As the new kid on the block, Asia Society Texas Center is joining in the ranks of other chic venues around town and enticing a stylish and artsy in-crowd to mix, mingle and imbibe. As such, the savvy officials running the Yoshio Taniguchi-designed building have launched a monthly series of dapper happy hours.
The idea came from Asia Society New York's weekly "Leo Bar" gatherings that woo social climbers, corporate suits and the LGBT community to taste test exotic cocktails and make new connections.
A tempting spread from the center's Jade Stone Café offered creamy spinach dip, fresh summer rolls with peanut sauce, bacon wrapped nibbles and sweet pastries.
As the 160 Houston debut happy hour guests sauntered into the Edward Rudge Allen III Education Center from the second floor Water Garden Terrace, which overlooks the serene and ethereal Elkins Foundation Water Garden, Houston's first "Leo Bar" morphed this bright and airy spot into a modern mid-century lounge with white leather club chairs, steel side tables and acrylic accessories.
A tempting spread from the center's Jade Stone Café, prepared by Elizabeth Stone's The Stone Kitchen Catering & Special Events, included creamy spinach dip, fresh summer rolls with peanut sauce, bacon wrapped nibbles and sweet pastries. Adjacent was a cash bar serving the afternoon's signature cocktail, shaken and stirred with Bombay Sapphire.
Global beats courtesy of Yogi-G, co-host of KPFT 90.1 FM's GenerAsian Radio, and a tabla (Indian drum) player funked up the ambiance, though a select few opted for a more genteel setting and dialogue in the Chao Foundation Green Garden, basking in the tall bamboo and Asian jasmine greenery.
Chitchatting alongside Asia Society Texas Center's Fritz Lanham, John Bradshaw Jr., Jordan Dupuis, Patsy Yoon Brown and Tina Reynolds were Texas Foundation for the Arts' Kim Lykins, Whitney Radley, Jim Bailey, Liz Kim, Adman Sarwar, Ryan Bouillet, Rachel Portnoy, Madhur Chilakapati, Devanshi Somaya, Farida Hasanali, Russell Richard, Jessica Rivera and Henry Yau.
The Asia Society monthly mixers are set for the first Thursday of every month with the next coming on Oct. 4.