Restaurants / Bars

Mammoth New Country Bar and Concert Venue is Headed to Downtown Houston

A Bachelor Party Inspires College Roommate Entrepreneurs to Think Big

BY // 11.30.17
photography (Photo by Annie Gallay.)

A little bit of the Texas countryside is headed right into the heart of downtown Houston. Say hello to The Rustic, a massive country bar, restaurant and live music venue at 1836 Polk Street across from the George R. Brown Convention Center and in the shadow of the Toyota Center.

FreeRange Concepts founders Kyle Noonan and Josh Sepkowitz held a ceremonial groundbreaking for Houston’s Rustic with country music star and partner Pat Green and Mayor Sylvester Turner on Thursday.

The combination full-service restaurant, outdoor music venue and bar is scheduled to open in the summer of 2018.

“It’ll be well worth the wait,” Sepkowitz says.

Noonan and Sepkowitz, former college roommates with a combined 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry, unveiled the original Rustic in uptown Dallas in 2013. Their earlier Houston restaurants, The General Public and Bowl & Barrel, are hotspots at CityCentre.

Future diners and concert-goers can thank Sepkowitz’s Hill Country bachelor party for inspiring The Rustic. The idea came to the pair while grilling steaks and sitting around a campfire underneath oak trees, Noonan tells PaperCity. Planting oaks around the venue will add to the country vibe in the “unique open-air space in an urban setting.”

The growing Avenida Houston entertainment district provides the ideal urban setting for their 25,000-square-foot concept. The restaurant will feature a large outdoor patio with a stage for both free and ticketed music acts, two VIP areas flanking the stage, a retractable roof, and The Rustic’s signature horseshoe-shaped bar.

The Rustic is “a restaurant with live music, first and foremost,” Noonan says. He and Sepkowitz aim for a casual setting where people can eat great homestyle food and kick their feet up, like at the Dallas Rustic. The Lone Star State will be the major influence in every dish, with meat from local ranchers, fruits and vegetables from local farmers, and seafood caught in the Gulf. Restaurant-goers can pair their meals with 40 different beers on tap, many of them local, and even some Texas wines.

Mayor Turner believes The Rustic holds great promise, with its “intensity, vibrancy, and electricity” sure to benefit the whole area and generate significant revenue. You can count on Pat Green to provide some of that electricity.

“I’m contractually obligated to perform,” Green joked. As Green notes, he’s no stranger to playing in Houston, with past shows “down the street at the Astrodome” and at NRG Stadium for the Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Green will be in good company. The concert stage will bring well-known musical artists and up-and-comers alike. The Josh Abbott Band, Shakey Graves and Brett Eldredge are already queued up to play, along with smaller local acts.

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