If you’re a space-deprived urbanite looking to beef up your criminal record, or simply trying to add some spice to your bedroom routine, taking romance into the public domain can really take your relationship to the next level – whether it's with your OTL or you've yet to exchange names. Here’s the short list of hideaways to steal a few clandestine kisses this Valentine’s Day. I'm talking secret smooches here – so don’t expect routine locales like the Transco Waterwall (it’s a treacherous three yards outside the loop) or the unisex bathroom at Anvil (because really, who among us hasn’t already?)
Read my lips: with the ever-evolving cultural landscape that has brought Houston Margo Sawyer and Matchbox, along with a few trusty standbys, there's never been a better time to introduce a dash of kama sutra to Clutch City. These six hot spots will ensure a lovely (and licentious) Valentine's Day for you and your paramour.
Margo Sawyer’s Synchronicity of Color
City parks are an obvious destination, but have some pride — don’t dirty yourselves on the proletariat’s backyard. Add a touch of class to your rendezvous with an element of fine art. You know you’ve seen it from the balcony of The Treehouse — that playfully polychromatic box car-looking installation built of defective Legos. What you might not know is that you can penetrate the sculpture’s interior if you can find the door on the south side. In her artist’s statement, Sawyer explains how she designed her space to create a forum "for contemplation and reflection." Get a load of you and your Valentine's own reflection inside the installation’s glossy interior.
Make a reservation for two at a table in the "Alcove" seating area, where the soaring bare-wood rafters evince the building’s original function as a church in the 1920s. If you have any unrequited childhood chorus dreams, you might be able to sort them out here. Otherwise, soak in the warm candlelight and play footsies with your dining partner. Don’t overlook the eye-candy waitstaff; they make for a perfect distraction while your hot date’s in the powder room.
Avant Garden's Second Story
Walk past the throbbing crowds of Members Only jackets and the rickety wooden staircase at the front of the bar that leads to the barricaded second floor. Then, make for the rear patio and climb up the spiral staircase. On the balcony, the typically locked door to the second floor is, every once in awhile, left ajar. Inside, you’ll find a romantic loft-like space that offers glimpses of the skyline. Sneak a kiss with that hipster sporting the molestache, and don’t be afraid to abscond downstairs with a bottle of absinthe in tow.
River Oaks Country Club Golf Course
Take a cue from Tiger. Best accessed at night when nobody’s around and the grass is dewy, the ROCC golf grounds brings a Tennessee Williams-esque aspect of Southern gentility to your outdoors romp. Make the course your own athletic arena, but watch out for the prickly tees. When you return to that wedding with grass stains on your tux or dress, simply brush off your knees and tell the bourgeoisie that green is the new black.
Matchbox Gallery & Artspace
Breeze through the Rice University Gallery and meander down the dim stairway to the budding student-run exhibition space. Before you enter the sculpture courtyard, take pause in the cavernous winding corridor below. But beware, the space is narrow, so you’re going to have to sneak into the stadium if you have plans of going past second base. Afterwards, observe the current installation at Matchbox – and if there’s an exhibition opening, take a Solo cup of Shiner to-go.
Assuming you’re savvy enough to know about that blue door behind the River Oaks Theatre, then you already appreciate why it’s a classic. I first discovered the lore-strewn haunt with a former partner-in-crime when we were just high school seniors, and was won over after that first sip of my dirty martini. Marfreless may be overdone, but in case you haven’t experienced the upstairs scarlet-red lounge, definitely add it to your “to-do” list.