Best New Club - 2009
Like most music venues, Mango's isn't strictly new. Plenty of former Houston punks and hardcore kids have fond memories of the vegetarian restaurant's mid-'90s run as the Oven, and it's been a staple venue of the resurrected Westheimer Block Party for at least a couple of years. But when Free Press Houston editor/publisher Omar Afra and friends took over full-time earlier this year, Mango's shot to the top of the charts as the place to see both Houston's finest and occasional out-of-towners, like musical comedian Neil Hamburger and St. Louis's So Many Dynamos. Most weekend nights, and plenty of weekdays, Mango's is absolutely packed with young Houstonians checking out local favorites from B L A C K I E and Born Liars to Dead Roses and News on the March. It can get a little, well, oven-like in there when that happens, but the sweltering scene is just more evidence of Houston's almost unprecedented musical renaissance, a resurgence that couldn't have happened without venues like this.