Almost from the beginning, Washington Avenue sports bar Sawyer Park was embattled.
There were the allegations of racial profiling at the door, a shooting nearby in 2011, the malleable dress codes, its "doucheoisie" clientele, a partial blinding of an employee, and the people who still missed its former life as the gluttonous Pig Stand.
On Tuesday night, everyone finally got the message that it was closed after four years of business, with a sign out front thanking patrons for their years of business. There was also a storage pod out front. An outgoing message on the club's answering machine thanked customers for the memories.
The bar's closure is just another nail in the coffin for this era of Washington Avenue. Closures and changes to bars have been rampant up and down the street.
The avenue was the subject of two Houston Press cover stories, "Wild on Washington" and "Getting Past the Bouncer," the latter investigating the claims of minorities that various high-falootin' bars around the city -- and many off Washington -- were discriminating against minorities at the door. "Bouncer" painted a pretty bleak picture of bar-and-patron relations.
The bar on the corner of Sawyer and Washington, just a block away from Beaver's, had a beautiful view of downtown -- that is, if you were lucky enough to pass inspection at the front door.
Sawyer's events manager at the time we were writing "Bouncer" contended that the bar was just looking out for their customers, specifically the female ones.
"We had females in the bar who felt uncomfortable about men who were dressed a certain way," she said. "We don't want people to look like they just came from the gym or just got done running at Memorial Park. We are basically looking for upscale casual wear -- no cutoff jean shorts, sleeveless shirts or tank tops. We do allow sandals and [hemmed] shorts, though."
That was enough to drive away many drinkers, but of course not all. It was still a hot spot, but the crowds looked sparser on some nights. Maybe it had lost its flavor, or the regulars moved on to and back to Midtown and Upper Kirby for their freaky weekends.
Most greeted the closing with glee last night on social media, and were excited about the future of that prime piece of real estate. The build-up around it has been pretty steady, with condos and mixed-use spaces popping up.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
I drove by myself over a week ago to find it closed, but assumed that it was now closed on Monday nights since football season was over. It certainly did not look as if it was about to close for good.
Sports carried Sawyer Park, whether they were on the club's massive screens or being played in some form in the parking lot. There were dodgeball games and Tuesday night bingo sessions throughout the bar's history.
There were a host of "turnt up" party pics from this past week's NBA All-Star Weekend festivities on Instagram and Twitter, so at least the ol' salty girl went out with a bang.