Update 1 p.m. 06.23.20: Red Dwarf has moved its soft opening to July 6 in order to build in more time for the new mask order to be in effect.
Red dwarf stars are some of the smallest, faintest and longest living stars in the galaxy. Space City is about to get its own Red Dwarf in the new Midtown venue opening July 1, in the previous location of the popular bar, Mongoose Versus Cobra at 1011 McGowen.
Red Dwarf will launch its soft opening to the public on July 1 and plan on hosting a larger, grand opening featuring a pop up shop and live bands at a later date.
Red Dwarf will offer everything from coffee and breakfast to dinner and drinks with live music. The venue will be open from 6:30 in the morning and will stay open until bars close at 2 a.m. Their location near the light rail line places them in a good spot for people moving around the city throughout their day.
Shan Pasha, Red Dwarf’s co-owner and booking manager describes the goal of Houston’s newest venue as: “We wanted to have a community center. A place where people can have a coffee in the morning, students can study during the day, people can have a nice craft cocktail or whatever adult beverage of their choosing for happy hour, and the evenings being the place for musicians and artists to show off their work.”
Pasha adds, “We want to showcase Houston in that way.” Red Dwarf will be showing local artists within the remodeled space. They are currently holding an open call for artists agreeing to showcase their work for one month at a time with artists keeping 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of their art.
In a similar approach, they offer booking to bands without charging a fee to hold the room, leaving musicians to manage their own advertising for shows while allowing them to keep their door money. The venue will provide a sound engineer for bands to book their 142-occupancy room.
“It creates a strong incentive for people to try to book with us because there's nothing coming out of pocket for them to do the booking and if there's nothing coming out of the pocket, people have everything in the game,” says Pasha.
Pasha and his sister Sarina, along with James Koby Boren, decided to open the bar and rebrand the former home of Mongoose Versus Cobra. They initially held shows from within Mongoose Versus Cobra and say they had an overwhelmingly positive response to their business model.
“We are still going to have some cocktails that Mongoose is really known for in the community and we’re going to keep some of their drinks on our menu to pay tribute to the years that they served Houston as well,” says Shan.
Sarina Pasha is the brains behind the coffee shop portion of the venue, as co-owner of Black Hole Cold Brew Coffee, she knows her product and will source local roasters to fill the coffee menu.
Red Dwarf will also keep the previously operating 42 taps for their beer menu and will carry local breweries on tap. The owners teamed up local Chef, Grant Keaton to design their menu which will feature easy to go breakfast items and a full lunch and dinner menu every day.
Opening a new venue during the COVID-19 outbreak does come with its challenges, but it also has allowed them to start fresh while adhering to the CDC guidelines for safety. Red Dwarf currently is not booking any concerts as they are waiting until it is “completely safe to do so” and following the lead of venues that came before them, most of which are not open yet.
“We originally were planning on opening way earlier in the year, but then COVID-19 happened and we took more time. Shows were canceled, bars were shut down, we were at a standstill but that gave us a lot of time to iron out the details of our business arrangements which proved to be a benefit for us in the long run,” says Shan.
Shan admires what Houston has going on as far as music venues and only hopes to add to the diverse list of venues the city has to offer. “I love the Houston music community and I think what we're going to do is just add something. Houston is a city of four million plus people and I think that the venues that we have right now are so great, we just want to continue doing what they're doing and have another avenue for people to book and play shows.”
Red Dwarf is looking to book bands in all genres and be able to represent the needs and interests of our diverse population. “We’re very excited,” says Shan. “It’s something we've been working night and day on for quite some time now.”