Mall Mixologists

There's a bar in the Galleria. It is excellent. Is your mind blown?

Yes, Prohibition, Craft of Cocktails (5175 Westheimer), the two-story bar located in the Galleria, has a Prohibition Era, speakeasy theme. No, we are not going to make any jokes about Al Capone or Eliot Ness in this space.

The alluring, cavernous bar, tucked into the corner of the mall that faces Westheimer, features classic leather and brushed suede chairs, multicolored hardwood floors, vintage artwork and romantic lighting. It's just dark enough to make everyone seem more interesting and attractive than they might be in the heat of day.

Prohibition is home to nifty little password-only events, burlesque shows twice every Saturday evening (reserve your table early because they book up quickly), and its own private bartender-based caste system, which is actually quite neat, and way better than India's caste system. Apprentices — usually new guys — are identified by their vests. The Bar Smiths, mid-level players, wear suspenders. And the Mixologists sport all-black jackets.

Romantic lighting and well-crafted cocktails bring the crowds.
Romantic lighting and well-crafted cocktails bring the crowds.

Since opening last year, the bar has earned plenty of fans. "It's reminiscent of an iconic American era with a modern flair," says Jillian Fortin, 25. "Everything has character...the menu items, the decor, even the people."

The staff and handcrafted cocktails are a draw. "The bartenders are all very handsome and charming and attentive," says Beth Feger, 26. "The last time we came, the bartender asked us all what our usual drink of choice was, and from there he concocted completely original cocktails for each of us. They were all the best drinks of our lives. And he was adorable."

All this, and the bar's inside a mall. "Even when I step out on the patio, I never get the sense that I'm in the mall," says Amanda O'Brien, 26. "I have a sixth sense for malls, and I still don't get that feeling. I'd describe the look as Old Hollywood Glam. Seems like a place that holds lots of possibilities; a great place to come with friends, on a date, to happy hour, a first date, somewhere to find a first date, secret rendezvous, anything really."

But what might go unnoticed — or under-appreciated — amid the nostalgia (alcohol! girls wearing flapper dresses!) are the modern touches. It's not uncommon to hear the lo-fi charm of Portishead playing lightly in the background early in the evening during happy hour.

And on Friday nights, Prohibition hosts an event called Electro Swing. It is not, in fact, a crazy sex event (I'm pretty sure I saw an Electro Swing for sale at Zone D'Erotica), but actually a dance party. What they do is combine the lilting rhythm of swing music with the oohm-tsst of house music. Far as we know, it's the only night of its kind currently happening in Houston. And it's loads of fun.

There's a lot to like about Prohibition, and we hope this version sticks around longer than the original. Or, at the very least, creates fewer crime syndicates.
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LAST CALL

There are three concerts you should consider checking out this weekend, all interesting for their own reasons. Thursday evening, the surprisingly likable G. Love and Special Sauce will wander into town for a show at House of Blues (1204 Caroline). Nightfly spoke with Love a couple of years ago. He's a nice guy, despite the silliness of his name. Friday, Houston's brilliant indie rockers The Tontons have their tour kickoff concert at Fitzgerald's (2706 White Oak). It's only a matter of time before they fully pop nationally. And Saturday, Jon Black and Twenty Eleven headline a nifty little underground rap show at Super Happy Fun Land (3801 Polk). There's no football this weekend —er, rather, there's the Pro Bowl, but nobody watches that shit — so definitely go to at least one of those shows.

 
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