Downtown's hottest new entertainment destination opens to massive crowds
The old adage of “chamber of commerce weather” was in full effect as downtown’s hottest new entertainment/mixed-use destination, Post Houston, opened its palatial doors on Saturday, November 13 to a VIP ceremony crowd and a mass of thousands of hip influencers, curious visitors, and rooftop yoga enthusiasts.
“For those not from Houston, this is what the weather is like all the time,” joked Frank Liu, the pioneering developer behind Lovett Commercial, the company that spearheaded the six-year renovation of the former Barbara Jordan Post Office.
Flanked by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, downtown icon Bob Eury, his son, Kirby, and others, Liu opened the 16-acre, 550,000-square-foot square facility in a speech that drew chuckles and cheers.
Post Houston boasts a widely diverse food hall. As CultureMap has reported previously, the dining includes:
- Golfstrømmen Seafood Market: The first American concept from chef Christopher Haatuft of Bergen Norway’s Lysverket, Golfstrømmen (Norwegian for Gulf Stream) will bring the chef's minimal techniques to fresh Gulf seafood. The restaurant will also sell raw seafood to-go.
Salt & Time: The Austin-based butcher shop and restaurant offers grilled-to-order steaks, burgers, housemade charcuterie, and more.
- Hawker Street Food Bar: Chef Laila Bazahm's first U.S. project will be a version of the restaurant she operates in Barcelona that serves dishes inspired by Latin American and Southeast Asian street food.
- East Side King: Chef Paul Qui's popular Japanese street food concept will finally expand from Austin to Houston.
- Soy Pinoy: Qui's second restaurant in the market will serve Filipino fare, including Kinilawin, Vegan Kare Kare, Fried Chicken Adobo, Chicken Inasal, Lechon and Lumpia.
- Thai Kun: The Austin favorite from chef Thai Chanthong (and co-founded by Qui) serves Thai-style street food such as pad thai, black noodles, crab rice, som tum, and khao man gai.
Music, coworking, and rooftop living
Just as big of a draw are the lush and sprawling rooftop garden (called Skylawn) with scenic skyline vistas, the 713 Music Hall (look for names such as Rüfüs Du Sol opening the venue on November 18, Willie Nelson, and Megan Thee Stallion soon), an entertainment pavilion and atrium, a coworking space, and more.
Designed as a bustling city gathering place by architects OMA, the mixed-use building — large enough to fit four Boeing 747 aircrafts, a press release notes — features a massive, glistening chrome/steel interior, marked with neon-fronted food booths in the food court and three atriums.
A focal point (and Instagram favorite) are three bottom-to-top stairwells that unite the design. On the second floor, visitors will find the co-working space. The roof opens to scenic views of the downtown skyline, with lush greens offering spots to lounge, the arts atrium, fountains, a covered pavilion, and the verdant, 210,000-square-foot rooftop park and urban farm.
The “post” theme is central here — in homage to the old function of the building, but also “post-Houston,” noted Kirby Liu of Lovett Commercial. Frank’s son pointed out that the building is designed for a young crowd that envisions a future-forward downtown.
Mayor Turner agreed, telling CultureMap, “I’ve been here many times dropping off my last-minute income tax payments. Now it’s an urban center … and it’s reinvented as opposed to cookie-cutter. It’s taking risks. Twenty-five years ago, this wouldn’t have been thought of. You need this development that matches where the city is going.”
Turner also referenced his daughter, who told him when he was running for mayor, “build the city for people my age and younger, and to me this development is consistent with her advice.”
Reminiscent of L.A. Live in the heart of downtown Los Angeles and the High Line in New York City, Post Houston is targeted at urban dwellers and visitors, many of whom strolled the parking lot outdoor market, sipped coffee on the rooftop, took photos by the reflection pools, and even joined a Black Swan Yoga session.
Expect more developments in the near future, including a completed atrium/arts center, the opening of 713 Music Hall, and a statue honoring Barbara Jordan, as here, the past meets the future.