Houston's Oldest Bar Closes

Houston's oldest bar surprisingly suddenly shutters, leaving a historic Midtown building empty

Houston's oldest bar suddenly shutters, leaving a historic spot empty

Leon's Lounge sign
Leon's Lounge closed Monday night.  Photo by Eric Sandler

Midtown's bar and restaurant scene is as hot as it's ever been. Recent arrivals like Wooster's Garden, Oporto and Weights + Measures indicate the neighborhood is rapidly becoming more than just a party scene.

Sadly, the scene got a little poorer on Monday with the news that long time favorite Leon's Lounge had closed. (Houstorian first noted it.) 

The sudden, unexpected nature of Leon's departure was a hot topic at Monday night's oyster shucking competition at the new bar Julep. News spread that Leon's Lounge owner Pete Mitchell, who also operates Under the Volcano, had opted not to renew his lease on the property.

Rumors suggest that Mitchell was unable to come to terms with the property's owner on necessary repairs to the building's aging structure. 

When Mitchell first took control of Leon's in 2010, the bar closed for almost a year while he renovated it. After adding a deck and opening up some of the windows, it reopened as a slightly cleaned up version of its dive bar self, with better quality drinks than its previous incarnation. 

With a history that dates back to at least 1947, the Houstorian identifies Leon's as Houston's oldest bar (as opposed to an ice house or restaurant). Regardless of its condition, surely someone will be interested in taking over the historic property.