Introducing Debønair Lounge, Houston's Newest R&B Hotspot

The last thing you want to encounter on a Monday night is a buzzkill. For years now, Houstonians have figured the best way to cure whatever kind of funk Monday brings is with a drink and some form of entertainment. It may be football, it may be an atmosphere of unique and interesting people -- whatever people's minds and bodies tell them to do by way of unwinding, they do it.

That includes finding some pretty damn good R&B music to ease their nerves.

Café 4212 -- a spacious lounge located on Almeda on the outskirts of both Midtown and the Museum District -- has its charms, chief among them its inviting atmosphere, wide patio area and upscale identity. Open since 2005, it hasn't been known as a big-time Monday-night spot until recently, when local do-everything entrepreneur Tay Mitch worked up the idea of creating a new side of the place.

"We chose to turn Café 4212 into Debønair Lounge simply because of the atmosphere," Mitch says. "It feels like this is where music started at in Houston. A soulful, elegant vibe."

Mitch harked back to the general idea everyone has about Monday, namely dread. He never thought about making Debønair Lounge exclusive to certain crowds, just the near-universal crowd that understands the grind of that first day back on the job.

"They all have something in common: a certain desire," Mitch says. "They all love live music."

Needing a host who was a bit different from the norm, Mitch chose Brad Gilmore, member of the Houston hip-pop group Twenty Eleven and host of his own podcast,The Brad Gilmore Show.

"He reached out to me via Twitter," Gilmore says of the pair's initial conversations. "Originally I wasn't sure about the idea until I ran into him at a listening session for Kirko Bangz. I saw the vision and was sold."

Mitch and Gilmore, an brash twentysomething who moonlights as a ring announcer for Booker T's Reality of Wrestling outfit, seem like the perfect pair. Tay plays the straight man to Gilmore, a pairing that onstage twists itself into an act within an act. Musicians such as the Debønair Band and DJ/local producer King Henry help make certain nothing flies completely off the rails.

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That vision has morphed into a steady climb for both men, who constantly promote the affair via social media. You can't go a day without seeing elongated flyers about the night, popping with bright colors, promising cheap drinks and always hinting at a live and engaging atmosphere. Tay and Gilmore keep their look and mentality as upscale as possible, donning suits or blazers as they riff on the evening's performers.

In the past few weeks, attendance has boomed and word of mouth has spread quickly regarding the quality of acts at Debønair, the majority of which are local. Luminaries such as Jack Freeman, Blushhh Music, Lee Lonn, Prince Cannon and more have all recently graced the stage, with more to follow.

"We bring the best weekly event in the city of Houston," Gilmore crows. "With the Duke of Debønair and the Entertainment World Champion hosting, you are bound to enjoy yourself."

Debønair Lounge takes place from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. every Monday night at Café 4212, 4212 Almeda, featuring $4 bar specials all night, 50-cent wings and a happy hour from 8 to 11 p.m. Ladies pay no cover until 10 p.m. For RSVP information go to debonairlounge.splashthat.com.


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