Heights residents are going to get a new place to meet, drink, and snack this summer. Harold's in the Heights has begun renovations that will transform what was left of its Heights General Store market into a casual bar called Harold's Tap Room. Set to open this summer, Harold's Tap Room will serve draft wine, craft beer, cocktails made with infused Texas spirits, and a menu of small plates created by executive chef Antoine Ware.
Harold's owner Alli Jarrett tells CultureMap that she and Ware realized pretty quickly that their customers hadn't embraced the restaurant's plans to operate a market downstairs. They converted part of the space into family-friendly Alli's Pizzaria and focused on Ware's menu of locally-sourced, Southern-Creole food for the upstairs restaurant, but it left them with space that wasn't being utilized well.
"We’ve been trying to figure out what to do with the middle space. We kept some retail items in there, but we weren’t buying anything new," Jarrett explains. They decided a bar could function as a street-level entrance for the restaurant and give the neighborhood a casual meeting spot.
"It’s going to be a really cool, Southern shotgun bar with a social seating area," Jarrett explains. "We’ll have eight wines on taps, eight beers on tap, and then our alcohol program for cocktails will be infused Texas spirits with local, seasonal ingredients, just like Antoine uses in the kitchen."
Ware describes his menu as food with "high acid, high salt (that will) keep everybody drinking." Although it's still under development, look for dishes like charcuterie plates, personal pan pizzas, chicken wings, and sliders utilizing beef from 44 Farms. Serving wine on tap will both allow the Tap Room to feature boutique wines from both California and Texas but also benefits the environment by using refillable containers instead of glass bottles.
Bar and table tops made with fabric (and covered with resin) will pay homage to space's history as a clothing store. The front vestibule will have indoor-outdoor seating and a patio feel. These changes should further Jarrett's goal of growing with The Heights, which has seen a lot of changes in the 15 years she's lived there but maintains its small town feel.
"This neighborhood appreciates history. So many people come in and say 'Thank you for saving that sign,'" Jarrett says. "I think where we fit in is we want to be a neighborhood place. We want to know everyone’s name when they come in here. We want to watch their children grow up downstairs. We want to be philanthropic in the neighborhood and a community supporter. A place where you can be in a snappy casual environment with really, really good, solid, fresh food."