Instead of opening craft beer and wine bar Trigger Happy at 308 Main, the Clumsy Butcher group announced today that it has partnered with OKRA Charity Saloon general manager Mike Criss on a new concept called The Nightingale Room that will open in March 2014. The bar is named both for the songbird and pays homage to Houston music legend Sippie Wallace, known as the Texas Nightingale during her performing career in the 1920s.
"I thought it would be more rewarding for us to give Mike Criss a chance to open his own bar. He's worked so hard for us and deserves it."
Asked about the new direction, Clumsy Butcher president Bobby Heugel tells CultureMap that the decision was "motivated by a personal relationship with a close friend . . . I thought it would be more rewarding for us to give Mike Criss a chance to open his own bar. He's worked so hard for us and deserves it. (I) couldn't be more proud of him."
Live music will help differentiate The Nightingale Room from the other bars on the 300 block of Main. The long, narrow space will have a raised staged that will host musicians and a dance floor. Criss will curate a selection of blues and jazz performers to play during the week, while weekends will feature a variety of musicians and DJs.
"I love working in bars that have great energy,” Criss said in a statement. “I want this bar to be about having fun—enjoying great music and good drinks in a vibrant setting."
As for the long-delayed Julep, Clumsy Butcher (the Houston company behind Anvil, Hay Merchant and Underbelly) expects to open the Washington Avenue bar that will showcase the talented of bartender Alba Huerta in May — just in time to enjoy the bar's eponymous beverage during its annual celebration in Kentucky.