Restaurants / Bars

New Upper Kirby Bar is All About Houston With a Grown-Up Vibe and a Drive-Thru Window

Eighteen36 Celebrates the Space City With Signature Cocktails and Art

BY // 01.28.20

Little did brothers John and Augustus Allen know what they would inspire when they founded Houston in 1836. Fast forward 184 years and the coastal plains have evolved, giving way to the fourth-largest city in the country and the new Houston-centric Upper Kirby bar Eighteen36.

The new bar is an ode to the Bayou City, complete with signature cocktails, colorful artwork and an easygoing, welcoming vibe that feels very Houston.

Native Houstonians Jason Scheinthal and Jake Stein are fueled by Southern hospitality and a deep love for the city, so when the opportunity to reimagine the spot which used to house the Owl Bar became a reality, they went for it.  As a sixth generation Houstonian, Scheinthal aimed for a fresh take on a familiar concept.

A chat with buddy Ben Rose reminded him of Houston’s born on date, and the name for the bar was official.

“We are both from Houston and Eighteen36 just made sense to me. The idea behind the bar is a place that feels like home,” Scheinthal tells PaperCity.

He also wanted to create a space that combined cocktails,  conversation and community. The Eighteen36 vibe is casual and grown-up, with nary a red velvet rope in sight. Looking to have a conversation over drinks? Eighteen36 wants to be that place.

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In true Houston style, Eighteen36 includes valet and a drive-thru window. Its busy West Alabama location means limited parking (although there’s plenty of residential neighborhood parking within walking distance) so the valet is a plus.

Eighteen36
Black Gold, the Lizzie McGuire and The Mr. are signature Eighteen36 cocktails.

The addition of the Roadster Grill in the remodeled upstairs kitchen brings the return of Nick Semoudiaris’ Greek-American-inspired cuisine, which is available for lunch and at the bar. The drive-thru window will be open from lunch to late-night, and hungry locals can expect Mediterranean favorites like gyros and souvlaki, plus shareable pizzas and the Classic Roadster Hamburger.

Eighteen36 Cocktails

Scheinthal made sure the cocktail list is  just as engaging as the food, connecting with mixologist Josh Sapphire, formerly of Maestro’s, to deliver a menu that’s spirited, clever and tasty. Eventually the menu will include 10 signature cocktails, all with a definitive Houston spin, but as the bar navigates the early weeks of opening, four drinks made the premiere list.

Sapphire definitely struck it rich with the creation of Black Gold, an inky bourbon-based sip, blended with lemon juice, honey syrup and activated charcoal. It’s layered and light, picking up momentum the longer you drink it.

Hometown girl Hilary Duff inspired the Lizzie McGuire, a pink-hued take on a Moscow Mule. The mix of vodka, cucumber strawberry syrup, lemon juice and ginger beer is a sure to be hit on the massive L-shaped patio, which wraps around the building.

Anticipating Houston’s heat and humidity, the cocktail list also features refreshers like The Mr., described as a Paloma with a kick and the Central Air, a rum-based summer delight.

The Love Ya Hou feel extend throughout Eighteen36 with an outdoor mural by Loida Wexler highlighting city landmarks such as The Astrodome, NASA and the River Oaks Theatre, while a map of Houston’s original layout spans one wall of the bar.

Houston’s penchant for philanthropy is also on display, encouraging people to drink local and do good at the same time.

“Giving back and supporting the community is important,” Scheinthal says.

To that end, $1 of each Buffalo Bayou 1836 Copper Ale sold through the end of February will be donated to Houston Children’s Charity. Other charities will benefit from the Eighteen36 giving program on a rotating basis.

The bar is in a soft-open phase until February 6, with full bar service for those 21 and up from 4 pm to 2 am daily. Eighteen36 is throwing an official opening bash February 7 with with live music — and Roadster Grill will simultaneously roll out its full dinner menu for delivery service and to-go customers, as well as bar guests.

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