Formerly the Mink, the Alley Kat Reinvents Itself as a Suaver Sort of Lounge

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Managing partner Kory Hinton (left, with bartender Erica Mota) hopes The Alley Kat's stay on "The Island" is a long one.
Hinton has a background with Ra Sushi, SkyBar, Gatlin's Barbecue and even worked in retail sales for the Houston Press from April 2011 to April 2012. She says The Alley Kat's goal is simple: the owners want to continue to complement the neighborhood and offer an easygoing environment in which to enjoy a beverage with friends.

Open since early January, the venue doesn't have any firm plans for a grand opening yet. Hinton says they want to finish refurbishing the back building's bar and upstairs area, which she says will eventually play host to live music again.

"We want to respect the artists and make them feel like they're appreciated," Hinton says, adding that an upgraded sound system and lighting are in the works, though their completion will take time. Hinton hopes to have a rotating schedule of genres on weekends, "something like salsa Fridays and blues Saturdays," she says.

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The Alley Kat is still working out kinks and such, while attracting business via word of mouth. The bar was still pretty quiet at 9 p.m. one recent evening when my friends and I arrived, but it was comfortably packed inside only 30 minutes later. It stayed that way past midnight, when we left.

"We don't want to identify ourselves as a club," Hinton says. "A club is a two-year business model, and we intend to be here ten years from now. We want to become a staple of the neighborhood, like the Continental Club and the Breakfast Klub."

With everything Hinton says is in the works, The Alley Kat's future looks bright, both for newcomers and former Mink enthusiasts. It still feels unpretentious; it's just received a bit of polish.

The bar's four-dollar premium beers won't break your bank, but the cocktails are about twice that (and well worth it). Ask for a Marseilles Fruit Fizz or just about anything with egg whites, and get some protein with your buzz.

You'd best behave while you're on site, though, because Hinton isn't afraid to escort you out with a smile.

Location Info


Alley Kat Bar & Lounge

3718 Main St., Houston, TX

Category: Music

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i used to go to the mink pretty often. i went to alley cat a few months back on a wednesday or thursday night and was surprised a well drink was $7. given it's location near a lot of upscale, new apartments i'd think they would draw a decent crowd, but going on several occasions since i haven't found that to be the case. when they changed ownership a few years back they lost most the regular crowd, mostly because they fired all the staff who knew the regular customers well. the idea of buying a bar that already gets a decent draw, and then getting rid of all the staff who know the regulars, then trying to re-invent it as basically the same thing. i don't know. i never understood the new owner's logic. and you can still walk a few door down the street and get a well drink at the continental club for $5-plus listen to live music for free on most nights. anyway, hope they do well because it's nice to have a laid back place to have a drink on a weekday night.

Danny Noman
Danny Noman

It doesn't smell like sewage anymore? C'mon, that was part of its charm!


@Danny Noman Yeah what gives?  Not reeking of sewage is sooooo mainstream these days!

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