Nearly two years after the club first said it was planning to relocate from Washington Avenue, Walter's on Washington has finally shut down, owner Pam Robinson told Rocks Off this afternoon.
After Robinson gave her landlord a 60-day notice on March 1, the Washington location closed last weekend. Robinson's plans to open a new club on Naylor Street in the north-downtown Warehouse District near Diverseworks, meanwhile, have hit a snag with the city over the amount of parking spaces.
"It's all a blur now," she says. "Obviously it's taking a little longer than I thought."
Robinson says the city wants her to find 20 more parking places, so she is negotiating with her neighbors. Once the permits come through, she says the new Walter's could be open in as little as a month. The building is ready, with a capacity of 190 people, but Robinson says she would like to expand the bathrooms, a job she estimates will take 10 days to two weeks.
Walter's on Washington has cleared its calendar by moving several shows to other local clubs. Charger Fits has moved from Saturday at Walter's to Sunday at Rudyard's, and the Verbal Abuse hardcore bill scheduled for Sunday has moved to Fitzgerald's (minus the Dayglo Abortions, who were deported back to Canada earlier this week). The Torche/Big Business show scheduled for July 7 has also moved to Fitz.
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Robinson opened Walter's in 2000, and it was the last Washington Avenue nightclub to primarily feature live, original music - a far cry from the '80s and '90s, when venues like Rockefeller's, The Fabulous Satellite Lounge, Bon Ton Room, Washington Avenue Showbar, Club Hey Hey, Rhythm Room, The Abyss and The Vatican made the street Houston's principal live-music artery.
Walter's booked mostly roots-rock and blues in its early years, then became Houston's main indie-rock venue when Mary Jane's Fat Cat (also owned by Robinson) closed in 2005. Since the Free Press Houston/Pegstar team took over Fitzgerald's last summer, Walter's had mostly been booking punk rock, hardcore and metal shows such as TSOL last month.