Just three months into 2014, Houston already has a fair amount of newly opened restaurants and bars that host live music. Seeing that the Greater Houston area is large, diverse, ever-changing and all kinds of grand, we all could have probably guessed that. It's still early in the year, but here's what's already come along so far.
1. Dua This restaurant opened in February in the place of Mo Mong, which had been at its Montrose location for 17 years. The décor has changed, but that's not the appeal; that comes from the variety of Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese dishes alongside the drink specials. Musically, DJ Joe Ross provides a peaceful atmosphere every Thursday night. But this one is really about the food, including the ramen options on the menu that are like music to me.
2. Max's Wine Dive (Montrose) The Montrose expansion of Max's Wine Dive opened a month ago at Fairview and Taft. In the months to come, general manager Gaston Rousselot says to expect occasional singer-songwriters among the gourmet comfort-food fare, just like the Washington Avenue location.
3. Nook Cafe This cute coffee shop is serving its first full semester across the street from the University of Houston campus, branded "by Coogs for Coogs." UH alum Avi Katz of Katz Coffee donates ten percent of the profits from sales of Nook's featured Cougar Blend coffee to his alma mater. The space features local artists, drinks, snacks and music, such as recent acoustic sets by Gaby Veray, Chris Elliott and Jackson Wargo of L.A.-based band Jackson & the Wargonauts. Nook is looking to host more small acts, too.
4. Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill This 27,500-square-foot chain spot founded by country artist Toby Keith features a concert theater and 3,000-square-foot dance floor. This west Houston project two years in the making opened a couple of weeks ago with a combined restaurant that serves American comfort-food staples including burgers and fries; the fried bologna sandwich is said to be Keith's favorite. Two kinds of music will be offered here: country and western, and right now Smok'N Guns, Corey Cox, Shane Thomas, Ryan Broshear and Jon Pardi are among the acts on the current schedule.
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5. Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Shocker, but every Houstonian is going to end up that the rodeo at some point, right? Even if country or pop music isn't your thing (don't forget about the Hideout, either), you can wander around the carnival grounds through this Sunday and take in the light-filled atmosphere however you prefer.
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6. Space City Music The Skyline, located at the former site of The Meridian, is coming soon under the planning of the people behind Space City Music. Working to open later this year, they have already hosted shows this past January in conjunction with the Houston Food Park, which provides a dozen or so food trucks to choose from. They're looking to book exclusively locally-based acts.
Do you have a new place in mind you think is worth mentioning? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
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