Tulum on Shepherd

Beachy new Heights patio bar takes off with tequila-fueled tiki theme

Beachy new Heights patio bar serves up tequila-fueled tiki theme

Tikila's swizzle
Tikilia's Queen's Swizzle (rum, fruit juices, falernum). Courtesy of Tikila's
Tikila's at night
Tikila's brings a beachy vibe to The Heights. Courtesy of Tikila's
Tikila's frozen mojito
Lowery recommends the frozen mojito. Courtesy of Tikila's
Tikila's backyard
Bars in Tulum inspired the backyard. Photo by Eric Sandler
Tikila's interior
A look inside. Courtesy of Tikila's
Tikila's swizzle
Tikila's at night
Tikila's frozen mojito
Tikila's backyard
Tikila's interior

The Heights has a new spot for tequila-fueled good times. Meet Tikila’s, Houston’s newest patio bar. 

A project led by Jason Lowery (Bovine & Barley, HTX Fan Tavern) and Sammy Saket (Izakaya), Tikila puts its spin on the familiar patio bar with some tiki-inspired touches, including tropical-looking wooden carvings in the backyard and rum-based drinks on the cocktail menu.

Open since last weekend, the bar’s spacious backyard looks poised to become a new hangout spot. Lowery tells CultureMap that the space, formerly Buffalo Fred’s Icehouse, already had the sky-high palm trees when he and Saket acquired the lease. They’ve added cabanas and picnic tables to enhance the beachy vibe.

“We’re drawing from places in Tulum and Mexican beaches,” Lowery says. “We wanted to play off the tiki thing and thought it would be a cool spin on the words and the name. It gives us more range. Not being completely tequila-focused, we can play around more with the drink menu while maintaining an overall beach aesthetic.”

That theme continues on the side patio where patrons will find palm-covered palapas with swings for seating. Inside, dark wood and wallpaper with skulls enhance the tiki aspects, but Lowery acknowledges the bar isn’t trying to create the same atmosphere as dedicated tiki bars like Lei Low and Kanaloa.

“It’s more about being a chill, fun patio bar with good drinks, and good music and atmosphere,” he says.

Bartender Ricardo Venegas (Bovine & Barley, Pitch 25) has created a cocktail menu that includes both tequila and tiki options. For now, the choices include a house margarita (rocks or frozen), a frozen mojito, a piña colada, and a swizzle. Lowery says he expects the menu to grow over time to include half a dozen tequila cocktails, a similar number of tiki classics, and four frozen drinks.

During happy hour (Monday through Friday, 3-6 pm) beers are $3. Margaritas, frozens, and glasses of wine are $5.

Currently, food trucks supply sustenance, but that could change over time. The owners are exploring the feasibility of installing a taco stand in an adjacent building on the property.

With or without food, the backyard seems poised to become the neighborhood’s next day-drinking destination — as soon as the weather cools down.

“In my head, I wanted it to be very loungey and chill,” Lowery says. “I know in The Heights a lot of bars tend to be more sports bars, where football’s the big thing. My idea with the patio is we’ll have TVs inside and on the front deck. For weekends, people who are into that can hang out there. If you’re not into it, you have somewhere you can go and be comfortable.”

That’s right, sportsball haters. Tikila is ready to serve with cabanas and margaritas.