Restaurants / Bars

Houston’s Midtown Bar Scene is About to be Completely Transformed — Major Closures and New Openings on Tap

Austin Drinks Invasion a Vital Part of the Plans — a PaperCity Exclusive

BY // 05.15.18

Are you getting ready to call it a night on Houston’s bar scene? You may want to wait a minute. Midtown as we know it is in for a total transformation.

Four new bars will be raising the bar on Houston nightlife, starting this summer. By late this fall, you won’t even recognize Midtown’s main block on Brazos. Get ready for an all-new night out.

This means sayonara Midtown Drinkery, Red Door and Stoked Tacos and Tequila — and hello Unicorn Disco, 77 Degrees, Jack & Ginger’s and one space that’s keeping its name under wraps for now. Each bar will have its own vibe, making for bar hopping that’ll keep you guessing all night long.

“It’s about time for some new blood to be pumped into Midtown,” Jason Carrier, co-owner of Dogwood, tells PaperCity. “We’re counting on people who want a wide variety of experiences to come to Midtown.”

The new block will feature three separate building suites, A, B and C. Each will be multilevel. Carmack Concepts, the group behind Dogwood, has called dibs on A, while Unicorn Disco, created by the minds behind HandleBar on Washington, will be in Suite B, and the owners of Austin’s Jack & Ginger’s Irish Pub, and 77° Rooftop are coming to Suite C. Each will have its own distinct look.

 Along with brothers Chad and Brad Womack, Carrier runs Carmack Concepts. The Austin-based group is adding the for-now-anonymous bar to this lineup, one that’ll complement Dogwood.

“It’ll be two different experiences. Some places have the tendency to duplicate themselves, go back to what they know,” Carrier says. “It’s our goal for you to go and feel a different way in each bar.”

Carmack Concept’s new bar, name TBD, will be a two-level, 11,000-square-foot indoor and outdoor concept. You can expect tons of beers on draft, expertly crafted cocktails and shareables throughout. Each floor will have its own experience to offer, with a breezy downstairs and a cinematic upper level.

The bottom floor will feature retractable sliding glass panels that open up the front, making it a street-side patio. “People are inside all day in their offices, at their desks. It’s a great escape once you get off work and walk across the street and sit on the patio and have a cold beer,” Carrier says.

Head upstairs, and you’re in for a different type of relaxation. A massive cinema room awaits, with movie theater-style risers that seat 60, and a whopping 200-inch projection screen. The mega screen can show anywhere from one to nine different feeds. “On game day, we might have the Texans on 25 percent of the screen, and six other games for the other 75 percent of the screen,” Carrier says.

Bowling for Change

No word yet from the HandleBar owners when it comes to their concept for Unicorn Disco. But Carrier shares that their space will be a combo rooftop patio and downstairs bowling setup.

Jack & Gingers, located downstairs in Suite C, is an Austin offshoot. There’s no telling yet on how much it will differ from the original outpost, but the Austin menu brings a mixture of Irish, British and American eats in an airy locale.

British classics pop off the menu, such as Guinness-battered fish and chips, bangers and mash and shepherd’s pie. But you’ll also find some dirty waffle fries, a southern pulled pork sandwich and even hand-rolled pigs in a blanket.

In Austin, 77° Rooftop is a clubby spot with a dance floor and hookah lounge, known for its innovative craft cocktails and tapas. Its menu looks heavy on the Bacardi, with rum-based drinks such as the El Nino with lime and ginger beer and the Norman’s Cay with coconut water and coconut rum . Tapas options include flatbreads and kebobs.

A few things are for certain. Houston’s Midtown bar scene is in for a dramatic transformation — and it’s going to be heavily Austin influenced.

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