Whether it’s the Salt N Pepper group’s trio of 3rd Floor, Pub Fiction, and Irish Cowboy, the patio vibes of Dogwood, or the Vegas-style glitz of Clé (and its newly opened sister concept Spire), Midtown remains Houston’s favorite place to party. Two operators with experience in the neighborhood are hoping to capitalize on that success with an offering that’s a little more grown-up than its immediate neighbors.
Rose Gold Cocktail Lounge bills itself as an upscale cocktail lounge. Located next to Clé in the former Tarakaan space, the bar aims to be a slightly more serene alternative to its high-flying neighbor. Currently open Wednesday through Sunday in a quiet, soft opening mode, the bar will celebrate its official grand opening January 27, just before Super Bowl revelers descend on Houston.
Rose Gold partners Jason Lowery and Michael Collins operate The Eighty Six'd Restaurant Group. While the name may not be as familiar as companies like Clark-Cooper Concepts or Treadsack, Houstonians certainly enjoy eating and drinking at their establishments The Fish, Bovine & Barley, The Refinery, and the HTX Fan Tavern. The duo also opened the rooftop lounge Proof but have since sold it. They’re bringing all of that experience to this new venture.
“For the most part, we’ve seen what Midtown is going to do and the challenges of it. Hopefully, we can put all that to use and be successful.” Later, he adds, “I feel like Tarakaan was beautiful, but no one knew it was here. All the people walking down Main Street to Cle couldn’t see in the place. Being that the door is here on the backside, you wouldn’t even know it existed, which sucks because it was a cool spot.”
In order to make Rose Gold more visible, Lowery and Collins performed a number of changes to the space. The stripped the lattice work facade from the exterior and installed two garage doors along Main Street, which results in more light coming in during the day and passersby being able to see inside at night.
Inside, they replaced Tarakaan’s split-level seating with a floor that’s all on the same level. Interior walls have been removed to open up the space, and the ceiling now shows off its exposed wooden beams. Comfortable green couches now sit where restaurant-style tables and chairs once did.
Of course, the bar’s namesake color plays a prominent role: the bar is lined with rose gold barstools, diners can order cocktails in copper-colored, pineapple-shaped punch bowls, and the wall by the DJ booth has a rose gold-colored sign that reads “Rose Gold.”
As the "cocktail den" component of its name implies, Rose Gold intends to focus on drinks — not wine or beer. The menu of 12 draft cocktails created by bartenders Ben Baxter and Luis Villegas are designed to be made quickly, without the delays of drinks that require more extensive shaking, stirring, or measuring. After the Super Bowl, patrons will also be able to order a menu of eight to 10 bar bites, but the focus is squarely on the drinks.
Thursday through Saturday, Rose Gold will up its energy level by bringing in DJs. “Not to rattle the windows or anything, but we want them to spin music you don’t usually here in Houston: indie dance, New Disco, funk, original disco, a mixture of things,” Lowery says. “There are spots like The Flat that do it, but the inspiration is to be music-driven but not overpowered by it.”
Taken together, all of these elements are designed to give Rose Gold a symbiotic relationship with its neighbor, Clé. Lowery says he expects the newcomer to be a slightly more relaxed, more adult alternative to the popular nightclub.
“If you’re going to party later on but you want to have some drinks or something first, you can come hang out,” Lowery says. “Or if that’s too much for you and you’re not feeling it, you can come here and be a little more relaxed.”
2301 Main Street; 5 pm to 2 am, Wednesday through Friday.