Five new Bayou Place bars, too

Angelika replacement to open this summer: City in on talks with Robert Redford's Sundance Cinemas

Angelika replacement to open this summer: City in on talks with Robert Redford's Sundance Cinemas

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The site of Live at Bayou Place. Photo by Steven Thomson
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The interior of the future Live at Bayou Place. Photo by Steven Thomson
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The site of Live at Bayou Place. Photo by Steven Thomson
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RÖCBAR is now Live at Bayou Place. Photo by Steven Thomson
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RÖCBAR's suicide note. Photo by Steven Thomson
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A new cinema will open in July. Photo by Steven Thomson
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A new cinema will move into the shuttered Angelika Film Center space, and is slated to open this summer, CultureMap has learned.

The Cordish Company, which is the landlord of Bayou Place, and the city of Houston, which owns the land, are deep into negotiations with Sundance Cinemas to be the new movie theater tenant, an unnamed source close to the negotiations confirms.

Sundance Cinemas is a small independent movie theater company that is owned by Robert Redford's Sundance Group, the same organization behind the world-famous Sundance Film Festival. It operates multiplex theaters in San Francisco and Madison, Wis.

Sundance officials could not be reached for comment. 

Drew Coleman, director of operations for a new five-bar concept that will open up in Bayou Place next month, also tells CultureMap he has been told that a new theater is scheduled to open in July.

A rep from Alamo Drafthouse tells CultureMap that the company has had discussions with Cordish about moving into Bayou Place but offered no further comment. A representative from Landmark Theatres — another major independent movie chain that would be in the running to fill the Angelika space — said it had no comment on any Houston plans.

The Angelika suddenly shuttered overnight on Aug. 29 and the spot's been empty ever since, leaving a gaping hole in Houston's downtown entertainment area.

If a Sundance Cinema goes in, it will be joining a suddenly revitalized Bayou Place bar scene. 

A new party corridor is already emerging under the direction of Houston Lounge and its consultant company, Entertainment Concepts at the complex. A slew of five new bars will be opening beginning March 25 on the second story of Bayou Place, which has previously played host to RÖCBAR.

The anti Washington Ave?

The nightlife development, termed Live at Bayou Place, represents a backlash to the glitzy (and increasingly overpriced) Washington Avenue corridor.

"Mostly these are party bars, going in the opposite way of places that are opening right now," Coleman tells CultureMap. "The bars will be unpretentious and catering to the masses and those looking for better customer service in nightclubs and bars."

Best of all, you won't need to catch the Wave shuttle to navigate between the venues.

First on the list of bars to open in the 18,000 square foot space is PBR. That's not an acronym for Pabst Blue Ribbon, but "professional bull riding." It's the development's answer to a country western bar, which has already proven fruitful at PBR locations in Kansas City and Baltimore.

Next, there's Shark Bar, a venue boasting an '80s and '90s soundtrack. Coleman lists N*Sync and Backstreet Boys as expected dance floor mainstays there.

"It's the kind of place for bachelorette parties, birthdays and 'girls night out," he says.

A Cancun-style party bar will ignite the scene inside Lucy's Liquor Stand, where Top 40 beats and tequila slammers will transport guests to wild Caribbean nights. An outdoor venue, Lobby Bar, won't have a theme, but simply stand as an exterior lounge with a "nice patio kind of décor."

Chapel Spirits appears to be Live's crowning jewel. An upscale bourbon venue endorsed by Michael Garfield, Chapel will offer cigars and has its own patio. On Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday nights it will function as a lounge, but Coleman maintains the atmosphere will be low-key.

Access to all the bars will require a flat $5 fee, and well drinks will cost $4, with $5 you-call-its and $7 premium cocktails.

Once PBR unveils at the end of March, its neighboring watering holes will sequentially open in two week intervals. Valet parking will be available on Texas and Smith.

Coleman sees it as his mission to reignite interest in nightlife in the city's core: "We're just hoping that this will bring people downtown again, making it more of a destination place."