Church Beats Out Strip Club in Real Estate Grab

That's how the song goes, right?

Sunday morning, Ecclesia Church pastor Chris Seay announced to his congregation that the staff had successfully wrested a warehouse out of the hands of strippers for the future location of its church services.

Rapidly expanding Ecclesia had already moved once from Montrose to the First Ward in search of more space to accommodate its growing flock. Then, it set eyes on The Meridian night club in EaDo when it first went on the market in 2009. The stars didn't align at the time, but recently when the 50,000 square feet property at 1503 Chartres St. became available again, Ecclesia pounced and signed a contract to purchase the place.

The also-ran in that transaction: Treasures strip club, according to real estate blog Swamplot.

More »

CultureMap's Most Eligible Bachelor/Bachelorette Party PR Dissected

We want to believe this party will look just like this.
"What do a neuroscientist, a chocolatier and a private flight attendant have in common?" asks a release from CultureMap. I know there's a punch line in there somewhere, but in this case, the line isn't a joke but a teaser for CultureMap's charity event where attendees, for $35, can bid on a "'mini' dream date" with one of Houston's allegedly most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes.

I am totally down with charity and the sale of humans for the purposes of it, but what struck me when reading over the press release information was just how far they seemed to want you to follow them when believing the dating pool in Houston is second to none and all the good ones will be auctioned off at their party.

More »

Teen Dance Nights at Rich's Come Under Fire From Parents and KPRC

Photo By Son Lam
Just another night at Rich's Houston...

Last night KPRC aired a frazzled piece about Rich's Houston's popular teen dance nights, namely their upcoming Playboy-themed night geared towards the kiddos, advertising on Facebook for attendees to strut their underage stuff in their sexiest outfits for prizes.

Of course in light of the ongoing Penn State scandal, anything of even a remotely sexual nature involving teens and young adults is being scrutinized. The report, helmed by Dominique Sachse and Robert Arnold, features interviews with worried parents like Laura Gallier.

A Rich's rep gave a phone interview to KPRC about the event and did note that parents were encouraged to come to the club with their children, and that alcohol is not served while the underagers are grooving to Skrillex or DeadMau5 and whatever the hell else kids listen to these days and dance parties.

Somehow we are more worried about the parents volunteering themselves to chaperone their kids at one of these events, rather than outright putting their foot down and not allowing their teens to go altogether.

More »

Contestant of "Mr. Prime Choice" Claims Racism at Leather Pageant; Anonymously Called a "Coon" on His Poster (UPDATED)

tim chain mail.jpg
Photo by Thomas Rivas
Tim Angelle is not Mr. Prime Choice.
Every year, Montrose leather bar The Ripcord crowns the king of all things leather: Mr. Prime Choice. Men over 40 vie for the title by picking an LGBT charity, fundraising for it and strutting their best leather get-ups onstage. This was the competition's 30-year anniversary, and Ripcord regular Tim Angelle, 50, decided to enter.

That's when the true colors of the leather community started to surface, Angelle said. The gay Montrose set is perhaps the last place you'd expect to find racism, but there it was -- plain as the slur that Angelle would find scrawled across his poster.

More »

Summertime Blues: MADD And Cops Gather To Threaten Drunk Drivers

DWIuse 002.jpg
Photo by John Nova Lomax
Have props, will travel
​In what is now a time-honored pre-Labor Day Weekend/dog days of summer ritual, police and members of several anti-drunk driving advocacy groups gathered yesterday to stress what they claim is a multitude of alternative modes of transport for nocturnal area partiers and to spread the word about drunk driving in Harris County.

And that word is not good: according to some estimates, Harris County leads the nation in drunk-driving fatalities.

More »


bars, DWI, HPD, MADD

Notsuoh Hit With Lawsuit For Bizarre 2009 Falling Man Incident

Photo courtesy
Not-sued-oh no longer
​Last February Hair Balls reported on a bizarre pre-dawn incident at downtown nightclub/art space Notsuoh in which a highly intoxicated man allegedly fell out of one the upper floors of the building at 316 Main.

