6 of Houston’s Secret Bars, Eating places, and Speakeasies

Juliet’s retro film theatre façade, full with a lit-up marquee, a ticket window, and a concession stand. Picture: Juliet

AS with a hide-and-seek sport, half the enjoyable of eating at a few of the metropolis’s trending scorching spots is discovering them. A wave of new eating places and cocktail bars has opened in Houston that mimic the speakeasy-style ideas which have lengthy been in style in New York Metropolis, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. These institutions might not appear to be a lot at first, however a deeper dive reveals a lot to be desired—a lackluster exterior with zero curb enchantment makes manner for a ritzy eating room or a glamorous cocktail bar. 

One of many restaurateurs becoming a member of within the newest development is James McGhee, proprietor of the well-known Sweet Shack daiquiri bars and the newly launched Juliet, a contemporary speakeasy eating idea cleverly hidden on Westheimer Highway within the Galleria space.

“I used to be impressed by Magnificence & Essex in Los Angeles, which has a practical pawn store on the entrance with a full-service restaurant hidden behind it,” he says. 

His plans for Juliet included a number of comparable concepts. “I wished to construct out an actual laundromat however nixed the concept after I came upon how a lot the gear prices,” he laughs. As a severe movie buff, he determined {that a} mock movie-theater entrance can be becoming. “My purpose at Juliet is to shock folks,” he says. And shocked you may be—when you take the restaurant at face worth. 

At first look, Juliet seems to be nothing greater than a movie show within the nook of a retail strip. The sprawling restaurant lies by double doorways past the foyer, and it packs in a personal eating room, an attention-grabbing bar, and greater than 2,000 sq. ft of patio area centered round a dwell oak.

For his first full-service restaurant, McGhee drew inspiration for the design of the area and the menu from his travels worldwide, noting that he wished to convey a few of the thrilling issues he had tasted and skilled to Houston. “I traveled to Dubai and went to a restaurant which served a steak lined in pure gold,” he says. “No one was doing something like that in Texas, so I put it on the menu at Juliet.” Whereas he wouldn’t go as far as to say that Juliet is a steakhouse, he shares that the restaurant is enjoyable and vibey, reflecting trendy interpretations of various meals.

Since opening its mock movie-theater doorways in February, Juliet has welcomed keen diners eager to get the entire scoop on this curious idea. As anticipated, picture ops are aplenty, but it surely’s received substance. Go forth, and enterprise in; then, share the key together with your closest associates.

In a metropolis fraught with retail-strip eating places, it may be refreshing to discover a distinctive vacation spot constructed out in contrast to anyplace else within the metropolis and tucked away from the chaos of the surface world. Try Houstonia’s picks of a few of the metropolis’s best-kept-secret eating places and bars.


5857 Westheimer Rd, Ste P

Whereas it could appear to be this cinema performs the entire outdated classics, there is just one characteristic presentation right here: Juliet. Past its retro movie-theater façade, full with a lit-up marquee, a ticket window, and a concession stand, Juliet is an upscale, trendy American restaurant boasting old-Hollywood glam. Movie stills adorn the partitions; the movie-inspired menu sections off into Preview, Fundamental Occasion, and Co-Stars; and as a substitute of bread service, friends are given bowls of popcorn when they’re seated. Curated by beverage specialists Women of Libation, the cocktail program options dreamy drinks worthy of a photograph. And save room for the Credit: Juliet touts a spherical chocolate dessert with dulce de leche and bourbon caramel that can make you need to return for a sequel. Simply please do not ask when the movie can be proven. 


1344 Yale St

No have to double-check the handle—when you pull as much as Savoir in hopes of eating at Patton’s, you’ve reached your closing vacation spot. The intimate, 38-seat steakhouse is a real hideaway, situated behind Savoir’s bar and thru a speakeasy-style entrance. The high-end idea differs from its casual-chic counterpart in its Previous World design and elevated steakhouse menu that includes prime cuts of steak and an intensive wine record. Visitors can take pleasure in a chic Waldorf salad, adopted by a New York strip sourced from Colorado’s Gable Cattle Co. Dimly lit and romantic, the L-shaped area provides cozy corners through which to dine and an unique bar with six extremely sought-after seats. Whereas Patton’s is out of sight (in additional methods than one), the restaurant serves because the Heights neighborhood’s solely devoted steakhouse, making it all of the extra attractive to hunt out. 


1300 Lamar St

Downtown’s posh 4 Seasons Resort homes two great food-and-drink locations: the foyer bar, Bayou & Bottle, and Toro Toro, helmed by movie star chef Richard Sandoval. But it surely additionally boasts an ultra-exclusive cocktail bar tucked past a mock bookcase and utterly hidden from friends. Bandista, the resort’s new 20-seat bar, is an upscale speakeasy — one which requires a secret numerical code to enter. As soon as inside, patrons can expertise the bar’s revolutionary cocktail program, together with libations poured over dry ice and introduced in classic glassware. There are uncommon spirits, with pours priced as excessive as $8,000, and cocktails giant sufficient for {couples} to share. A seat on the bar permits friends to witness the entire considerate prep that goes into crafting drinks, however the intimate area boasts a snug lounge space, affording dazzling nighttime views of town. Bandista is reservation-only, with friends receiving a affirmation by textual content and directions on the place to satisfy to be escorted up. 


5353 W Alabama St #102

What seems to be a comic book e book retailer on the surface is an omakase-only eating expertise in Uptown, appropriately named Hidden Omakase. The multicourse expertise is exactly that: an expertise from begin to end, and with solely two seatings per evening, it is among the hottest chef-led dinners on the town. Upon coming into the entrance door, friends discover themselves in a eating room anchored by a big, wraparound sushi bar with solely 14 seats. Within the heart of the room, chef Niki Vongthong and her workforce of expert sushi cooks put together course after course, hand-delivering items of 11-day aged fish, Wagyu nigiri, noodle bowls, and extra to every diner. The fastened menu leaves no room for adjustments or substitutions, however friends can select from a complete a la carte menu of add-ons, together with hand rolls and foie gras, ought to they be hungry for extra. 


518 W eleventh St, Ste 500

With solely 10 seats inside a slender, 400-square-foot area, Kanpai Membership is among the most unique consuming locations in H-City. These within the know can entry the bar by a shared door situated inside Hando, its sister hand-roll restaurant, and partake of craft cocktails, martinis, sake, beer, and wine. As a perk of being proper subsequent door, friends can order a lot of Hando’s small plates, together with Brussels sprouts, edamame, and Wagyu gyoza. Guests searching for a nightcap may also rating heartier eats like hen karaage and curry fries from the late-night menu, served from 10 p.m. to midnight Sunday by Thursday and 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.


5120 Washington Ave

Nestled amid the vigorous bars alongside Washington Avenue is a pastry store that includes glass instances stocked with macarons, desserts, and sugary concoctions. Upon additional investigation, guests will notice that there’s way more to the harmless storefront past an unassuming pantry door. A big, dimly lit, speakeasy-style cocktail bar, Sugar Room, lies by the passage. The swanky bar with Twenties-inspired décor transports you to the Prohibition period, when hidden bars have been extra necessity than luxurious. Head-turning cocktails are purpose sufficient to linger round, however when you’re not a drinker, there may be additionally hookah on the patio. 

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