10 Essential Houston Things For the First Bar On the Moon

Mankind went to the moon in 1969 and famously stopped going just a few years later. Because we haven’t returned, tales of crater monsters and faked moon landings have abounded. But the real reason we have not revisited Earth’s satellite could be its lack of a decent bar. Sure, other amenities might rank higher on the colonization to-do list, but a proper watering hole is essential. And if you’re going to build such a bar, shouldn’t its core elements come from Space City? It may seem premature to start minting blueprints, but Houston made its bones by going boldly where no man has gone before. Here’s a design we hope NASA will one day approve, complete with essentials we’ve found on our own hometown explorations:

Starman: Guilla tops our list of first Houston bands on the moon
Starman: Guilla tops our list of first Houston bands on the moon
Photos by Jesse Sendejas Jr. (except indicated)

10. BANDS
We’d take rapper and sci-fi aficionado Guilla, who would probably bring along friends like Mark Drew and iLL FADED. Imagine FLCON FCKER with the entire dark side of the moon as a palette for his audiovisual spectaculars. Race to the Moon is an obvious choice, and would give us some punk-tinged indie rock for dancing. Alone on the Moon's instrumental stoner-metal could crumble some moon mountains, though we'd need at least one on which to project the band's perfectly choreographed videos. Tessa Kole’s vocals sound like they could echo through space, so we’d ask PuraPharm along. And, finally, DDA just to test the whole “in space no one can hear you scream” thing.

Nightingale Room' dream team, L-R, Matt, Jennifer, Sano and Saul
Nightingale Room' dream team, L-R, Matt, Jennifer, Sano and Saul

9. BARTENDERS
We want someone who can mix a drink and mix it up conversation-wise. It’s hard to narrow it down to just a handful with so many greats to choose from, but we’d take Mo and Holly from Continental Club because they’re a great team, always make us smile and can gab with the best of ‘em. We'd leave Nightingale Room in the lurch by whisking away its dream team of professional, friendly bartenders. We'd ask Khloe from Notsuoh to tag along to regale us with tall tales told with artistic panache.

We ain't leaving without this,...
We ain't leaving without this,...

8. BEER
As you may have read recently, Houston loves beer. So, we’re going to need a collaborative effort in this mission akin to the U.S., Russian and Chinese space programs working together. Our beer superpowers would be Nobi Public House, Hay Merchant and The Ginger Man. Nobi’s full bottle and tap menu is enough to quench thirsts for years. The tap wall at Hay Merchant is as pretty as the Orion Nebula. Ginger Man is a Houston institution that has experience branching out into strange worlds, like Austin and New York City.

Wagner, (L), is our choice to craft the first moon brew
Wagner, (L), is our choice to craft the first moon brew

7. BROCK WAGNER
Brock Wagner’s history with beer suggests the universe had a plan for this enterprising entrepreneur. His family established Wagner’s Beer Hall in 1800s San Francisco. Now known as The Saloon, it remains the oldest existing bar in the Golden Gate city. Wagner himself founded Saint Arnold, Texas’ oldest craft brewery, but this isn’t about history — it’s about the future. Thanks to years of producing quality brews, he’s a natural choice for taking beer into new dimensions. Can’t wait to see what he’d do with lunar water.

That drink is on fiyahhhh...tiki drinks from Lei Low Bar
That drink is on fiyahhhh...tiki drinks from Lei Low Bar

6. COCKTAILS
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure this one out: it’s Anvil Bar and Refuge, Hearsay Gastro Lounge, Lei Low Bar and Moving Sidewalk. Bring those drink menus along and let our hand-picked bartenders do their thing.

Lava lamps and Disco Jesus adorn our lunar lounge
Lava lamps and Disco Jesus adorn our lunar lounge

5. DÉCOR
The amazing view of the Blue Marble probably won’t grow old, but it’ll stay fresher with interesting stuff to gaze upon inside our bar, too. If we had to choose one interior decorator, we’d select whomever filled D&W Lounge with its kitschy, funky look. We don’t have to remove favorite items like the bar’s tiffany and lava lamps or its plastered-to-the-ceiling carousel horse, we just want a similar, comfortable and fun design. However, we might steal D&W’s Disco Jesus, just for good karma and to bring a piece of home along.

Diners are happy with the food and drinks at Canyon Creek
Diners are happy with the food and drinks at Canyon Creek

4. FOOD
What? We’re supposed to supplement our boozing with those freeze-dried food packets the NASA lunch ladies packed? No thanks. We’ll take Royal Oak's truffle fries along with us and whomever is flipping fine burgers at Rudyard’s; but, if we must boil it down to one prototype menu, we’ll choose Canyon Creek because they do breakfast and supper. The menus include every staple we’d miss from home: tacos, nachos, grits, chicken fried steak, grilled steak and more.

Fitz has seen its share of weirdness in its huge hall
Fitz has seen its share of weirdness in its huge hall

3. PLENTY OF ROOM
Let’s assume many intergalactic travelers will emerge to visit the best bar on the moon. You’re going to need a spacious place for hordes of Tatooinians and Psychlos (just kidding — we’re not letting those assholes in our bar). The biggest and best Houston has to offer is Fitzgerald’s. No aluminum-alloy buildings for us; we’ll take a well-constructed wooden dance hall any day. We recently got to a show early enough to trek up its broad stairway and had the vast upper level to ourselves. There’s enough room there for Jabba the Hutt and that Cloverfield alien to two-step there with room to spare.

Miss Leslie entertains a spring crowd at Cottonwood
Miss Leslie entertains a spring crowd at Cottonwood

2. PATIOS
Our lunar bar will have spectacular views of home and other celestial bodies, so naturally it needs a solid patio — front and back, please. Up front, we’ll take the wide-open space and picnic-benched beer garden goodness of Cottonwood, with its outdoor stage and big ol’ Pearl Beer sign. We’ll choose AvantGarden’s back patio for a secret garden-like sanctuary with twinkling lights. At home, these versatile patios are home to both raucous music events and breezy, intimate drinking.

Kinda Super Disco is always off the chain.
Kinda Super Disco is always off the chain.
Photo by J Tovar

1. YOU
We want to take our favorite crowds along because you eclipse everything on this list, people. Without your energy and style, a bar on the moon would just be a barren building, an edifice left behind to be buried under moon dust like those lunar crawlers from the ‘70s. We’ll take the Boondocks crowd, especially the ones at Kinda Super Disco. Ditto for those Praia Urbana festgoers from Last Concert Café, and the philosophical barflies of Lola’s Depot and West Alabama Ice House. Scotty, don’t forget to beam up the crowd at Neil’s Bahr. And, for sheer anything-goes factor, we’ll see if NASA can time-travel us back to gather some 1980s Numbers crowds for the trip.

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