day. The bar is a local favorite with DJs, bands and fun theme nights. Mon–Wed 7 am–9 pm; Thu 7 am–2 am; Fri & Sat 9 am–2 am; Sun 9 am–8 pm. mktbar.com
Molly’s Pub | 509 Main
This classic Irish pub offers a variety of Irish whiskeys and international beers. Tables and coves lead you to the back, where pool and darts can be found and a second-floor balcony provides excellent views of Main Street and Downtown. Daily 11 am–2 am. mollyspubs.com
Moving Sidewalk | 306 Main
This upscale bar has an intimate setting complete with antique chandeliers, dark lighting and candles. The cocktails at Moving Sidewalk are sure to please as they have hand-crafted ingredients such as rosehip infusion and a fig and marigold shrub. Perfect for a romantic night out or to catch up with friends over drinks! Tue–Sat 4 pm–2 am. twitter.com/movingsidewalk
The Nightingale Room | 308 Main
The Nightingale Room—named for the famous songbird—also references Houston music legend Sippie Wallace, known as the Texas Nightingale during her prime in the 1920s. This entertainmentfocused bar is a casual, comfortable spot to listen to vinyl during the week and will turn up the energy on weekends with live music—dancing is encouraged! Expect a variety of music from all genres. The drink menu features a small selection of house drinks, shots, as well as beer, wine and champagne. Tue–Sat 4 pm–2 am. nightingaleroom.com
Noble Rot Wine Bar | 1010 Prairie
Noble Rot is a laid back wine bar inside the Conservatory with a list of fantastic & easy drinking wines. The bar staffs a superstar team of stewards who are there to guide anyone that may not drink much wine to a glass that’s their perfect fit. Sun–Wed 11 am–midnight; Thu 11–1 am; Fri–Sat 11–3 am. conservatoryhtx.com
Notsuoh | 314 Main
The name is Houston spelled backwards. A bar full of random weirdness: Think grunge lounge and artsy. You’ll find people playing chess, and drinking beer, live music, lots of crazy, weird artwork and maybe walk in on a night of punk-rock karaoke. Live bands on weekends. Daily 8 pm–2 am. notsuoh.com
The Original OKRA Charity Saloon | 924 Congress
Houston’s first charity bar is a true collaboration from Houston’s finest, including owners from Anvil, Paulie’s, Grand Prize and more. Expect classic cocktails and brews in a gorgeous historic building. Every drink purchase earns you a vote that can go toward select charities to win the bar’s monthly earnings. Daily 3 pm–2 am. friedokra.org
Part & Parcel | 1700 Smith
Part & Parcel is a trendy patio bar located at The Whitehall Hotel—it’s the perfect place to mingle, sip and relax under the Texas stars. Their menu includes classic cocktails, original libations, and small plates with big taste! Mon–Thu 4 pm–midnight; Fri–Sat 4 pm–2 am. thewhitehallhouston.com
sip. The Pastry War | 310 Main
A Mezcaleria from Bobby Heugel and Alba Huerta that serves up agave spirits along with classic Mexican cocktails and beers in a festive and intimate environment. This specialty tequila joint not only accepts pesos, but is on a brave mission to serve the best margaritas in town. Salud! Tue–Sat 4 pm–2 am. thepastrywar.com
The Pearl | 1117 Prairie
The Pearl offers a large variety of innovative cocktails, unique craft beers, wines and spirits. Mon–Thu 6:30 am–11 pm; Fri 6:30 am–12 pm; Sat 7 am–12 pm; Sun 7 am–11 pm. pearlrestauranthouston.com
Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar | 1201 Fannin at GreenStreet Two dueling pianos and a sing-along, clap-along, drinkalong, have-one-helluva-good-time-along bar! Wed–Sat 7 pm–2 am, showtime @ 8 pm. petesduelingpianobar.com
Public Services Wine & Whiskey | 202 Travis
Nestled in the historic Cotton Exchange Building, lies Public Services Wine & Whiskey. Public Services isn’t just any cocktail bar, in fact, they’re the complete opposite. Here, patrons can find classic wines and a vast yet distinctive whiskey selection served straight, on the rocks, or with a small selection of mixers. Craft beer and cider help round out the carefully crafted drink menu. Mon–Sat 4 pm–2 am. publicservicesbar.com
Reserve 101 | 1201 Caroline
A whiskey and martini bar touting more than 220 specialty liquors that will make any cocktail aficionados mouth water. Stop by on Tuesday for complimentary tastings of special selections. Order up delicious bites from the new, chef-driven menu featuring tasty flatbreads, appetizers and sandwiches. Sun 5 pm–2 am; Mon–Sat 2 pm–2 am. reserve101.com
Shay McElroy’s Pub | 909 Texas at Rice Lofts
Dublin native and owner John McElroy created this space around a richly detailed, 19th-century bar he had shipped from Ireland. The crowd is an inviting collection of young professionals and not-so-young merrymakers. Mon–Fri 11 am–2 am; Sat & Sun 1 pm–2 am. mcelroyspub.com
Warren’s Inn | 307 Travis
This tavern is long known for its top-notch jukebox full of American classics, strong mixed drinks and its diverse crowd of customers. Mon–Fri 11 am–2 am; Sat noon–2 pm, Sun 2 pm–2 am.
