MKT Bar: Tale of an Unexpected Hot Spot, Act 1
Photos by Altamese Osborne
Winter. 4 p.m. The bar is not a bar in and of itself, but a bar within a bar, or more specifically, a bar within a grocery store. The housing structure is Phoenicia Foods' downtown store, located on the high-traffic corner of Austin Street facing Discovery Green.
Outside, Phoenicia is a mammoth structure, Goliath to the bar's David. Inside, the store maintains typical grocery expectations: walls whiter than white, myriad food options, puffs of freshly baked bread emerging, only to be flattened into pita pieces by a dedicated worker, who shuffles them down a conveyor belt.
But walk down an adjoining hallway, and the entire decor changes: White walls change to the brown bricks of a cozy little pub that can house a ravenous crowd, an art exhibit and a DJ's turntable tricks with equal dexterity on almost the same day. This is MKT Bar.
A man in a suit and tie; a hungry family; even hungrier eaters.
We walk into MKT Bar and are immediately struck by the quiet goings-on. A suited businessman, here after work, dips into what might be queso. A couple meet for a first date, or maybe an early meeting. A family is out to eat.
We've heard that MKT Bar, pronounced "Market Bar," is the place to gobble up an appetizer (or two), catch a meal and a show, and even pick up some new dance moves, but that doesn't happen tonight. Is this the same MKT Bar where we've been told we can find hot beats being spun by some of Houston's coolest DJs? As an eatery, MKT great, but where are the bumping sounds, the pumping fists? If not for the television playing sports in the corner, the scene would be totally bland.
Mildly disappointed, we cop a squat on one of the bar's stool chairs. Maybe we've come too early. Maybe because it's Monday. Maybe tomorrow will be better. Little do we know how correct we are in our wishin' and hopin', for what awaits us Tuesday evening is a scene vastly different from the one we are experiencing right now.