Take the plunge

Exciting new pool bar set to make a splash in Houston's Second Ward

Exciting new pool bar set to make a splash in Houston's Second Ward

El Segundo Swim Club rendering Gin Braverman
The El Segundo Swim Club comes to the Second Ward in May. Courtesy of El Segundo Swim Club
Gin Braverman head shot
Designer Gin Braverman is designing the grounds. Courtesy photo
Marriott Marquis Texas-shaped pool
As the Marriott Marquis demonstrates, Houstonians love a good pool. Photo courtesy of Marriott Marquis Houston
El Segundo Swim Club rendering Gin Braverman
Gin Braverman head shot
Marriott Marquis Texas-shaped pool

During Houston's hot summers, nothing beats a dip in the pool followed by a refreshing cocktail.

But where to go? Large apartment complexes frequently have a pool available, as do houses in ritzier suburbs and certain gyms, but that doesn't leave many options for the rest of us. A person could always rent a hotel room or book a spa treatment at a hotel — a particularly tempting option when it comes with the opportunity to float in a Texas-shaped lazy river — but that gets expensive quickly. 

Enter Matthew Healey. The new real estate developer has tapped designer Gin Braverman — a woman whose credits include everything from Axelrad Beer Garden and Public Services to the backstage lounges at the White Oak Music Hall — for an exciting new project that's coming to the Second Ward in May. 

Dubbed the El Segundo Swim Club, the plan is to transform an industrial lot at 5180 Avenue L into a property that features a 1,350-square-foot swimming pool with cabanas and a full bar. Day passes will be available for about $20.

“We want to create something fun and unpretentious,” Healey said in a statement. “We’re creating a little oasis just off the beaten path. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Braverman's design takes its inspiration from the work of Roberto Burle Marx, a Brazilian landscape artist known for his innovative public spaces. Towards that end, El Segundo aims to channel a Rio in the '70s vibe with elements that include cabanas painted with "desaturated favela pantones" and art installations. Braverman's gin design group will also handle branding and landscaping. 

The establishment's location off Navigation Boulevard puts it in close proximity some of Houston's most famous Tex-Mex restaurants, the Finca Tres Robles urban farm, and several new residential developments. That sort of diversity should give it a very different atmosphere than the other Houston establishment known for its pool — Midtown's ultra-popular nightclub Clé. As expected, Healey sounds optimistic about the project.

“We saw nothing but potential,” Healey added about his decision to purchase the property. “I like the makeshift characteristics of the neighborhood. It made me feel like I could do this myself.”

If not totally by himself, at least with the help of a talented designer and her collaborators. When it all comes together, Houston's hot summers will be a little cooler.