The Wine Cellar | 540 Texas
Unwind and relax with more than 400 varieties of wine and imported beers. Wine tastings Mon–Thu, 2–7 pm. Daily 11 am–midnight. thewinecellarhouston.com
Sunny’s Bar | 901 Capitol @ Main
Laid-back place with a friendly atmosphere and great prices that keep the regulars coming back. Sunny will likely be behind the bar serving up the beer and cocktails and great conversation. Foosball, darts and shuffleboard are in the back of the house to keep you entertained. Mon–Sat 2 pm–2 am.
Tongue Cut Sparrow | 310 Main (upstairs)
Named after a Japanese fable, this 25-seat formal cocktail bar provides an extremely elevated experience from the tidy menu made up of 16 classic cocktails and a few select beer and wine options, to the bartenders clad in black bowties. Wed–Sat 4 pm–2 am.
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REAL ESTATE GROUP
email@example.com | firstname.lastname@example.org 214 Travis St., Houston, Texas 77002
With a fusion of culture, lifestyles and commerce, life around here is anything but typical. Look up and discover soaring skyscrapers designed by icons like Philip Johnson and I.M. Pei. Turn a corner and bump into Houston’s historic past or uncover a piece of contemporary public art. Enjoy major league sports, world-class theater, innovative chefs, funky hotspots, movies in the park, sidwalk cafés, outdoor festivals, pontoon boat tours and more.
Welcome to Downtown Houston! Tours
Attractions & Sights
1. Buffalo Bayou Boat Tours 713.752.0314 2. Heritage Society Historic Homes Tour 713.655.1912 3. Minute Maid Park Tour 713.259.8687 4. Saint Arnold Brewing Company Tour 713.686.9494 5. Toyota Center Backstage Tour 713.758.7715
12. 13. 14. 15. 16.
17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23.
6. Minute Maid Park 7. Toyota Center 8. BBVA Compass Stadium
Recreation Buffalo Bayou (hiking & jogging trail) 10. Root Memorial Square (basketball court) 11. Discovery Green (exercise class, bocce ball & putting green)
Avenida Houston Buffalo Bayou Discovery Green Downtown Aquarium George H.W. Bush & James A. Baker, III Monuments George R. Brown Convention Center Historic District Bayou Place Main Street Square Saint Arnold Brewing Company Southern Pacific Steam Engine 982 Union Station at Minute Maid Park
Eat & Drink 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31.
Ballpark District Bayou Place/Theater District Avenida Houston Downtown Aquarium Historic District GreenStreet The Shops at Houston Center Warehouse District
Museums & Libraries
A great way to get form point A to point B or just explore downtown! You can purchase daily, weekly or annual memberships. For more info, visit houston.bcycle.com
32. 33. 34. 35. 36.
Houston Central Library Julia Ideson Library Heritage Society Museum Houston Police Museum Museum District (via METRORail)
Education 37. Incarnate Word Academy 38. South Texas College of Law Houston 39. University of Houston– Downtown Medical 40. St. Joseph Medical Center Religious 41. Antioch Baptist Church 42. Annunciation Catholic Church 43. Christ Church Cathedral 44. First United Methodist Church 45. Holy Cross Church 46. Islamic Dawah Center 47. Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral 48. Houston First Baptist Church Spiritual 49. Bishop John E. Hines Center for Spirituality and Prayer
68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75.
City, County & Federal
50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61.
