This week, in anticipation of the festivities taking place for Pride Houston, I paid my first visit to a Montrose staple for more than a decade, South Beach. The club is known for its outrageous, dance-all-night parties and they'll use any excuse to party. From CD releases to drag shows, undies-only affairs, sets by world renowned DJs, concert after-parties, foam and laser light fêtes to this weekend's official Pride Houston bashes, South Beach has it covered.
I grabbed a seat at the bar and got to talking/yelling (it was loud in there) with Matty Harr, one of South Beach's friendly bartenders. Matty's been a pretty busy guy lately, as he was most recently a cast member of TUTS's Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, which just wrapped up this past Sunday, June 17 (see the review over on Art Attack).
With the Euro-pop beat pounding, green lasers flashing, tighty-whitey-clad boys dancing on pedestals and disco ball twirling, I got to know a little about Matty and his bar.
Where are you from? I grew up in Spring.
How long have you been bartending at South Beach? I've been here for about six months. This is my first bartending gig in Houston, but I bartended elsewhere during my undergrad and grad school at Sam Houston.
What are some other jobs you've held? I'm a dancer,and I've been dancing and performing since I was really little. I've danced professionally -- ballet, tap, jazz, modern, lyrical -- and I've also taught. I've also been a barista, I was a florist, I've made pizzas...so little bit of this, a little bit of that.
How would you describe the bar's aesthetic? I would say it's more dance club than bar. It's definitely high-energy, not low key, and it's open for after-hours. We don't serve alcohol after 2 a.m., but we stay open until 5 or 6 a.m. so people can dance.
How would you describe the crowd? It's 18 and up...mixed ages, mixed crowd. We do have regulars that come in. We have a guy that's here when we open literally every night. Sometimes people come in and say, "I haven't been here since it was Heaven!" But South Beach has been here for so long everyone knows the vibe and the scene. For the most part, everyone's pretty well-behaved. They're here to drink and dance and have a good time.
Fill in the blank. To work at South Beach, you have to be able to _____. Enjoy the upbeat vibe so you can have fun while you're working. I don't feel like I'm at work. I always get to see people I know and dance to music I like.
At the end of my shift, I pour a ______. When I get home, I'll usually make a dirty Sapphire martini...four olives.
Do you have a specialty or a drink you pride yourself on? I don't know what it's called but it's a fast version of a Mai Tai. I call it a Your Tai, but I'm sure it's really called something else. It's spiced rum, regular rum, pineapple juice and a little grenadine.
*Wildcard: People who ____ are the bravest people in the world. You know when you see a commercial for Off, the bug spray, and they show a hand with the Off on it, so there are no mosquitoes, and then they show a hand without Off, or with like, the competitor brand, and there are 100 mosquitoes on it? The person with the mosquitoes all over their hand really freaks me out. How can they do that?
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South Beach, located at 810 Pacific St., is open from 9 p.m. till late on Fridays and Saturdays. They are hosting several special events for this year's Pride Houston celebration. Stop by Friday, June 22, for the Underwear/Blackout Party, Saturday for the Gay Pride Parade Official After-Party, or Sunday for the Gay Pride Sunday Foam Party.