Nightclubs close. It's a natural part of the cycle, as sure as the sun rising in the morning or a member of a boy band trying to go to outer space or outing himself a few years after his fame has waned.
(Note: That's a double-decker Lance Bass reference, folks.)
Still, that didn't make it any easier when Scott Gertner's SkyBar, easily the greatest tenth-story R&B hangout in Houston's history, was unceremoniously pushed out of existence earlier this summer. The building it was housed in began being neglected shortly after it was purchased in an auction, an ironic ending for a bar and staff that built their reputation on providing a meaningful experience.
"Scott felt so badly about it," says Gertner's sister, Cindy Gertner, of the closing. "That location brought back so many memories for people, whether they got engaged or had a wedding or had a birthday party there. The last night, the band was emotional, the singers were emotional, the patrons were emotional. It was the end of an era."
Russ: Did It My Way Tour
TicketsSat., Aug. 6, 6:00pm
World Famous Gospel Brunch at House of Blues Houston
TicketsSun., Aug. 7, 1:30pm
TicketsSun., Aug. 7, 8:00pm
The Noise Presents: Periphery - Sonic Unrest Tour
TicketsTue., Aug. 9, 6:00pm
TicketsWed., Aug. 10, 7:00pm
But it appears at least one positive has come from the situation: Gertner's other business, Scott Gertner's Sports Bar Live (3100 Fountain View), or simply Scott's, has begun to absolutely hum lately.
Make no mistake, Scott's has never been a second-tier sports bar. On the contrary, when compared to similar establishments (Buffalo Wild Wings, Fox & Hound, etc.), it's been one of the city's most enjoyable for the duration of its five-year existence.
Whether members of the mostly black, 25-and-up crowd were visiting for aesthetics, the wings or the thighs, they weren't walking away disappointed very often. The venue is as wide-open and accommodating as you're going to find, with an expansive patio at the front and a neat little pool room tucked away in the back; the sweet-and-sour wings are particularly tasty, especially at 35 cents a pop on Wednesdays; and the waitresses, dubbed "Scottie's Hotties," are very Hooters-ish in their attire and periodically hop up on the bar tops to dance and throw Jello shots into the crowd.
"It's always been a good hangout spot during the week," says 23-year-old education student Portia Poe. "If I want to hang out, this is where I go."
But following SkyBar's closure, Scott's has taken on a very noticeable nightclub feel. The source is easy to trace.
Remember that Denzel Washington movie Fallen, where he played a cop who was chasing a demon spirit that was possessing people and making them murder? The demon could hop from person to person, making it impossible for Washington to stop it.
That's exactly what Scott Gertner's sexiness is like. It's an unstoppable entity, except instead of making you want to kill people, it makes you want to drink glasses of Moscato and do that dance from R. Kelly's "Step in the Name of Love."
Scott's has imbibed some of SkyBar's aura, like it was just floating around in space looking for a home. They've even adopted a "SkyBar Revisited" theme night on Saturdays to help corral it all, complete with music by Rick Marcel and the Radiance Band, who play for a $10 cover.
And even if that newfound sexiness is only temporary — a new Gertner nightclub is on the horizon — it is very appealing.
"I used to go to SkyBar every Friday and Saturday," says Tori Davis, 23. "I miss it."
Smiling, she adds, "This is my first time here — it'll work."
Gertner says he's just signed the lease for the new location of his next nightclub, "another open-air rooftop location." He and sister Cindy are being fairly tight-lipped about any other details, though there's little doubt in their minds the new place will become as substantial as SkyBar. "It's going to be off the chain," says Cindy. "It's going to be a real destination point, just like the SkyBar." Asked about the new venue's name or any of the particulars, she sidesteps coyly. "I'd love to tell you the name, but I can't. I can tell you this, though: It will have Scott's name in it." So at least you know it'll be sexy.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.