The Acre Allen’s Landing Discovery Green Halliburton Plaza Hermann Square Market Square Park Root Memorial Square Sabine Promenade & Buffalo Bayou Park Sam Houston Park Sesquicentennial Park Sisters of Charity Park Tranquillity Park
Groceries & Conveniences 62. CVS/Pharmacy 63. CVS/Pharmacy Market Square 64. Phoenicia Specialty Foods Grocery Store 65. Wolfe’s Cleaners
Shopping 66. GreenStreet 67. The Shops at Houston Center
Green Route Orange Route
Mon–Fri, 6:30 am–6:30 pm Mon–Fri, 6:30 pm–midnight Sat 9 am–midnight, Sun 9 am–6 pm
North/Main Southeast East End
Film 76. AMC Dine-In Houston (formerly Sundance Cinemas)
Music Venues 77. House of Blues 78. Revention Music Center
79. 80. 81. 82.
City Hall City Hall Annex Bob Casey Federal Courthouse Harris County Court Campus
Where to Stay 83. The Sam Houston Hotel 84. Club Quarters 85. Courtyard by Marriott/Marriott Residence Inn/SpringHill Suites 86. The Whitehall 87. DoubleTree 88. Four Seasons 89. Embassy Suites 90. Hampton Inn/Homewood Suites 91. Hilton Americas 92. Holiday Inn 93. Holiday Inn Express 94. Hotel Icon 95. Hyatt Regency Downtown 96. JW Marriott 97. Westin Houston Downtown 98. Lancaster Hotel 99. Magnolia Hotel 100. Athens Hotel Suites 101. Aloft Hotel 102. Marriott Marquis 103. Le Meridien
FREE DOWNTOWN CIRCULATOR
Alley Theatre Hobby Center Jones Hall Jones Plaza The Landing Theatre Company Prohibition Supper Club Rec Room Wortham Center
104. Heritage Texas Properties
ALWAYS BE AWARE OF PEDESTRIANS, DRIVERS, BICYCLISTS AND TRAINS WHEN NEAR TRACKS!
Visitor Information 105. Explore Houston: GRBCC
4 N. Sa
24-Hour Accessible ATM
9 ← Commerce
102 ← Walker
MAIN STREET SQUARE STATION
62 → McKinney
THE SHOPS AT HOUSTON CENTER 30 67
Avenida de las Americas
GEORGE R. BROWN CONVENTION CENTER
GREENSTREET 66 29
s ew dr
56 ← Bell
92 ← Pease
← La Branch
← St. Joseph Parkway
→ San Jacinto
→ Jefferson ← Milam
86 ← Fannin
5 TOYOTA CENTER
← La Branch
23 6 ← Caroline
→ San Jacinto
MINUTE MAID PARK
→ from Allen Parkway
alla W. D
← to Allen Parkway
Bayou Trail Access
UH DOWNTOWN STATION
Public Parking Garages
BUFFA LO BA YOU
to n Jacin
DOWNTOWN INTERACTIVE PARKING MAP PUBLICATION:
Our new Magazine Google Map will help you find where Downtown you’re going, where to park and what’s nearby INSERTION: downtownhoustonparking.org Spring 2018 MATERIALS DUE: 02.02.18 LATITUDE JOB NUMBER: MHH-2018 Advertising-February CLIENT: Memorial Hermann 16 JOB NAME: 59 63 Greater Heights CCC 16 LIVE: 7.75” x 10.25” 75 15 TRIM: 27 8.375” x 10.875” 98 68 BLEED: 25 8.875” x 11.375” BAYOU PLACE COLORS: 71 70 78 19 76 4cp; 133ls; SWOP 81 61 FORMAT: Press Ready PDFX, 69 to to Pub 61 57TRG Link QUESTIONS CALL: Pat Hartman 80 79 54 @ 214-696-7913
DOWNTOWN TRANSIT CENTER
60 → Pierce I-45
Public garages, surface lots and metered on-street parking are abundant in downtown. Reminder: on-street parking is free after 6 pm Monday–Saturday and all day Sunday.
The inner looperâ€™s guide to finding the right school
learncentralhouston.org Click around to learn more about the schools, neighborhoods, green spaces and cultural institutions that make living and learning centrally easier than ever before.
Learn Central 101: Detailed information on what kinds of questions parents should ask, how to enroll and a glossary of useful terms Individual descriptions of every school inside the loop, along with maps, school make-up and programs offered Snapshots of each neighborhood, including school listings, homes for sale and description of the community Transportation information and an interactive Commute Calculator Living in the loop amenities and attractions
DDowntown’s long-awaited shift into a truly livable neighborhood has happened. In the summer edition of Downtown Magazine, get the inside sc...
Published on May 30, 2018
DDowntown’s long-awaited shift into a truly livable neighborhood has happened. In the summer edition of Downtown Magazine, get the inside sc...