Downtown Bar Boom

Downtown cocktail craze continues with neighborhood bar on Main Street

Downtown cocktail craze continues with neighborhood bar on Main Street

Little Dipper bar Houston preview October 2013 front door entrance sign
Little Dipper is scheduled to open by the end of the month at 304 Main Street.  Photo by Eric Sandler
Little Dipper bar Houston preview October 2013 interior
Doesn't this look like a comfortable place to have a drink? Photo by Eric Sandler
Little Dipper bar Houston preview October 2013 interior with wall art
Poison Girl fans will appreciate the bar's eclectic decor, which is still a work in progress. Photo by Eric Sandler
Little Dipper bar Houston preview October 2013 front door entrance sign
Little Dipper bar Houston preview October 2013 interior
Little Dipper bar Houston preview October 2013 interior with wall art

Up to now, all of the bars and restaurants that have opened up along the 300 block of Main Street can be explained with an easy concept. Goro & Gun is a Japanese-inspired, Houston riff on an izakaya. Bad News Bar makes great cocktails. The Pastry War is an agave bar. 

How then to define Little Dipper, the new bar from the team behind Poison Girl, Black Hole Coffee House and Antidote Coffee that's set to open by the end of the month at 304 Main? After all, Poison Girl has always taken a something-for-everybody approach with everything from Lone Star to Pappy Van Winkle available to suit any budget.  

"We get to do whatever we like," co-owner Dawn Callaway tells CultureMap. "We want to do that and see what the neighborhood wants." 

 "I feel like it’s the oldest concept in America. It’s the neighborhood bar on Main Street. It’s just the place that you come in and have a beer and a shot." 

Co-owner Scott Repass adds another thought. "I feel like it’s the oldest concept in America. It’s the neighborhood bar on Main Street. It’s just the place that you come in and have a beer and a shot."

While Poison Girl isn't generally thought of as a temple of high-end mixology, Callaway notes that "I have everything: every kind of bitters and Vermouth. Everything's back there, but we just want to make you what you want to have."

Little Dipper will have a similarly eclectic mix, but co-owner Miriam Carrillo, who'll serve as the bar's general manager, doesn't expect it to be quite the same as its Montrose sibling. 

"We’ll still have a nice bourbon selection, but I think Poison Girl will be bourbon," Carrillo says. However, some things will be common between both spaces. "It will have a pinball machine and a nice jukebox. Scott’s (Repass) working on it right now." Repass jokes that "we were thinking of skeet shooting, but the permits are hard." 

As with the other locations, they're working with former Oxheart sommelier Justin Vann via his PSA Wines consulting service on the Little Dipper beer and wine list. Carrillo says that Vann "is proud to say he's the sommelier of Poison Girl. He picked the red and the white." Little Dipper will have a few more selections, including Madeira, which is a new favorite of Callaway's. 

"I think we get to be a little silly and fun," Callaway says of the wine list. "I think Justin wants to be a little adventurous." 

Even though it's not yet fully decorated, the space looks and feels like a neighborhood bar. "Wallpaper" is spray painted on one wall as a promise of future decoration, and other finishing touches still need to be applied. 

As the interview wrapped up, Little Dipper's staff began to gather for their first meeting. "I think we have a super great staff who are honestly the friendliest people we know," Callaway says. If Little Dipper has the same success as Poison Girl and the coffee shops, expect that friendly, neighborhood demeanor to be one of the big reasons why.