An homage to Houston

Casual new Upper Kirby bar raises a glass to Houston's history

Casual new Upper Kirby bar raises a glass to Houston's history

Eighteen36 bar Houston mural
A mural depicts Houston's layout in 1836.  Courtesy of Eighteen36
Eighteen36 bar owners Jake Stein Jason Scheinthal
Owners Jake Stein and Jason Scheinthal.  Courtesy of Eighteen36
Eighteen36 bar Houston mural
Eighteen36 bar owners Jake Stein Jason Scheinthal

Bars are fun when they’re loud, crowded, and full of people pounding shots, but that lifestyle isn’t sustainable. Once people get a little older, they seek out more comfortable spaces where they can gather with friends or colleagues for a good drink and tasty food.

Two Houstonians are opening just that sort of establishment — a little more polished, a little more relaxed — in the Upper Kirby area.

Meet Eighteen36. Located in the former Owl Bar space at 2221 West Alabama St., Eighteen36 reflects the goal of partners Jason Scheinthal and Jake Stein to elevate the area’s drinking options.

Slated to begin its soft opening on January 23, the new bar will feature beer, wine, and cocktails plus a food menu created by The Roadster Grill, the beloved Greek-American restaurant that closed in 2017.

Both partners bring significant experience to the business. Scheinthal worked for Landry’s, working his way up the ranks to eventually oversee the company’s integration with third-party delivery services. Stein is a real estate broker who recognized the value in purchasing the property. Together, they’ve created a space they’re looking forward to showing people.

“What we wanted to do was take Owl Bar and elevate it a little bit, make it a comfortable place to be,” Scheinthal tells CultureMap. “I wanted a place where people could come to drink and hang out that was nice enough to where they didn’t mind coming after work with business clients, but it was also comfortable enough that they could come out on a Saturday or Sunday during the day and watch football with friends.”

Working with a Dallas-based designer, Scheinthal and Stein have comprehensively renovated the space. It features new flooring, a new bar top, and custom-made furniture from local firms Laser Cut Co and Noah’s Manufacturing. Outside, the all-new patio features lounge seating, a stage for musical performances, and an 18-foot tall fireplace.

Since the bar is named for the year that brothers Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen founded Houston, the interior includes a mural that depicts the city’s original layout. Other murals will pay tribute to Houston by including significant landmarks such as the Astrodome and the River Oaks Theater.

The name also has personal significance for Scheinthal who notes that both “18” and “36” are considered lucky in Judaism, because the Hebrew letters that spell “18” and “36” also spell the words “life” and “double life.”

Similarly lucky is Scheinthal’s relationship with Nick Semoudiaris. The proprietor of the Roadster Grill will be cooking in Eighteen36’s upstairs kitchen. During lunch, the bar will serve a fairly complete menu of Roadster classics. At night, the menu will shift to small bites, with Roadster operating as a “ghost kitchen” that will allow it to serve food via a dedicated to-go window, delivery apps, or catering.

“Roadster Grill is Greek-American food,” Scheinthal says. “Essentially, the menu is 50-percent American favorites and 50-percent Greek classics. Nick grew up in a Greek family. Most of the recipes are adaptations of his mom’s.”

Expect similarly good things from the cocktails. Head bartender Josh Saphier comes to Eighteen36 from Mastro’s, where he helped develop the cocktail menu for the upscale steakhouse. He’ll offer nine original creations, two non-alcoholic cocktails, and full lineup of well-executed classics.

From January 23 until February 6, the bar will be in soft opening mode with limited hours (opening at 4 pm, food begins at 6 pm). All ages are welcome at lunch, which will be served from 11 am until 4 pm. Roadster will go live on delivery apps beginning February 7.