Restaurants / Bars

Historic Midtown House Bar Shutters, But Its Operators Swear it Will Come Back as a Better Bar

113-Year-Old Building — and Former Governor’s Home — Seems Safe For Now

BY // 12.20.18

For those of you worried that Sterling House is shutting down — cocktail fans and preservationists alike — not to worry. Those whispers of the bar in the 113-year-old historic Midtown home’s closing are a false alarm, according to the bar’s operators.

Yes, Sterling House has been closed for more than a week now, but it is only a temporary shuttering at 3015 Bagby. This closing will allow for a repair and a remodel of the 2,850-square-foot house.

“We are gonna do a bit of rebranding, potentially a name change and reopen for regular business after the turn of the year,” Tate Drennen, Sterling House bartender and general manager, tells PaperCity. “As far as the rebrand goes, I just want to give our patrons something to be excited about.

“We have always been the type of venue that wants to offer service that our clientele can’t get anywhere else.”

Plans call for Sterling House to reopen just after the New Year. Then, you can expect fresh paint, added outdoor furniture, more televisions, giant table games, new cornhole boards and red astroturf.

This won’t be the historic home’s first facelift. It underwent some much-needed repairs in 1999. Still, when current owner Amir Ansari found the house back in 2009, it was a dilapidated, sagging mess of chipped paint.

But Ansari saw potential, even before he realized the home’s place in history. It’s not just any old house. It’s the old home of the family of former Texas governor and co-founder of Humble Oil Co. Ross S. Sterling.

With his purchase, Ansari preserved a piece of Lone Star State history in a particularly colorful neighborhood — one where both Howard Hughes and M. D. Anderson lived for a time.

Before the Midtown house officially became a bar in 2016, it was gutted and almost completely redone, with a new fire escape, new fencing and an extended upstairs porch.

Drennen knows the setting’s a unique one.

“Running a place like Sterling House that has a heartbeat of its own, it creates an atmosphere of its own that staff just has to follow along with,” the general manager says. “Pairing a new staff with the history of Sterling House, a little facelift, a new craft cocktail menu, a new food menu and a stronger motivation to deliver something special to our guests is the perfect recipe for success.”

It’s time for a new chapter of an old story.

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