Better bathrooms, food on the way
Houston's live music truth: Why the new, reopened Fitzgerald's is already betterthan Mango's
How to describe the new retooled Fiitzgerald’s? For those unfamiliar with the Heights music venue, imagine House of Blues and Walter’s had an illegitimate kid who chain-smoked and threw wild parties.
Thursday night was one of those wild parties— some 1,200 kids came to Fitz’s to see post-punk band The Drums perform for the grand reopening. Free Press Houston and Pegstar teamed up to take over the quirky venue from owner Sara Fitzgerald. Omar Afra of Free Press says they simply outgrew their former music spot, Mango’s.
Although I can’t complain about Mango’s proximity to my SoMo toho (that’s South Montrose townhouse) and the low stage and lack of a green room make for an, um, intimate show, I’m glad they’ve bid farewell to the Montrose dive. A few key aspects of Fitzgerald's make it especially appealing to me:
1. No matter what, Fitz’s bathrooms will never be as claustrophobic as Mango’s. In effort to accommodate increasingly large crowds, Mango’s recently remodeled its restrooms to squeeze in four toilets instead of the original two. I guess I appreciated the shorter lines or whatever, but it was hella diffy hooking up in those plywood stalls. And don't even get me started on the splinters I got.
2. You know what else Fitz’s has that Mango's doesn't? A mirror above the sink! It's rumored that the Mango’s mirror disappeared in early ’09.
"One day it was there, one day it was just gone!" reminisces Mango's regular Eva Kelly.
Normally I’d suggest that hipsters took the mirror off the wall to cut lines of coke on, but that seems implausible — where would they have done the blow considering the aforementioned tiny bathroom stall situation?
3. Food! While Fitz’s doesn’t serve food yet, Andrea Afra of Free Press Houston tells CultureMap that they have plans to offer “backyard cuisine” including burgers and other “easy food.” Mango’s only offers vegetarian dishes, which is not my style.
As Anthony Bourdain says, "Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans, are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit."
4. Large smoker-friendly patios within earshot of the stages — although not a smoker myself, I hate following my smoker friends to stand outside a venue for cigs between sets. The concrete roped-off area outside Warehouse Live’s facade is especially cattle pen-esque.
Fitz’s upstairs patio feels like you’re hanging out on the deck at a house party. You’re still connected to the activity inside. You can even see it through the windows.
5. Fitz’s is all ages. Actually, this is more of a con than a pro. I’m not ageist (except against old people and sometimes babies) but I’m so sick of driving boys back to their freshman dorm. It really kills the mood in the morning.
6. There are two stages and three levels to watch bands. While there are obvious advantages of this set up (increased visibility, separation from mosh-pit kids and demure observers, if you hate one band go downstairs and see another, etc.) mostly I love it because when I run into my ex, I can avoid him and go upstairs. And when I run into another ex upstairs, I can move to the inside balcony. And then when I run into my ex’s ex up there, I can go to the patio.
So many options for an awkward girl who loathes confrontation.
7. White Oak is a bit far from SoMo and parking is tricky, but I plan to use this to my advantage. It will be my new excuse not to drive. (I hate driving.) You know, when someone suggests going to a show I’ll whine, “I would but it’s just so far!” Then he'll agree to drive me.
While it’s miles north of my territory, at least it’s not in the dry part of the Heights. I would seriously kill myself if that were the case. (Just kidding I carry a flask.)
The list doesn't end here, as I'm sure to discover more amenities when I return (oh and I will be returning).
On my radar are CocoRosie next Tuesday, Born Ruffians (Oct. 13), and Best Coast (Nov. 6). For a full calendar listing check out Fitz's new website.