Does Houston have room for another upscale nightclub, à la Red Door, Seven Lounge or the Mercury Room? Santosh Varughese, who recently opened Opus, thinks so. Featuring three levels (dance area, bar/lounge and "ultra-exclusive, intimate den") and located at the former site of the '40s-era State National Bank, the club wants to draw in the "beautiful people" (and not comic strip penguins). "Opus will be unique to Houston, one of the very few clubs that's not a 'makeover' of a previous venue or another Miami copy," Varughese says. The music is a mixture of lounge, house, hip-hop and Top 40, and the decor is spare. "I have great affinity for contemporary, minimalist themes, but with a soft, warm edge to it," adds Varughese, who is also an artist.
As for the den, with its "labyrinth-like, sensual alcoves" and private bottle service, don't think you can just walk in, join the party and find an Eyes Wide Shut-style carnal carnival. Varughese and his two co-owning brothers will probably keep the den reserved for VIPs only. And how do you get on that list? Well, if you have to ask, you probably aren't on it. Opus is open from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. 412 Main. For information, call 713-222-6787 or visit www.opusclub.com. $10; $20 after 11 p.m. -- Bob Ruggiero
MCELROY'S PUB'S MAKER'S MARK AND WATER
The night I was having was straight out of Jerry Springer. When I discovered my date was the daughter of my girlfriend's mother's new husband, I thought I was living my worst nightmare. I threw myself into my idiot alter ego, acting stupider by the minute, and she ended the night early. After dropping her off, I pulled into the nearest watering hole, in this case McElroy's Pub(3607 Sandman, 713-524-2444), and sat down at the bar. "Whiskey & Water," a song written by the late, great, guitar-slinging Mike Jordan, was playing in my head, and I ordered a Maker's Mark and water without thinking. I sat there without a thought in my head, not even sure what time it was. A threesome was horsing around on the couches, and watching them brought me back to reality for a second. I ordered another and wondered if I looked as wasted as I felt. After ordering a third mind-bending libation, I started singing the song in my head out loud. The girl behind the bar brought me the check, and I realized it was time to go home.
2 ounces Maker's Mark bourbon
Splash of water
Find your finest old-fashioned glass. Fill with ice. Measure out whiskey. Add a splash of water. Repeat. Therapists need not be notified; you'll feel better in the morning. -- J.W. Crooker
Chefs of Turntablism
Ever since the CD broke the LP's back, most radio disc jockeys have become compact disc jockeys. But not DJs Ceeplus and Samplistik of KPFT's Reprogram Music -- they still spin platters. And if you like them on the air, you can also catch them live at their weekly "Dynamite Lounge" at the Proletariat, where they serve up the latest hip-hop and rock and roll -- as well as older, more obscure funk, soul, trip-hop and dub -- on a gleaming pair of Technic 1200s. Rotating guest DJs sometimes hop on to spin their mixes, but regardless of who might be spinning, the night always cooks up a fine rump-shaking stew. Mondays. 903 Richmond. For information, call 713-523-1199 or visit www.theproletariathouston.com. Free. -- Travis P. Ritter
We Want the Thump
Marcus Intalex can groove. Born just outside of Manchester (a.k.a. the Drum 'n' Bass Capital of the World), Intalex has been at the forefront of the D&B scene from the get-go. Cutting-edge to the core, he's once again helping to spearhead the UK's latest permutation of jungle boogie: liquid funk. Think of it as a kinder, more soulful D&B. The proceeds from his show at the Underground Lounge benefit various pediatric cancer organizations, so all your bouncin' and sweatin' can even help make the world a better place. Now that's soul. 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday, January 24. 804 Fannin. For information, call 713-237-1505 or visit www.theantidote.org. $10 minimum donation. -- Keith Plocek