Tea Time at the New Marquis II

Categories: Bar Beat

paullit.jpg
Photo by Paul Knight
The unchanged Long Island, sitting on the pre-renovation bar
Seeing people smoking outside of the newly renovated Marquis II is strange enough to distract you from the other changes, like the exterior coat of dark paint and the windows that make the place seem less like the strip club it used to be. (Supposedly the Bunny Club, 1970s; Google turns up this extremely sexy link.)

The only bar in West University -- a distinction that allowed patrons to light up inside for a few years after City of Houston law forced other bars to go smoke-free -- has cleaned itself up, and that means no cigarettes indoors as a matter of bar policy instead of regulation. I might be able to name another neighborhood bar in Harris County that doesn't allow smoking even though it legally could, but I'd have to think about it for a minute. Bars that allow smoking even though they're legally prohibited from doing so are another story.

The Marquis II has a nearly unrecognizable interior to go with its clean air. The old version, which opened in the '80s, felt like a fraternity set up a squat in a newly abandoned, windowless storefront. The new Marquis II looks looks like a semi-upscale strip-mall bar. It's clean and kind of soulless. Even the shuffleboard table is a little too slick. What used to be a frat dive is now just a frat-ish, mostly anonymous bar. And there are windows, as if you Marquis day-drinkers really want to know whether or not the sun is out. Don't ask me, I ain't from this neighborhood.

It couldn't have been an easy or inexpensive renovation; it's like the owners paid a contractor to wipe out any character the bar had. Yeah, it was dirty. Actually, it was filthy. The floor was nearly sentient, and I don't think a canary would have lasted too long inside. But it felt like there were a few stories there, even if a good number of them started out with "Bro, ..."

The new Marquis does feature the same old-school juke box, though it's a little hard to hear on the far side of the room. The beat-up piano is there, looking sadder than it used to. And Tuesdays still feature the infamous $6 Long Island Iced Tea special ($7 for special flavors), which has humbled many an experienced drinker. A couple staffers also mentioned that the crowd has stayed mostly the same, even without the smoking - the regulars keep coming back, and the college kids keep drinking large glasses of multiple kinds of booze.

But the feel of the place is gone. Maybe give it another 25 years or so.



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Marquis II

2631 Bissonnet, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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23 comments
'stina
'stina

I haven't been in that bar in 10 years, but damn, do I think I have good memories.  

anon today
anon today

"humbled many an experienced drinker" - indeed.  Good line.

Reamodeler
Reamodeler

Next job:  Chainsaw the Texas table at Kay's into a New York shape.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

I like the changes.  It makes for a nice place to watch Texans games.

Nikki
Nikki

special needs bunnies!!

Craigley
Craigley

Remember breaking a yellow chair here over my friend back.

j/k

I was jumping out of my seat as Clyde glided during the NBA Finals.

Ali
Ali

I know I'm going to piss people off, but hooray for the smoking ban! If I'm outdoors with someone who smokes, I really don't mind. But cooped up inside with smokers? Bleh. Everything stinks. Even my purse. It's been so nice to be able to go places over the last few years and not worry about that at all.

I'm all for smoking patios or semi-enclosed smoking areas like at Christian's in The Heights. Enjoy your puffing, just don't make me stink.

keep burnin' 'em
keep burnin' 'em

Boo! that place was a welcome haven for smokers. But on the other end of the spectrum, there is always Downing Street.

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

First the West Alabama Ice House gets all fancy-pants, now the Marquis II as well.  I don't think I want to even see the new version of the Moon Tower Inn after they are done remodeling.  There are not that many bars left around these days where you can get away from amateur hour.

GL
GL

Hey, if anyone is going to appreciate that...unless this is a different Nikki, in which case, well, shit.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

As was I for both the 94 and 95 series.  (and 96 and 97 and 98 etc.)

ShitThrowingMonkey
ShitThrowingMonkey

That's funny because I do not have many memories from the 'Quis, despite my former platinum frequent flier status.

keep burnin' 'em
keep burnin' 'em

I'm completely cool with zero smoking in restaurants / restaurant bars, but I do feel that if there's ONE place an adult should be allowed to smoke (outside of his or her home or car) it should be in a bar.

Speaking of Christian's on White Oak, what exactly is the precedent that allows for smoking in their front space? Is it because it's separated by a door from the rest of the venue? Is it because it's a three-sided structure with a certain amount of open space in the walls?

I dig it, but sounds like someone got very crafty with a loophole in the law.

Craigley
Craigley

So have you ever even been to MQII?

Craigley
Craigley

Read my mind on Moon Tower Inn.  We are becoming more like Dallas with every passing day.

keep burnin' 'em
keep burnin' 'em

yeah, screw West Alabama Ice House and all the Harley riding midlife crisis idiots

Ali
Ali

Yeah, I'm guessing because it's not completely closed off. But you walk in there and it's still pretty stinky. I usually sit inside but I appreciate that they made it more comfortable for people who do smoke.

Ali
Ali

Sorry - i'm an ex-smoker and hate the stench.

Ali
Ali

Nope. I was just commenting on the smoking part.

Bruce R
Bruce R

But Moon Tower was criticized for being too much like Austin.  So it's going to go from being too much like Austin to too much like Dallas without making a stop in Houston?

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

You've got to love those investment-banker bikers.  Guess what, you are not a real biker if your leathers are made by Ralph Lauren.

GL
GL

A "Harley riding, midlife crisis idiot" doesn't sound like someone I'd want to hang out with, and I still like the West Alabama Ice House. Even if they are getting all fancy with new roofs and decks and shit.

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