That man, now identified as Nathan Fisher, survived, and is now suing Notsuoh owners Jim Pirtle and Missy Bosch and the limited liability companies that control both that establishment and the one in control of Dean's.

Through attorneys Donna Roth and Kevin O'Malley, Fisher alleges that he spent the evening consuming alcohol at Dean's and Notsuoh.

More »

La Carafe's Planned Beer Garden Stymied By City Hall Snags

Photo by photine
About three months ago, we reported exciting news for downtown drinkers who also liked to light up. La Carafe was planning to expand into the vacant lot next door. The addition was to be in the form of a beer (and wine) garden.

Back in 2008's Best of Houston issue, we awarded the handful of already existing tables on the sidewalk outside the venerable bar's front door "the Best Place to Smoke and Drink."

In defense of that pick, we cited the "prime view of the skyline" and the chance to bathe in the sweet sounds of the bar's killer juke, and even trotted out a quote from late columnist Sig Byrd, who once called Congress Street that "old, crowded, tired avenue once so proud, so bright with gaslight and hearty laughter."

And we rejoiced that more people would soon be adding their hearty laughter to that tired avenue, people smoking and drinking in the beer garden outside of La Carafe.

Apparently the City of Houston has other plans.

More »

Whirlwind Weekend: See What You Missed

Halloween weekend was cause for much merriment and mischief making. Whether at Rich's or the Roxy, the House of Blues or the streets of Montrose, a cosplay convention or an erotic ball, fun was found all over the city this weekend. Check out our favorite photos below.

Photo by Son Lam
​The huge Houston Press Halloween Bash at the House of Blues brought out guys and ghouls from all over the city. See more photos from the event here.

More »

Dive Bar-ology 101: What A Dive Bar Is Not

cover 10_15.jpg
These days, there are a lot of misconceptions about what constitutes a dive bar. Going by lists on sites like Yelp and Citysearch, and especially this laughable list from the Houston Chronicle, apparently any drinking establishment that does not sport bottle service, valet parking and a velvet rope is a dive.

How else can you explain the presence of places like Under the Volcano and Kenneally's on such lists? Kenneally's is just an Irish pub, and at Volcano, they squeeze fresh fruit in the cocktails. Unless you are talking limes and limes only, that is not a dive bar. And the more we think of that Chron list, the more we wonder what in the name of Sam Houston is going on in this city when the town's alleged Leading Information Source dares with a straight face to say that Catbird's, The Mink, Dean's, The Harp, McElroy's, Komodo, Woodrow's, and Boondocks are dive bars. That's eight of what they are calling the top 20 in the city, and they've listed two Irish pubs, a chain bar, and a couple of hipster joints. That list sucks.


At any rate, we even recently talked to a twentysomething guy who liked carousing in Midtown and on Washington who was scared to go inside Griff's, because it was a such a rough and tough dive bar.

Brad Moore, current co-owner of Big Star Bar and former co-founding owner of Pearl Bar, thinks the velvet rope/valet parking litmus test is crazy. "By that standard, 95 percent of the bars in the world are dives," he says. "I've even seen people call Pearl Bar a dive. It's just not the case."

You also often see the Continental Club listed as a dive bar. It's not. With very few exceptions, places that are first and foremost music venues, especially ones that are less than ten years old, are not dive bars. Not that dive bars can't offer live music. It's just that live music is not usually the focus at a dive bar. Drinking is the focus, and often dive-bar clienteles like to pick their own soundtrack to cry in their beers to.

More »

Robbery At The Lone Star Saloon: What Is America Coming To?

lone star oct 9.jpg
Photo by Txrelichunter
Here at Hair Balls and the Houston Press, we really love the Lone Star Saloon. Really. That's why we hope that police take swift action and find the dirty, dirty bastard that stole 21 bottles of liquor from Lone Star last weekend.

"I hope they catch the S.O.B.," Joe Lee Thomas, the Lone Star's owner, tells Hair Balls. "They took the most expensive liquor."

He lost about $800 to $1,000 in booze.

The crime is a bit of a mystery, because the thief didn't break into Lone Star, and the front door was found unlocked the next morning, Thomas says. He has a couple theories.
More »